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


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

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July 2009 Archives, Page Two

Request for more troops in Afghanistan likely, source says 28 Jul 2009 The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is expected to ask the Obama administration for additional troops and equipment, according to a senior U.S. military official familiar with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's thinking. The request will be for troops and equipment for conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as more assets to deal with roadside bombs and explosives, said the official, who declined to be identified because McChrystal's request has not been formally transmitted to the Pentagon.

Afghan insurgent tolls not needed - U.S. military 28 Jul 2009 The U.S. military in Afghanistan stopped releasing the number of 'insurgents' it kills some time ago because it is often inaccurate or incomplete and distracts from the purpose of the overall 'mission,' the military said on Tuesday. Foreign forces have shifted their focus in Afghanistan away from conventional warfare tactics to a counter-insurgency strategy since the arrival in June of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the 101,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. [Opium routes and gas pipelines established, what *is* the Afghan mission?]

Britain and US prepared to open talks with the Taliban 28 Jul 2009 A concerted effort to start unprecedented talks between Taliban and British and American envoys was outlined yesterday in a significant change in tactics designed to bring about a breakthrough in the attritional, eight-year conflict in Afghanistan. Senior ministers and commanders on the ground believe they have created the right conditions to open up a dialogue with "second-tier" local leaders now the Taliban have been forced back in a swath of Helmand province.

UK troops in Iraq moved to Kuwait --Iraq government has yet to extend their right to remain 28 Jul 2009 All remaining British troops in Iraq have been relocated to Kuwait because the Iraqi government has yet to extend their right to remain. A mandate allowing UK forces to stay in Iraq expires on 31 July and about 150 personnel have been moved out until an agreement is reached. The mandate has not yet passed its third reading in the Iraqi parliament.

Judge Says Army Must Answer For Denying Security Clearance to Whistleblower Bunny Greenhouse 28 Jul 2009 U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered yesterday that the Army Corps of Engineers must answer for its decision to withhold top-secret security clearance from whistleblower Bunnatine (Bunny) H. Greenhouse. Bunny Greenhouse was the Corps' top procurement executive when she objected to the terms and legality of a no-bid contract the Bush Administration was about to award to Halliburton subsidiary KBR a contract just before the Iraq War commenced, known as Restore Iraqi Oil ("RIO"). Greenhouse's concerns were ignored and the no-bid, cost plus contract, worth up to $7 Billion, was secretly awarded to KBR to run Iraqi oil fields after the invasion. When Greenhouse was scheduled to testify before a Congressional Committee during the Bush Administration, the Army Corps' then acting General Counsel personally advised Greenhouse it would not be in her best interest to do so and she was swiftly removed as the Army Corps' Procurement Executive when she ignored that warning.

Military Criticized in Report on Soldier Electrocuted in Iraq 28 Jul 2009 Military leaders and a major military contractor [KBR] failed to protect a Green Beret who was electrocuted while showering in his barracks in Iraq, the Defense Department’s inspector general has determined in findings released Monday. The death of the Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Maseth, in early 2008 set off an investigation that included a review of 17 other electrocution deaths in Iraq. The inspector general said in the findings that "multiple systems and organizations" failed and exposed Sergeant Maseth to "unacceptable risk."

Israeli leader calls Obama 'slave' 28 Jul 2009 Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Israel's Shas Party, has called US President Barack Obama "a slave" who seeks to rule the world and control Tel Aviv's affairs. "American insidiousness tells us to build here and not to build there as though we were slaves working for them," he said. "We live in a time when slaves are governing us and are trying to control us." The racist remarks were made during Yosef's weekly sermon on Saturday during which he protested the Obama administration's policy to exert pressure on Tel Aviv over its settlement expansion.

Facebook removes Haniyeh fan site --'Friends' of Hamas prime minister enraged, Al-Hayat reports site is 'under pressure from Israel, US' 26 Jul 2009 The operators of the internet site Facebook have recently removed a webpage dedicated to fans of Hamas' prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, the London-based Al-Hayat reported Sunday. The webpage, called 'Commander Ismail Haniyeh', had attracted more than 10,000 Facebook users by the time it was removed from the internet.

Hamas PM Haniyeh vows to rebuild Islamic University 26 Jul 2009 De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh affirmed on Saturday that his government would deliver 1 million US dollars for reconstruction at the Islamic University. The university was extensively damaged during Israel's assault on Gaza last winter, and its grounds need major repairs, Haniyeh said during a speech to this year's graduating class in a ceremony on Saturday.

Venezuela cuts diplomatic ties with Colombia 28 Jul 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez froze diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia, citing verbal "aggressions" from that country, he said in a televised speech Tuesday. Chavez recalled Venezuela's ambassador to Colombia, as well as most of its staff.

Man threatens Obama, gets (likely) under 10 years in prison; Man threatens Bush - gets sentence upped to life! --Lori Price

Man convicted of threatening Obama --Agents found six firearms in Bagdasarian's home, including a 50 caliber rifle. 28 Jul 2009 A federal judge in San Diego convicted a California man today of two felony counts of threatening President Barack Obama during his campaign last year. Judge Marilyn Huff found Walter Bagdasarian guilty of two counts of threatening a major presidential candidate. Bagdasarian, of La Mesa, Calif., admitted posting messages on a Yahoo investment bulletin board in October 2008 that contained racial epithets and apparent threats to Obama. "He will have a 50 cal in the head soon," one message said. Another said, "Shoot the [racial epithet] Country [expletive] for another 4 years+." Bagdasarian is due to be sentenced in October. He could receive up to 10 years in prison, though a shorter sentence is likely in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines.

US man sentenced over Bush plot 27 Jul 2009 A US citizen has been sentenced to life in prison for being a part of an Al Qaeda plot to assassinate George W Bush. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was first tried in Virginia in 2005, when he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The current sentence is part of the appeals process which was brought by prosecutors who said the original sentence was too lenient, as it involved the then president [sic] of the United States.

F.B.I. Watched Terror Suspects for Three Years 29 Jul 2009 The F.B.I. watched [?!?] Daniel Patrick Boyd for three years as he stockpiled rifles and revolvers, trained accomplices including his two sons, and planned to commit terrorist attacks overseas, before agents arrested the group in coordinated raids on Monday afternoon, according to a federal indictment filed in the case. Mr. Boyd, his sons and four other men were charged with providing material support to terrorists and planning terror attacks. More than 100 law enforcement officials, including four S.W.A.T. teams and a hostage rescue team from Quantico, Va., stormed several homes in arresting the seven suspects on Monday afternoon, according to an F.B.I. spokeswoman, Amy Thoreson.

8th terror suspect wanted in North Carolina 28 Jul 2009 Federal investigators were searching Tuesday for an 8th alleged conspirator charged with plotting terrorism with seven other men arrested on Monday. Federal agents are searching for the unnamed man who is an American citizen and who they believe is in Pakistan.

7 arrested in North Carolina on terrorism charges 28 Jul 2009 Federal authorities in North Carolina on Monday arrested seven men who they said had trained with high-powered weapons as part of a terrorist conspiracy to wage an Islamic holy war overseas. The men sought to provide material support to terrorists and to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas, according to a seven-count federal indictment. The indictment did not allege that the group was plotting attacks on U.S. soil. If convicted, the suspects, all but one of whom are U.S. citizens, could face life in prison.

NLE 09 Target Analysis -—CHI NYC HOU PDX DC By Captain Eric H. May, Dr. James Fetzer, Sgt. Maj. Merlin Neadow and Patti Woodard 26 Jul 2009 National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) will run from July 27 - July 31. It will be the largest terror drill yet conducted under the Obama administration. NLE 09 will place thousands of US and foreign troops across the nation, with a scripted mission to prevent a terror attack in the U.S. in the wake of a terrorist attack abroad. While the official version of events to come is innocuous, public affairs and public information officials with FEMA, Homeland Security and the military have refused to answer reporters' questions, or even to return calls.

Swine Flu Vaccine Testing In Oklahoma 28 Jul 2009 Clinical trials in Oklahoma City of a possible swine flu vaccine will begin with tests on children ages 3 through 8. IPS Research will begin enrolling about 200 children for the program starting August 17. The study will last 42 days and follow-up calls will continue after that. IPS Research medical director Dr. Louise Thurman says 12,000 children nationwide will be given the vaccine for the trial.

U.S. panel to set priorities for H1N1 flu vaccines 29 Jul 2009 Vaccine experts who advise the U.S. government are likely on Wednesday to put [guinea pigs] healthcare workers, pregnant women and patients with asthma and diabetes at the front of the line to get vaccinated against the new pandemic H1N1 influenza. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices may also at its meeting examine ways to manage a complicated U.S. flu season... "I think at the end of the day we'll have a firm idea who will be recommended to receive vaccine against novel H1N1," Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a telephone interview. ['Novel' aka lab-generated]

Swine flu could kill hundreds of thousands in U.S. if vaccine fails, CDC says 25 Jul 2009 Hundreds of thousands of Americans could die over the next two years if the vaccine and other control measures for the new H1N1 influenza are not effective, and, at the pandemic's peak, as much as 40% of the workforce could be affected, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is admittedly a worst-case scenario that the federal agency says it doesn't expect to occur. [No, it is the vaccine that is deadly. Refuse and Resist Mandatory Flu Vaccines (Petition) -- CLG Pandemic Action Alerts.]

Swine flu tests 'not practical' as 500 fall ill within a week 29 Jul 2009 More than 500 people were diagnosed with the H1N1 "swine flu" virus by Irish GPs last week, more than twice the number of cases to date confirmed by laboratory tests, the Department of Health has revealed. Some 226 cases of the virus have been confirmed by laboratory testing. However, this no longer reflected the number of people who had contracted swine flu, said Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer with the department. "The number of laboratory confirmed cases has ceased to be a meaningful measure of the burden of the infection in the population."

VT Shooting Victims' Families Want Investigation Reopened 28 Jul 2009 Relatives of Virginia Tech victims are asking the state to reopen its investigation of the 2007 mass shootings at the school. A group including parents of many of the 32 people killed by student gunman Seung-Hui Cho issued a statement Tuesday calling on Gov. Tim Kaine to reopen a state panel's review. The statement follows disclosure last week that the former director of the university's counseling center 'found' missing mental health records for Cho at his home. Cho committed suicide after killing students and faculty members in a dormitory and classroom building on April 16, 2007. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Wronged Juveniles May Lose Right to Sue 28 Jul 2009 In a bizarre twist to a closely watched case that rocked the Pennsylvania legal system this year, thousands of youths who had to appear before a corrupt county judge are in danger of losing the ability to sue for damages and court fees. The potential loss stems from a decision by the State Supreme Court in May that it would help the youths move on with their lives by destroying all documents related to their convictions that it deemed faulty. But doing so would hamper the public’s ability to investigate the corruption of the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and limit the youths’ ability to sue him.

Senate Panel Votes in Favor of Sotomayor --Supreme Court Nominee Approved in 13-6 Vote 28 Jul 2009 The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning endorsed Sonia Sotomayor to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court on a largely partisan vote that sends her historic nomination to the full Senate for a final decision on her confirmation. The 13 to 6 vote came nearly two weeks after the committee's members grilled Sotomayor for 2 ½ days, eliciting answers that betrayed little indication of how the nominee, an appellate judge for the past 11 years, would rule on the most significant issues that come before the nation's highest court.

Senators Propose an ID System to Block Naked Shorts 24 Jul 2009 Seven U.S. Senators this week announced their support for a method of protecting against 'naked' short selling that involves requiring the clear identification of shares to be borrowed in a trade. The five Democrats and two Republicans proposed a prohibition on prohibit short sales unless the executing broker first gets an identification number for the shares to be borrowed. This would block naked sales,which occur when an investor sells short a security without ever borrowing shares to cover the trade.

A $100 million bonus By Kim Peterson 27 Jul 2009 Citigroup is considering paying a $100 million bonus -- to one guy. This is the same Citigroup that received $45 billion in bailout money. The same Citigroup that will soon be 34% owned by the U.S. government. The same Citigroup that has lost 95% of its share value since 2007... And will the U.S. government allow it? That will depend largely on the opinion of Kenneth Feinberg, the new pay czar appointed to oversee compensation at the bailed-out banks. [Allow *this.*]

Verizon to cut 8,000 employee and contractor jobs, won't be hiring much until recession ends 27 Jul 2009 Phone company Verizon says it will cut 8,000 jobs from among employees and contractors before the end of the year to keep costs in line as the recession saps demand from businesses for telecommunications services. Executives said the cuts will come from the wireline side of the business.

Democrats Say House May Miss Deadline on Health Care 28 Jul 2009 U.S. House DemocRATic leaders, struggling to reach an accord with party dissidents on health care, said they’re likely to miss President Barack Obama’s August deadline for legislation overhauling the medical system. "It doesn’t look like it to me," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said in an interview. "I really hoped that we could have gotten a bill out of here by now," he said, adding that he has a "heavy political heart."

Whistleblower tells of America's hidden nightmare for its sick poor --When an insurance firm boss saw a field hospital for the poor in Virginia, he knew he had to speak out. By Paul Harris 26 Jul 2009 Wendell Potter can remember exactly when he took the first steps on his journey to becoming a whistleblower and turning against one of the most powerful industries in America. It was July 2007 and Potter, a senior executive at giant US healthcare firm Cigna, was visiting relatives in the poverty-ridden mountain districts of northeast Tennessee. He saw an advert in a local paper for a touring free medical clinic at a fairground just across the state border in Wise County, Virginia. Potter, who had worked at Cigna for 15 years, decided to check it out. What he saw appalled him. Hundreds of desperate people, most without any medical insurance, descended on the clinic from out of the hills... Potter took pictures of patients lying on trolleys on rain-soaked pavements.

MPs' expenses: new allowance defied official watchdog 28 Jul 2009 Sir Christopher Kelly MPs decided to press ahead with a controversial new allowance that lets them claim thousands of pounds without producing receipts in defiance of Sir Christopher Kelly, head of the official sleaze watchdog. Sir Christopher, who is investigating the discredited expenses system, told MPs they should supply invoices to back up every single claim before new parliamentary rules were introduced early this month. He is now expected to formally recommend that the allowance is scrapped in the autumn.

MPs ignore public anger and give themselves £9,000 expenses deal by stealth --MPs have ignored public anger over the expenses system by quietly introducing new rules which allow them to claim up to £9,125 a year without producing any receipts. 27 Jul 2009 The Daily Telegraph can disclose that MPs have devised a new scheme allowing them to claim a £25-a-night "subsistence" allowance when staying away from their designated main home. The controversial payments for MPs have been approved despite widespread outrage at unjustified expense claims following the disclosures made by this newspaper.

Who needs meat? Polar bears bite off more than they can chew to get to their frozen fruit and veg 26 Jul 2009 As a carnivorous animal, you wouldn't expect a polar bear to get excited over fruit and vegetables. They're usually more concerned with capturing seals than ensuring they receive their five-a-day. However these inhabitants of Tokyo's Ueno Zoo were determined to get to the fruit and vegetables on offer - even if they were enclosed in blocks of ice.

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Government virus expert paid £116k by swine flu vaccine manufacturers 27 Jul 2009 A scientist who advises the Government on swine flu is a paid director of a drugs firm making hundreds of millions of pounds from the pandemic. Professor Sir Roy Anderson sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), a 20-strong task force drawing up the action plan for the virus. Yet he also holds a £116,000-a-year post on the board of GlaxoSmithKline, the company selling swine flu vaccines and anti-virals to the NHS. Sir Roy was appointed to Sage to 'provide cross-government scientific advice regarding the outbreak of swine flu'. He was one of the first UK experts to call the outbreak a pandemic... The West London-based drugs giant has had to defend itself from allegations of profiteering from swine flu after posting profits of £2.1billion in the last three months.

Vaccine guinea pigs: Addicts may get flu drug first --It's feared the new vaccine may cause side effects which won't be discovered until millions are dished out. 26 Jul 2009 Junkies may get the swine flu vaccine first under plans being studied by the Government. Heroin addicts who have registered for methadone could be among those considered vulnerable, because their immune systems are weak. The official in charge of the government's response to the looming crisis delivered the shock news to a parliamentary committee. The world's top flu expert has warned against the dangers of fast-tracking vaccines without proper checks. [See: Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than Swine Flu --Vaccine contains squalene and gp120 By Dr. Russell Blaylock 07 Jul 2009 and Legal immunity set for swine flu vaccine makers 17 Jul 2009 Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.]

Fast-tracked Swine Flu Vaccine under Fire --The vaccines far more deadly than the swine flu; mass vaccinations a recipe for disaster By Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins 27 Jul 2009 A swine flu outbreak occurred in Mexico and the United States in April 2009 and spread rapidly around the world by human-to human transmission. The new type A H1N1 influenza virus is unlike any that had been previously isolated, judging from the first data released in May. It is a messy combination of sequences from bird, human and swine flu virus lineages from North America and Eurasia. A senior virologist based in Canberra, Australia, told the press he thought that the virus could have been created in the laboratory and released by accident. Some even suggest it was made intentionally as a bioweapon, while others blame the intensive livestock industry... But what worries the public most is the mass vaccination programmes governments are putting in place to combat the emerging pandemic, which could well be worse than the pandemic itself.

Catacombs may be used to store bodies of swine flu [vaccine] victims --Exeter city council plans to use 19th century burial chambers as emergency mortuary if pandemic worsens 25 Jul 2009 A city council is considering using 19th century catacombs to store the bodies of swine flu [vaccine] victims if the outbreak worsens, it was confirmed today. Exeter city council has identified the empty underground burial chambers, currently used as a tourist attraction, as a potential mortuary. A council spokesman said the plan would be implemented if the crematorium and cemeteries could not keep up with funeral demands.

Swine flu pandemic could fuel rise in workplace litigation --Experts warn workers who contract virus could sue --Businesses have been advised on staff welfare 27 Jul 2009 Businesses could face a spate of legal claims from employees hit by swine flu, experts warn, as concerns mount that firms are not prepared to deal with legal issues arising from affected staff. Personal injury, health and safety, and negligence claims are all likely, according to employment lawyers, as litigation has continued to rise during the recession.

Human Genome Sciences scores second anthrax treatment order 22 Jul 2009 Rockville-based Human Genome announced Wednesday that the U.S. Government exercised its option to purchase an additional 45,000 doses of raxibacumab, also known by the trade name ABthrax, for the Strategic National Stockpile. Human Genome said it expects to receive approximately $151 million from the award as deliveries are completed. In April, Human Genome filled its first government order, delivering 20,000 doses of raxibacumab to the Strategic National Stockpile for emergency use in the treatment of inhalation anthrax.

Infectious Diseases Study Site Questioned --Tornado Alley May Not Be Safe, GAO Says [LOL!] 27 Jul 2009 The Department of Homeland Security relied on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate a $700 million research facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas, according to a government report. The department's analysis was not "scientifically defensible" in concluding that it could safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas -- or any other location on the U.S. mainland, according to a Government Accountability Office draft report obtained by The Washington Post. The GAO said DHS greatly underestimated the chance of accidental release and major contamination from such research, which has been conducted only on a remote island off the United States.

Texas: Police can use force to compel evacuation during 'disaster' --Law will facilitate Xe's ability to kill, seize property in any 'emergency' 26 Jul 2009 A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of "reasonable force" to remove people from the area. The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods. [I got your mandatory evacuation right here, pal.]

Iraq: $644 Million Stimulus Program Suspended, Money Siphoned to Insurgents 27 Jul 2009 The top U.S. aid agency has suspended a $644 million Iraq jobs program [!] after two outside reviews raised concerns about misspending, including an inspector general's audit that found evidence of phantom jobs and money siphoned to insurgents. The Community Stabilization Program, launched in 2006, was designed to tamp down the insurgency by paying Iraqis cash to do public works projects such as trash removal and ditch digging. International Relief and Development (IRD), a Virginia-based non-profit corporation, ran the program, one of many it manages for the U.S. government. More than 80% of IRD's $500 million annual budget comes from U.S. Agency for International Development, company tax filings show. [Notice the GOP doesn't squeal about *this* stimulus package?]

Torture -- new claim of secret UK complicity --They were dragged out of a restaurant as they dined on 21 July. The two British Muslims say they were threatened with torture, deprived of sleep, subjected to stress positions and told they would be killed and fed to dogs. 26 Jul 2009 A businessman who was held and mistreated in the United Arab Emirates following the London bombings believes he has evidence that British consular officials asked permission from the UK's own security services to visit him while he was detained. Heavily redacted documents seen by the Guardian appear to indicate that the request to visit Alam Ghafoor was made to an unidentified British intelligence officer and not to officials in the UAE. Ghafoor is one of several British men who allege there has been British complicity in their detention and torture while abroad.

The specter of a police state: Bush administration considered using military to arrest "Lackawanna Six" By Joe Kishore 27 Jul 2009 The Bush administration considered using the military to arrest six US citizens in Lackawanna, New York, in September 2002. While the proposal was ultimately rejected, the discussion was part of a concerted effort to expand the use of the military within the United States in violation of domestic law and the Constitution.

US Blackwater-Xe mercenaries spreads fear in Pakistani town 27 Jul 2009 Fear is spreading across University Town, an upmarket residential area in Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar, due to the overt presence of the controversial US private security contractor Blackwater. Sporting the customary dark glasses and carrying assault rifles, the mercenaries zoom around the neighbourhood in their black-coloured armoured Chevy Suburbans, and shout at motorists when occasionally stranded in a traffic jam. The residents are mainly concerned about Blackwater's reputation as a ruthless, unbridled private army whose employees face multiple charges of murder, child prostitution and weapons smuggling in Iraq.

'Multiple' failures led to Iraq electrocution, Pentagon says --Nine deaths caused by improper grounding or faulty equipment --Fault placed with commanders, Army, KBR 27 Jul 2009 A Green Beret sergeant was electrocuted in Iraq in 2008 because of failures by the U.S. military and a major defense contractor [KBR], which did not properly ground and inspect electrical equipment, according to a Pentagon report out Monday. Nine of 18 electrocution deaths reported in Iraq were caused by [KBR's] "improper grounding or faulty equipment," including the January 2008 death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, the Defense Department's inspector-general found. The report found that a water pump installed by military contractor KBR was not grounded, leading to Maseth's electrocution when it short-circuited.

Hidden costs of Afghan war surpass £12 billion 27 Jul 2009 The cost of Britain's military 'mission' in Afghanistan has soared past has passed £12 billion, an assessment by the Independent on Sunday reveals. The assessment published on Sunday said that the "hidden costs" of fighting since the 2001 invasion would comprise a bill that would work out at £190 per every man, woman and child in the United Kingdom.

UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan 27 Jul 2009 Two UK soldiers have died in separate explosions in southern Afghanistan as an offensive against the Taliban enters its second phase. Both blasts took place on the morning of 27 July, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. Next of kin have been told. The MoD said one of the soldiers died taking part in Operation Panther's Claw - the first death of its second stage.

Six killed in Iraq violence 27 Jul 2009 A senior Iraqi army officer, a Sunni tribal chief and two Iraqi special forces soldiers were among six people killed in violence across the country on Monday, police and the US army said. In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, army Captain Ibrahim Khairallah Hamadi died when a bomb attached to his car exploded in his housing complex, police Major Yassin Mohammed told AFP. One of Hamadi's guards was wounded in the attack. In Mosul, a Sunni tribal chief was killed and his driver wounded in a similar attack in the centre of the northern city, according to a police officer who declined to be identified.

Police foil bomb plot in northeast Iran 27 Jul 2009 Iranian police forces have reportedly thwarted a bomb plot in the holy city of Mashhad in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi. The bomb, planted in a drug store, was defused by local law enforcement officers on Sunday just before it was to go off, Mehr News Agency reported. The drug store was located at a health clinic operated by the Iranian Basij -- a voluntary paramilitary force.

Jakarta bombing suspect released 27 Jul 2009 A man suspected of being involved in the Jakarta bombings ten days ago has been released due to lack of evidence. Two suicide bombers who targeted luxury hotels have not been identified, but a man named Achmadi had been held on suspicion of being involved after he surrendered himself to police.

7 charged with terror conspiracy in North Carolina 27 Jul 2009 A North Carolina man trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been charged along with six of his alleged recruits with conspiring to support terrorism and traveling overseas to participate in "violent jihad," according to an indictment unsealed Monday. Daniel Patrick Boyd and the six other men were arrested Monday and made their first appearances in Raleigh, charged with providing material support to terrorism.

Life in prison for American Qaeda suspect 29 Jul 2009 A US court has sentenced Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an American who is believed to have conspired to kill former President [sic] George W. Bush, to life imprisonment. US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of Alexandria, Virginia, overturned an earlier long-term sentence against Abu Ali in 2006 on the grounds that the previous ruling was 'too lenient.' Judge Lee turned the 30-year prison term into a life sentence... In an 'involuntary' confession made under 'interrogation techniques,' Abu Ali testified on his role to implement 'terror' schemes in America. He has also been accused of plotting to assassinate the former US president George W. Bush. Speaking on Monday during the court of appeal session, Abu Ali told the judge, "This was a case manufactured by the Saudi torture regime and expedited to the United States for trial." He went on to insist on his innocence, asking the judge for clemency.

Student's coded emails 'part of terror plot' 27 Jul 2009 A Pakistani student used coded emails apparently about his relationship with his girlfriend to discuss a major terror plot, an immigration court heard today. The 23-year-old was days away from executing an attack against an "unspecified target" when he was arrested, it was claimed. The man, who can be named only as XC, was living in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, when he was detained by police in April as part of Operation Pathway. No charges were brought against him because of a lack of evidence, but the Home Office is seeking to deport him on the grounds that he poses a threat to national security.

Black market kidney trade exposed in US and Israel 27 Jul 2009 An international racket in the trade of black-market kidneys has been exposed in America. In the first documented case of organ trafficking in the US, the FBI last week arrested so-called kidney matchmaker, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn. He was arrested only days after he had met with a secret government informant and an undercover FBI agent.

GM crop trials start again in Britain in secret: report 26 Jul 2009 Genetically modified crops are being grown in Britain for the first time in 12 months after controversial trials were resumed without alerting the public, a newspaper reported Monday. Cultivation of a field of potatoes designed to be resistant to pests was abandoned more than a year ago when environmental protesters ripped up the crop, the Daily Telegraph said. But, without alerting the public, the project near Tadcaster in northern England has been restarted, prompting warnings from green groups that local farms and residents could be put at risk, the newspaper said. One group accused the government of trying to "slip it under the radar."

Home Sales Surge, Raising Hope That Sector is Recovering 28 Jul 2009 More homes sold more quickly in the Washington area during the second quarter than in the period a year ago, while home prices showed some signs of stabilizing, according to a real estate industry study scheduled for release Tuesday. The local trend jibes with some national statistics released by the federal government Monday, which show that sales of newly built homes surged 11 percent in June from the previous month, the largest monthly gain in nine years.

Sarah Palin hands over power in Alaska --Taking parting shots at Democrats, environmentalists and the media, the governor transfers authority to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. 27 Jul 2009 [Polar bear killing-terrorist] Sarah Palin stepped down as Alaska governor Sunday, pledging to continue fighting for independence from Washington and for Americans' personal freedoms "as that grizzly guards her cubs." The hand-over to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell at a family-style picnic marked an unexpected end to a brief but remarkable governorship in which Palin turned the Republican Party on its head.

911 Tape Raises Questions in Gates Case 28 Jul 2009 The woman who called 911 to report a possible breaking and entering at the home of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the dispatcher that she had "no idea" if the two men she saw were breaking in and said that, in fact, they might live there. A recording of the call, released on Monday by the Cambridge Police Department, raised new questions about the case, which ended in the arrest on July 16 of Professor Gates, a prominent Harvard scholar, on a disorderly conduct charge.

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Private wars we can believe in: Military Weighs Broad Use of Mercenaries on Front Lines --Contract would award a commercial company unusually broad "theater-wide" authority to protect forward operating bases in a war zone 26 Jul 2009 The U.S. military command is considering contracting a private firm to manage security on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, even as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that the Pentagon intends to cut back on the use of private security contractors mercenaries. On a Web site listing federal business opportunities, the Army this month published a notice soliciting information from prospective mercenaries who would develop a security plan for 50 or more forward operating bases and smaller command outposts across Afghanistan. Although the U.S. military has contracted out security services to protect individuals, military bases and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, this contract would award a commercial company unusually broad "theater-wide" authority to protect forward operating bases in a war zone. [Well, thank *God* Bush is out of there and we have Barack Obama! I got your change right here, pal.]

Secrets of CIA 'ghost flights' to be revealed --Guantánamo detainee's lawyers hail UK air firm's U-turn that allows rendition case to go to court 26 Jul 2009 Confidential documents showing the flight plans of a CIA "ghost plane" allegedly used to transfer a British resident to secret interrogation sites around the world are to be made public. The move comes after a Sussex-based company accused of involvement in extraordinary rendition dropped its opposition to a case against it being heard in court. Lawyers bringing the case against Jeppesen UK on behalf of the former Guantánamo Bay prisoner, Binyam Mohamed, claimed last night the climbdown had wide-ranging legal implications that could help expose which countries and governments knew the CIA was using their air bases to spirit terrorist suspects around the world.

Senior naval officer from Gitmo torture chamber files lawsuit against reporter: The Complaint: Navy Commander v. Miami Herald Reporter --A copy of U.S. Navy Commander [nutjob] Jeffrey D. Gordon's sexual harassment complaint against Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg obtained by FishbowlDC 24 Jul 2009 'Her [the reporter's] behavior has often undermined good order [!] and discipline at Guantanamo, making it extremely difficult to carry out military commissions trips.'

Government Might Allow U.S. Trial for Detainee --Govt lawyers conceded that much of their evidence to justify Mr. Jawad's detention consisted of statements he had made that a military judge had previously ruled were obtained after he was tortured. 25 Jul 2009 The Obama administration changed course Friday in the case of one of the youngest prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, saying he would no longer be considered a military detainee but would be held for possible prosecution in American civilian courts. The decision came after a federal judge said last week that the government’s case for continuing to detain the prisoner, Mohammed Jawad, was "riddled with holes" and that the Justice Department had been "dragging this out for no good reason."

Bush mulled sending troops into Buffalo: Report --While dispatching troops into the streets is virtually unheard of, the White House considered doing just that in 2002. 25 Jul 2009 The Bush regime in 2002 considered sending U.S. troops into a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb to arrest a group of terror suspects in what would have been a nearly unprecedented use of military power, The New York Times reported. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and several other Bush advisers at the time strongly urged that the military be used to apprehend men who were suspected of plotting with al Qaida, who later became known as the Lackawanna Six, the Times reported on its Web site Friday night.

Bush contemplated deploying troops on US soil to make terror arrests 25 Jul 2009 The Bush administration considered sending federal troops to arrest a group of terror suspects in Buffalo, New York in 2002. The proposal, which would have risked falling foul of the US constitution if enforced, called on the president to deploy troops to make arrests on American soil for the first time since the Civil War. The move was backed by Dick Cheney, the former vice president [sic], who wanted the military to apprehend the men, who were suspected of plotting with al Qaeda, so that they could be declared enemy combatants.

About as welcome as the swine flu virus: Texas Tech faculty oppose Gonzales --More than 40 faculty members sign petition against former AG 25 Jul 2009 More than 40 Texas Tech professors have objected in a petition to Chancellor Kent Hance's decision to hire former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the petition's creator. Petition creator Walter Schaller, a Tech philosophy professor since 1986, said Friday he decided to take action because "with the emphasis on ethics the university has adopted, a guy that misled Congress is not the kind of person we want to represent Texas Tech."

Judge: Terror shield law doesn't apply to officers 25 Jul 2009 A shield law for those who report suspected terrorist activities does not apply to law enforcement, a judge ruled Friday in a discrimination lawsuit filed by six imams who were removed from a US Airways flight in 2006. U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said it was apparently the first time a court has had to decide whether a 2007 law that provides legal immunity for individuals who report suspected terrorist activities in good faith specifically protects law enforcement officers. Congress passed the law in response to the imams' lawsuit.

Racist Web Posts Traced to Homeland Security 25 Jul 2009 After federal border agents detained several Mexican immigrants in western New York in June, an article about the incident in a local newspaper drew an onslaught of vitriolic postings on its Web site. Some were racist. Others attacked farmers in the region, accusing them of harboring illegal workers. Still others made personal attacks about the reporter who wrote the article. Most of the posts were made anonymously. But in reviewing the logs of its Internet server, the paper, The Wayne County Star in Wolcott, traced three of them to Internet protocol addresses at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border protection.

Feds Investigate "Border Patrol" Web Posts 21 Jul 2009 The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security, at the request of Wayne County District Attorney Richard Healy, are investigating posts on the Wayne County Star’s website that purport to have been made from U.S. Border Patrol/Homeland Security computers. There were three posts showing different Border Patrol/Homeland Security Internet Protocol addresses in response to a story on the Star’s website about a June 12 Border Patrol detention of Mexican nationals on Lake Ontario... The Star discovered they all had Internet protocol addresses that showed as originating from cbp.dhs.gov... The response indicated it came from bcp3.cbp.dhs.gov. [The DHS is a busy little bee! They visit the CLG site frequently... hope they enjoy themselves! From a short snip in the logs: gateway.vsp.virginia.gov, gateway-101.energis.gsi.gov.uk, gateway-202.energis.gsi.gov.uk, smtp.dsc.wa.gov.au, b249-138.house.gov, wallwhale-pub.fda.gov, lfi-cits-pr04.langley.af.mil, u-152-61-43-133.xr.usgs.gov, mib-cits-pr02.minot.af.mil, cache1.nccr.epa.gov, mcintyre-pc.jpl.nasa.gov, sprxy2.nrl.navy.mil, gate5-norfolk.nmci.navy.mil, gate6-norfolk.nmci.navy.mil, gate4-norfolk.nmci.navy.mil, sbcp1.dhs.gov, digger2.defence.gov.au, rodnn.jtfn.northcom.mil, u349.dtra.mil, baladproxy.iraq.centcom.mil, bcp1.cbp.dhs.gov, vict-cache2.iraq.centcom.mil, gk-central-25.srvs.usps.gov, bcp2.cbp.dhs.gov, sbcp1.dhs.gov, sbcp6.dhs.gov, bcp4.cbp.dhs.gov, sbcp4.dhs.gov, ssanccfw.ssa.gov, knox-cache.amedd.army.mil, tias-gw1.treas.gov ...Just a sample.]

US service member killed in battle in Afghanistan --July has been the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO forces in the Afghan war. 26 Jul 2009 An American service member was fatally wounded by insurgent fire in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Sunday, bringing to at least 39 the number of U.S. troops killed this month in the country. Officials released no other details about the Saturday battle, which was reported by the NATO command.

Karzai to 'curb US-led troops' if reelected 25 Jul 2009 Afghan President Hamed Karzai vows more control over US-led troops in a bid to limit civilian casualties inflicted by indiscriminate counterinsurgent attacks if he is 're-elected.' Speaking at a campaign rally in the capital Kabul, Karzai said Friday that he would review agreements with foreign nations deploying troops in the war-ravaged country to make them operate with greater respect for the rights of Afghan citizens.

Casualties of War, Part I: The hell of war comes home By Dave Philipps 24 Jul 2009 Before the murders started, Anthony Marquez’s mom dialed his sergeant at Fort Carson to warn that her son was poised to kill. It was February 2006, and the 21-year-old soldier had not been the same since being wounded and coming home from Iraq eight months before... Marquez was the first infantry soldier in his brigade to murder someone after returning from Iraq. But he wasn’t the last. Marquez's 3,500-soldier unit -- now called the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team -- fought in some of the bloodiest places in Iraq, taking the most casualties of any Fort Carson unit by far. Back home, 10 of its infantrymen have been arrested and accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter since 2006.

North Korea threatens deadly blow on Washington 26 Jul 2009 North Korea's defence chief has threatened attacks on the US and South Korea if the communist nation is attacked. Amid the tense standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, North Korea’s Defence Minister Kim Yong Chun said the US would be dealt an unimaginable blow if it should invoke sanctions from the UN.

Chavez: US seeks to legitimize Honduran coup 26 Jul 2009 The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of seeking to drag on the power confusion in Honduras while the coup leaders win themselves recognition. On Saturday, Chavez said that Washington was after extending the indeterminate state of affairs until the interim government won the upcoming election thus legitimizing its rule, Reuters reported. "What they (the US and its regional allies) are trying to do is freeze the battle until the election in November, when the coup (leaders) will wash their hands," he was quoted as saying. "Any government that comes out of that coup, that comes out of elections even, we will never recognize it as the government of Honduras." [Too bad the whole world didn't do the same, when Bush was installed *twice* in GOP coups.]

Ex Honduran president blocked from entering Honduras 25 Jul 2009 The ousted Honduran president traveled to the border between Nicaragua and Honduras in an effort to press the de facto government to allow him to return home. Scores of Honduran security forces lined up to block his entry. Ousted President Manuel Zelaya rode by jeep across northern Nicaragua to a small border town in an effort to return home, nearly a month after being removed from power.

Mega barf alert! Council approves KBR for projects 25 Jul 2009 (TX) The San Marcos City Council last week voted in unison to approve Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) for two road projects, one for improvements to McCarty Lane and the other to widen a portion of Hunter Road in anticipation of the opening of the Wonder World Drive Extension.

Part 4 of 4: Did Fluorine Cause the WTC Destruction? By Barry Ball, Barbara Ellis, and Russ Hallberg --Portland 9/11 Legislative Alliance 26 Jul 2009 This is the fourth article 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.

Europe fast-tracking swine flu vaccine 26 Jul 2009 In a drive to inoculate people 'against' swine flu before winter, many European governments say they will fast-track the testing of a vaccine, arousing concern among some experts about safety and proper doses. The European Medicines Agency, the EU's top drug regulatory body, is accelerating the approval process for swine flu vaccine, and countries such as Britain, Greece, France and Sweden say they'll start using the vaccine after it's greenlighted -- possibly within weeks.

'We haven't gotten this many calls on a study since our smallpox vaccine research post-Sept. 11.' Hundreds volunteer for SLU swine flu vaccine study 25 Jul 2009 Saint Louis University has received 500 calls from people interested in volunteering to try a new swine flu vaccine. "We haven't gotten this many calls on a study since our smallpox vaccine research post-Sept. 11," said Nancy Solomon, a university spokeswoman. SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development is among eight sites picked to help develop a vaccine for swine flu, officially called H1N1 influenza. The government wants several thousand volunteers nationwide to test the flu shots.

2 billion may get swine flu virus worldwide 25 Jul 2009 More than two billion people could become infected with swine flu, an expert said yesterday. The World Health Organisation's flu chief, Keiji Fukuda, said the estimate over the course of the global pandemic was "a reasonable ballpark to be looking at". His comments came as US health officials said 40% of Americans could get the illness in the next two years.

Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide --Photos from US spy satellites declassified by the Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects on the world's weather, environments and wildlife could be devastating 26 Jul 2009 Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months. The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency [sic] of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Palin departing office amid biting criticism --In Alaska, wildlife metaphors tend to be as abundant as their flesh-and-blood counterparts, and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin has helped herself to them in explaining why she's stepping down today, barely halfway through her term. 26 Jul 2009 In Alaska, wildlife metaphors tend to be as abundant as their flesh-and-blood counterparts, and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin has helped herself to them in explaining why she's stepping down today, barely halfway through her term. She didn't want the state to be stuck with a "lame-duck" chief executive, she said. She could hang around the Statehouse and go with the flow, she allowed, but "only dead fish go with the flow..." State legislators are scrambling to convene a special session to recover $28.6 million in federal energy funds Palin rejected as one of her parting salutes to independence from Washington, D.C.

Detroit schools "financial czar" orders teachers to reapply for their jobs By Walter Gilberti 25 Jul 2009 2,600 Detroit Public School teachers, counselors and administrators from nearly 50 schools have been forced to reapply for their jobs at the schools where they teach. All of these supposedly "failed" schools are being "reconstituted" as mandated under the Bush administration’s 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The punitive provisions of NCLB are being ruthlessly carried out by the Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, who enjoys the complete support of the Obama administration and its education secretary, Arne Duncan.

Meria Enters her 10th Year on the Net! --9th Anniversary Show By Meria Heller 25 Jul 2009 Meria's start of her 10th year on the net, is celebrated today at the free/sample show on site with her 2 1/2-hour anniversary show taped yesterday. There are loads of surprises in the show, and it was a lot of fun doing it... As Meria always says "people can recognize truth when they hear it." A big thank you to all who participated, and looking forward to more years of bringing you the best people out there.

Cop Won't Apologize For Arresting Obama Trying To Get Into White House By R J Shulman 24 Jul 2009 Metro DC police officer Mark Conyers says he will not apologize to President Obama for arresting him for disorderly conduct when Obama tried to get into the White House when the front door stuck... Apparently, the front door of the White House stuck and Obama was trying to get it open with his shoulder when Sgt. Conyers asked him for identification. "I told him he couldn't go in there," Conyers wrote in his police report, "but he looks at me and says 'yes I can.'" (Satire)

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Bush Administration Debated Using Military On U.S. Soil In Terror Sweeps -- Yoo document: Neither Posse Comitatus Act nor Fourth Amendment 'tied a president's hands' 25 Jul 2009 Top Bush regime officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials. Some of the advisers to President [sic] George W. Bush, including Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects [the Lackawanna Six], and declare them enemy combatants. The lawyers [John C. Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty], in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, wrote that the Constitution, the courts and Congress had recognized a president’s authority "to take military actions, domestic as well as foreign, if he determines such actions to be necessary to respond to the terrorist attacks upon the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and before." The document added that the neither the Posse Comitatus Act nor the Fourth Amendment tied a president’s hands.

DHS, agencies to go on high alert for first nationwide terror exercise --Exercise will include agencies in Britain, Mexico, Canada and Australia; federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector officials throughout U.S. 24 Jul 2009 Law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the United States and abroad are preparing to go on high alert as part of a massive terrorism prevention exercise -- the first of its kind here. Beginning Monday, security officials at all levels in the United States and four other countries will scramble into action in the wake of a fictional terrorist attack somewhere outside the United States. The scenario envisions the receipt of intelligence that a follow-up attack is planned inside the United States, forcing agencies inside and out of the country to test their coordination, intelligence and terror prevention skills.

DHS Coordinates National Level Exercise to Prevent Terrorist Attacks with Federal, State, Local Tribal, Private Sector, and International Partners (dhs.gov) 24 Jul 2009 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will launch on Monday the five-day National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09)--the first national level exercise to focus on terrorism prevention--in conjunction with federal, state, local, tribal, private sector and international partners... The NLE 09 scenario focuses on preventing a terrorist from entering the United States to carry out additional attacks in the aftermath of a terrorist event outside of the country, prioritizing intelligence and law enforcement activities that detect, disrupt and deter preventable terrorist incidents.

Dozens of Britons Abroad Held In H1N1 Quarantine 24 Jul 2009 At least 160 Britons are being held in quarantine abroad because they are suspected of having the H1N1 flu virus, the Foreign Office said on Friday. The Britons, a mixture of adults and children, are being held in China, Singapore, India and Egypt. The actual number could be higher because some Britons are likely to be held in quarantine without getting in touch with the Foreign Office, it said.

'We have to prepare for the worst.' U.S. panel prepares to OK swine flu vaccine trials 23 Jul 2009 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to help rush through approval of new vaccine to fight foment the pandemic H1N1 virus, promising to watch closely bad effects from the immunization, officials said on Thursday. The FDA said it would help companies design ways to quickly test experimental versions of the vaccine. [See: Legal immunity set for swine flu vaccine makers 17 Jul 2009 Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday.]

Swine flu spreads; health officials plan vaccines 24 Jul 2009 Global health officials stepped up efforts to prepare for quick vaccination against with the H1N1 pandemic virus, saying on Friday it appeared now to be affecting older age groups spared earlier in the pandemic. WHO said vaccination against H1N1 might start in weeks, even though clinical trials to test the safety, efficacy and needed dosage of H1N1 vaccines have barely started. [See: Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than Swine Flu --Vaccine contains squalene and gp120 By Dr. Russell Blaylock 07 Jul 2009.]

All U.S. children should get seasonal flu shot: CDC 24 Jul 2009 All U.S. children aged 6 months to 18 years should get a seasonal influenza vaccine every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said the agency was strengthening recommendations for children to get the vaccination against seasonal influenza, especially with fears that the new H1N1 virus will be added to the already expected burden of seasonal flu.

Germany Orders 50 Mln Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine --Doses will cost around EUR700 million 24 Jul 2009 Germany is ordering 50 million doses of vaccine for the A/H1N1 influenza strain, known as swine flu, the Thuringia State Health Ministry said. The order is sufficient to vaccinate around one third of the population to follow World Health Organization recommendations to vaccinate particular groups, said the ministry, which currently chairs the conference of federal and state health ministers.

Companies reaping the swine flu windfall 23 Jul 2009 The effects of swine flu are already showing up in higher profits for makers of vaccines and antiviral drugs as the first pandemic of the 21st century makes its way onto corporate bottom lines. Vaccine and flu drug orders lifted drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to a better-than expected quarterly profit, the company said on Wednesday. Glaxo predicts flu vaccine sales will spur second-half strength.

U.S. Officials Met With Iraqi Insurgent Groups Twice in Spring 24 Jul 2009 U.S. officials engaged in negotiations with Iraqi 'insurgent' groups in two meetings this spring that culminated in an agreement to organize talks intended to bring the groups into Iraqi political life, an insurgent leader and Turkish and American officials said Thursday. The negotiations involved at least three insurgent leaders and at least three State Department officials, who met in Turkey in March and May, said Sheik Ali al-Jubouri, an insurgent representative. U.S. officials declined to provide details of the meetings, which they said took place in March and April.

U.S. soldier dies of non-combat incident in Iraq 24 Jul 2009 The U.S. military said an American soldier died of non-combat related incident in Baghdad on Friday. A military statement said that a Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier died in eastern section of the Iraqi capital, without giving further details about how and where exactly the incident took place.

52 percent of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan diagnosed with TBI 24 Jul 2009 Some 52 percent of soldiers severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan who have come to the U.S. Army's largest hospital for treatment have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), an internal study has found. The results of the study, carried out by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, also showed a steep increase -- from 33 percent -- in TBI cases since the end of 2008.

Defence chiefs send urgent reinforcements to Afghanistan 24 Jul 2009 The high number of troops killed and wounded on the battlefield has led defence chiefs to send urgent reinforcements to southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence announced tonight. In an unprecedented move, 125 personnel, some of them explosives experts, are being flown to Helmand where British forces have suffered the biggest attrition rate since the campaign against the Taliban and other insurgent groups began more than three years ago.

US 'will not' cut cash flow to Israel 24 Jul 2009 The White House has dismissed speculations that the US is considering economic sanctions to force Israel into freezing its West Bank settlement activity. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Thursday that a remark made by deputy spokesman Robert Wood on Wednesday had been misinterpreted.

Terrorism trials should be held in US federal courts: rights group 24 Jul 2009 Terrorism suspects should be prosecuted in US federal courts instead of military commissions, according to a report released Thursday by Human Rights First. The report, prepared by two former federal prosecutors, claims that the civilian court system is fully equipped to try terrorism cases and argues against the creation of a new security court system or indefinite detention of certain individuals.

U.S. courts convict 91 percent in terrorism trials: study 24 Jul 2009 Guantanamo prisoners could be successfully tried in the United States because an overwhelming number of terrorism cases in U.S. courts since the September 11 attacks have led to convictions, a study released Thursday said. Moreover, the trials did not leak national secrets or endanger surrounding communities, Human Rights First said in report regarding how to prosecute foreign terrorism suspects held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

BlackBerry maker: UAE partner's update was spyware 22 Jul 2009 BlackBerry users in the Mideast business centers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi who were directed by their service provider to upgrade their phones were actually installing spy software that could allow outsiders to peer inside, according to the device's maker. Research in Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the mobile gadgets, said the application users unwittingly installed was a surveillance program developed by a privately held Silicon Valley company called SS8 Networks Inc. SS8 describes itself in a company brochure as "the leader in communications interception and a worldwide provider of regulatory compliant, electronic intercept and surveillance solutions." It markets its services to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and communication service providers.

Obama Says He Regrets His Language on Gates Arrest 25 Jul 2009 President Obama said Friday that he "could have calibrated" his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white police officer, but added that there had been an "overreaction" by both sides in a case that touched off an intense discussion about race in America. "To the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think, that was unfortunate," Mr. Obama said, making an unusual unannounced visit to the White House briefing room.

Perry raises possibility of states' rights showdown with White House over healthcare 23 Jul 2009 Gov. Rick Perry (R-nutjob), raising the specter of a showdown with the Obama administration, suggested Thursday that he would consider invoking states’ rights 'protections' under the 10th Amendment to resist the president’s healthcare plan, which he said would be "disastrous" for Texas. Interviewed by conservative talk show host Mark Davis of WBAP/820 AM, Perry said his first hope is that Congress will defeat the plan. But should it pass, Perry predicted that Texas and a "number" of states might resist the federal health mandate.

You're Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It's Not So! By Jeffrey Smith 23 Jul 2009 The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar... If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist. This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America's food safety czar. What have we done?

CA Assembly passes most of $26B budget 24 Jul 2009 The state Assembly has approved a plan to close most of California's $26 billion budget deficit, sending the package of financial fixes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Assembly rejected two of the most controversial measures: a plan to take about $1 billion in transportation funding from local governments and allowing oil drilling off the California coast for the first time in 40 years.

Bank regulators resist Obama's encroachment on their turf 24 Jul 2009 Federal bank regulators sparred before Congress on Friday, trying to maintain their current powers as the Obama administration seeks to strip them of the authority to regulate consumer credit and give it to a new watchdog agency. The heads of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency testified for and against portions of the administration's proposals to revamp the regulation of the financial sector with an eye toward protecting consumers.

Waterford Village Bank 58th bank failure of 2009 24 Jul 2009 Waterford Village Bank of Clarence, N.Y. became the 58th bank to fail in 2009, and the first in New York this year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Friday. Evans Bancorp Inc. will assume all deposits and purchase all assets.

Palin Favorability Rating Dips As She Nears Exit, Poll Finds --53 percent of Americans view Palin negatively 24 Jul 2009 As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political 'career,' a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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CLG Managing Editor Lori Price was a guest on the Jeff Rense Program, Thursday, July 23.

U.S. Rebuffs U.N. Requests for Guantanamo Visits, Data on CIA Prisons 23 Jul 2009 The Obama administration has declined requests from U.N. human rights investigators for information on secret prisons and for private interviews with inmates at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.N. officials said, dampening their hopes of greater U.S. cooperation on human rights issues. The rebuffs are the latest instances of the U.S. government resisting international human rights organizations' efforts to learn about Bush regime practices. In June, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turned down a request from the top U.N. anti-torture official for a meeting in Washington to discuss practices at secret CIA detention centers and at Guantanamo Bay, despite the administration's avowed commitment to being open to greater scrutiny by the United Nations.

Obama Accused by Lawyers of Stonewalling on Terror Questioning --Attorneys: Govt officials 'no more helpful than Bush administration' 23 Jul 2009 Lawyers for suspected terrorists at the U.S.'s Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba accused the Obama administration of failing to live up to its pledge of transparency and provide information that could free the detainees. The attorneys said government officials have been no more helpful than the Bush administration in sharing transcripts of interrogations of their clients. The prisoners may have been subject to harsh methods and possibly torture, the lawyers said.

Iraq PM admits US troops may stay 23 Jul 2009 The Iraqi prime minister has admitted US troops could stay in the country beyond 2011. Under the US-Iraq Status of Forces agreement, which sets out a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, American troops must exit the country by December 31, 2011. Al-Maliki's apparent willingness for US forces to stay in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline comes a day after he met Barack Obama, the US president, at the White House.

Iraqi police official: 4 killed in attack 22 Jul 2009 A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq says American soldiers have killed two people who 'attempted to throw grenades' at a convoy west of Baghdad. In addition, Lt. Col. Philip Smith says one civilian was killed and four were wounded during the attack Tuesday on the American convoy in Abu Ghraib. An Iraqi police official gives a conflicting account of casualties. He says four civilians _ a boy and three bus drivers _ were killed when U.S. forces opened fire on the attackers near a bus station.

U.S. Military Holds Iraqi Journalist Without Charge by Quil Lawrence 20 Jul 2009 American forces arrested Iraqi journalist Ibrahim Jassam last year and continue to hold him without charge in a U.S. military prison camp -- even as the United States transfers jurisdiction to Iraqi authorities... One morning in September 2008, hours before dawn, a combined U.S. and Iraqi force cordoned off Jassam's neighborhood. They broke down the door of the house where he lived with his parents and siblings, handcuffed Jassam and dragged him away in his underwear.

Blackwater Seeks Gag Order By Jeremy Scahill 22 Jul 2009 It became common practice during the Iraq occupation for the US State Department to work with private security companies like Blackwater to help facilitate giving what amounted to hush money to the families of Iraqis shot dead by private security contractors... Now, Blackwater (which recently renamed itself "Xe") is attempting to use other means to silence its victims. On July 20, the company's high-powered lawyers from Mayer Brown, which boasts that it represents eighty-nine of the Fortune 100 companies and thirty-five of the fifty largest US banks, filed a motion in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to impose a gag order on Iraqi civilians suing the company.

KBR sued over headscarf ban 23 Jul 2009 KBR, the Houston-based war contractor, is already facing numerous legal troubles -- over toxic burn pits, the electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers due to faulty wiring, exposing troops to a cancer-causing chemical, involvement in human trafficking, and rapes of women employees in Iraq. Now it's facing fresh woes for firing a Muslim employee for wearing a headscarf. A lawsuit was filed against KBR in federal court this month by Karen Tounkara, a contract nurse hired to prepare company workers heading to Iraq.

U.S. warns Israel not to build up West Bank corridor 24 Jul 2009 The U.S. administration has issued a stiff warning to Israel not to build in the area known as E-1, which lies between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Any change in the status quo in E-1 would be "extremely damaging," even "corrosive," the message said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed in the past to finally build the controversial E-1 housing project - as have several premiers before him, though none has done so due to American pressure.

US trooper killed in attack in Afghanistan 23 Jul 2009 A U.S. service member was killed Thursday in an 'insurgent' attack in the country's volatile south, a U.S. military official said, raising to 35 the number of American troops to die in the Afghan war this month.

Pakistan Seeks More U.S. Military Aid 23 Jul 2009 Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani on Wednesday called on the United States to provide real-time intelligence, unmanned aircraft technology and other military assistance to help his country combat the Taliban without relying on attacks from U.S. drones. Gillani raised the issue with Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, who is on his fourth visit here since becoming the U.S. envoy to the region, according to a statement from the prime minister's office. [Oh, my God. See: US to send $110 million in emergency aid to Pakistan 19 May 2009; Pakistan to get billions from U.S. despite oversight concerns 27 Mar 2009; Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage: West funding insurgency in Afghanistan with Taleban payoff system --"We estimate that approximately 25 per cent of the money we pay for security to get the fuel in goes into the pockets of the Taleban." 12 Dec 2008 The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country; Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007; US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

Bin Laden's son may have been killed: US official 23 Jul 2009 One of Osama bin Laden's sons "may be dead," a US counterterrorism official told AFP Thursday, after reports he was likely killed by a US missile strike in Pakistan earlier this year. "There are some indications that he may be dead, but it's not 100 percent certain," the official said. "If he is dead, Saad bin Laden was a small player with a big name. He has never been a major operational figure." An administration official said the Al-Qaeda leader's third-oldest son "was likely killed in Pakistan."

New Yorker Consulted Al-Qaeda About Transit Attack 23 Jul 2009 A New York man who pleaded guilty to launching a rocket attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan said he provided information to al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leaders about New York City’s transit system for a bomb attack, court records say. Bryant Neal Vinas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens, providing material support to a terrorist organization and receiving military-type training from a terrorist group on Jan. 28, according to court records in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Chicago: F-16 fighter jets conduct military test overnight 21 Jul 2009 Around 1 a.m. last night, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) successfully carried out a military exercise over the Chicago area involving F-16 fighter jets. The training involved at least one plane headed toward downtown from the north and another going west, according to witnesses.

D.C.: NORAD To Conduct Exercise Over DC Area 21 Jul 2009 The North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct a one-day exercise in the Washington area. The exercise, called Falcon Virgo 09-10, will be conducted beginning early Wednesday. The exercise will include training flights conducted in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and others.

'The company had been preparing for a pandemic for the last three-and-a-half years.' Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline predicts swine flu gold rush 22 Jul 2009 Britain's biggest pharmaceutical company is preparing to sell £3bn worth of swine flu drugs this year, it emerged today. GlaxoSmithKline revealed its vaccine, one of the world's first, could be available by September after the UK government placed advance orders for 60m doses. The chief executive, Andrew Witty, said the company had been preparing for a pandemic for the last three-and-a-half years and had spent more than £1bn to ensure its factories could crank up production at short notice.

Roche sales of Tamiflu soar 200% 23 Jul 2009 Swiss drugs firm Roche has seen sales of Tamiflu - the main drug being used to fight the swine flu pandemic - rise by 200% in the first half of the year. Sales of the drug hit 1bn Swiss francs ($937m; £567m), as Roche said Tamiflu production would be expanded to 400 million packs annually by early 2010. [See: 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.]

Anti-Squalene Antibodies Link Gulf War Syndrome to Anthrax Vaccine 23 Jul 2009 Data published in the February 2000 and August 2002 issues of Experimental and Molecular Pathology strongly suggests that Gulf War Syndrome is caused by a vaccine contaminated with squalene. The August 2002 article is entitled "Antibodies to Squalene in Recipients of Anthrax Vaccine" (Exp. Mol. Pathol. 73,19-27 (2002)). [Guess what's in the (untested) flu vaccine? Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than Swine Flu --Vaccine contains squalene and gp120 By Dr. Russell Blaylock 07 Jul 2009.]

Cases of swine flu have doubled to 100,000 in one week 23 Jul 2009 Cases of swine flu have doubled in one week with 100,000 people diagnosed with the virus last week, officials have announced. Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, said there are 840 patients in hospital in England with swine flu and 63 of them are in critical care. Children are being hit the hardest and there are relatively few cases amongst the elderly as it is thought they may have some immunity to H1N1 from previous pandemics.

U.S. spy chief sees more private sector input 22 Jul 2009 U.S. intelligence will seek more input from the private sector and outside experts such as academics to support core spy agencies, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said on Wednesday. In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he described a future in which intelligence professionals remained at the center but outside elements also provided expertise.

FBI Processes 600 Billion Fingerprints Per Day 23 Jul 2009 WBNS News CrimeTracker 10 reports about an advanced federal research facility that processes 600 billion fingerprints a day underground. The FBI’s multi-billion dollar, two football-field-sized Criminal Justice Information Services building stores roughly 60 million sets of fingerprints and helps law enforcement...

Dow Closes Above 9,000 for First Time Since January 24 Jul 2009 Markets on Wall Street and in Europe moved higher on Thursday, with the Dow pushing past 9,000 for the first time since early January. Thursday’s push was fueled by some better-than-expected earnings reports, including one from the Ford Motor Company, and the latest government report on housing, which said that the sale of existing home rose 3.6 percent in June, the third consecutive monthly increase.

Rep. Kaptur Sticks an IED Inside Paulson and Then Presses 'BOOM' By Daily Bail 22 Jul 2009 "The Greatest Hail Mary Pass Of All Time." "What Interests Me Is Who You Helped And Whom You Didn't." "History Will Show That You Knew About Wall Street's Growing Losses Long Before The Bank Of America, Merrill Lynch Merger." "What Your Orchestration Yielded Was An Unprecedented Dumping Of Private Sector Losses On The Next Three Generations." Do not hesitate. Watch this clip now.

Useless is as useless does: Reid: No Vote on Health-Care Reform Before Aug. Recess 23 Jul 2009 Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) confirmed Thursday that the Senate would not pass health-care reform legislation before the August recess. That the Senate would miss President Obama's Aug. 7 deadline had been obvious for days, if not weeks, as the Finance Committee methodically crafts the one version of the legislation that is expected to gain bipartisan support succor the pharma-terrorists. But Reid finally made it official, informing reporters that he had granted a request for more time from GOP negotiators.

Christian right aims to change history lessons in Texas schools --State's education board to consider adding Christianity's role in American history to curriculum 22 Jul 2009 The Christian right is making a fresh push to force religion onto the school curriculum in Texas with the state's education board about to consider recommendations that children be taught that there would be no United States if it had not been for God. Members of a panel of experts appointed by the board to revise the state's history curriculum, who include a Christian fundamentalist preacher who says he is fighting a war for America's moral soul, want lessons to emphasise the part played by Christianity in the founding of the US and that religion is a civic virtue.

Obama Criticizes Arrest of Harvard Professor 23 Jul 2009 President Obama bluntly accused the police of acting "stupidly" in arresting the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. last week after an officer had established that Mr. Gates had not broken into his own home in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Obama stopped short of accusing the police department of racial profiling, as Mr. Gates has done. But at a prime-time White House news conference that was otherwise largely devoted to health care, Mr. Obama weighed in on the Gates case and suggested that the police should never have arrested him.

Public Corruption Investigation Nets Prominent N.J. Politicians --Federal Agents Arrest 44 People for Corruption, International Money Laundering 23 Jul 2009 Federal agents on Thursday arrested 44 people -- including three New Jersey mayors, other politicians and several rabbis -- as part of a major investigation of corruption and international money laundering schemes that included the trafficking of human kidneys between Israel and the United States, authorities said.

New Jersey mayors and rabbis arrested in corruption investigation 23 Jul 2009 Two New Jersey mayors and dozens of political and religious figures were arrested today and charged in a massive bribery and money laundering scheme that included traffic in human body parts. As part of an 10-year investigation into pervasive public corruption in New Jersey, hundreds of FBI agents fanned out across the state this morning to make arrests and search offices. Later, law enforcement vehicles crowded in front of agency offices as agents waited to unload their quarry.

EPA Administrator Acknowledges Need to Clean Up Vieques By Brendan DeMelle 23 Jul 2009 EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged the need to clean up the island of Vieques in her address at the national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) last week. In her speech at LULAC, Jackson explained that EPA wants "to have a few long-overdue conversations, and get moving forward together on critical environmental issues." She noted the "tragic consequences" of "what happens when you are on the margin of the environmental conversation."

White Sox Mark Buehrle Throws Perfect Game --Pitcher Throws First Perfect Game in Five Years, His Second No Hitter 23 Jul 2009 Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle took the mound today for an afternoon start against the Tampa Bay Rays and walked off hours later as just the 18th pitcher in Major League Baseball to throw a perfect game, the first in five years. The 5-0 win was Buehrle's second career no hitter, making him just the sixth in MLB history to throw both a perfect game and a no-hitter.

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UnitedHealth Group Q2 Profit Jumps 155% 22 Jul 2009 Health care company UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Tuesday that its second quarter profit more than doubled from last year, but its health insurance enrollment continued to decline amid the economic recession. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company reported second quarter net income of $859 million, or 73 cents per share, compared with only $337 million, or 27 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Last year’s results included a pretax charge of $922 million, or 47 cents per share, however.

Text: Obama's Remarks on Health Care --Text of the prepared remarks by President Obama before his White House news conference on Wednesday, as released by the White House. 22 Jul 2009 (Transcript)

White House Discloses Meetings With Health Care Executives 22 Jul 2009 The Obama administration released Wednesday night a list of 15 health-care lobbyists and senior executives who have visited the White House to discuss health-care reform. Guests have included Billy Tauzin of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans; Richard Umbdenstock of the American Hospital Association; and J. James Rohack of the American Medical Association, according to a letter from White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig. Senior executives at companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth Group and Merck also visited at least once.

President Obama's Longtime Physician Opposes White House Health Plan, Advocates Single Payer (Democracy Now!) 22 Jul 2009 Dr. David Scheiner was President Obama’s doctor from 1987 until he entered the White House. Today Dr. Scheiner is publicly opposing Obama’s health plan and is calling for a single-payer system.

The class issues in the US health care debate By Kate Randall and Barry Grey 22 July 2009 The Obama administration’s push for health care "reform" has exposed the class realities that dominate American politics and the social interests which Obama defends. Under Obama, the issue of health care reform has been shifted from providing decent medical care for all to slashing the cost of health care to businesses and the government, primarily by cutting costs for Medicare and fundamentally changing the nature of the Medicare program.

Is the Obama Health Care Plan Really Better Than Nothing? By Bruce A. Dixon 22 Jul 2009 Candidate Barack Obama told us to judge his first term by whether he delivers quality affordable health care for all Americans, including nearly fifty million uninsured. So why does his proposal not cover the uninsured till 2013, after the next presidential election when Medicare took only 11 months to cover its first 40 million seniors? Why are corporate media pretending that no opinions exist to Obama’s left? And why has the public option part of the Obama health care plan shrunk from covering 130 million to only 10 million, with 16 million left uninsured altogether?

Bernanke: "I Don't Know" Which Foreign Banks Were Given Half a Trillion --Grayson grills Fed chairman on destination of credit swaps By Paul Joseph Watson 22 Jul 2009 Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was confronted yesterday by Congressman Alan Grayson about which foreign banks were the recipients of Federal Reserve credit swaps, but he was unable to provide an answer as to where over half a trillion dollars had gone. Asked which European financial institutions received the money, which was handed out by The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), a component of the Federal Reserve System, Bernanke responded, "I don’t know." "Half a trillion dollars and you don’t know who got the money?" asked Grayson. ..[T]he destination of trillions in bailout funds remains hidden after the Fed refused to disclose where it had gone despite a lawsuit filed by Bloomberg.

Pakistan Objects to U.S. Expansion in Afghan War 22 Jul 2009 Pakistan is objecting to expanded American combat operations in neighboring Afghanistan, creating new fissures in the alliance with Washington at a critical juncture when thousands of new American forces are arriving in the region. Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

U.S. Deaths Hit a Record High In Afghanistan --Toll of 31 So Far in July Makes For Deadliest Month of the War 22 Jul 2009 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have surged to a record high this month and are likely to remain elevated as American and NATO forces settle into outposts in southern Afghan villages and cities where Taliban forces have traditionally been the strongest. The rising death toll comes as the country prepares for a presidential 'election' next month, and could erode U.S. public support for a war that is already among the longest in U.S. history.

Two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan 22 Jul 2009 A bomb blast kills two more US soldiers in southern Afghanistan, making July the deadliest month for the US and its allies since the 2001 invasion of the country. "Two International Security Assistance Force service members were killed today in an IED strike that occurred in southern Afghanistan," the NATO-led force said in a statement on Wednesday.

Obama: U.S. on Track to Withdraw All Forces From Iraq by 2011 22 Jul 2009 President Obama said Wednesday that he was "very encouraged" by Iraq's progress in taking over its own security responsibilities and that the United States was on track to withdraw all military forces from the country by 2011. In a brief news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after the two met for more than an hour at the White House, Obama acknowledged there would be "some tough days ahead.

Obama applauds improved security in Iraq 22 Jul 2009 President Obama, hailing the transfer of authority in Iraq's cities to Iraqi military forces, acknowledged today that "differences in strategy" remain to be resolved, but voiced satisfaction with the level of security in the war-torn nation. Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, in private meetings at the White House, also spoke of both the Obama administration's concern for speedier ethnic reconciliation inside Iraq and the Iraqi government's appetite for accelerated U.S. investment there.

Iraq bombings kill 19 22 Jul 2009 Bombs killed 19 people and wounded 80 across Iraq in a flurry of attacks Tuesday, three weeks after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal from the cities. At least six explosions struck both Shiite and Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad. The Baghdad attacks, including two in the Sadr City district, resulted in 14 deaths.

Leftist Israeli intellectuals demand new Gaza war probe 22 Jul 2009 Leading left-wing Israeli intellectuals signed a petition Wednesday demanding the government to allow an independent, external investigation into last winter's Gaza war. The signatories included authors David Grossman and Amos Oz, as well as outspoken former lawmaker Yossi Sarid of the left-liberal Meretz party and 25 academics, actors, musicians and public figures.

US senators seek softer tone on Iran 22 Jul 2009 The US senators, who proposed tougher sanction against Iran earlier this year, seem to have taken a softer tone in the new amendment they have presented. Although the amendment still calls for more sanctions against Iran in the event of talks failing, it moves away from allegations that Tehran's civilian nuclear program is gearing up to for militarization.

EFF Demands Intelligence Agencies' Reports About Possible Misconduct --Lawsuit Seeks Public Disclosure of Oversight Records Amidst New Questions About Accountability 22 Jul 2009 The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit today against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a half-dozen other federal agencies involved in intelligence gathering, demanding the immediate release of reports about potential misconduct. EFF filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requesting records of intelligence agencies' reporting of activities since 2001 that might have been unlawful or contrary to presidential order.

The CIA, licensed to kill --The agency has been involved in planning assassinations since at least 1954. By David Wise 22 Jul 2009 The CIA's involvement in planning assassinations goes back at least to 1954, when it prepared a manual for killings as part of a U.S.-run coup against the leftist government of Guatemala. The 19-page manual, which was declassified in 1997, makes chilling reading. "The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject," it declares, noting that while it "is possible to kill a man with the bare hands ... the simplest local tools are often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, ax, wrench, screwdriver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice." The agency's manual recommends "the contrived accident" as the best way to dispose of someone.

DNA samples do not fit suspected Jakarta bombers 22 Jul 2009 DNA samples taken from the families of suspects in the Jakarta suicide bombings do not match bodies taken from the blast site. Indonesian police have confirmed the mismatch on remains found at the scenes of last Friday's deadly blasts. The man who was suspected of bombing the Marriott hotel, Nur Hasbi, and a florist named Ibrahim, missing from the Ritz-Carlton hotel, are no longer being regarded as the chief suspects. The negative DNA results will ensure the identities of the suicide bombers remain a mystery until two severed heads found at the bomb sites are identified. [Or, they can just check the Xe DNA database.]

US man accused in 'al-Qaeda' case 22 Jul 2009 An American man has been charged with giving al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] information about the public transport system in New York City, US court papers say. The man, named as Bryant Neal Vinas, is also accused of firing rockets at US troops in Afghanistan last year. Other charges allege he received "military-type training" from al-Qaeda. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit murder and providing support to a foreign terrorist organisation.

Honduran unions call general strike 21 Jul 2009 In a direct challenge to Honduras's military dictatorship, the country's three main trade union federations have called a two-day general strike, beginning on Thursday. Yesterday, 150 delegates representing both public and private-sector workers met in the capital city Tegucigalpa. Speaker after speaker angrily denounced the military regime and demanded the return of elected President Manuel Zelaya.

'Swine flu is going to be positive for the performance [of the company].' Glaxo unmasked: drug firm to make £1bn from swine flu 23 Jul 2009 Britain's largest pharmaceuticals company could make up to £1bn from sales of its swine flu vaccine by the end of the year, industry analysts said yesterday as the first trials of the drug began in Australia. GlaxoSmithKline is to sell the vaccine for up to £6 a dose in Western countries, and the first supplies are due to arrive in Britain in September. Andrew Witty, GSK's chief executive, refused to apologise for the boost in earnings, pointing out that GSK had invested more than $2.5bn (£1.5bn) in its vaccine [pandemic] development programme over the past few years.

Swine flu vaccine will need compensation rules: Expert --No plans here to aid those injured from the immunization 21 Jul 2009 A leading public health expert is calling on Canada to create a no-fault compensation program for people who may be harmed by a swine flu vaccine that millions of Canadians will be urged by the government to get this fall. Kumanan Wilson, Canada research chair in public health at the University of Ottawa, said in an interview with Canwest News Service that children and adults could be exposed to an incompletely tested vaccine and that a compensation scheme is needed to encourage the public to buy into any mass immunization program. [We are not 'buying into' Baxter's pandemic propaganda promoting their WMDs. --LRP]

World's first human swine flu vaccine trials begin 22 Jul 2009 The world's first human trials of a vaccine to protect againt swine flu have begun in Australia, it has been announced. It will be at least six weeks before the initial results show whether the vaccine is effective. Adelaide-based Vaxine, one of two pharmaceutical companies undertaking the vaccine trials in Australia, began tests on Monday with 300 adult volunteers.

Swine flu triggers 'plague rule' in church ritual --Swine flu has spurred the Church of England to revive a rule drawn up more than 450 years ago when bubonic plague swept the land. 21 Jul 2009 As concern mounts about the spread of the virus, which has killed at least 29 people in the UK, some Anglican churches have begun to allow "intinction" or dipping bread in communion wine rather than sharing the chalice, while others have stopped offering wine altogether. The practices are permitted under the 1547 Sacrament Act, introduced after the plague, which requires both bread and wine to be given "except necessity otherwise require".

Key Flu 'Oddities': Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions; US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008; 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; University of Qld unveils swine flu vaccine made with insect eggs 29 Jun 2009; Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Jun 2009; Baxter Vaccine 'Oddities' 17 Jul 2009 Baxter files swine flu vaccine patent year ahead of outbreak; Drug groups to reap swine flu billions 20 Jul 2009.]

Taiwan scientists unveil new weapon in swine flu fight 21 Jul 2009 Taiwanese scientists said Tuesday they had developed an organic compound which could help control the global swine flu epidemic as the worldwide death toll from the disease passed 700. The compound, which the researchers call NTU-VirusBom, can destroy viruses such as A(H1N1) swine flu and avian influenza and stop the spread of bacteria including those responsible for staph infections.

Records of Virginia Tech Gunman Discovered --Criminal investigation is underway to determine how the employee was able to take the records and why the documents were not uncovered during state investigations following the shooting 22 Jul 2009 Virginia Tech gunman Seung Hui Cho had been treated at the college's counseling center before the shooting rampage in which he killed 32 students, contradicting earlier accounts of his psychiatric history, according to newly discovered mental health records located in the home of the center's former director. According to a memo written by a university lawyer and obtained by The Washington Post, the former director, Robert Miller, had moved the records into his home more than a year before the April 16, 2007, massacre, during which Cho also took his own life. Word the records had been found first came from Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine during a Wednesday morning news conference. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities' --Seung-Hui Cho in U.S. Marines uniform, pulled from Wikipedia By Lori Price Iraq link to campus killer Cho 19 Apr 2007 The sister of the gunman responsible for the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history works as a contractor for a State Department office that oversees billions of dollars in American aid for Iraq.]

Woman, Shooter Both Die After Shots Fired In Fort Lewis PX 22 Jul 2009 (WA) Two people are dead after an initial investigation shows a man fatally shot a woman and then turned the gun on himself at the Fort Lewis Main Post Exchange, according to a press release from the Fort Lewis Public Affairs Office. Army spokesman Mike Garcia said a 59-year-old Army retiree shot a woman.

Senate rejects bid to carry concealed weapons across state lines 22 Jul 2009 The Senate today narrowly defeated an effort to allow gun owners to carry their concealed weapons across state lines. The 58-39 vote was short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Twenty Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, joined 38 Republicans in supporting the measure. The legislation would have allowed people who have concealed-weapon permits in their home states to take their firearms into other states -- including California and others that currently prohibit the practice.

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Agencies to set up mass swine flu vaccinations --Voluntary vaccine 'likely' 21 Jul 2009 Public health experts are gearing up for swine flu vaccinations this fall in what could be the largest mass-immunization campaign since the polio vaccine was introduced more than 50 years ago. Local public health agencies will bear much of the responsibility for vaccinating the public, and the state is receiving $30 million in federal grants to help prepare for an expected re-emergence of [Baxter's] swine flu this fall. The polio vaccine was mandatory, but a flu vaccine is likely to be voluntary.

Cui bono? Drug groups to reap swine flu billions 20 Jul 2009 Some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies are reaping billions of dollars in extra revenue amid global concern about the spread of swine flu. Analysts expect to see a boost in sales from GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis... The fresh sales -- on top of strong results from Novartis of Switzerland and Baxter of the US, which both also produce vaccines -- come as the latest tallies show that more than 740 people have died from the H1N1 virus... One beneficiary of the fears about the pandemic has been Roche of Switzerland, which sells Tamiflu, the leading antiviral drug, and has seen a sharp rise in orders from private companies as well as governments.

Swine flu vaccine trials underway 22 Jul 2009 The first trials of a Federal Government-commissioned swine flu vaccine that is likely to be distributed globally will begin in Adelaide today. Rachel David from vaccine makers CSL says the Royal Adelaide Hospital trials will take about seven months, but there will be enough data by September for the Government to start planning distribution in October.

Voluntary vaccine 'likely' But we can't take that chance. The pharma-terrorists are/will be pressuring the US and world governments to make their deadly cocktails *mandatory.* We need to resist NOW, before Barack Opharma -- during his next Friday night 'bad news' dump -- makes them *mandatory.* Obama already (on Friday night, of course) released the pharma-terrorists from legal liability -- and hence any impetus to make a 'safe' vaccine: Legal immunity set for swine flu vaccine makers 17 Jul 2009 Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday. The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies.

Refuse and Resist Mandatory Flu Vaccines --This petition needs YOUR signature! We are only at 1,000 signatures and we need a lot more. We need to send the signal that we will *NOT ACCEPT* any forced, deadly Baxter vaccines, whose sole purpose is to enhance these pharma-terrorists' coffers.

Navy Ships Under Swine Flu Quarantine --Nearly 70 Sailors, Marines Contracted Virus 21 Jul 2009 A group of Navy ships is under quarantine after several dozen sailors and Marines on board tested positive for swine flu. Health officials say at least 69 people had been confirmed with the virus, and all of them have since recovered. Navy officials say they are now quarantining an undetermined number of crew members with flulike symptoms on four ships that are part of the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, which arrived in Hawaii on Friday.

World swine flu deaths top 700: WHO 22 Jul 2009 The World Health Organisation (WHO) says swine flu has killed more than 700 people around the world since the outbreak began four months ago. There are now over 125,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide but the WHO acknowledges the number of actual cases far exceeds that. The WHO says the pandemic is developing at such a high speed that it is now pointless to try to document every case.

Deaths of U.S. troops exceed 5,000 in wars 21 Jul 2009 The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached two solemn milestones Monday: July has become the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the combined death toll surpassed 5,000. Deaths on both fronts pushed the total U.S. fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan to at least 5,002, according to the Pentagon.

Taliban financers based in Persian Gulf: Holbrooke 21 Jul 2009 Richard Holbrooke, the United States' special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, says some fundamentalists based in Persian Gulf states are financing the Taliban. Some official sources in Pakistan estimate the budget for Taliban forces -- stationed on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border -- to be between three and four billion dollars, BBC reported. Holbrooke says such a huge amount of money could not be acquired only through illegal drug trafficking. Only in 2008, the US-led coalition forces spent over $16 billion on the war in Afghanistan, which shows that the Taliban must be receiving a huge amount of financial support [from those allegedly 'fighting' the Taliban].

Taliban suicide attacks leave 9 dead in Afghanistan 21 Jul 2009 Taliban suicide bombers have attacked security and government offices in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least nine people, according to officials. The two towns of Gardez and Jalalabad were targeted in the attacks by suicide bombers on Tuesday. The Taliban said 15 suicide bombers launched attacks against government buildings.

Bomb kills UK soldier in Afghanistan 21 Jul 2009 Another British soldier dies in Afghanistan amid growing public criticism of the UK's involvement in the war and the high number of the British casualties there. A roadside bomb blast took the soldier's life while he was on patrol in Helmand Province in the south On Monday.

NATO: Failure in Afghanistan "devastating" 21 Jul 2009 NATO Chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has warned the US and its allies that failure in Afghanistan would have a "devastating" effect in the insurgency-hit region. Speaking in London, the NATO secretary-general said that walking away from the alliance's mission in the war-ravaged country could give free hand to al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and Taliban linked militants in the war-ravaged country.

Blasts Kill at Least 15 in Baghdad 22 Jul 2009 A series of bombings rocked Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 100, as attackers struck at a bustling sheep market, a crowd of impoverished job seekers and a funeral, Iraqi security officials said. The dead at the sheep market included an eight-year-old girl and her year-old sister, whom she was cradling in her arms, officials said.

Lebanese army on high alert at Israeli border 20 Jul 2009 The Lebanese army has put its forces on high alert in response to the escalation of tensions over the establishment of an Israeli military outpost along the country's border. A Lebanese TV station reported that the high alert came in response to the Israeli military outpost set up near Kafr Shuba, a village just outside the divided border village of Ghajar, earlier this week.

The Senate Votes Down Funds for F-22s 21 Jul 2009 The Senate voted Tuesday to kill the nation's premier fighter jet program, embracing by a 58-40 margin the argument of President Obama and his top military advisers that the F-22 is no longer needed for the nation's defense and a costly drag on the Pentagon's budget in an era of small wars and growing counterinsurgency efforts. The decision was a key policy victory for Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has been campaigning against the plane since April.

The APA's Nuremberg Defense By Scott Horton 20 Jul 2009 ...[T]he disclosures surrounding the waterboarding of Abu Zubaida give further proof that beginning in 2002, healthcare professionals, specifically psychologists, played an essential role at every stage in the development and application of torture techniques. The failure of professional organizations, and specifically the American Psychological Association, to acknowledge this and take appropriate countermeasures is disturbing...Professional oversight bodies have engaged in consistent evasion, and now the APA is focused on the relaxation of its ethics standards to provide defenses for psychologists who joined in the Bush Administration’s torture program.

Part 3 of 4: Did Plasmoid Gas and Infrared Beams Cause the WTC Destruction? By Barry Ball, Barbara Ellis, and Russ Hallberg --Portland 9/11 Legislative Alliance 20 Jul 2009 This is the third article 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.

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement 21 Jul 2009 President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were "surprised" and "chagrined" by Obama's declaration in June that he doesn't have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

AP: Palin implicated in ethics probe 21 Jul 2009 An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts. The report obtained by The Associated Press says Palin is securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, set up by supporters. An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the "official" legal defense fund.

Audit: Abstinence program steered money to director's company 21 Jul 2009 The former chief of the Louisiana Governor’s Program on Abstinence steered thousands of dollars in contracts to an organization she created, and some of the money was paid to her son, according to an audit released Monday. The report by Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot’s office also says Gail Dignam, who worked for the abstinence program under former Govs. Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco, improperly took money from an organization that received state contracts from the abstinence program. Both situations seem to violate Louisiana law and run afoul of the state ethics code, according to the audit.

Gates Says He Is Outraged by Arrest at Cambridge Home --Prominent Black Professor Says He Will Use Experience to Further Academic Work 21 Jul 2009 Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's most prominent scholars of African-American history, cast his recent arrest in his home in Cambridge, Mass., as part of a "racial narrative" playing out in a biased criminal justice system. Shortly before the charge against him was dropped this afternoon, the Harvard professor who has spent much of his life studying race in America said he has come to feel like a case study. "There are one million black men in jail in this country and last Thursday I was one of them," he said in an interview with The Washington Post Tuesday morning.

Executives, other highly compensated employees receive more than one-third of all pay in U.S. 21 Jul 2009 The nation's wealth gap is widening amid an uproar about lofty pay packages in the financial world. Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Social Security Administration data -- without counting billions of dollars more in pay that remains off federal radar screens that measure wages and salaries. Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total U.S. pay in 2007, the latest figures available. The compensation numbers don't include incentive stock options, unexercised stock options, unvested restricted stock units and certain benefits.

More bodies go unclaimed as families can't afford funeral costs 21 Jul 2009 The poor economy is taking a toll even on the dead, with an increasing number of bodies in Los Angeles County going unclaimed by families who cannot afford to bury or cremate their loved ones. At the county coroner's office -- which handles homicides and other suspicious deaths -- 36% more cremations were done at taxpayers' expense in the last fiscal year over the previous year, from 525 to 712.

Lobbyists Spend Millions to Influence Health Care 21 Jul 2009 Drugmakers, hospitals and insurers continued to pour millions of dollars into lobbying during the second quarter of this year, hoping to limit the damage to their bottom line as lawmakers and the Obama administration wrangle over landmark health-care legislation. New disclosure reports that began arriving Monday in Congress showed familiar players at the top of the health-care influence heap, including $6.2 million in lobbying by the dominant Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and $4 million by the American Medical Association.

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Administration: Some terror suspects could go before military tribunals --Detainees' Trial Plan Is Unveiled 20 Jul 2009 The Obama administration on Monday said it preferred that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be tried in criminal courts, but that some suspected terrorists in less-prominent cases or in cases with weaker evidence could go before military tribunals. An interim report by a presidential task force reviewing U.S. detention policy laid out for the first time the means by which Justice and Defense department lawyers will determine whether the 229 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo get criminal or military 'trials.' The approach could rile civil liberties groups, which prefer all detainees be tried in criminal courts.

Reports on U.S. Detention Policy Will Be Delayed 21 Jul 2009 The Obama administration is delaying completion of reports examining U.S. detention and interrogation policy, officials said Monday. The work of a Justice Department-led task force, which had been scheduled to send a report on detention policy to President Obama on Tuesday, will be extended for six months, according to senior administration officials. A second task force examining interrogation policy will get a two-month extension to complete its work, which had also been due Tuesday.

Judge: CIA committed fraud in eavesdropping case 20 Jul 2009 A federal judge has ruled that CIA officials committed fraud to protect a former covert agent against an eavesdropping lawsuit and is considering sanctioning as many as six who have worked at the agency, including former CIA Director George Tenet. According to court documents unsealed Monday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth referred a CIA attorney, Jeffrey Yeates, for disciplinary action. Lamberth also denied the CIA's renewed efforts under the Obama administration to keep the case secret because of what he calls the agency's "diminished credibility" and the "twisted history" in the case.

US to add 22,000 troops to army 20 Jul 2009 The US Army will "temporarily" increase its size by 22,000 soldiers for the next three years, Defence Secretary Robert Gates has announced. The additional troops are intended to ease the strain of the US's deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Gates said. The extra manpower will raise the total number of active US soldiers from 547,000 to 569,000.

Four U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan --Incident pushes American death toll in July to 30 20 Jul 2009 A roadside bomb killed four American soldiers in eastern Afghanistan today, adding to the toll in what has already been the conflict's deadliest month for Western forces. The latest deaths push the number of coalition troops killed in July to at least 55 -- 30 of them American. U.S. military officials have forecast a bloody summer in Afghanistan, in part because thousands of newly arrived American troops are pushing into areas previously controlled by the Taliban.

Seventeenth British soldier killed in Afghanistan this month 20 Jul 2009 A British soldier has been killed while on foot patrol in Afghanistan, the 17th to die this month, the Ministry of Defence said today . The soldier, from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died yesterday morning as a result of the blast in Sangin, in northern Helmand province.

Laying down the law: US tries to make policemen of the 'robbers in uniform' 21 Jul 2009 With nicknames bestowed by their US Marine trainers, all are members of the Afghan National Police force entrusted with turning the ground seized around Garmsir during the continuing American offensive in Helmand into something approaching a governable state. It is a huge challenge for a force known to locals as "the robbers with uniforms" -- one that pits American can-do spirit against the long-established bad habits of a rag-tag force better known for its incompetence, illiteracy and alleged criminality.

Holy convenience, Batman! Obama has an excuse to expand the Af/Pak war: ABC: Missing U.S. Soldier May Be in Pakistan 20 Jul 2009 The U.S. soldier kidnapped by Taliban forces in Afghanistan may have been taken across the border to Pakistan, complicating efforts to obtain his release, according to two people involved in U.S. and Afghan military efforts to locate him, and three Afghan soldiers captured with him. The soldier, Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, is the first serviceman captured since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. According to a person actively involved in the search, a top Afghan 'insurgent' commander has taken credit for capturing the soldier and has now moved the soldier to South Waziristan, Pakistan. [Wait for it... here it comes:] U.S. armed forces are not permitted to operate inside Pakistan except under extreme circumstances. [Well, this would certainly constitute an 'extreme circumstance, n'est-ce pas? The US, therefore, would be 'allowed' to step up its daily bombing of civilians with killer drones.]

Ten killed in Iraq violence 21 Jul 2009 Ten people were killed, including seven policemen and a soldier, in attacks in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Ramadi on Monday, security and medical officials said. In the restive northern city of Mosul, five policemen, an Iraqi army soldier and a civilian were killed in a spate of attacks across the city, the capital of Nineveh province.

U.S. marine killed in W Iraq 20 Jul 2009 A U.S. marine has been killed in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a U.S. military said Monday. The statement said the Multi-National Force-West marine was killed on Sunday in "a combat-related incident as a result of enemy action," but failed to give further details.

Two die after Xe helicopter crash in Iraq on Friday 20 Jul 2009 Two crew members died when a helicopter operated by private military contractor Xe crashed Friday in Iraq, according to media accounts. The MD-530 "Little Bird" chopper went down at a training facility outside Baghdad, CNN and Agence France Presse reported. Two other crew members were injured.

US bingo dollars fund Israeli settlements --California charity 'a barrier to West Bank resolution' 19 Jul 2009 Over the past 20 years, the bingo hall has funnelled tens of millions of dollars in to what its opponents -- including rabbis serving the Hawaiian Gardens area -- describe as an ideologically-driven strategy to grab land for Israel, as well as contributing to influential American groups and thinktanks backing Israel's more hawkish governments.

EU suspends $90m aid to Honduras 20 Jul 2009 The European Union has suspended more than $90m (63m euros; £54m) in aid to Honduras in the wake of a coup there. It follows the failure of talks to resolve the country's political crisis. President Manuel Zelaya was ousted from office by troops on 28 June over his plans to hold a referendum on changing the constitution in a Reichwing coup d'etat.

Democracy hangs by a thread in Honduras --The right-wing coup d'état is faltering, but its supporters have powerful friends in Washington. By Hugh O'Shaughnessy 19 Jul 2009 The international group of right-wingers who staged the coup d'état against the democratic government of Honduras on 28 June are watching their plot fast unravel. There is stiffening international opposition to their protégé, Roberto Micheletti, who, in his capacity as President of Congress, ordered President Manuel Zelaya to be expelled from the country by plane in his pyjamas... Financial backing for the coup is identified by some as coming from the pharmaceutical industry, which fears Mr Zelaya's plans to produce generic drugs and distribute them cheaply to the impoverished majority in Honduras, who lack all but the most primitive health facilities. Others point to big companies in the telecommunications industry opposed to Hondutel, Honduras's state-owned provider. Parallels are being made with ITT, the US telecommunications company that offered the Nixon government funds for the successful overthrow of President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973.

China adopts stringent measures to contain spread of swine flu 20 Jul 2009 No one arriving in China aboard an international flight is allowed to disembark before they have had their temperature taken. Its measures to try to contain the spread of swine flu -- or the H1N1 virus -- must be among the most stringent in the world. Airline passengers are required to remain in their seats after landing. Medical officers in protective clothing and face masks then board the aircraft and test the temperature of everyone on the flight by pointing a device at the forehead. Every passenger must fill in a form giving contact details in China and their seat number, in case they were seated near anyone who is subsequently found to be infected with H1N1.

China quarantines 107 British students, teachers after others confirmed with swine flu 20 Jul 2009 Chinese health authorities have quarantined 107 visiting students and teachers from Britain at a hotel in Beijing after some of their schoolmates were diagnosed with swine flu, the British Embassy said Monday. Nine British citizens were confirmed with swine flu and had been hospitalized, the embassy said in a statement. Eight of the cases were of students from a group that is in China for language and cultural immersion courses.

Shut schools to limit number of swine flu deaths, ministers told 20 Jul 2009 Ministers were urged tonight to rethink their policy of keeping schools open through the swine flu pandemic after research showed that a shutdown would curb the spread of infection and limit the number of deaths. As Andy Burnham, the health secretary, announced that a flu helpline to take the pressure off GPs' surgeries would go live this week, two infectious disease experts said school closures should be considered to reduce the number of cases and buy time until a vaccine is available.

Swine Flu Could 'Tip Economy Over The Edge' 20 Jul 2009 Swine flu could tip the UK's already sick economy "over the edge", causing it to shrink by 7.5% this year and hampering hopes of a recovery, economists warn. A worst case scenario could leave the economy facing its worst decline in nearly 90 years.

FDA Approves Next Seasonal Flu Vaccines 20 Jul 2009 The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it approved vaccines for the upcoming 2009-2010 seasonal influenza season in the U.S. The vaccines won’t protect against the new H1N1 influenza strain, which was declared a pandemic last month by the World Health Organization. [See: CLG Pandemic Action Alerts 12 Jul 2009 Petition against mandatory vaccines; contact the White House, US Congress.]

US review addresses prisons in Afghanistan 20 Jul 2009 A US military review has called for an overhaul at American-run prisons in Afghanistan, which could mean better prisoner treatment at detention centers worse than Guantanamo. The new confidential report, prepared by Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone of the Marines, recommends separating "extremist militants" from "more moderate detainees instead of having them mixed together as they are now".

US military silent on Bagram jail protest 17 Jul 2009 The prisoners at the largest US prison in Afghanistan have refused to leave their cells for the past two weeks to shower or exercise to protest against their indefinite imprisonment. The protest at Bagram has been going on since at least July 1. Information about the protest came to light when the International Committee of the Red Cross told the families of several prisoners that scheduled video links and family visits were being cancelled.

Metropolitan police's 'kettling' tactic challenged in European court --Protester fights for payout after May 2001 corralling 19 Jul 2009 The Metropolitan police's controversial tactic of containing large numbers of protesters against their will, known as "kettling", will be challenged in a case lodged tomorrow with the European Court of Human Rights that claims the practice is a fundamental breach of liberty. The case is being brought by Lois Austin, one of about 3,000 anti-globalisation demonstrators corralled by police at Oxford Circus in May 2001, the first major protest where the tactic was used.

Sheriff's Deputies accused of Taser rampage 18 Jul 2009 An Illinois agency has sued two sheriff's deputies in Southern Illinois, alleging that they handcuffed, threatened and Tasered teenage foster children. The suit, filed in federal court in East St. Louis by the Illinois Office of State Guardian on behalf of the children, says the deputies used excessive force and violated the children's rights. The suit also names Jefferson County, Ill., Sheriff Roger Mulch, his department and the county.

Top scholar Gates arrested in mass., claims racism 20 Jul 2009 Henry Louis Gates Jr., the nation's pre-eminent black scholar, is accusing Cambridge police of racism after he was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near Harvard University. Cambridge police were called to the home Thursday afternoon after a woman reported seeing a man "wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open," according to a police report... Gates began calling the officer a racist and said repeatedly, "This is what happens to black men in America." Many of Gates' African-American colleagues believe his arrest is part of a pattern of racial profiling in Cambridge, said Allen Counter, who has taught neuroscience at Harvard for 25 years.

Bailout Overseer Says Banks Misused TARP Funds 20 Jul 2009 Many of the banks that got federal aid to support increased lending have instead used some of the money to make investments, repay debts or buy other banks, according to a new report from the special inspector general overseeing the government's financial rescue program. The report, which will be published Monday, surveyed 360 banks that got money through the end of January and found that 110 had invested at least some of it, that 52 had repaid debts and that 15 had used funds to buy other banks... The report by special inspector general Neil Barofsky calls on the Treasury Department to require regular, more detailed information from banks about their use of federal aid provided under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Treasury has refused to collect such information.

California governor and lawmakers reach budget deal 20 Jul 2009 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and top lawmakers said on Monday evening they had reached an agreement to close a $26.3 billion deficit to balance the state's budget, ending weeks of lengthy and often tense negotiations. Schwarzenegger, a Republican [Enron troll], said during a news conference in front of his office that the budget would introduce no tax increases and would include $15 billion in spending cuts.

On Friday, lowest-wage workers get a raise 19 Jul 2009 The final installment of a three-part increase in the federal minimum wage will soon be implemented. Two previous wage increases, one in 2007, the other in 2008, pushed the federal wage to $5.85 and then to the current $6.55 an hour. The third, which goes into effect Friday, will push it to $7.25 an hour.

Obama challenges GOP critics on health care 20 Jul 2009 President Barack Obama pushed back hard against Republican critics of his health care overhaul plan Monday, vowing to fight "the politics of the moment" and press for passage of legislation by the end of the year. "We can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care," Obama said after meeting with doctors, nurses and other health care workers at Children's National Medical Center. "There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake."

Driven to Distraction: U.S. Withheld Data Showing Risks of Distracted Driving --Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking. 21 Jul 2009 In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel... But such an ambitious study never happened. And the researchers’ agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers -- in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress. On Tuesday, the full body of research is being made public for the first time by two consumer advocacy groups, which filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the documents.

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The 'No-Sneeze' list: Fit-to-Fly certificate required by airlines over swine flu --LRP

Airlines to stop suspected swine flu victims from flying --Airlines offer guidance to check-in staff to help them prevent customers boarding flights if they appear to have the virus 19 Jul 2009 Passengers with swine flu will be stopped from boarding flights, two major airlines confirmed today, as the Department of Health warned tourists who contract the illness abroad not to travel home until their symptoms have gone. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic said they had provided check-in staff and cabin crew with guidance on how to act if they believe a passenger is unwell. Medical advice would be taken to assess the condition of passengers exhibiting symptoms, including having a headache, sore throat, runny nose, and aching muscles. Virgin Atlantic said those suffering from the condition would be prevented from flying until they could provide a fit-to-fly certificate from their doctor or a hospital.

US mulls special terrorist interrogation team: report 18 Jul 2009 US officials are looking into organizing a team of interrogators from several government agencies to specialize in questioning high-value terrorist suspects, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. The small team will likely also be tasked with drawing up new interrogation methods, the Journal said, citing people familiar with a proposal that will be submitted to the White House.

U.S. Weighs Special Team of Terrorism Interrogators 18 Jul 2009 The Obama administration is considering overhauling the way terror suspects are interrogated by creating a small team of professionals drawn from across the government, according to people familiar with a proposal that will be submitted to the White House. The new unit, comprising members of spy services and law-enforcement agencies, would be used for so-called high-value detainees, they said. In a switch from Bush-era efforts, it wouldn't be run by the Central Intelligence Agency, though who might be in charge isn't specified. One of the team's tasks would likely be to devise a new set of interrogation methods.

Obama awarded $543 million in no-bid federal contracts, despite pledge --President Barack Obama promised last month to save money through competition. 17 Jul 2009 The Defense Department frequently awards no-bid work to small contractors for repairs at military bases under the new economic stimulus law, costing taxpayers millions of dollars more than when businesses compete for the work, according to an Associated Press analysis of 570 such contracts. The Pentagon saves more than three times as much money when companies compete, the AP analysis showed. Yet more than $242 million in federal contracts has been awarded under the recovery program through no-bid contracts for repairs and maintenance. Across the government, more than $543 million in federal contracts have been awarded so far without competition under Obama's $787 billion stimulus program.

Helicopter crash in Afghanistan kills 16 civilian contractors 19 Jul 2009 Sixteen mercenaries working under contract to Western forces were killed today when their helicopter plunged to the ground just after takeoff from NATO's main base in southern Afghanistan, military officials said. It was the second deadly crash in less than a week involving a Russian-made helicopter operated by a mercenary firm. It also came a day after an American F-15E jet fighter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing the two-member crew.

US Air Force jet crashes in Afghanistan 18 Jul 2009 An American Air Force F-15 fighter jet conducting coalition operations in troubled eastern Afghanistan has crashed, killing two crewmembers, a US military statement says. The military statement said the F-15E crashed on Saturday morning at approximately 3:15 am with two members on board. The Air Force has not disclosed the cause or exact location of the crash.

U.S. Threatens Afghans Over Kidnapped GI 16 Jul 2009 At least two Afghan villages have been blanketed with leaflets warning that if an American soldier kidnapped by the Taliban two weeks ago isn't freed, "you will be targeted." Villagers near the border of two volatile provinces, Ghazni and Paktika, tell CBS News that aircraft dropped the leaflets during the past several days. Military spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias confirmed that the leaflets were produced at Bagram Air Base, the primary U.S. installation in Afghanistan, and distributed in the region.

U.S. Military Identifies Soldier Captured in Afghanistan 19 Jul 2009 The Defense Department identified the U.S. soldier missing since June 30 in Afghanistan as an Army private from Ketchum, Idaho, and said he has been captured. The soldier is Bowe Bergdahl, 23, a private first class with the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team stationed in Fort Richardson, Alaska, the military said in a statement.

Cheney's gift: Waterboarding the captured GI? By Jane Stillwater 19 Jul 2009 Let us hope with all our hearts that the Taliban aren't doing the same thing to the US soldier who was recently captured in Afghanistan that Dick Cheney and George Bush ordered to be done to Taliban soldiers held in Baghram and Guantanamo. Hey, Taliban! Let's have a prisoner exchange! Please give us back our soldier -- and you can have Dick Cheney instead. And we'll even throw in George Bush! Then you could give them to poppy-growing warlords like Bush's friend Dostum, who would leave them in airless boxcars until they die of suffocation and then bury them in an unmarked mass grave... You could waterboard them 183 times.

Five U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, Iraq 18 Jul 2009 A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday. The U.S. military said the two-man fighter jet crashed while undertaking military operations. Both airmen on board were killed.

Australian soldier killed in Afghan blast 18 Jul 2009 A senior defence official says an Australian soldier has been killed in a blast in the Baluchi Valley, southern Afghanistan. Defence forces head Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston says another Australian and three Afghan civilians, including an 8-year-old boy, were seriously wounded in the explosion.

Party row heats up as another serviceman dies in Afghanistan 17 Jul 2009 Another British soldier has been killed in Helmand, the Ministry of Defence said today , as the row between Labour and the Conservatives over policy in Afghanistan became increasingly acrimonious. Rifleman Aminiasi Toge, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was killed in an explosion while on a foot patrol on Thursday. He was the 16th British soldier to die this month and would have turned 27 on Sunday.

The US doesn't want to follow the rules. Tensions rise over US Iraq role 19 Jul 2009 There appear to be growing tensions between the US military and Iraqi security forces. They have arisen over cooperation and the restrictions imposed on the movement of American forces in urban areas inside Iraq... According to an agreement signed between the two sides, US forces are not allowed to enter Iraq's towns and cities unless specifically requested to do so by the Iraqi authorities, except in cases of self defence. The spokesman said the ministry adhered to a strict interpretation of these new rules, but some in the American military appear to take a different view. The report suggests that US military figures did not expect the new rules to be implemented so literally, and for a limited number of joint patrols to continue following the withdrawal.

State Dept. Xe security chopper crashes in Iraq 18 Jul 2009 The State Department says a helicopter used to protect U.S. diplomats in Baghdad has crashed outside the Iraqi capital and a U.S. official says that two crew members were killed. Department spokesman Robert Wood said the MD-530 chopper went down during a training mission about 30 miles outside Baghdad on Friday. The State Department contracts with Presidential Airways, a subsidiary of XE, formerly known as Blackwater, for air support to protect diplomatic convoys in Baghdad.

Officials: U.S. Defense Secretary to visit Israel 19 Jul 2009 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to visit Israel on July 27 for talks likely to focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions and U.S.-Israeli strategic ties, officials involved in planning the trip said on Sunday. As the second cabinet-level representative of the Obama administration to be hosted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gates could also lobby for a resolution to the bilateral dispute over the future of West Bank settlements.

Israeli PM defiant on Jerusalem 19 Jul 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a reported US request that a building project in Jerusalem be halted. The project involves building 20 apartments in the mainly Arab East Jerusalem area, which was captured by Israel in 1967. Last week US officials told the Israeli ambassador that the project should be suspended, Israeli media said. But Mr Netanyahu rejected this in comments at his weekly Cabinet meeting.

After Obama's Veto Threat, Pentagon Warns Against Spending For F-22s 17 Jul 2009 Defense Sec. Robert Gates on Thursday warned against spending for additional F-22 fighter jets, following threats from President Barack Obama that he'd veto his own bill if Democratic lawmakers include such a provision in the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. Gates early this year recommended a budget that caps the number of F-22 Raptors so savings can be used to buy F-35s, which are newer model jets.

Another war criminal protected by overrated sociopath Ronnie Raygun: Ex-warlord says CIA assisted his jailbreak --Taylor informed judges on Friday that he did not escape on his own and was assisted, and rather released by agents from the CIA. 19 Jul 2009 Charles Taylor, Liberia's former president and Africa's first head of state to stand trial in an international court, claims the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) helped his escape from a US jail. Taylor denied all of the 11 charges of war crimes against him in his first testimony Tuesday at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. One of the most intriguing mysteries of Taylor's rise to power from a rebel leader to president centers on his 1985 escape from a US penitentiary in Plymouth, Massachusetts, while waiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 in Liberia.

On Trial for War Crimes, Ex-Leader of Liberia Cites C.I.A. in Jailbreak --Mr. Taylor said he was "100 percent positive" that the C.I.A. was providing weapons for the plot. 18 Jul 2009 Charles Taylor, former Liberian president and despotic warlord, is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Part of the lore surrounding Mr. Taylor is that he broke out of jail in Plymouth, Mass., while awaiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 in Liberia. He told his judges at The Hague that he did not escape on his own; rather, he said, he was helped by the Central Intelligence Agency. The plan, he said, was for him to join a Liberian military leader, Thomas Quiwonkpa, who was plotting a coup against President Samuel Doe.

David Kelly's former Iraq aide joins call for inquiry into his 'suicide' --Kelly would have had to be a 'contortionist' to have killed himself in the way the Hutton inquiry claimed 19 Jul 2009 A close confidante of Government scientist Dr David Kelly has demanded a new investigation into his death. Mai Pederson, a US Air Force linguist who served in Iraq with Dr Kelly’s weapons inspection team, has called on Attorney General Baroness Scotland to carry out a 'formal, independent and complete review' into the 'suspicious circumstances' of his death. Ms Pederson’s intervention comes a week after The Mail on Sunday disclosed that a team of doctors are mounting a legal challenge to the Hutton Inquiry’s conclusion that he committed suicide.

Calls for probe into Dr. Kelly's 'suicide' 19 Jul 2009 A US Air Force linguist joins a host of doctors in demanding a new probe into the mysterious death of a British scientist and weapons expert who opposed the Iraq war. The controversy surrounding Dr. David Kelly's death was first rekindled following a Daily Express report in June that revealed the expert was in the middle of writing a book containing damaging government secrets on the Iraq war as well as biological warfare in apartheid South Africa. The linguist, Mai Pederson, who was part of Kelly's weapons inspection team in Iraq, has called on the Attorney General for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to carry out an 'independent' review of the case, reported the Mail on Sunday.

Pregnant women told to stay at home as airlines vow to ban swine flu suspects 19 Jul 2009 Pregnant women are being urged to avoid crowds and unnecessary travel on public transport in an attempt to limit the spread of swine flu among the most vulnerable. Parents are also being advised to keep babies away from crowds and limit the movement of their young children to stop them bringing the virus home. The warning to expectant mothers comes after the National Childbirth Trust was accused of 'scaremongering' by the Royal College of General Practitioners for advising women to consider postponing becoming pregnant.

Swine flu vaccine mandatory for Haj pilgrims 19 Jul 2009 All Haj pilgrims will have to get a shot of vaccine for H1N1, which has become a pandemic. The swine flu vaccination is compulsory for the pilgrims going on Haj in the year 2009 through MP State Haj Committee. The State Haj Committee urged the union government to provide the necessary quantity of vaccine for government hospitals of the state. Executive official of State Haj Committee told our correspondent that swine flu vaccination for the pilgrims going on Haj through Haj Committee of India has been made mandatory.

Australia's guinea pigs: Flu vaccine free for Aborigines, pregnant women 19 Jul 2009 Aborigines and pregnant women will receive free access to the flu vaccine, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said today. The Federal Government announced an expansion of the free vaccine program for vulnerable Australians as swine flu continues to spread. The seasonal vaccine will be available to more than two million extra Australians.

Swine flu shots to boost Baxter --Baxter could reap $30 million to $40 million in revenue from H1N1 contracts. 17 Jul 2009 International demand for a swine flu vaccine is developing into a boon for Baxter International Inc. On a day the Deerfield-based medical-product giant reported a 13 percent boost in second-quarter profit, Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Parkinson said the company's plant in the Czech Republic was running at capacity as it fills orders for 80 million dosages from five countries. Baxter said it would begin shipping dosages of a swine flu vaccine worldwide by the end of July.

Baxter: The 'Lucky Larry' of swine flu Baxter Vaccine 'Oddities' By Lori Price 17 Jul 2009 Baxter files swine flu vaccine patent year ahead of outbreak --Baxter can take no more H1N1 flu vaccine orders --Baxter 2Q Profit Up 7.9%; Full-Year Guidance Raised --Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor

Unemployment Tops 10% in 15 States, D.C. --Mich. Surpasses 15% - The Highest Jobless Rate in Any State Since 1984 17 Jul 2009 Unemployment topped 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia last month, according to federal data released Friday. The rate in Michigan surpassed 15 percent, the first time any state hit that mark since 1984. The Federal Reserve this week projected that the national unemployment rate, currently at a 26-year high of 9.5 percent, will pass 10 percent by the end of the year.

Out of work, out of benefits, out of luck --By August, 65% of all filers for unemployment insurance will have run out of their standard 26 weeks. 17 Jul 2009 More than 650,000 Americans will have used up all of their unemployment benefits by September, in what experts say could be the start of a looming crisis. In the early days of the downturn, the government extended unemployment benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks to as many as 79 weeks in hopes of giving the jobless a longer lifeline. With the recession now 18 months deep and the national unemployment rate standing at 9.5%, it appears that the effort wasn't robust enough for those in the crisis' first wave of layoffs.

Severe state cuts could leave food banks' cupboards bare 18 Jul 2009 Representatives of food banks across Louisiana expected the state to cut their financing this year, but they never dreamed their budgets would be slashed by 90 percent -- especially when the need for provisions is increasing. The blow has left them scrambling.

Global warming means continental crops could take root in Britain by 2030 19 Jul 2009 Olives, dates and figs could become common in Britain within 20 years as global warming improves growing conditions for subtropical crops. A report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), suggests there could be unexpected benefits to climate change with exotic fruits and vegetables thriving. But native species, such as potatoes, could suffer as average temperatures rise by around 2C by 2030.

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Barack Opharma's ultimate bad news during his Administration's 'Friday Night Bad News Dump': Legal immunity set for swine flu vaccine makers 17 Jul 2009 The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects [paralysis, death] from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off. Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday. The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. [See: CLG Pandemic Action Alerts 12 Jul 2009 Petition against mandatory vaccines; contact the White House, US Congress --More flu news here.]

Minister defends MI5 as torture investigation looms --The police investigation into MI5 torture allegations could jeopardise Britain's national security, the Home Secretary has warned. 18 Jul 2009 In an interview with the Telegraph he vows to "defend" the agents of the Security Service and said he had "nothing but admiration for them". The Home Secretary's public endorsement of MI5 and its staff follows the decision by the Metropolitan Police to accept a request from the Attorney General for the first ever criminal inquiry into the domestic security service. Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantanamo detainee, claims MI5 knew he was tortured into 'confessing' his terrorist activities while in American custody.

Due to UK torture investigation, false flags will serve as the ultimate weapon of mass distraction: Shopping centres on alert for terrorism attack --The security services are preparing shopping centres across the country for a successful terrorist attack that would probably result in the deaths of dozens of innocent people. 18 Jul 2009 The National Counter Terrorism Security Office now holds training days for shopping centres and other vulnerable targets up and down the country, warning: "Terrorist attacks in the UK are a real and serious danger. Crowded places, including shopping centres, are likely to feature in the attack plans of terrorist organisations..." MI5 have also launched Operation Lightening to record, research and investigate suspicious activity and it is particularly focused on the "hostile reconnaissance" of targets.

Justice agrees to exclude detainee's confession 15 Jul 2009 The Justice Department agreed Wednesday not to use a Guantanamo Bay detainee's confession that he threw a grenade at U.S. soldiers to justify keeping him imprisoned, after his attorneys argued his statements were the result of torture. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked a federal judge to exclude as evidence all statements Mohammed Jawad made during at least 57 interrogations since his capture in Afghanistan in December 2002. The ACLU, which is handling Jawad's case, said the statements should not be considered because Jawad, who was a teenager at the time of his capture, "has been subjected to repeated torture and other mistreatment" by Afghan and U.S. authorities.

House Will Investigate CIA's Handling of Canceled Program 17 Jul 2009 The House intelligence committee decided today to launch an investigation into allegations that the CIA broke the law by not informing Congress about a program launched in late 2001 to capture or assassinate 'al-Qaeda' leadership. "The committee must be kept fully and currently informed of significant intelligence activities as required by law," Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.

Al-Jazeera journalist imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay to sue George Bush --Sami al-Haj -- freed in May 2008 after more than six years -- to launch legal action against former US president 17 Jul 2009 An al-Jazeera journalist who was imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay plans to launch a joint legal action with other detainees against former US president [sic] George Bush and other administration officials, for the illegal detention and torture he and others suffered at the hands of US authorities. The case will be initiated by the Guantánamo Justice Centre, a new organisation open to former prisoners at the US base, which will set up its international headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, later this month. "The purpose of our organisation is to open a case against the Bush administration," said co-founder Sami al-Haj, an al-Jazeera reporter from Sudan who was illegally detained by US authorities for over six years after being captured while he was working as a cameraman. He was freed in May 2008.

Oklahoma veterans file lawsuit against Halliburton, KBR --Veterans seek redress for those poisoned by companies 17 Jul 2009 Two Oklahoma veterans of the war in Iraq have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Halliburton Co. and KBR Inc. have "callously exposed and continue to expose soldiers and others to toxic smoke, ash and fumes" in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Green, of Miami, Okla., and Nick Daniel Heisler of Lawton say in the complaint filed in Tulsa that they are seeking "redress for American soldiers and others deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who were poisoned" by the companies.

Two children killed in Iraq bombing 17 Jul 2009 Two children of a senior Iraqi police officer were killed on Friday by a bomb planted in their family's garage in a town near Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a police officer told AFP. Six others, including two women and two girls aged less than 10, were wounded as the 10 and 11-year-old boys died in the sticky bomb attack, which occurred at around 3:00 am in Al-Karma, around 15 kilometres (10 miles) east of Fallujah.

3 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Southern Iraq 18 Jul 2009 Three American soldiers were killed after 'insurgents' fired mortar rounds into a United States military base in southern Iraq, an area of the country that has been largely free of the violence that continues to plague the northern part of the country. The attack occurred Thursday evening, but the American military did not report it until Friday.

Secret US-Israeli meeting to focus on Iran 17 Jul 2009 Amid reports that Israel is preparing to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, political heavyweights in Washington and Tel Aviv make plans for a secret get-together. Ria Novosti reported on Friday that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is planning to visit Tel Aviv within the next two weeks to discuss a whole range of international issues, including Tehran's nuclear case, in secret meetings with the Netanyahu government.

Iran: Israel plotted to assassinate Ahmadinejad 17 Jul 2009 Israel conspired with Iranian opposition figures in a plot to assassinate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during last month's election campaign, Iran's intelligence minister said on Friday. According to AFP, Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie told state media in Iran that Israeli officials had met members of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, an exiled opposition group, twice to plan Ahmadinejad's assassination.

Armed Forces chiefs call for more troops and helicopters in Afghanistan 17 Jul 2009 General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army and Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, have called for more troops and helicopters in Afghanistan. Sir Jock said his forces needed as many helicopters as they could get and were "busting a gut" to draft more into service.

Afghanistan: 'We are fighting ghost soldiers' --Will the US surge in Afghanistan help the British army get the resources it has been hoping for? 17 Jul 2008 History might record that the summer of 2009 was the pivotal moment for the British mission in Helmand. It has been a bloody few weeks with 15 dead in a 10-day period, including the most senior Army officer in three decades. These deaths, and another yesterday, and the eight coffins, has after three years of evasion, produced the necessary debate about what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan.

Fijian working in British army killed in Afghanistan 18 Jul 2009 A Fijian working for the British army was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Friday. He was named as Rifleman Aminiasi Toge of 2nd Battalion The Rifles. Toge died from the blast while on foot patrol near Gereshk in the southern Helmand province on Thursday afternoon, the Ministry of Defence said.

US drone attack, clashes kill 10 in Pakistan 17 Jul 2009 A suspected US missile strike killed at least six people in northwest Pakistan while two soldiers and an equal number of Taliban rebels died in ongoing fighting in the region, officials said on Friday. A pilotless US drone aircraft fired two Hellfire guided missiles on two residential compounds used by the Taliban in Gariwam village in the tribal district of North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan.

CIA Caught 'Off-Guard' By Jakarta Hotel Terror Attack --U.S., Indonesia Officials Fooled By al Qaeda Group 'Playing Dead' 17 Jul 2009 U.S. intelligence officials were caught "off-guard" by the Friday terror attacks against two U.S.-based hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. A senior U.S. official told ABC News the attacks came as a "surprise." A second U.S. counter-terrorism official said the CIA and other intelligence agencies had given no indication to the White House of "any threat reporting in the last 18 months" involving the Indonesian 'al Qaeda' affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah.

Judge Denies Bid By Airlines to Question FBI In 9/11 Case 16 Jul 2009 A U.S. judge has denied a motion by a group of airlines to depose several Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding the government's probes into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In an order Thursday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan denied a motion by the airlines to question six current and former FBI agents, a potential setback for their defense. The judge indicated the airline defendants hoped to show at trial that the government's failure to apprehend the terrorists and stop the attacks was so considerable that it mitigates and excuses any alleged faults of the airlines and the terrorists likely would have succeeded even if the defendants had exercised due care.

Safety questions over swine flu jab --Vaccine will be rushed out before results of health checks are known as licensing is accelerated for 132m doses of vaccine 18 Jul 2009 The first doses of swine flu vaccine will be given to the public before full data on its safety and effectiveness become available, doctors confirmed yesterday. The pandemic vaccine version will be spread over two doses in a higher quantity, and one brand [Gee, I wonder who that could be?] is expected to contain a chemical additive to make it go further, potentially increasing the risk of side-effects... A previous vaccine against swine flu turned out to be worse than the disease. An outbreak in the US in 1976 infected 200 soldiers at a military camp [Fort Dix] in New Jersey... But before it was over 40 million people had been vaccinated, 25 of whom died and 500 of whom developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, an inflammation of the nervous system which can cause paralysis and be fatal.

Quarantine at detention center due to swine flu --ICE: 72 detainees segregated from center's general population for observation 15 Jul 2009 Authorities say dozens of immigrants being held at San Diego's Otay Mesa detention center are being quarantined because of fears over the swine flu. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say two cases of the H1N1 virus have been confirmed at the facility since last month. The individuals were treated and recovered.

3 Senate Republicans Endorse Sotomayor 18 Jul 2009 Three Senate Republicans yesterday endorsed Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, giving increased momentum to securing President Obama's choice a place on the high court by early August. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.), former chairman of the Republican National Committee, joined veteran Sens. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) in support of the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court.

Conservative group offers endorsement for $2M By Mike Allen 17 Jul 2009 The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group’s president flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay. For the $2 million plus, ACU offered a range of services that included: "Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)"

AP: 'Frugal' SC gov flew in style 17 Jul 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford shed his fiscal conservatism on several taxpayer-funded international trips, including a South American jaunt that included time with his mistress, choosing expensive first-class or business-class seats while his aides sat in coach. Sanford, who once criticized other state officials for costly travel, charged the state more than $37,600 for one first-class and four business-class flights overseas since November 2005, expense records show. Other state employees flew in the back of the plane at a fraction of the price, according to the documents.

Wife of ex-GOP Rep. Pickering claims he had affair 16 Jul 2009 The estranged wife of former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering claims in a lawsuit that the Mississippi Republican had an affair that ruined their marriage and derailed his political career. Leisha Pickering seeks unspecified damages in the alienation of affection lawsuit she filed this week against Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd of Jackson. The Pickerings filed for divorce in June 2008, but the divorce is not complete. The lawsuit says Chip Pickering and Creekmore Byrd dated in college, reconnected and began having an affair while Pickering was in Congress and living in a Christian building for lawmakers on C Street [aka GOP wh*rehouse], near the U.S. Capitol.

Georgia, South Dakota banks bring failures to 55 in '09 --Peach State sees tenth failure of 2009, South Dakota sees first since 1992 17 Jul 2009 Winder, Ga.-based First Piedmont Bank and Sioux Falls, S.D.-based BankFirst were closed by regulators Friday, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures in 2009 to 55 as the credit crisis continues to claim victims. First Piedmont Bank the 10th to fail in Georgia this year. BankFirst is the first South Dakota-based bank to fail since 1992, according to the FDIC.

Lawmakers Blast Paulson For His Response to Crisis 17 Jul 2009 Former Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. yesterday was lectured, insulted, blamed and excoriated by House Democrats and Republicans still angry about the Bush regime's handling of the financial crisis. Months of pent-up frustrations boiled over as lawmakers called on Paulson to account for a litany of perceived offenses: misleading Congress to gain approval of the $700 billion rescue program, investing in banks on overly generous terms, failing to help homeowners facing foreclosure and allowing the nation to fall into economic crisis. "You ought to come visit Ohio and see the results of your handiwork," Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) told Paulson at the end of a particularly hot exchange, referring to the large number of her constituents who face foreclosure and eviction.

City suspends payment of contracts 17 Jul 2009 Running out of cash because of the state budget deadlock, the City of Philadelphia has stopped paying many of its bills until the impasse is resolved, City Finance Director Rob Dubow said this morning. The city must temporarily withhold about $120 million in July and August to avoid running out of cash completely, Dubow said. Payments to contractors stopped Wednesday.

Walter Cronkite Dies: America's Iconic TV News Anchor Shaped the Medium and the Nation 18 Jul 2009 Walter Cronkite, America's preeminent television journalist of the 1960s and 1970s who as anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News" played a primary role in establishing television as the dominant national news medium of that era, died last night at age 92. Cronkite's career reflected the arc of journalism in the mid-20th century.

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Human trial of swine flu vaccine 'soon' 15 Jul 2009 The federal government has defended its policy of not following the United Kingdom's lead and rushing out a swine flu vaccine. Biopharmaceutical company CSL will start clinical vaccine trials on 240 healthy adults in Adelaide next week. The vaccine is due to be rolled out in October.

W.H.O. Says It Plans to Stop Tracking Swine Flu Cases --W.H.O.: Countries should watch for clusters of fatalities, which could indicate virus had mutated to more lethal form 17 Jul 2009 In a move that caught many public health experts by surprise, the World Health Organization quietly announced Thursday that it would stop tracking swine flu cases and deaths around the world. The announcement, made in a "briefing note" posted on the organization’s Web site late in the day, perplexed some experts, and even baffled a W.H.O. spokesman, Gregory Hartl, who said in an e-mail message, "I don’t have reliable info" about what his agency would track instead.

NHS prepares for 65,000 deaths from swine flu --'Worst case scenario' projected by Chief Medical Officer 255,000 new cases as pandemic claims 29 lives 17 Jul 2009 The NHS is planning for up to 65,000 deaths from swine flu, between three and 10 times the normal winter flu death rate, the Chief Medical Officer says. The figure was a "reasonable worst case scenario", to allow the health service to put in place "robust" plans to deal with the pandemic's first wave, the full scale of which will not be known for months. It was not a prediction of what was expected to happen, Sir Liam Donaldson said yesterday.

CIA Supervisor Claimed He Used Fire Ants On Detainee By Aram Roston 16 Jul 2009 A recently released legal memo describing interrogation techniques showed that Bush Administration lawyers had approved the use of "insects" in interrogations. "You would like to place [Abu] Zubaydeh in a cramped confinement box with an insect," Jay Bybee, then a Justice Department lawyer and now a federal judge, wrote in 2002... A CIA supervisor involved in the "enhanced interrogation" program bragged to other CIA employees about using fire ants while during questioning of a top terror suspect, according to several sources formerly with the Agency. The official claimed to other Agency employees, the sources say, to have put the stinging ants on a detainee's head to help break him. The CIA insists, however, that no matter what the man said, it never took place.

CIA Assassin Program Was Nearing New Phase --Panetta Pulled Plug After Training Was Proposed 15 Jul 2009 CIA officials were proposing to activate a plan to train anti-terrorist assassination teams overseas when agency managers brought the secret program to the attention of CIA Director Leon Panetta last month, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter. The plan to kill top al-Qaeda leaders, which had been on the agency's back burner for much of the past eight years, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of proposals to initiate what one intelligence official called a "somewhat more operational phase."

House panel seeks CIA documents 15 Jul 2009 The House intelligence committee has asked the CIA to provide documents about the now-canceled program to kill al-Qaeda leaders, congressional officials said yesterday. The agency spent at least $1 million on the eight-year program before it was terminated last month, a congressional official said. Intelligence officials say it never progressed beyond planning.

Obama goes to bat for Bush wiretap program --Administration will cite national security in seeking dismissal of lawsuit by telephone customers accusing government of illegally intercepting phone calls and obtaining phone company records 16 Jul 2009 President Obama is adamant about maintaining the secrecy of a wiretapping program authorized by George W. Bush, an administration lawyer told a federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday. In exceptional circumstances, Justice Department attorney Anthony Coppolino said, the president will invoke secrecy to protect "the sources and methods of detecting terrorist attacks ... the crown jewel of the United States national security administration."

KBR contractor accused of rape granted bond 15 Jul 2009 A judge has granted bond to a man accused of raping a woman in Iraq. Both the suspect and the alleged victim were in the country as contract workers at the time she claims to have been attacked. David Breda is free on $100,000 bond.

Gates: More US troops could head to Afghanistan 16 Jul 2009 The Pentagon's chief [Defense Secretary Robert Gates] said Thursday he could send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year than he'd initially expected and is considering increasing the number of soldiers in the Army. Both issues reflect demands on increasingly stressed American forces tasked with fighting two wars. So far, the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring.

US taxpayers fund training of Afghan police: General McChrystal asks for more support in Afghanistan 16 Jul 2009 The new US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has spoken in Washington about the growing instability in the country. Speaking to Reuters, he said the security forces, especially Afghan troops and police, should be bulked up. He said moves to further increase the size of the Afghan security force would require an international commitment to recruit, train and equip Afghan soldiers.

Israeli warships rehearse for Iran attack in Red Sea --Israeli warships have deployed to the Red Sea for what has been described as a rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran. 16 Jul 2009 Israeli and Egyptian officials said two ships had sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. Media reports in Israel said the two Saar-class missile ships had been sent as a "message" to the Tehran government. Israel has also deployed a submarine using the Suez Canal, but it has since returned to the Mediterranean. Defence experts in Israel said this week that the naval activity had been publicised with the intent of sending a message to Iran.

Mystery surrounds crash of 'fit to fly' Iran plane 16 Jul 2009 With Armenia's civil aviation organization confirming that the Caspian Airlines plane that crashed in Iran on Wednesday had passed all pre-flight safety inspections, the cause of the disaster remains a mystery. Flight 7908 went down near the Iranian city of Qazvin in the village of Jannat-abad at 11:33 am local time on Wednesday, killing all 168 people onboard. The plane, a Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154M, was flying from Tehran to Yerevan in Armenia.

Our sanctions at work: 168 dead in Iran By Jane Stillwater 15 Jul 2009 According to the Associated Press, "A Russian-made Iranian passenger plane carrying 168 people crashed shortly after takeoff Wednesday, nose-diving into a field northwest of the capital and shattering into flaming pieces." And politicos all over the world are responsible for this disaster. If your country voted to sanction airplane parts to Iran, you personally killed all these people. Every single one. When are human beings ever finally going to grow up, start to evolve and put an end to all these stupid Stone Age power struggles that cost American taxpayers at least $110 for every man, woman and child on the planet? We need to stop acting like cavemen!

GC releases derailed report on Iran election 16 Jul 2009 Iran's Guardian Council has published a 'detailed report' on the country's latest presidential election, which shows how complaints about the results were dealt with. Earlier in July, the council's spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodei had announced that the report would be published to resolve any ambiguities that some people may say was surrounding the election process.

Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies 15 Jul 2009 A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find -- grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies. Robotic Technology Inc.'s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot -- that's right, "EATR" -- "can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels... when suitable," reads the company's Web site. That "biomass" and "other organically-based energy sources" wouldn't necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they'd be plentiful in a war zone.

It's hard to find honesty in Western policy: envoy 14 Jul 2009 Iran's ambassador to Indonesia says finding "honesty" in Western countries' internal and foreign policies is very difficult. Ambassador Kamalvandi Behrouz noted that measures taken by the West in many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, clearly illustrate the unjust Western policies, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Can anyone stop Blair becoming the first president of Europe? Former PM is strong favourite to be given job -- if he can demonstrate that he wants it. 17 Jul 2009 Tony Blair is now an official candidate for the position of first president of Europe. But his ambition could be thwarted by a catch-22 – he may not secure the post unless he campaigns actively, yet he does not want to throw his hat into the ring unless he is sure of landing the job.

Fatal blasts hit Jakarta hotels 17 Jul 2009 At least six people have been killed in two separate explosions at luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, police say. The country's Metro TV reported that one blast hit the Ritz-Carlton and the other, the Marriott Hotel. Television footage showed the facade of one of the hotels had been torn off by the blast.

Part 2 of 4: Were Mini-Nuke Bombs the Cause of the WTC Destruction? By Barry Ball, Barbara Ellis, and Russ Hallberg --Portland 9/11 Legislative Alliance 16 Jul 2009 This is the second article 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.

Senate Likely to Vote on Sotomayor in August 17 Jul 2009 Judge Sonia Sotomayor completed her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday... Over her four days in the witness chair, Judge Sotomayor provided Republicans little ammunition with which to block the Senate from approving her elevation to the Supreme Court, where she would become the nation’s first Hispanic justice.

Senate Republicans Won't Block Vote on Sotomayor --Decision All but Ensures Confirmation to Supreme Court 17 Jul 2009 Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor won virtual assurance of rapid confirmation yesterday when Senate Republicans announced that they do not intend to block a vote that would make her the first Hispanic on the nation's highest court, concluding three days of intense questioning.

JPMorgan Chase earns $2.7 billion --Banking giant easily surpassed Wall Street's estimates for the second quarter 16 Jul 2009 JPMorgan Chase once again proved that it has been one of the better-run banks during the financial crisis after reporting quarterly results that blew past Wall Street estimates. Buoyed by a solid performance in its investment banking division, the company said Thursday that profits in the second quarter rose 36% from a year ago to $2.7 billion, or 28 cents a share.

Democrats Drop Key Part of Bill to Assist Unions 17 Jul 2009 A half-dozen senators friendly to labor have decided to drop a central provision of a bill that would have made it easier to organize workers. The so-called card-check provision -- which senators decided to scrap to help secure a filibuster-proof 60 votes -- would have required employers to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards saying they wanted a union. The abandonment of card check was another example of the power of moderate Democrats to constrain their party’s more liberal legislative efforts. Though the Democrats have a 60-40 vote advantage in the Senate, and President Obama supports the measure, several moderate DemocRATs opposed the card-check provision as undemocratic.

Sycophancy we can believe in: Obama looks for Republican healthcare backing 16 Jul 2009 President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to persuade Republicans to support overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry, his signature domestic policy goal, as the measures moved on a fast-track through congressional committees with only Democratic support.

Detroit Public Schools moves closer to bankruptcy and privatization By Walter Gilberti 16 July 2009 Detroit teachers and schools employees are in danger of having their jobs, wages and benefits sacrificed in the interest of an anti-public schools agenda driven by Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and the Obama administration. In a two-pronged attack on the continued existence of public schools in Detroit, Bobb has hired four private professional education management firms to oversee instruction at 17 Detroit high schools, while, at the same time, ratcheting up his earlier threat to institute bankruptcy proceedings.

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Some Guantanamo Bay Prisoners May Be Held Indefinitely --DoD lawyer: Any detainee, even if acquitted, could be held indefinitely 10 Jul 2009 An Obama administration official told Senators Tuesday that some detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility will most likely be held indefinitely if they pose a threat. The official spoke at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing... At a Senate hearing, Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson described one group of prisoners that will remain behind bars. "There will be at the end of the review a category of people that we in the administration believe must be retained for reasons of public safety and national security, and they're not necessarily people that we'll prosecute," Johnson said. Johnson also said any detainee, even if acquitted, could be held indefinitely. "And we've gone through our review period and we've made through the assessment the person is a security threat....I think it's our view that we would have the ability to detain that person," Johnson said.

US military resumes Guantanamo tribunals 16 Jul 2009 The US military has resumed the controversial Guantanamo tribunals for the first time in months with a series of pretrial hearings. The US President Barack Obama suspended the proceedings shortly after taking office in January but announced in May that some of the cases would continue, drawing criticism from human rights activists. On Wednesday, prosecutors sought delays pending a review in the cases of three defendants, said Joe DellaVedova, a Spokesman for the Military Commissions at the US naval installation in Cuba.

CIA death squads 'copied Mossad' 15 Jul 2009 Former US officials claim CIA was to hire assassination teams modeled after the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad's targeted killing specialist squads. On Tuesday, Newsweek quoted some former senior officials as saying that in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the former administration approached the Central Intelligence Agency to form the teams. The officials, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the White House broached the issue with CIA's espionage wing, the Directorate of Operations.

U.S. Lawyers Won't Defend Ex-Bush Attorney in Torture-Memo Case 14 Jul 2009 Justice Department attorneys will no longer defend former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo, who wrote memos justifying harsh interrogations torture of suspected terrorists, in a lawsuit claiming he’s responsible for violating the constitutional rights of a detainee prisoner. Private lawyers paid by the Justice Department will represent Yoo, who is appealing a federal judge’s refusal to throw out the lawsuit, according to court filings and a Justice Department spokeswoman.

Obama Claims Immunity, As New Spy Case Takes Center Stage 15 Jul 2009 The latest legal volley attacking President [sic] George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping dragnet gets its first court hearing here Wednesday, nearly four years after the warrantless surveillance program was revealed. The Jewel v. NSA lawsuit was filed in September by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It responded to 2008 federal legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from suits challenging their complicity in the President's Surveillance Program.

Israeli soldiers in Gaza describe a 'moral Twilight Zone' 14 Jul 2009 Israeli combat soldiers have acknowledged that they forced Palestinian civilians to serve as human shields, needlessly killed unarmed Gazans and improperly used white phosphorus shells to burn down buildings as part of Israel's three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip last winter. In filmed testimony and written statements released Wednesday, more than two dozen soldiers told an Israeli army veterans' group that military commanders led the fighters into what one described as a "moral Twilight Zone" where almost every Palestinian was seen as a threat.

Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza 15 Jul 2009 A group of soldiers who took part in Israel's assault in Gaza say widespread abuses were committed against civilians under "permissive" rules of engagement. The troops said they had been urged to fire on any building or person that seemed suspicious and said Palestinians were sometimes used as human shields. Breaking the Silence, a campaign group made up of Israeli soldiers, gathered anonymous accounts from 26 soldiers.

Israeli advertisement banned in UK 15 Jul 2009 Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advertisement showing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights as part of Israel. The advertising watchdog decided to remove the posters -- promoting tourism in Israel -- after receiving hundreds of complaints, protesting that the ad featured a map that misleadingly implied the occupied territories were internationally recognized as part of Israel.

US extends condolences over Iran air crash 15 Jul 2009 The US government has extended its condolences to the relatives of those killed in an air crash near the central Iranian city of Qazvin. All 168 people aboard the Tupolev plane were killed in the crash on Wednesday.

Germany's BND: No countdown to Iran atomic bomb 15 Jul 2009 Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND has denied a German magazine report which had said Iran was capable of producing an atomic bomb within six months. German weekly Stern cited BND experts as saying that Iran had the enrichment technology to make a bomb and had enough centrifuges to make weaponized uranium, Reuters reported.

11 killed in Iraq bombings 7 hours ago 15 Jul 2009 Two separate bomb attacks in Iraq, one by a suicide bomber on a police post, killed a total of 11 people and wounded at least 40 on Wednesday, police and medical officials said. The suicide attacker targeted a police checkpoint near a mosque in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi early morning, killing six people, including two traffic policemen, officials said... In Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City, a bomb ripped through a tent filled with funeral mourners in the evening, killing at least five people and wounding 28, a security official said.

Afghanistan: 'Britain is backing the Taleban' 16 Jul 2009 Despite the grim toll of British soldiers' bodies coming home in coffins, many Afghans believe British troops have been helping the Taleban. "Of course we think they are supporting the Taleban," said shopkeeper Saad Alikhi in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. "When the international troops first came here, they cleaned up all the Taleban, all over Afghanistan, within a month. Now I find there's a mine exploding in front of my shop." Security has plummeted across Helmand since UK troops arrived three years ago, and ordinary people have watched the Taleban grow stronger. Many are struggling to understand why Britain, with all the might of Nato and the United States behind it, has failed to beat the ragtag Taleban militia. [Because: It's not profitable for US/UK mercenary firms and corpora-terrorists to exit. More money can be made via their illegal occupation of Afghanistan.]

July is deadliest for US-led forces in Afghanistan 15 Jul 2009 July is shaping up as the deadliest month of the Afghan war for U.S.-led international forces, with the number killed already matching the highest full-month toll of the nearly eight-year conflict, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press. As of Wednesday, at least 46 international troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed in Afghanistan this month, according to statements by the U.S. military and the NATO command. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months _ June and August of 2008.

ND missile crew discharged after falling asleep 14 Jul 2009 The Air Force discharged three North Dakota ballistic missile crew members who fell asleep while holding classified launch code devices, the military announced Tuesday. Officials said the codes were outdated and remained secure at all times. The crew members were coming off a shift at a missile alert facility about 70 miles from Minot Air Force Base when they fell asleep in a secure crew rest area, Arellano said. The crew had with them code components -- classified devices that allow them to communicate with missiles. Launch codes are part of the components, which were described as large, metal boxes.

Second Round Aerial Mosquito Spraying 15 Jul 2009 The second round of 'mosquito' spraying has been scheduled. Once again a C-130 aircraft designed for aerial spraying will be applying pesticides. Minot Air Force Base will be sprayed Thursday beginning 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The city of Minot is scheduled for a spraying July 22nd and 23rd from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Pentagon won't ban war-zone smoking, despite study 15 Jul 2009 The Pentagon reassured troops Wednesday that it won't ban tobacco products in war zones. Fear of a ban arose among some troops after the Defense Department received a study recommending the military move toward becoming tobacco-free -- perhaps in about 20 years. Press secretary Geoff Morrell pointedly told a Pentagon news conference that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is not planning to prohibit the use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products by troops in combat.

Lanny Davis Now Lobbying In Support of Honduran Coup 14 Jul 2009 ...Lanny Davis was making the rounds of every news outlet that would have him, talking up Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House -- and/or pushing the Reverend Wright story. Not too long after, the former Clinton White House counsel popped up to do damage control for hawkish Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman over the AIPAC leak story. And now the hardest working conservative Democrat in show business has a new gig: lobbying against the Honduran leader recently deposed in a military coup.

Ex-Clinton aides advising Honduran coup regime By Bill Van Auken 15 Jul 2009 Ever since the military abducted President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint on June 28 and expelled him from the country, the Obama administration has cast itself as a steadfast defender of "democracy" in Honduras. The real nature of that defense has become somewhat clearer with the news that key former aides to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have surfaced as top advisers to the illegal regime led by Roberto Micheletti, which was installed by the coup.

'I hope we don't see the 1918 picture.' Swine flu will be biggest pandemic ever, warns world health chief 16 Jul 2009 How does Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation, expect the flu pandemic to compare to other pandemics? "In terms of the number of countries affected and the number of people infected, this has got to be the biggest." Bigger than 1918? "If you're talking about mortality then it's different. 1918 is the biggest in terms of mortality. I would not like to make any predictions... I hope we don't see the 1918 picture. But we should expect to see more people infected, and more severe cases coming up, including deaths."

Experts unearth history of pandemic flu viruses 14 Jul 2009 Flu viruses that sparked the three worst pandemics in the last century circulated in their near-complete forms for years before the catastrophes occurred, researchers in Hong Kong and the United States have found. The H1N1 virus that sparked the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 circulated in swine and humans well before the pandemic started, and it did not come directly from birds as previously thought, they added. Instead, it was probably generated by genetic exchanges between flu viruses from swine and humans. This contrasts sharply with previous studies which suggested that the H1N1 virus of 1918 was a mutant that jumped direct from birds to human and ended up killing as many as 50 million people.

Mumbai placed on alert after IB terror strike warning 15 Jul 2009 Security has been beefed up in Mumbai and neighboring districts following an Intelligence Bureau (IB) terror alert. According to Maharashtra's Minister of State for Home, Naseem Khan, vigil has been increased at railway stations and major financial institutions, based on the IB input.

Multiple gunshots fired near U.S. Capitol --Shootings happened a few blocks from where third day of hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was concluding

Capitol Police Shoot, Kill Suspect Near Capitol Building 15 Jul 2009 Capitol Police shot and killed an unidentified man late this afternoon about a block from the Capitol after the man fled a routine traffic stop and showed a weapon, Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said. Two Capitol Police officers received minor injuries and were treated at the scene... The car, a white Mercedes, fled and struck and injured an officer on Columbus Circle, she said.

Ad Accuses Sotomayor of Supporting Terrorists 15 Jul 2009 A leading conservative legal advocacy group that has a played a prominent role in the debate over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor has created a new ad accusing her of supporting violent terrorists and comparing her to former Weatherman Bill Ayers. The Committee for Justice, whose executive director [nutjob], Curt Levey, has frequently appeared on television and in newspaper articles criticizing Judge Sotomayor, unveiled the ad on its Web site late Tuesday.

Sotomayor Fends Off Queries on Abortion and Guns 16 Jul 2009 Republicans turned to the politically fraught issues of abortion and gun rights on Wednesday in an effort to knock Judge Sonia Sotomayor off stride, but as she neared the end of her testimony, her composure remained intact and her confirmation to the Supreme Court seemed on track.

317 cars burned ahead of Bastille Day --Disaffected youths frustrated with high unemployment rates and their view of France's failure to integrate ethnic minorities 14 Jul 2009 French youths burned 317 cars and wounded 13 police officers overnight on the eve of the Bastille Day national holiday, police said Tuesday. By 6:00 am (0400 GMT), police headquarters in Paris had recorded 317 burnt out cars -- up 6.7 percent on 2008 -- and 240 arrests, almost double the total for the same period last year. These numbers were expected to increase as fresh reports came in.

Gas tanker explodes on I-75 north of Detroit 15 Jul 2009 Flames are shooting hundreds of feet in the air from a gasoline tanker explosion that has forced the shutdown of an interstate north of Detroit. Interstate 75 in Hazel Park, about 10 miles north of downtown Detroit, was shut down Wednesday evening.

India may allow U.S. to build nuclear-power plants 15 Jul 2009 India may make two announcements next week paving the way for more than $20 billion in contracts for U.S. companies building nuclear-power plants and selling defense technology, said Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hopes to unveil the agreements that would help American firms sell sophisticated arms and nuclear power plants to India when she visits next week.

Red-light cameras in Schaumburg screech to a halt --Critics say Schaumburg was more interested in collecting ticket money than improving safety 15 Jul 2009 When Schaumburg and RedSpeed Illinois announced their intention to install red-light cameras in the village last September, both parties hoped it would be a long-term commitment... Yet nine months after saying, "I do," Schaumburg has called the whole thing off, citing no improvements in safety and a flood of angry-motorist grief, after red-light cameras at the village's lone picture-snapping intersection netted more than $1 million in tickets.

Poll: The primary reason behind red-light cameras--Safety or revenue? 15 Jul 2009 Safety (134 responses) 5.8% Revenue (2159 responses) 94.2% 2293 total responses (Snapshot of poll)

Health care bill gets approval of Senate panel 15 Jul 2009 The Senate health committee Wednesday approved legislation to remake the nation's health care system, becoming the first congressional panel to do so this year. But the party-line vote underscored the absence of political consensus on what would be the biggest changes in social policy in more than 40 years. The bill, which aims to make health insurance available to all Americans, was approved, 13-10, by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Bernie Madoff 'Hit the Inmate Lottery' with Butner Prison, Consultant Says 14 Jul 2009 'Home sweet home' has new meaning for notorious Ponzi scammer Bernie Madoff, who arrived clad in a blue jumpsuit at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina just before noon today to begin serving his 150-year sentence. Madoff "hit the inmate lottery" by being assigned to Butner's medium security lockup, said federal sentencing attorney Alan Ellis, who characterizes the facility as "one of the crown jewels of the federal prison system."

Obama kicks off historic night in St. Louis --First Fan, former presidents honor All-Stars Among Us 14 Jul 2009 President Barack Obama said it was "as much fun as I've had in quite some time," and the sentiments probably were shared by many in a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium and a worldwide TV audience, as the 80th All-Star Game got under way Tuesday night with a pregame ceremony that was truly one for the ages. The 44th president threw out the ceremonial first pitch, something no one in office had done since Gerald Ford at the 1976 All-Star Game in Philadelphia.

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New York Times Reported In 2002 Bush Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists --The New York Times reported that Bush had prepared a list of 'worst of the worst' to be killed... in December 2002. Ergo, this can't be the 'secret program,' since the NYT published the 'secrets' in 2002. --LRP

Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists 15 Dec 2002 The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officials said. The previously undisclosed C.I.A. list includes key Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, the officials said. The names of about two dozen terrorist leaders have recently been on the lethal-force list, officials said. "It's the worst of the worst," an official said. President [sic] Bush has provided written legal authority to the C.I.A. to hunt down and kill the terrorists without seeking further approval each time the agency is about to stage an operation. Some officials said the terrorist list was known as the "high-value target list." Despite the authority given to the agency, Mr. Bush has not waived the executive order banning assassinations, officials said.

AP sources: House lays groundwork for CIA probe 14 Jul 2009 The House Intelligence Committee has asked the CIA to provide documents about the now-canceled program to kill al-Qaida leaders, congressional officials said Tuesday. The agency spent at least $1 million on the eight-year program before it was terminated last month, one congressional official said. Intelligence officials say the operation never progressed beyond a planning stage. The CIA said Tuesday that the agency would cooperate in the House move, a precursor to what would likely become a full-blown investigation into the secret operation [?] and why the program was not disclosed to Congress.

Strip searches sparked June Guantánamo sit-in --Defense lawyers learned of episode while it was happening but were gagged under Pentagon system 14 Jul 2009 For two weeks in June, two dozen war-onof-terror captives staged a sit-in at an exercise yard in a maximum-security prison camp -- refusing to budge from a labyrinth of open-air cells in a previously undisclosed coordinated protest that evoked images of the early days of Camp X-Ray. Guards delivered the detainees' meals to their recreation yards rather than risk injury by forcing the 26 protesting prisoners back into their solitary cells... Military officials this week confirmed the mass protest by about half the prisoners at Camp 5 in response to a detailed query from The Miami Herald.

Vietnamization we can believe in: US has new brigades with 'advisory mission' in Iraq 14 Jul 2009 The Pentagon on Tuesday announced the deployment of newly modified Army brigades to Iraq to focus on training and development duties that will dominate the U.S. mission after combat forces leave by August 2010. Four "advisory and assistance brigades," constituting up to 14,000 soldiers, will begin deploying to Iraq this fall as part of a routine 30,000-troop rotation that also includes three Army combat brigades and three Army division headquarters, defense officials said.

Israeli warships cross Suez Canal again 14 Jul 2009 Two Israel Navy warships made a rare crossing of Egypt's Suez Canal on Tuesday, heading from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea in a voyage that could be seen as a warning signal to Iran. One of the ships, the Hanit, had reportedly already crossed the canal both ways in June, in what a port source called the first case of a large Israeli warship using the strategic waterway. However, this was not possible to confirm officially.

Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack --Troops' testimonies disclose loose rules of engagement and use of civilians as human shields. Palestinian houses were systematically destroyed by 'insane artillery firepower' 15 Jul 2009 The picture that emerges from the testimonies, which have been seen by The Independent, is one of massive fire power to cover advances and rules of engagement that were calculated to ensure, in the words attributed to one battalion commander, that "not a hair will fall of a soldier of mine. I am not willing to allow a soldier of mine to risk himself by hesitating. If you are not sure, shoot". The first eye-witness accounts of the war by serving Israeli reservists and conscripts describes the Israeli use of Palestinian civilians as "human shields". They detail the killing of at least two civilians, the vandalism, looting and wholesale destruction of Palestinian houses, the use of deadly white phosphorus, bellicose religious advice from army rabbis and what another battalion commander described to his troops as "insane firepower with artillery and air force".

IAF jets scrambled against civilian plane feared hijacked by terrorists 14 Jul 2009 Israel Air Force planes were mistakenly scrambled last weekend to shoot down a Continental Airlines passenger plane suspected of being flown to Israel with terrorist intentions, Haaretz has learned. A technical failure, apparently with ground communication units, is believed to have prevented the pilots from identifying their plan upon entry to Israeli airspace, as required. The Israeli jets were sent out to identify the plane and shoot it down if necessary, according to an established safety procedure.

Britain to send 140 more troops to Afghanistan 14 Jul 2009 Britain is sending an additional 140 troops to Afghanistan to bolster the war effort there. The troops will join more than 9,000 British soldiers already in Afghanistan as an offensive against Taliban positions in Helmand Province continues.

Crooked Afghan Cops Challenge Marines 14 Jul 2009 Afghan villagers had complained to the U.S. Marines for days: The [US-funded] police are the problem, not the Taliban. They steal from villagers and beat them. Days later, the Marines learned firsthand what the villagers meant. As about 150 Marines and Afghan soldiers approached the police headquarters in the Helmand River town of Aynak, the police fired four gunshots at the combined force... The original force was sent away for several weeks of training the U.S. is conducting across Afghanistan to professionalize the country's police.

Six die in copter crash, Afghan war toll mounts 14 Jul 2009 Six Ukrainians supplying British troops in Afghanistan were killed in a helicopter crash on Tuesday and two U.S. Marines and an Italian soldier were killed in what could become the bloodiest month in the 8-year-old war. Authorities in Moldova said the cargo helicopter, owned by an aviation firm there, was brought down by a missile. Western forces confirmed a helicopter had crashed bringing supplies to a British base at Sangin in Helmand Province and six foreigners were killed.

Doctors demand inquest into death of Dr David Kelly 13 Jul 2009 A group of 13 doctors who believe that Dr David Kelly, the Government scientist, did not commit suicide, but was murdered, are launching a legal campaign to demand an inquest. The original inquest into Dr Kelly's death six years ago in woods near his Oxfordshire home was suspended by Lord Falconer, then the Lord Chancellor. Dr Kelly died shortly after he was exposed as the source for a story claiming the Government "probably knew" that a claim Iraq could attack with weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes was not true.

Obama Extends Cheney's Secret Service Protection 10 Jul 2009 Whispers has learned that... Dick Cheney's Secret Service protection has been extended, though there were no details on the length. We don't know why President Obama [insanely] OK'd the extension, which must be approved by the commander in chief because former veeps typically don't get any Secret Service security after leaving office. But indications are that the threats against Cheney, who's working on his biography at his homes in Virginia and Maryland, haven't lessened since his term expired.

67 Air Force cadets stricken with swine flu 13 Jul 2009 The number of cadets with confirmed cases of the swine flu at the Air Force Academy has increased to 67. The academy said Monday that a total of 121 incoming freshmen with flu-like symptoms are being kept in dorms, away from other cadets. Cadets who started showing symptoms were separated from the rest of the class at the base near Colorado Springs late last week.

Foreign schools cancel British trips due to swine flu 15 Jul 2009 Foreign tourists and school parties are refusing to travel to Britain because of fears over the spread of swine flu. The Daily Telegraph has learned that visitors have started to cancel trips due to health fears, raising concerns over the impact of the disease on the tourism industry. Two conferences at Cambridge University were scrapped because of health concerns and a small number of schools in Europe have also pulled out of exchange trips and summer schools.

Swine flu vaccine rushed through safety checks 13 Jul 2009 A swine flu vaccine will be fast-tracked for use in Britain within five days once it is developed, and 130 million doses are on order. The Department of Health expects to have enough vaccine this year to give it to half the population. The first doses specific to the H1N1 swine flu virus are set to arrive in September and could be given regulatory approval in less than a week. [See: Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than Swine Flu --Vaccine contains squalene and gp120 By Dr. Russell Blaylock 07 Jul 2009.]

Pharmas Seek Flu Vaccine Suit Shield 15 Oct 2005 In Europe, Asia, South and North America governments clamor for bird flu vaccines - and they may have them so long as the pharmaceutical companies are indemnified against lawsuits. The U.S. Senate has already approved an amendment by Iowa's Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, adding $3.9 billion to a military appropriation for preparations for the expected outbreak. That money is earmarked for stockpiling medications to combat the virus, if it does occur, and also, reportedly for "immunity from lawsuits if a vaccination causes harm,” according to an article in the Washington insider publication, The Hill.

U.S. orders $690M in swine-flu vaccine from Novartis, $71M from GSK 14 Jul 2009 The federal government is committing more than $800 million to buy more of the two key ingredients to make the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to place additional orders on existing contracts with vaccine manufacturers including GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. The former Chiron Corp. facility in Emeryville is now owned by Novartis, which makes vaccines there. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

New Mexico Department of Health Prepares For Influenza Mass Vaccination Clinics 14 Jul 2009 The New Mexico Department of Health is planning for influenza mass vaccination clinics that will take place this fall to 'protect people against' the novel H1N1 strain of influenza and against seasonal influenza. The Department of Health is also ensuring that the State and its local partners are prepared to deal with the possibility of an increase in severity of H1N1 influenza cases, including a potential pandemic in New Mexico. ['Novel.' Translation: Killer flu recreated in the lab.]

Flu Shots Put Children in the Hospital By S. L. Baker 14 Jul 2009 At the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society recently held in San Diego, researchers presented a study showing that the flu vaccine... isn't effective in preventing influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially ones with asthma. But here's the most damning evidence that flu shots aren't the safe, helpful vaccine the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government agencies claim: the researchers also found that children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than their peers who do not get the vaccine.

CLG Pandemic Action Alerts 12 Jul 2009 Petition against mandatory vaccines; contact the White House, US Congress [All hands on deck! Please sign CLG's petition - ours and others with the same goal you see on the Web - and get ready to *raise holy heck* if the deadly, pharma-terrorists' vaccines are mandatory! CLG has been warning of this for years. We have documented, over and over, the fact that the US government was funding and creating killer flu in labs. We cited legislation - passed under Bush two days before Christmas when *no one* was paying attention - giving US pharmaceutical companies full-blown immunity from liability for their deadly products used during a 'health emergency.' We showed that the DoD would carry out military missions and enforce quarantines. Most of these articles would appear on the Web on a Saturday night and vanish within days. The CLG has also revealed numerous deaths -- mathematically odds-defying -- of microbiologists under bizarre circumstances. This ultimate weapon of mass distraction has suddenly emerged so that discussion of the Bush Depression; Bush/Cheney torture, war crimes and treason; and the Iraq/Af/Pak war money pit -- vanishes from the landscape. --Lori Price]

Officials to probe color-coded terror alert system 14 Jul 2009 The Homeland Security Department will review and possibly replace the often-ridiculed multicolored terror alert system created after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Since it was created in 2002, the system has been confusing and became the butt of jokes by late-night television comics... And Democrats said the Bush administration used it for political manipulation.

Missouri Police Launch Multi-Jurisdictional Data Sharing Initiative 13 Jul 2009 BIO-key International Inc., a leader in finger-based biometric identification and wireless public safety solutions, today announced an add-on award from the Columbia, MO Police Department for InfoExchange, the company’s information access solution. InfoExchange puts police records management system (RMS) and other local data directly and automatically in the hands of officers on the street. RMS databases store detailed information on individuals arrested or involved in incidents in the community, which is often not available from federal and state sources.

Fugitive KKK leader found, arrested in Tel Aviv 14 Jul 2009 A senior member of the notorious Ku Klux Klan (KKK) white supremacy movement on the run from US federal authorities has been located and arrested in southern Tel Aviv. Micky Louis Mayon, one of the 100 Most Wanted criminals in the US since 2007, was apprehended at his apartment on Monday after his whereabouts were discovered by Interpol.

Suburban Philly pool faces discrimination suit 13 Jul 2009 A suburban Philadelphia swim club's board should resign to settle claims that the club canceled the pool memberships of dozens of minority children because of their race, a lawyer for most of the children's families said Monday. Michael Kuldiner said Monday that he expects to file a federal lawsuit within a week on behalf of most of the families and the day camp, Creative Steps Inc., against The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley.

Sotomayor answers her Senate critics --She responds patiently, assuring supporters if not winning over foes as she explains the legal bases for her past rulings. 14 Jul 2009 Skeptical Republicans did no serious damage to President Obama's Supreme Court nominee during the first full day of questioning today, as an unruffled Judge Sonia Sotomayor cautiously, if at times ploddingly, fended off sharp questions. The minority Republicans said that they were determined to press ahead Wednesday and possibly into Thursday, but they all but conceded that Sotomayor would be easily confirmed.

Exchanges from the Sotomayor confirmation hearing --A look at some exchanges in Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor By The Associated Press 14 Jul 2009 Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: "You know it much better than I do, that rule of law triumphing probably best characterizes your record as your 17 years as a judge." Sotomayor: "I firmly believe in the fidelity to the law. In every case I approach, I start from that working proposition and apply the law to the facts before us."

Goldman Sachs executives sold $700m of stock 14 Jul 2009 Executives at Goldman Sachs sold almost $700m (£431m) worth of stock following the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission compiled by the Financial Times. Most of the sales at the Wall Street investment bank occurred during the period in which the firm enjoyed the support of $10bn in government funds from the troubled asset relief programme.

Bailed-out Goldman Sachs profit soars to 3.44 bln dlrs 13 Jul 2009 Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs on Tuesday posted a forecast-busting 3.44 billion dollars in quarterly profit after paying back a US government bailout, suggesting the financial crisis is easing. Goldman, which reimbursed a 10-billion-dollar federal bailout in full in the second quarter, said its net profit soared 65 percent thanks to robust trading operations.

Goldman Sachs VaR Reaches Record on Risks Led by Equity Trading 15 Jul 2009 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ratcheted up risk-taking to an all-time high in the second quarter, increasing equity bets 58 percent to amass record trading revenue and quarterly earnings. Value-at-risk, a measure of how much money the firm could lose in a day’s trading, rose to $245 million from $240 million in the first quarter, the New York-based firm said yesterday.

US House Health Bill Puts 5.4% Surtax On Millionaires 14 Jul 2009 U.S. House Democrats on Tuesday proposed new taxes on the wealthy to help fund an expansion of government health benefits. But the bill also includes a mechanism to peel back the tax increases if the revenue isn't needed to fund the bill. The bill would place a 5.4% surtax on individuals and families with annual gross income exceeding $1 million. Individuals and families with annual income above $350,000 would face a 1% surtax, and those making between $500,000 and $1 million a year would be hit with a 1.5% surtax.

GOP installed Enron troll continues his destruction of the state of California: Schwarzenegger preparing to cut another 2,000 jobs 14 Jul 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has told state employee unions his administration is preparing to cut another 2,000 state jobs to deal with California's $26.3 billion budget deficit. The Department of Personnel Administration informed the unions of the potential cuts during a conference call Tuesday.

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CIA planned al-Qaida assassinations in friendly countries, officials say --Cheney hid operation from Congress because of plans for killings abroad, former officials say --Friendly countries kept in the dark about assassination plans --US military killed al-Qaida activist in Kenya --Congress concerned over covert surveillance of US citizens 13 Jul 2009 Dick Cheney, the former vice president [sic], ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress by planning to assassinate of al-Qaida operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials. Former counter-terrorism officials who retain close links to the intelligence community say that the hidden operation involved plans by the CIA and the military to launch operations, similar to those by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, to hunt down and kill al-Qaida activists abroad without informing the governments concerned, even though some were regarded as friendly if unreliable. The CIA apparently did not put the plan in to operation but the US military did, carrying out several assassinations including one in Kenya that proved to be a severe embarrassment and helped lead to the quashing of the programme.

CIA Had Secret Plan to Assassinate Terror Foes --Initiative at Heart of Spat With Congress Examined Ways to Seize, Kill Terror Chiefs 13 Ju l2009 A secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill 'al Qaeda' operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter. The precise nature of the highly classified effort isn't clear, and the CIA won't comment on its substance. According to current and former government officials, the agency spent money on planning and possibly some training. It was acting on a 2001 presidential legal pronouncement, known as a finding, which authorized the CIA to pursue such efforts.

New reports of massive spying, criminality by US government By Patrick Martin 13 Jul 2009 Reports in the American press on Friday and Saturday reveal massive illegality in the US government and intelligence apparatus. They demonstrate not only routine violations of democratic rights through illegal spying and wiretapping both at home and abroad, but also disregard for legally required reports to Congress... The military/intelligence apparatus operates according to its own rules, disclosing or withholding information from its supposed civilian superiors only when it is felt politically necessary. What is being revealed... is the existence of a "state within the state," a secret government that continues to function regardless of the individual who inhabits the White House.

Stop bombing us: Osama isn't here, says Pakistan 12 Jul 2009 Osama bin Laden and the top Al-Qaeda leadership are not in Pakistan [right, the latter is in Langley], making US missile attacks against them futile, according to the country’s interior minister. "If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months," Rehman Malik told The Sunday Times. "If he and all these four or five top people were in our area they would have been caught, the way we are searching."

In Afghan war, Brown accused of dereliction of duty 13 Jul 2009 With Britain mourning the recent deaths of eight soldiers, Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces accusations of "dereliction of duty" in his handling of the war in Afghanistan. Pressure has been piling up on the British government after the deaths of eight soldiers on Friday pushed Britain's toll in Afghanistan to 184 from a force of 9,000 -- five more than its total losses in Iraq.

Mounting Casualties in Afghanistan Spur Concern Death --Tolls Compare to Iraq as Number of U.S. and NATO Forces Surge; Criticism of War in U.K. Heats Up 13 Jul 2009 A series of attacks in Afghanistan has left four U.S. Marines and eight British soldiers dead in recent days, stoking concern among U.S. and allied forces over a surge in battlefield deaths, as thousands of troops pour into the country. The mounting deaths have contributed to harsh criticism of the war in a handful of NATO countries that have lost soldiers in recent months, including Canada, Germany and France. It has been an especially divisive issue in Britain, which has lost 15 soldiers in the past 11 days, including the eight killed Friday. Those deaths have brought Britain's total losses to 184, a tally that exceeds the 179 British military personnel killed in Iraq.

Afghanistan: More helicopters will not prevent deaths, Defence Secretary claims 13 Jul 2009 Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, has said that increasing the number of military helicopters in Afghanistan would not prevent all deaths among British soldiers there. Eight soldiers were killed in 24 hours last week, and the Afghan death toll now stands at 184, more than the total suffered in Iraq. Military commanders and opposition parties say that some of those casualties might have been avoided if more troops were able to move in helicopters instead of by road.

Iraq inquiry video shows soldier screaming at prisoners 13 Jul 2009 Video footage shown to the Baha Mousa death inquiry today shows a British soldier screaming abuse at detainees. Six prisoners with sandbags on their heads are seen spread around the edges of a bare room. Their backs are to the walls and their arms are secured with plastic handcuffs. The sound of moaning, whimpering and panting is heard as the detainees are forced to maintain "stress positions".

Baha Mousa public inquiry to examine allegations of torture in British custody 13 Jul 2009 A major public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi civilian called Baha Mousa in British military custody with the former Queen's Lancashire Regiment will begin on Monday. Hotel receptionist Mr Mousa died while being detained by soldiers from the QLR in 2003. The wide-ranging inquiry into his death and the British Army's use of so-called conditioning techniques to "soften up" prisoners for interrogation will take place in central London. While in the custody of the Preston-based Queen's Lancashire Regiment, the receptionist was beaten to death, sustaining 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

U.K.: We revoked Israel arms licenses, but it's no embargo 13 Jul 2009 The British Embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed Monday that the United Kingdom has revoked a number of arms export licenses to Israel following the Gaza war, but insisted that the move did not constitute a partial embargo. "There is no partial U.K. arms embargo on Israel," the embassy said in a statement to Haaretz. "U.K. policy remains to assess all export licenses to Israel against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria."

U.S. ambassador to Iraq unhurt by convoy bomb 13 Jul 2009 A roadside bomb exploded near a convoy carrying U.S. ambassador to Baghdad Chris Hill in southern Iraq, but the envoy was unhurt, the U.S. embassy said on Monday. Hill was traveling in Dhi Qar province, about 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad, on Sunday when the bomb struck his convoy, U.S. embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh said.

13 doctors demand inquest into Dr David Kelly's death --13 specialist doctors compiled a detailed medical dossier that rejects Hutton conclusion on grounds that a cut to the ulnar artery, which is small and difficult to access, could not have caused death 13 Jul 2009 The death of Government scientist David Kelly returned to haunt Labour today as a group of doctors announced that they were mounting a legal challenge to overturn the finding of suicide. Dr Kelly's body was found six years ago this week in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the grounds for war in Iraq. Unusually, no coroner's inquest was held into his death. The only official verdict has come from the Hutton Inquiry, commissioned by Tony Blair, which concluded that Dr Kelly died from loss of blood after cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife. Critics regarded the report as a 'whitewash', and Mr Blair remains acutely sensitive to the accusation that he has 'blood on his hands' over the scientist's death.

Swine flu virus related to 1918 pandemic 13 Jul 2009 Swine flu penetrates deeper into the lungs and can inflict more damage than ordinary seasonal flu, scientists have found. The discovery could explain why the virus is able to cause severe illness in people with no underlying health problems. Experts also believe swine flu is closely related to strains responsible for the 1918 pandemic which killed up to 40 million people worldwide. [Want to know where it came from? Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice.]

Swine flu 'five times more virulent' --Experts warned that any cluster of deaths could indicate the virus had mutated and become nastier. 13 Jul 2009 Swine flu has been blamed for two more deaths -- of a family doctor and a six-year-old girl -- as the first full analysis of the virus shows it is five times more virulent than ordinary seasonal flu. The first full analysis of the H1N1 virus, published in Nature, shows it causes more lung damage in animals than seasonal flu. For two strains of virus tested, five times less was needed to cause the same damage as seasonal flu.

New flu "unstoppable", WHO says, calls for vaccine 13 Jul 2009 The CDC estimates at least a million people are infected in the United States alone and clinics everywhere are advised not to test each and every patient, so keeping an accurate count of cases will be impossible. The United States has documented 211 deaths and WHO counted 429 early last week. Kieny said WHO would also work to get better viruses [!] for companies from which to make vaccines.

Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than Swine Flu --Vaccine contains squalene and gp120 By Dr. Russell Blaylock 07 Jul 2009 This virus continues to be an enigma for virologists. In the April 30, 2009 issue of Nature, a virologist was quoted as saying,"Where the hell it got all these genes from we don’t know." Extensive analysis of the virus found that it contained the original 1918 H1N1 flu virus, the avian flu virus (bird flu), and two new H3N2 virus genes from Eurasia. Debate continues over the possibility that swine flu is a genetically engineered virus. ...Baxter Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Pharmaceuticals have had agreements with the World Health Organization to produce a pandemic vaccine. The Baxter company has been associated with two deadly scandals. The first event occurred in 2006 when hemophiliac components were contaminated with HIV virus and injected in tens of thousands of people, including thousands of children. Baxter continued to release the HIV contaminated vaccine even after the contamination was known. The second event occurred recently when it was discovered that Baxter had released a seasonal flu vaccine containing the bird flu virus, which would have produced a real world pandemic, to 18 countries. Fortunately, astute lab workers in the Czech Republic discovered the deadly combination and blew the whistle before a worldwide disaster was unleashed. Despite these two deadly events, WHO maintains an agreement with Baxter Pharmaceuticals to produce the world's pandemic vaccine.

CBS "60 Minutes" documentary on 1976 U.S. swine flu epidemic 19 Jun 2009 It aired only once and was never shown again. (Video)

Everyone in the UK to be vaccinated against swine flu pandemic 13 Jul 2009 The entire UK population is to be vaccinated against with swine flu following the death of the first healthy British patient. The NHS will receive the new vaccine in the next few weeks and is expected to fast-track the drug through regulatory approval within five days. However, NHS Scotland chief executive Kevin Woods recently said in a letter to local NHS board officials: "According to current delivery estimates vaccine for 100 per cent of the population could be received by November 2010." [Yeah, they might want to lower their estimates. The other day I saw a comment: 'We'll take your shot after you take ours.']

Swine flu strikes Downing Street – and almost reaches G8 summit [Damn. I must say, that would have solved nearly every one of the world's problems.] 13 Jul 2009 The first case of swine flu has struck Downing Street and it nearly caused a diplomatic crisis. Gordon Brown's senior climate change adviser Michael Jacobs was banned from attending the G8 summit in Italy for fear he would pass the contagious disease to Barack Obama and other world leaders. It is understood that Jacobs contracted the disease while involved in climate change talks in Mexico.

Sotomayor hearings: Feingold takes a swipe at Bush administration 13 Jul 2009 Sen. Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, singled out what he called one of the most important qualities for a Supreme Court justice: courage. He brought up courage while recounting actions by the high court to counter anti-terrorism efforts by the Bush administration. The implication: The court showed courage standing up against President [sic] Bush. He noted that, in recent years, the Supreme Court repeatedly rebuffed the Bush administration on a number of fronts.

Sotomayor Addresses Senators as Her Confirmation Hearing Begins 13 Jul 2009 Sonia Sotomayor, the first nominee to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president in 15 years, told the Senate Judiciary Committee today, on the opening day of her confirmation hearing, that her judicial philosophy can be distilled to just a few words: "fidelity to the law."

Text of Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor 13 Jul 2009 Text of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, as delivered.

Obama Selects Alabama Doctor as Surgeon General 13 Jul 2009 President Obama has chosen Regina Benjamin, a family physician from Alabama, to be the next Surgeon General, filling a key public health post ahead of an expected surge in the H1N1 flu next fall. Benjamin gained fame through her public efforts to rebuild her rural health clinic after Hurricane Katrina devastated it. She founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in 1990 and rebuilt it after the hurricane.

AIG seeks to pay $235 million in bonuses By Andre Damon 13 July 2009 American International Group (AIG), the credit insurer that received a $40 billion government bailout in March, last week requested government approval for paying out $235 million in bonuses to its top employees. When, in March of this year, AIG announced that it planned to pay over $165 million dollars in bonuses, a public outcry arose. On March 19, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure to tax executive bonuses at companies receiving TARP assistance. The bill stalled in the Senate after Obama came out against it.

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