August 2008 Archives
Reuters caught with 'fake' pictures from Georgia --Media war against Russia 10 Aug 2008 This morning one can read on the BBC news site -- Reuters agency posts horrible pictures of Russian bombardments of allegedly civilian residential buildings. But what if you take a closer look? [See: A Georgian man cries next to his brother's body in the town of Gori, 80 km (50 miles) from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili. Here he is again, alone still with some clothes on, or maybe he changed. The man in the checkered shirt keeps returning!]
CNN blamed for using misleading war video 12 Aug 2008 American broadcaster CNN has been accused of using the wrong pictures in their coverage of the conflict in South Ossetia. A Russian cameraman says footage of wrecked tanks and ruined buildings, which was purported to have been filmed in the town of Gori, in fact showed the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. Gori was said to be about to fall under the control of the Russian army but the cameraman says the video was actually shot in Tskhinvali, which had been flattened by Georgian shelling.
US scraps war games with Russia, mulls other responses 13 Aug 2008 The United States has cancelled upcoming joint military exercises with Russia, its first concrete response to the armed conflict in Georgia, as officials consider broader reprisals following Moscow 'aggression.' A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday, said that the August 15-23 exercises involving Russian, French, British and US warships in the Sea of Japan "have been scrapped."
US forces to deliver Georgia 'aid' 13 Aug 2008 President [sic] George W Bush has said the US will use military aircraft and naval forces to deliver aid to Georgia following its conflict with Russia. Speaking in Washington, he expressed concern about reports of continuing Russian action in Georgia, and urged Russia to respect a ceasefire accord.
to take control of Georgian ports: Saakashvili 13 Aug 2008 President
[sic] George W. Bush's pledge to send aid to Georgia means that the
U.S. military will take control of the ex-Soviet state's ports and airports,
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Wednesday. "You have
heard the statement by the U.S. president that the United States is
starting a military-
As he occupies Iraq and Afghanistan: Bush Warns Russia to Honor Cease-Fire Agreement 13 Aug 2008 President [sic] Bush today warned Russia to honor a cease-fire agreement in its conflict with Georgia, saying that reports of ongoing military actions by Moscow "raise serious questions about its intentions" and threaten its standing in the world.
says Russia 'must end' military operations in Georgia 13 Aug
2008 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Russia "must end" military
operations in Georgia now. She also says Russia needs to respect a U.S.
aid effort getting underway to help the people of Georgia. Rice made
her comments Wednesday during a news conference at the State Department
just hours before leaving on a diplomatic mission to France and then
to Georgia to
Georgian MP lauds IDF military training 12 Aug 2008 Georgian Integration Minister Temur Yakobashvili told The Jerusalem Post Monday he "felt proud as a Jew," thanks to the training Israelis had provided to units in the Georgian military... Yakobasvili's comments confirmed reports to the Post by an Israeli defense official Sunday that a small number of Georgian elite troops had been trained by Galilee Div. commander Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsch, who founded the Homat Magen company. "I have to underline that this was not a government-to-government thing," said Yakobashvili. "This was between the Georgian government and a private Israeli company. They have provided highly qualified training."
Troops from Atlanta will train in Republic of Georgia 14 Jul 2008 A large contingent of Georgia Army National Guard soldiers flew to the Republic of Georgia on Sunday for joint military exercises at a time when tension is brewing in the region. The soldiers, mostly from the metro area, will be part of "Immediate Response 2008," which will amount to the largest U.S. footprint on the crossroads of Asia and Europe since the Cold War began. The three-week operation also provides practical training for the 48th Infantry Brigade's 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment just months before a pending deployment to Afghanistan.
U.S. Military Instructors Command Hirelings in Georgia 11 Aug 2008 Thousands of mercenaries are fighting for Georgia in this burning conflict with South Ossetia. They are commanded by the U.S. military instructors, RIA Novosti reported with reference to a high-ranked officer of Russia’s military intelligence. "From 2,500 to 3,000 mercenaries fight against Russia’s peacekeepers on behalf of Georgia," the unnamed source said. The U.S. military instructors directly command and coordinate actions of mercenaries without being involved in actual fighting, the source specified. According to intelligence data, there are roughly 1,000 military instructors of the United States in Georgia.
While Aide Advised McCain, His Firm Lobbied for Georgia 13 Aug 2008 Sen. John McCain's top foreign policy adviser prepped his boss for an April 17 phone call with the president of Georgia and then helped the presumptive Republican presidential nominee prepare a strong statement of support for the fledgling republic. The day of the call, a lobbying firm partly owned by the adviser, Randy Scheunemann, signed a $200,000 contract to continue providing strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington.
BP shuts down Georgia pipelines 12 Aug 2008 Energy giant BP says it has shut two of three pipelines that run through Georgia as a precautionary measure. [!?!] A spokeswoman for the firm said the oil and gas pipelines, which run from the Caspian Sea into Georgia, had not been damaged by the recent fighting. Another key oil pipeline, which runs from Azerbaijan through southern Georgia into Turkey, is already shut.
Iraq minister: US combat troops to pull out in three years under deal 14 Aug 2008 American soldiers will withdraw from cities across Iraq next summer and all US combat troops will leave the country within three years, provided the violence remains [sic] low, under the terms of a draft agreement with the Iraqi Government. In one of the most detailed insights yet into the content of the deal, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, has also told The Times that the US military would be barred from unilaterally mounting attacks inside Iraq from next year. In addition, the power of arrest for US soldiers would be curbed by the need to hand over any prisoner to a new, US-Iraqi committee. Troops would require the green light from this joint command before conducting any operation.
Roadside bomb in Afghanistan 'lightly' wounds 5 Canadian soldiers 13 Aug 2008 Five Canadian soldiers have been "lightly wounded" by a roadside bomb in the perilous Zhari district of Kandahar province. The military says their armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device around 7:30 a.m. today.
UK soldier killed in Kabul suicide bomb 12 Aug 2008 A British soldier was killed and two were wounded in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday. The attack happened in Kabul on Monday, when the attacker rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a patrol as it was moving through the capital.
Pentagon puts hold on USAF Cyberspace Command 13 Aug 2008 The Pentagon this week delayed and may kill the Air Force's nascent Cyberspace Command, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. The service's Cyberspace Command is meant to coordinate computer network defense and, more controversially, offensive attacks on enemy networks. The goal, according to senior officials, is to be able to take control of adversary computer networks to thwart attacks or otherwise influence their behavior_ either with or without that adversary realizing it.
U.S. deserter ordered deported from Canada --Hinzman likely faces military charges in the U.S. 13 Aug 2008 One of the first U.S. Army deserters from Iraq to seek refugee status in Canada has been ordered deported. Jeremy Hinzman said Wednesday he was ordered out of the country by September 23 by Canada's Border Services Agency. Hinzman deserted the U.S. Army in 2004 after learning his unit was to be deployed to Iraq. He refused to participate in what he [the whole world] calls an immoral and illegal war. Hinzman, 29, fled to Canada with his wife and son after he was ordered to deploy to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division in December 2003.
New bird flu threat could be H9N2, researchers say --U.S. scientists 'tinker' with H9N2 virus, a more virulent and pathogenic strain --Team also mixed H9N2 with an H3N2 virus 13 Aug 2008 Countries around the world may be preparing for a possible H5N1 bird flu pandemic, but another strain called H9N2 also poses a threat to humanity, researchers reported on Tuesday. Tests on the H9N2 strain of the virus show it is capable of infecting and spreading with very few changes, a team from the University of Maryland, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and elsewhere reported. Most influenza experts agree that a pandemic of some kind of flu is inevitable. [That's because the US is creating it.] Maryland's Daniel Perez and colleagues tinkered with the H9N2 virus and tested it in ferrets, animals whose biology is very close to humans when it comes to flu. A single mutation made H9N2 more virulent and pathogenic, and also helped it transmit more easily from one ferret to another, they reported in their study.
Wounded suspect in Ark. shooting dies after chase 13 Aug 2008 Police say a man suspected of bursting into the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters and shooting the party chairman has died. Police say the suspect burst into the office of Party Chairman Bill Gwatney and fired three shots. Gwatney is hospitalized in critical condition. Police Lt. Terry Hastings says authorities chased the suspect into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and that he was fatally wounded during a 30-mile chase.
Another GOPedophile bites the dust! Homeland Security contractor accused of 'prolific' child porn 12 Aug 2008 A computer specialist for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested Thursday for being one the nation’s most prolific disseminators of child pornography. After a months-long investigation, FBI agents tracked Peter W. North to his home in Alexandria where they discovered 80 gigabytes -- the equivalent of 25,000 pictures or 250 hours of video on your iPod -- of child pornography in an external hard drive, according to a sworn statement by FBI agent Chad J. Gallagher.
Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice hiring scandal 12 Aug 2008 Former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday. Mukasey used his sharpest words yet to criticize the senior leaders who took part in or failed to stop illegal hiring practices during the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.
Gunman Kills Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman 13 Aug 2008 Bill Gwatney, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, was shot in his office in Little Rock Wednesday morning and died a few hours later, police officials said. The officials said a single gunman fired three shots at Mr. Gwatney, a former state legislator, in the party’s headquarters a few blocks from the state Capitol and then drove away. The suspect, driving a Chevrolet pickup truck, was chased south for about 25 miles by police officers and was shot after he was stopped [!], said Lt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department.
Cindy McCain taken to Detroit hospital 13 Aug 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain's wife Cindy was taken to a Detroit-area hospital today after complaining of pain in her hand. At a West Bloomfield, Michigan campaign stop, during which the would-be first lady shook hands with supporters of her husband, an enthusiastic voter's firm grip aggravated her previously existing carpal tunnel syndrome.
AP: Underground FEMA fuel tanks could leak --FEMA knows of at least 150 underground tanks that need to be inspected for leaks; agency trying to determine by September whether an additional 124 tanks are leaking 13 Aug 2008 The government owns hundreds of underground fuel tanks -- many designed for emergencies back in the Cold War -- that need to be inspected for leaks of hazardous substances that could be making local water undrinkable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has known since at least the 1990s that tanks under its supervision around the country could be leaking fuel into soil and groundwater, according to Associated Press interviews and research.
Big Oil Ties Could Hurt GOP --As Republicans Push Offshore Drilling, Oil Company Links Might Pose Liability 13 Aug 2008 In an upset victory Thursday, GOP challenger Phil Roe defeated freshman Rep. David Davis in a contest where Roe portrayed the incumbent -- one of the House Republicans giving energy speeches -- as an oil company minion. It marked the first primary defeat for a Tennessee incumbent of either party in 40 years. Many political experts say the Republicans' defense of the thriving oil industry may haunt other GOP candidates in November. "I do believe that it's a seismic event in Congress," David L. Epstein, political science professor at Columbia University, said of Davis's loss, "and everyone in Washington has taken notice. It certainly could be a harbinger of things to come."
Bush administration proposes major cut to endangered species protections By Naomi Spencer 13 Aug 2008 With an eye to the approaching elections, the Bush administration has drafted proposed changes to the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would take effect within 30 days and would not require the approval of Congress. Once enacted, the new rules would essentially cut out the role of government scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in reviewing the threats to endangered wildlife by dam, highway, mining, drilling and other projects. Instead, political appointees in various federal agencies responsible for overseeing such construction and extraction projects would be empowered to gauge environmental impacts. The proposal is yet another effort by the Bush administration to dismantle environmental protections that remain as impediments to big business. It is also an undisguised attempt to negate the most modest acknowledgment of the problem of global warming.
Eight Strikes and You're Out By Thomas L. Friedman 13 Aug 2008 ...[O]n July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill -- S. 3335 -- that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems. Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits -- which expire in December -- to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile. Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year -- which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn't leave his office to vote.
Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster 12 Aug 2008 The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster, The Prince of Wales has warned. In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone "seriously wrong". The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research.
The Prince of Wales: 'If that is the future, count me out' 13 Aug 2008 ... "What, all run by gigantic corporations? Is that really the answer? I think not. That would be the absolute destruction of everything and... the classic way of ensuring that there is no food in the future." The Prince sets out his nightmare vision, a world in which millions of small farmers "are driven off their land [by global conglomerates] into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unmentionable awfulness". If that's how it's going to be, he says, "count me out"... Without naming names, he goes after the "clever" genetic engineers who have put us on course for the "biggest disaster environmentally of all time". We should be working, he says, "with Nature. We have gone working against Nature for too long." But these corporate monsters have engaged in "an experiment that's gone seriously wrong, causing untold problems which become very expensive and very difficult to undo". Monsanto, I imagine, will not be on his Christmas drinks list.
Exclusive: Attorney: 'DC Madam' left instructions if 'ever found dead of apparent suicide' By Lori Price 10 Aug 2008 Citizens For Legitimate Government has learned that Deborah Jeane Palfrey's lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, has intervened to stop a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Tarpon Springs, Florida, Police Department from releasing information requested by Sibley pertaining to the investigation of Jeane's death. Sibley told CLG, "Jeane was very clear with me that if she was ever found dead of an apparent suicide, I was to make sure that all the evidence was publicly disseminated so that it could be independently evaluated."
Musharraf "misappropriated" US aid worth $700 M: Zardari 10 Aug 2008 In a fresh salvo against beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's ruling PPP chief has accused him of "misappropriating" a whopping USD 700 million of American aid to Islamabad for supporting the war on [of] terror and said "rogue" ISI members could have benefitted from it. The serious allegation levelled by Asif Ali Zardari against Musharraf may form a key part of the charge against Musharraf... Zardari claimed that the American aid might have gone to fund "rogue" members of the military intelligence, the ISI, who were last week accused by the US of assisting Taliban and other militant groups rather than rooting them out.
Halliburton Iran deals under fire 20 Jul 2004 Halliburton, in trouble over alleged over-charging for Iraq contracts, is being probed for its deals in Iran. A US grand jury has demanded documents relating to contracts in Iran - subject to US sanctions - by a Halliburton subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands. The firm, which used to be run by US Vice-President [sic] Dick Cheney, said it was certain the deals were legal. [LOL!] Another unit, KBR, is being probed over Iraq, while other investigations are examining deals in Nigeria.
U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 5 Iranian Companies 12 Aug 2008 The Bush regime has imposed economic sanctions on five Iranian companies that it has accused of helping the country pursue its ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon. The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that it was freezing any assets the five companies might have in the United States and prohibiting American individuals and companies from having dealings with the firms. [Right, remove any competition for Halliburton.]
Contractors reap 85 bln dlrs from Iraq war: US report 12 Aug 2008 The US government paid out 85 billion dollars in four years to contractors providing 'services' to various government agencies in support of the Iraq war and 'reconstruction,' a survey showed Tuesday. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report said the administration of US President [sic] George W. Bush awarded 85-billion-dollars in contracts between 2003 and 2007, or over 21 billion dollars annually. Large contracts awarded to the Halliburton energy services firm, which was once led by Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, and KBR - a Halliburton subsidiary and the biggest US military contractor in Iraq - have been criticized and come under scrutiny from Democrats.
U.S. Private Contractors In Iraq Costs Billions, Report Says 11 Aug 2008 The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush regime’s unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday. The report, by the Congressional Budget Office, according to people with knowledge of its contents, will say that one out of every five dollars spent on the war in Iraq has gone to contractors for the United States military and other government agencies, in a war zone where employees of private contractors now outnumber American troops.
What were the Mossad with fraudulent New Zealand Passports doing in Iraq? By Jerry Mazza 11 Aug 2008 According to a reliable source, these Mossad agents fraudulently obtained New Zealand Passports then showed up in Iraq. That source’s source is inside the G2 Intelligence section of one of the commanding armies in Baghdad. Some of the solders caught these Mossad agents with the New Zealand Passports on them. The Mossad agents were subsequently ordered to be let go... These Mossad agents were caught with IEDs (improvised explosive devices), according to our source, and very sophisticated detonation devices to kill American soldiers and otherwise launch "terrorist attacks" wherever they wanted those bombs to go off. Some of these "terrorist bombers" did not even know they had a bomb in their cars.
Kuwait Readying for War in Gulf? 11 Aug 2008 The small oil-rich emirate of Kuwait – situated between Iraq, Iran and on the northern end of the Persian Gulf – has reportedly activated its "Emergency War Plan" as a massive U.S. and European armada is reported heading for the region. Coming on the heels of Operation Brimstone just a week ago that saw U.S., British and French naval forces participate in war games in the Atlantic Ocean, the object of which was to practice enforcing an eventual blockade on Iran, the joint task force is now headed for the Gulf and what could easily turn into a major confrontation with Iran.
Russian Cameraman: CNN Aired Misleading Footage --Broadcaster showed Georgian forces attacking South Ossetia, claimed it was Russians attacking Gori By Paul Joseph Watson 12 Aug 2008 CNN is airing misleading footage of the war between Georgia and Russia, skewing public opinion in favor of the Georgians, according to a Russia Today cameraman interviewed this morning. The Russia Today satellite TV company aired the interview on its English language news channel... The Russian cameraman charged that CNN had used his footage of Georgian forces attacking Russian civilians in Tskhinvali, the provincial capital of South Ossetia, but then claimed it showed Russians attacking Georgians in the Georgian town of Gori.
Top Georgian intelligence officer arrested in Russia 12 Aug 2008 Russian security forces have arrested a top Georgian intelligence officer on charges of collecting data on Russian troops in the North Caucasus and breakaway South Ossetia's president, the FSB said on Tuesday. The Federal Security Service gave the intelligence officer's surname as Kherksladze, and said the suspect had described himself as the deputy head of Georgia's Foreign Intelligence Service. The FSB said Kherksladze has been running a network of agents in Russia collecting information, "including on military and strategic facilities in the Southern Federal District."
Israeli reporter hurt in Georgia 12 Aug 2008 An Israeli journalist was wounded in Georgia. Yediot Achronot reporter Tzadok Yehezkeli suffered serious chest wounds Tuesday while covering the fighting between Georgian and Russian forces in Gori, his newspaper said. Yehezkeli was evacuated to a hospital in Tbilisi and was in stable condition. Several journalists have been killed or wounded in the war that erupted last week over Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region.
Brown issues coded threat to Putin on G8 status 12 Aug 2008 Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, has condemned Russia's actions in Georgia as "unjustified" and warned that the escalation in tension risked destabilising the entire region. In a strongly worded statement, he signalled that Moscow was putting its international reputation on the line with its "continued aggression" against the independent country. That remark will be interpreted as a coded warning about Russia's status as a G8 member. [Oh. Why hasn't Bush been deep-sixed as a G8 member for his 'continued aggression' in Iraq and Afghanistan?]
Widening Russian action in Georgia affecting global oil supplies 11 Aug 2008 Oil traders on Monday shrugged off Russia's widening invasion of neighboring Georgia, but if the conflict spreads further it could threaten nearly 1 million barrels per day of needed global crude supplies from the Caspian Sea, most of it bound for Europe.
Bush: Why don't you shut up? (Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey) 12 Aug 2008 Taking the words of the illustrious King of Spain, in his imbecillic retort to President Hugo Chavez, we use them not as a response to a diatribe but rather, a just retort to an imbecile. President [sic] George W. Bush, why don’t you shut up? President Bush, Why don’t you shut up? In your statement on Monday regarding the legitimate actions of the Russian Federation in Georgia, you failed to mention once the war crimes perpetrated by Georgian military forces, which American advisors support, against Russian and Ossetian civilians. Kinda embarrassing, eh? President Bush, Why don’t you shut up? Your faithful ally, Mikhail Saakashvili, was announcing a ceasefire deal while his troops, with your advisors, were massing on Ossetia’s border, which they crossed under cover of night and destroyed Tskhinvali, targeting civilian structures just like your forces did in Iraq. Kinda humanitarian, eh?
McCain: Add 'plagiarizer' and 'lying sack of sh*t' to his resume: Did McCain Plagiarize His Speech on the Georgia Crisis? 11 Aug 2008 A Wikipedia editor emailed Political Wire to point out some similarities between Sen. John McCain's speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. Given the closeness of the words and sentence structure, most would consider parts of McCain's speech to be derived directly from Wikipedia.
US to keep North Korea on terrorism list 11 Aug 2008 The US will not immediately remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said today. Rice's comments came in a telephone conversation with the Japanese foreign minister, Masahiko Komura, a Japanese foreign ministry official said. Today was the earliest that the US could have delisted North Korea in exchange for the nation's June disclosure of its nuclear programmes.
Musharraf locked in battle to avoid impeachment as allies turn away --The charge sheet and its supporting documents was running to "100 hundred pages". 12 Aug 2008 Pakistan's government is finalising a "charge-sheet" against Pervez Musharraf as battle lines are drawn in the bitter struggle over the President's future. ...The former general again insisted he would fight the impeachment charges being prepared by his opponents. Meanwhile, the process to oust Mr Musharraf gathered additional pace as a crucial regional assembly overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence against him, saying he was "unfit" to rule.
Bush's Pakistan 'buddy' cast adrift 12 Aug 2008 George W.Bush has dumped Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, refusing to take a series of "help me" telephone calls from the man he once described as his "best buddy". The US presidential [sic] snub came as American strategists warned that Pakistan's intensifying political power struggle was imperilling the battle against al-Qa'ida [al-CIAduh] and the Taliban.
Bush Veterans Affairs Department bans voter registration drives at veterans facilities By Faiz 11 Aug 2008 This past May, the Veterans Affairs Department, led by Secretary James Peake, issued a directive prohibiting nonpartisan voter registration drives "at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans." In today’s New York Times, Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz writes, "What is the secretary of Veterans Affairs thinking?"
attacks on rival fall flat with vets group --Critics allege
McCain plans to privatize the VA 10 Aug 2008 Sen. John McCain, speaking
to disabled veterans Saturday in Las Vegas, attacked his opponent, Sen.
Barack Obama, while also proposing a program that would
Watchdog seeks federal investigation of McCain donations 11 Aug 2008 A political watchdog group called for investigations Monday to determine whether fundraisers for John McCain's presidential campaign arranged illegal "straw" donations -- contributions from people who did not spend their own money. Campaign Money Watch urged Attorney General Michael Mukasey to probe the activities of Florida defense contractor Harry Sargeant III, who is credited with raising more than $500,000 for the campaign. It also questioned $57,000 in donations from an office manager for the oil giant, the Hess Corp., and her husband, a railroad foreman.
Appeals court upholds CIA leak lawsuit dismissal 12 Aug 2008 A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dismissed former CIA analyst Valerie Plame's lawsuit against Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and several former Bush administration officials for disclosing her identity to the public. The Court of Appeals in Washington dealt another setback to the former spy, who has said her career was destroyed when officials blew her cover in 2003 to retaliate against her husband, Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson.
NYPD's 'Operation Sentinel' to Track EVERYTHING --Radiation Sensors, Surveillance Cameras Used to Screen & Follow Every Vehicle Entering Lower Manhattan --Plan Aims to Provide Security Blanket 'Against' Terrorist Attack 12 Aug 2008 The NYPD is working on a high-tech, anti-terror plan to track every vehicle that enters Manhattan. It's called "Operation Sentinel," and it's already sparking a debate about the right to privacy. Every time a car, bus or truck drives into Manhattan on either a bridge or thru a tunnel its license plate would be screened and photographed. All part of the new multi-million dollar security plan proposed by the NYPD. "Operation Sentinel" also includes heavy security implementation at the new World Trade Center site.
Justice wants criminal intell systems to include terrorism info 11 Aug 2008 The Justice Department wants state criminal intelligence data systems to specifically include more intelligence about terrorism. According to a proposed rule, state and local organizations should gather and include terrorism-related information in their federally funded criminal intelligence data systems. The rule also would extend the length of time that the systems contain information without review from five to ten years.
Playing Politics With Biodefense --AP: Homeland Security Department Documents Show Experts Ignored In Laboratory Site Choice 11 Aug 2008 The Homeland Security Department swept aside evaluations of government experts and named Mississippi - home to powerful U.S. lawmakers with sway over the agency - as a top location for a new $451 million, national laboratory to study some of the world's most virulent biological threats, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Anti-war activist Sheehan qualifies to challenge Pelosi for House seat in November 11 Aug 2008 Cindy Sheehan, an icon of the anti-war movement, has qualified to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress. Sheehan, 51, says Pelosi failed to persuade her party to end funding for the Iraq war after Democrats reclaimed the House majority in the 2006 midterm elections. She also accused the speaker of failing to hold the administration accountable for the administration's [illegal] warrantless wiretapping program.
Clinton Nixed 'Values' Advice on Obama 12 Aug 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton's top campaign strategist advised her to cast presidential rival Barack Obama as having questionable "roots to basic American values and culture" and use the theme to counter the image that his background is diverse and multicultural. "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values," Mark Penn wrote in a March 2007 memo to Clinton. She rejected the advice.
Most companies in US avoid federal income taxes 12 Aug 2008 Unlike the rest of us, most U.S. corporations and foreign companies doing business in the United States pay no federal income tax, according to a new report from Congress. The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, said two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, and about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.
Deficit Nearly Triples 12 Aug 2008 The government said the federal
budget deficit soared in July, pushed higher by
Biggest drop in U.S. oil demand in 26 years 12 Aug 2008 U.S. oil demand during the first half of 2008 fell by an average 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with the same period a year ago, the biggest volume decline in 26 years, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday. In its latest monthly energy forecast, the EIA said the huge drop in demand was due to slower U.S. economic growth and the impact of high petroleum prices.
U.S. ship heads for Arctic to 'define' territory 11 Aug 2008 A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will embark on an Arctic voyage this week to determine the extent of the continental shelf north of Alaska and map the ocean floor, data that could be used for oil and natural gas exploration. U.S. and University of New Hampshire scientists on the Coast Guard Cutter Healy will leave Barrow, Alaska, on Thursday on a three-week journey.
AP: Bush to relax protected species rules 11 Aug 2008 Parts of the Endangered Species Act may soon be extinct. The Bush dictatorship wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants. New regulations, which don't require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press. The draft rules also would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats.
Cheney issues warning to Russia 11 Aug 2008 U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said Russia faces serious consequences with the United States and its allies if it continues attacks against Georgia. A Cheney spokeswoman said the vice president told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that Russia's actions "must not go unanswered," CNN reported Monday.
'Oil, Israel and Iran' Among Factors that Led to Georgia War 10 Aug 2008 Analysis of the war in Georgia points to a fight over a major oil route as the main reason for hostilities, but also to an Israeli connection. Channel 2's expert on the Muslim world, Ehud Ya'ari, told viewers of the central evening newscast that Russia and neighboring countries were vying for control of a strategic oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Israel is expecting to receive oil and gas through the pipeline. By using the ethnic Russian population in South Ossetia to destabilize Georgia, Russia was making a play for the pipeline, he said. The Georgian move against South Ossetia was motivated by political considerations having to do with Israel and Iran, according to Nfc. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to assert control over the breakaway region in order to force Israel to reconsider its decision to cut back its support for Georgia's military.
Israel Has $1 Billion Invested in Georgia 10 Aug 2008 The Israeli-Georgia connection is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to a former Georgian ambassador to Israel. The Jewish state and private investors have provided military assistance and advisors to Georgia, where pipelines pump oil destined for Israel. A new pipeline is being built to bypass Russian territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israeli companies in Georgia have begun evacuating their staff and that Israeli tourists are leaving for home.
Russian troops close in on Georgian capital as full-scale war looms 11 Aug 2008 Russia's punitive campaign in the Caucasus threatened to spiral into an all-out war against the independent state of Georgia tonight, with Russian troops seizing control of several strategic towns a couple of hours from the capital, Tbilisi, and aircraft pounding Georgian infrastructure. Vastly outnumbered by the Kremlin's ground forces and airpower, the Georgian government announced it was pulling back its troops to defend the capital Tbilisi against a feared Russian onslaught.
Russia says Georgian troops in S.Ossetia surrendering 11 Aug 2008 Georgian troops have been surrounded in South Ossetia and are surrendering, a senior Russian military official said on Monday. "Russian troops are currently disarming the surrounded Georgian forces in South Ossetia," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nagovitsyn, deputy head of the General Staff, told a news conference. Russian troops are currently forcing all Georgian troops out of Georgian-populated villages in the east and west of the breakaway region, he said.
170 Americans Evacuated From Republic of Georgia --Georgian President: Russian Troops Have Cut Country In Half 11 Aug 2008 The State Department said it has evacuated more than 170 U.S. citizens from Georgia as the conflict over separatist areas there intensified between Georgia and Russia. A spokesman said Monday that two convoys carrying about 170 private U.S. citizens along with an undetermined number of family members of American diplomats based in Georgia have left Tbilisi on their way by road to neighboring Armenia.
U.S.: Russia trying to topple Georgian government [Kinda like the US toppling the Iraqi and Afghan governments?] 10 Aug 2008 The United States on Sunday accused Russia of trying to overthrow the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Russian troops have been battling Georgian forces over the breakaway territory of South Ossetia. At an emergency session of the United Nations' Security Council, the U.S. alleged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili "must go."
U.S. In Iraq: Money As a Weapon --About $14,250 U.S. funds was spent on "I Love Iraq" T-shirts; $500,000 in action figures made to look like Iraqi Security Forces 11 Aug 2008 The Commander's Emergency Response Program has so far spent at least $2.8 billion in U.S. funds. It is governed by broad guidelines packaged into a field manual called "Money as a Weapon System." Sons of Iraq, as it is now called, has paid more than 100,000 Iraqis $5 to $26 per day to guard checkpoints and patrol neighborhoods. The United States has spent more than $250 million on the [bribery] program so far, records show. David Kilcullen, who has advised Army Gen. David H. Petraeus on counterinsurgency strategy and who examined CERP last year, said the payouts are like dealing heroin -- "easy development money that undercuts our efforts to improve their financial governance." He warned that the projects are a "rush" that often doesn't last.
'No, no definitely there has to be a very clear timeline.' Iraq demands 'clear timeline' for US withdrawal 10 Aug 2008 Iraq's foreign minister insisted Sunday that any security deal with the United States must contain a "very clear timeline" for the departure of U.S. troops. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters that American and Iraqi negotiators were "very close" to reaching a long-term security agreement that will set the rules for U.S. troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year. Zebari said the Iraqis were insisting that the agreement include a "very clear timeline" for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces, but he refused to talk about specific dates.
Iraq Should Use Its Oil Sales to Pay for Rebuilding, Levin Says 10 Aug 2008 The U.S. should stop paying for reconstruction projects in Iraq because the Baghdad government can fund the rebuilding from its sales of crude oil, two U.S. senators said. Proposed legislation in the Senate would stop the U.S. from using any more taxpayer money to fund reconstruction projects in Iraq, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said today on CNN's "Late Edition" program.
14 killed in Iraq attacks, including US soldier 10 Aug 2008 A spate of bomb attacks across Iraq on Sunday targeting a bank, a town hall and military patrols killed at least 14 people, including a US soldier, security and hospital officials said. The deadliest attack was in the Tarmiyah region just north of the Iraqi capital that killed four Iraqi civilians and the American soldier, according to a US military statement.
Afghan children raped with 'impunity,' U.N. official says 07 Aug 2008 In March, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said that deteriorating security in large parts of the country, a growing culture of criminal impunity, weak law enforcement institutions, poverty and other [US] factors had contributed to increasing violence against women, such as rape and torture. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict, plans to release a report in October on the state of Afghan children. "In many cases of violence against children, there is a sense of impunity. People continue to violate children's rights without any sense of feeling that they will be held accountable," Coomaraswamy said.
Two Australians injured in Afghanistan 12 Aug 2008 Two Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been wounded, one seriously, as their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) on a road in the southern Oruzgan province. A third Australian soldier suffered slight injuries when a rescue helicopter was involved in a "hard landing" at the explosion scene yesterday, defence authorities said.
soldier killed in firefight in Afghanistan; investigation launched
09 Aug 2008 An investigation is underway to determine whether a Canadian
soldier [Master Cpl. Josh Roberts] and soon-to-be father killed in combat
early Saturday in southern Afghanistan died as a result of friendly
Bomb report closes Peace Arch --Border crossing shut down for hours 11 Aug 2008 The U.S.-Canada border at the Peace Arch in Blaine was closed both ways Sunday night after reports by Canadian authorities that a bomb had been left there. Canadian customs officials shut down their side of the border about 8:30 p.m. when they discovered an explosive device in a suitcase. Their American counterparts quickly followed suit and began redirecting traffic to other border crossings, the U.S. Border Patrol reported.
Rejecting Advice, Puts Mississippi on Shortlist for Facility
--World's most virulent biological threats to be studied 11
Aug 2008 The Department of Homeland Security swept aside evaluations
by government experts and named Mississippi -- home to powerful U.S.
lawmakers with sway over the agency -- as a potential location for a
$451 million national laboratory to
Councils are not snooping enough, says spying watchdog --Britain's 'snooping' watchdog has called on councils to spy on people's phone records more often. 11 Aug 2008 Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has urged councils to "make much more use" of new spying legislation which allows them to access phone bills and call records of members of the public. Under laws introduced in 2004, local authorities can apply to use covert tactics to spy on employees for "crimes" such as skipping work and filing fraudulent overtime claims.
'It's obviously an embarrassment and we would rather not be in this position.' Police reopen 7,000 cases after DNA error 07 Aug 2008 Australian police will re-examine 7,000 crimes solved through DNA evidence after a mistake forced detectives to free a suspect wrongly accused of murder. Police in the southern city of Melbourne withdrew charges against Russell John Gesah, accused in July of the 1984 murders of a 35-year-old mother and her nine-year-old daughter.
Ohio official sues e-vote vendor for sloppy counting --Two plus two makes five isn't good enough? 09 Aug 2008 Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner wants an electronic voting machine vendor to pay for dropping hundreds of votes in the state's March primary election. In a filing at Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Brunner seeks unspecified damages from Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold. She claims Premier made false representations of its equipment and failed to live up to its contractual obligations.
FDIC Fund Strained by Bank Failures May Lift Premiums 11 Aug 2008 The failure of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. and seven other banks this year may erase as much as 17 percent of a government insurance fund and raise premiums for all banks. The closing of IndyMac in July, the third-biggest U.S. bank failure, may cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s fund $4 billion to $8 billion, in addition to an estimated $1.16 billion for seven closures through Aug. 1. Premiums for insuring deposits will likely rise, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in a July 30 interview.
China to overtake US as largest manufacturer 10 Aug 2008 China is set to overtake the US next year as the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods, four years earlier than expected, as a result of the rapidly weakening US economy. The great leap is revealed in forecasts for the Financial Times by Global Insight, a US economics consultancy. According to the estimates, next year China will account for 17 per cent of manufacturing value-added output of $11,783bn and the US will make 16 per cent.
Meltdown in the Arctic is speeding up --Scientists warn that the North Pole could be free of ice in just five years' time instead of 60 10 Aug 2008 Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013. Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska's Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic. As a result, scientists say that the disappearance of sea ice at the North Pole could exceed last year's record loss.
On a planet 4C hotter, all we can prepare for is extinction --There's no 'adaptation' to such steep warming. We must stop pandering to special interests, and try a new, post-Kyoto strategy By Oliver Tickell 11 Aug 2008 We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Guardian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, "the end of living and the beginning of survival" for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.
F.B.I. Says It Obtained Reporters' Phone Records --Records apparently sought as part of 'terrorism' investigation 09 Aug 2008 The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post in the newspapers’ Indonesia bureaus in 2004. F.B.I. officials said the incident came to light as part of the continuing review by the Justice Department inspector general’s office into the bureau’s improper collection of telephone records through "emergency" records demands issued to phone providers.
FBI to newspapers: Sorry about your phone records 09 Aug 2008 FBI Director Robert Mueller has apologized to the editors of The Washington Post and The New York Times for improperly obtaining phone records of the newspapers' reporters while investigating terrorism four years ago. Mueller called Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and Times Executive Editor Bill Keller on Friday to express regret that agents did not follow proper procedures in 2004 when they obtained the phone records of a Post reporter and a researcher and two Times reporters.
U.S. Attorney Scandal Probe Enters White House Circle By Murray Waas 07 Aug 2008 The Justice Department investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys has been extended to encompass allegations that senior White House officials played a role in providing false and misleading information to Congress, according to numerous sources involved in the inquiry. The widened scope raises the possibility that investigators will pursue criminal charges against some administration officials, and recommend appointment of a special prosecutor if there is evidence of criminal misconduct.
Mission accomplished! Iraqi oil-exploration team resumes work after 20 years 09 Aug 2008 Iraq resumed oil exploration yesterday after 20 years to determine whether more oil lies beneath its territory, an Oil Ministry official said. Iraq has confirmed reserves of an estimated 115 billion barrels, but it is believed that its actual reserves could be twice as much. During a ceremony attended by Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, a seismic team began work yesterday in the Gharraf field in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.
Iraq oil exports total $43 billion in Jan-July 07 Aug 2008 Iraq exported 411 million barrels of oil in the first seven months of 2008, bringing in revenues of $43 billion, the country's oil ministry said on Thursday. "We expect, if the situation stays the same, that our income will be more than $70 billion this year," ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said.
Iraq bomb blast kills 21 09 Aug 2008 A car bomb ripped through a crowded market Friday in the northern city of Tall Afar, killing at least 21 people and wounding 70, police said. The Tall Afar car bomb exploded shortly before 7 p.m., when the fruit and vegetable wholesale market is at its busiest.
A platoon commander radioed to ask whether the Iraqis were "dead yet". US marine to stand trial over murder of Iraqi prisoner 08 Aug 2008 A US Marine is to stand trial for murder in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed Iraqi prisoner during the 2004 battle for Fallujah in Iraq. Sgt Ryan Weemer will face a military trial on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty, the US Marine Corps said yesterday. Weemer is one of three current and former Marines accused of breaking rules of engagement and killing four men they had captured after a platoon commander radioed to ask whether the Iraqis were "dead yet".
Embedded reporters or Republican activists? Members of Vets for Freedom have campaigned for John McCain and made anti-Obama ads, but while they're in Iraq, you're paying for their gas, food and lodging. By Alex Koppelman 08 Aug 2008 ...Gather a group of veterans of the Iraq war who also have journalism experience, including some highly decorated soldiers. Then send them back to the areas of Iraq in which they served, this time as reporters embedded with the troops still fighting there, and get their assessment of the security situation and whether the surge is working. Someone has organized just such an expedition, and this Monday eight veterans left for Iraq. But the "Back to Iraq" trip wasn't put together by the Washington Post or the New York Times; it's the brainchild of Vets for Freedom (VFF), a pro-war group. VFF is nominally nonpartisan, but it has a remarkable number of ties -- some previously unreported -- to Republicans generally and John McCain's campaign specifically. And it has run attack ads against Barack Obama.
Pentagon seeks to double size of Afghan army 08 Aug 2008 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has endorsed a 17-billion dollar plan to double the size of the Afghan army over five years, the Pentagon said. Under the plan, the Afghan army would grow from 65,000 to 122,000 active duty soldiers by 2014, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, adding that it also includes upgrades to Afghanistan's fledgling air corps.
Chairman: New sanctions on Iran will harm West 09 Aug 2008 Chairman of National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran's parliament, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said Saturday that imposing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic will harm the West, the official IRNA news agency reported. "Any measure by the European Union ahead of the end of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of UN Security Councilplus Germany (Group 5+1) will be unacceptable," the report quoted Boroujerdi as saying.
Iran's UN envoy responds to U.S. propaganda 10 Aug 2008 Iran’s mission to the United Nations has strongly condemned the violence and terrorist acts committed by the occupying forces in Iraq and rejected Washington's anti-Iran allegations.
1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle 09 Aug 2008 Russian air attacks over northern Georgia intensified on Saturday morning, striking two apartment buildings in the city of Gori and clogging roads out of the area with fleeing refugees. Russian authorities said their forces had retaken the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, from Georgian control during the morning hours. They reported that 15 Russian peacekeepers and 1,500 civilians have been killed in the conflict. The escalation risked igniting a renewed and sustained conflict in the Caucasus region, an important conduit for the flow of oil from the Caspian Sea to world markets...
U.S. says Russia uses 'disproportionate' force 09 Aug 2008 Russia has used "disproportionate" force in the South Ossetia conflict with Georgia and must immediately agree to a cease-fire with Tbilisi, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday. Russia and Georgia came into direct conflict over South Ossetia this week after Tbilisi launched an offensive to regain control over the breakaway separatist region.
U.S. tells Russia to pull forces out of Georgia 08 Aug 2008 The United States told Russia on Friday to withdraw its forces from U.S. ally Georgia and stop its air attacks on the tiny Caucasus state following fighting in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. "We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia's territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [war criminal] said in a statement. [Uh, what about Iraq's territorial integrity?]
Lawyers sue to have Harper repatriate Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay 09 Aug 2008 Lawyers for Omar Khadr filed suit Friday in an effort to compel Prime Minister Stephen Harper to demand the Canadian citizen be repatriated from Guantanamo Bay, where he is due to stand trial for "war crimes" before a U.S. military commission in October. The suit, filed in Federal Court, argues Canada is obliged under international law to ensure Khadr's rehabilitation and social reintegration, given that he was just 15 when he allegedly killed an American medic in Afghanistan in July 2002.
Young terror suspect sues Harper --Federal Court asked to help repatriate Canadian terror suspect from Guantanamo Bay 08 Aug 2008 Omar Khadr, the Canadian man accused of war crimes, is suing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that a Canadian judge order the PM to step in to help repatriate him from U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The lawsuit, filed Friday with the Federal Court of Canada, argues Canada has an obligation to co-operate in the rehabilitation and social reintegration of children illegally used in armed conflict.
Bullet shortage affects police --Law enforcement agencies change how they operate as demand rises 09 Aug 2008 A nationwide spike in demand for small-arms ammunition and the skyrocketing cost of raw materials to make the bullets have forced some law enforcement agencies in Washington state to plan their orders further in advance. On average, the cost of ammunition has increased by 67 percent between 2004 and this year, according to the state General Administration office, which negotiates contracts with suppliers for state and local agencies. The woes in Washington are part of a shortage that has strained law enforcement nationwide.
US oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar 03 Jul 2008 While the U.S. oil industry wants access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries. A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush regime for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. "We can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country," President [sic] Bush told reporters this week. "We have got the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home."
Lieberman 'on McCain short-list' 09 Aug 2008 Joe LieberBush [R-Israel], the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee who has endorsed John McCain, is being vetted as a potential running mate for the Republican presidential hopeful, according to an adviser to Mr McCain’s campaign. Mr Lieberman, a staunch supporter of Israel [no sh*t], could also help Mr McCain win over Jewish voters.
Gag me with a chainsaw! Bush, Cheney to Speak Opening Night of GOP Convention 08 Aug 2008 President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney will speak Sept. 1 in St. Paul, Minn., the opening night of the Republican’s four-day convention, the White House said today.
Clinton tells cheering Nev. crowd to support Obama 09 Aug 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton told an exuberant crowd Friday she wants Barack Obama to win the White House, even though he dashed her own presidential dreams _ and she wants her supporters to vote that way, too. "Anyone who voted for me or caucused for me has so much more in common with Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain," Clinton told her cheering audience in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. "Remember who we were fighting for in my campaign."
N.C. man accused of threatening Barack Obama 09 Aug 2008 Authorities say a North Carolina man will undergo a psychiatric evaluation after being jailed on a charge of threatening to kill Barack Obama. Federal documents identified the man held Friday as Jerry M. Blanchard. A criminal complaint says witnesses overheard Blanchard twice last month threatening to kill the presumptive Democratic nominee. Blanchard denied making the threat, according to the documents. Separately Thursday, a Florida man in made a court appearance in Miami on charges he threatened to assassinate Obama.
An Antichrist Obama in McCain Ad? 07 Aug 2008 It's not easy to make the infamous Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential campaign seem benign. But suggesting that Barack Obama is the Antichrist [Bush] might just do it. That's just what some outraged Christian supporters of the Democratic nominee are claiming John McCain's campaign did in an ad called "The One" that was recently released online... But even an innocuous interpretation of the ad taps into a conversation that has been gaining urgency on Christian radio, political blogs, and in widely-circulated email messages that accuse Obama of being the Antichrist.
Lest we forget: The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind 'When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.' 08 Jun 2008 When John McCain was released in March 1973, he told reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again [after a serious car accident in 1969]. But friends say privately he was 'appalled' by the change in her appearance. In 1979 -- while still married to Carol -- he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage. Carol and her children were devastated. Meanwhile McCain moved to Arizona with his new bride immediately after their 1980 marriage. There, his new father-in-law gave him a job and introduced him to local businessmen and political powerbrokers who would smooth his passage to Washington via the House of Representatives and Senate.
Edwards's Ex-Lover Rejects Idea of DNA Test --Hunter Requests Privacy For Herself, Her Child 10 Aug 2008 Rielle Hunter, the former presidential campaign aide who had an affair with John Edwards, said yesterday that she will not pursue DNA testing to establish the paternity of her 5-month-old daughter, despite the former senator's offer to participate in such a test.
Transcript: John Edwards Interview 08 Aug 2008 Excerpts from an interview by ABC News' Bob Woodruff of former Sen. John Edwards for ABC News "Nightline" on Aug. 8, 2008.
Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate --In ABC News Interview, Edwards Says He Cheated, but Did Not Father Child 08 Aug 2008 John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today. In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 42-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her. Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.
Drug prices up 100% -- or higher --Spikes bring legal, political scrutiny 08 Aug 2008 Drug companies are quietly pushing through price hikes of 100% — or even more than 1,000% -- for a very small but growing number of prescription drugs, helping to drive up costs for insurers, patients and government programs. The number of brand-name drugs with increases of 100% or more could double this year from four years ago, researchers from the University of Minnesota say.
Scientists Flee Landlocked Polar Bear at Arctic Camp 08 Aug 2008 Five scientists had to evacuate a remote research camp in northern Alaska last week to escape a new threat: a polar bear stuck on the land because of the warmer global climate. Polar bears normally lumber around out on the Arctic sea ice at this time of year, hunting seals for dinner. But recent warming has kept the ice miles away from shore, so the polar bears are land-locked and unable to reach their prey.
US accused of backing terrorism in Pakistan 05 Aug 2008 Pakistan has accused the US of backing militancy within the country, saying this goes against the grain of the Washington-led global war against terror. Quoting "impeccable official sources", The News reported on Tuesday that "strong evidence and circumstantial evidence of American acquiescence to terrorism inside Pakistan" was outlined by President Pervez Musharraf, army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj in separate meetings with two senior US officials in Islamabad on July 12. "For reasons best known to Langley, the CIA headquarters, as well as the Pentagon, Pakistani officials say the Americans were not interested in disrupting the Kabul-based fountainhead of terrorism in Balochistan nor do they want to allocate the marvellous Predator resource to neutralise the kingpin of suicide bombings against the Pakistani military establishment now hiding near the Pakistan-Afghan border," The News said. During the meetings, the US officials were also asked why the CIA-run Predators and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud, "Pakistan's enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006", the newspaper added.
US weighs stepped-up military forays into Pakistan 08 Aug 2008 Top Bush administration officials are pressing the president to direct U.S. troops in Afghanistan to be more aggressive in pursuing militants into Pakistan on foot as part of a proposed radical shift in regional counterterrorism strategy, The Associated Press has learned. Senior intelligence and military aides want President [sic] Bush to give American soldiers greater flexibility to operate against al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] and Taliban fighters who cross the border from Pakistan's lawless tribal border area to conduct attacks inside Afghanistan, officials say.
US in $22bn plan to double size of Afghanistan's army 09 Aug 2008 The US would spend $US20billion ($22.3 billion) doubling the size of the Afghanistan army and reconfiguring military command in the strife-torn terror nest. The New York Times reported yesterday that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates had endorsed the two-pronged plan, which was designed to counter deadly insurgencies by Taliban militants. Under the plan, the Afghan National Army will double in size over the next five years to 120,000 soldiers.
'Surge' may not work in Afghanistan, commander says 08 Aug 2008 ...A different type of [Iraq-style] surge is needed in Afghanistan, said Gen. David McKiernan, the top NATO commander there. "There is no magic number of soldiers that are needed on the ground to win this campaign," McKiernan said in an exclusive interview with CNN. "What we need is security of the people. We need governance. We need reconstruction and development."
Civilian and soldier death toll climbs in Afghan conflict 08 Aug 2008 The US death toll in Afghanistan has been elevated to at least 500. Long overshadowed by Iraq, the Afghanistan war has shown a 30 percent increase from the same period last year.
U.S. segregates 'violent' Iraqi prisoners in crates --U.S. military calls wooden crates "segregation boxes" for detainees 07 Aug 2008 The U.S. military is segregating violent Iraqi prisoners in wooden crates that in some cases are not much bigger than the prisoners. The military released photos of what it calls "segregation boxes" used in Iraq. Three grainy black-and-white photos show the rudimentary structures of wood and mesh. Some of the boxes are as small as 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 feet tall, according to military officials. There was no image released of a box that size.
'This is the third time U.S. forces have detained Ali al-Mashhadani without charge.' U.S. must charge or release Reuters Iraq cameraman: CPJ 04 Aug 2008 The U.S. military must charge or immediately release a Reuters cameraman detained in Iraq, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday. Ali al-Mashhadani, who also works freelance for the BBC and Washington-based National Public Radio, was detained in Baghdad on July 26 while he was in the Green Zone government compound for routine checks for a U.S. military press card. U.S. forces have detained Mashhadani before. No charge has ever been filed against the cameraman, who is based in Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province.
Iraq's Sadr offers to give up fight if U.S. withdrawal date set 08 Aug 2008 Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr has agreed to disband an elite fighting force within his militant movement if negotiations between the United States and Iraq set a firm timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, his top aide said Friday. Sadr's move could give Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki a potent incentive to to press the United States for a specific withdrawal date.
Car bomb in Iraq kills 16, wounds 20 in Tal Afar 08 Aug 2008 Iraqi police say at least 16 people have been killed and 20 wounded when a [Blackwater?] car bomb struck a market in the northern city of Tal Afar. A senior police official in the nearby city of Mosul says the car was parked when it exploded by the market, crowded with shoppers.
Baghdad zoo welcomes pair of US - donated tiger cubs 08 Aug 2008 The Baghdad Zoo on Friday welcomed a pair of rare Bengal tiger cubs [a male and a female named Riley and Hope] that were donated by a North Carolina animal sanctuary despite protests by animal rights activists. Animal rights activists led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized the move, saying it was premature as Baghdad continues to suffer from violence and destroyed infrastructure. They also pointed to past violence against animals at the zoo, many of which were killed amid widespread fighting and looting that ensued after the Americans captured Baghdad. A U.S. soldier shot and killed a tiger at the zoo in September 2003 after the animal bit another soldier who had reached through the bars of the cage to feed it.
Georgia calls back troops from Iraq amid fighting 08 Aug 2008 Georgia's president says the country is calling home its troops from Iraq amid heavy fighting in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Georgia has 2,000 troops serving with the occupation forces in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor after the United States and Britain. But Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told CNN television Friday the troops would return urgently to Georgia after fighting erupted in South Ossetia.
Vladimir Putin vows Russia will retaliate against Georgia 08 Aug 2008 Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will retaliate against aggressive action taken by Georgia in its rebel region of South Ossetia, raising fears of a regional war. The Russian Prime Minister's threat came after Georgia, which is attempting to regain control of the breakaway enclave through military action, claimed Russian jets had bombed several of its villages.
Georgia accuses Russia after jets bomb South Ossetia border area 08 August 2008 Georgia today said three Russian jets had entered its airspace and dropped bombs at two locations just south of a rebel enclave in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The announcement came as Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, who is in China to attend the opening of the Olympic games, said that "aggressive" action by Georgia would incur a "response" from Russia.
South Ossettia leader says 1,400 killed in conflict 08 Aug 2008 Georgia launched a major military offensive today to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Rebel leaders said about 1,400 had been killed. The offensive prompted Moscow to send tanks into the region in a furious response that threatens to engulf Georgia, a staunch US ally, and Russia in all-out war.
Rice on possible IDF Iran strike: U.S. has no veto over Israeli military ops 07 Aug 2008 United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday refrained from saying the U.S. would prevent Israel from mounting a much-touted attack against Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear aspirations. "We don't say yes or no to Israeli military operations. Israel is a sovereign country," Rice said in an interview with Yahoo! News.
EU tightens sanctions on Iran over nuclear program 08 Aug 2008 The European Union tightened trade sanctions against Iran Friday for defying a long-standing international demand to freeze uranium enrichment. The new EU restrictions go slightly beyond existing U.N. trade sanctions and are designed to deny public loans or export credits to companies trading with Iran. France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said European governments would also carefully watch financial groups doing business with Iranian banks and step up checks on ships and airplanes traveling to Iran.
'Intel spin' by US hardliners sparked NKorean crisis: book 04 Aug 2008 In circumstances echoing the Iraq war controversy, hardliners in US President [sic] George W. Bush's administration spun intelligence and triggered a nuclear crisis with North Korea, says a new book to be released this week. Intelligence on a North Korea effort to acquire components for uranium enrichment was politicized to depict the hardline communist state running a full-fledged production facility capable of developing a nuclear bomb, said the book by former senior CNN journalist Mike Chinoy.
Bin Laden driver gets 66 months - but will never be released 08 Aug 2008 Osama bin Laden’s former driver was sentenced to less than six years in prison last night, an extraordinarily light sentence and the latest blow to the Bush Administration’s efforts to justify its highly controversial [illegal] military tribunal system at Guantanamo Bay. The sentence of five-and-a-half years for Salim Hamdan, handed down by a jury of US military officers in the first war-crimes tribunal to be held at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the 30 years incarceration sought by Bush Administration lawyers and means that the Yemeni is eligible for release in just five months. As soon as the sentence was issued, however, the Pentagon made it clear that it had no intention of releasing Hamdan. It says that it retains the right to keep him in prison for an indefinite period because he has been classed as an "unlawful enemy combatant".
Fury after Israeli officer in charge of prisoner's shooting is 'reassigned' 08 Aug 2008 Outraged Israeli human rights organisations have united in challenging the military's decision to invoke only minor penalties against a senior officer over the shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner by a soldier under his command. Lt-Col Omri Burberg has been "reassigned" and was indicted yesterday on the limited charge of "unworthy conduct" after the incident last month in which he held the Palestinian as the soldier shot him at close range in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet.
White House press corps plane detained in China 07 Aug 2008 A charter airplane carrying the White House press corps was detained for nearly three hours Friday at Beijing's international airport not long after President [sic] Bush arrived to attend the Olympic Games. The flight crew of the Northwest Airlines 747 had been expecting to park at a VIP terminal, but after landing was instead directed by the control tower to a normal international gate.
Pentagon to Develop Anthrax Strain 04 Sep 2001 The Defense Intelligence Agency plans to develop small amounts of a potentially more potent variant of the bacterium that causes deadly anthrax, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. "We plan to proceed" once internal legal reviews have been completed and Congress has been fully informed, said Victoria Clarke, spokeswoman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The existence of the project was revealed in Tuesday's New York Times. "What we want to do is make sure we are prepared for any surprises, we're prepared for anything that might happen that might be a threat. So in the early part of this year, the DIA started to look into ... how we could develop that modified anthrax strain so we could test our vaccines against it,'' Clarke said.
Flu pandemic beats terrorism and flood in official table of reasons to be fearful 08 Aug 2008 A pandemic flu bug would pose a greater threat to Britain than terrorism, according to a register of risks that has been kept secret until today. Deaths from global flu will be on a scale far beyond anything related to such an attack, the Government will say. Until now, the official list of threats and risks facing Britain has been kept confidential, although MI5 has for some time published on its website the terrorist threat level, currently defined as severe. Plans to publish a risk register were announced by the Prime Minister in March during a statement to the Commons on national security strategy. Top of the list is pandemic flu because of the conviction in Whitehall that it is "not a question of if but when" and that it could kill 750,000 people. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 UK 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.]
Judge: Denver can restrict protests at convention 07 Aug 2008 Protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver can be restricted to fenced-in areas, federal judge ruled on Wednesday, saying that security needs outweighed curbs on their rights. A dozen groups who intend to protest at the August convention sued the U.S. Secret Service and the city of Denver over plans to confine their activities to a parade route and fenced-in zone, saying that their Constitutional rights to free speech were being violated.
'What police left behind was a house stained with blood and a trail of questions about their conduct.' Prince George's raid prompts call for probe --Berwyn Heights mayor denounces police tactics 07 Aug 2008 When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. A mayor sat in his boxers, hands bound behind his back. His handcuffed mother-in-law was sprawled on the kitchen floor, lying beside the body of one of the family pets that police had killed before her eyes... Neither county Police Chief Melvin C. High nor Sheriff Michael A. Jackson have apologized to Mayor Cheye Calvo, his wife or her mother, Georgia Porter, for the raid that traumatized the family and killed their black Labrador retrievers, Payton and Chase.
Detroit Mayor Jailed for Violating Bail Conditions 08 Aug 2008 Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), indicted in an obstruction-of-justice case, was jailed yesterday for violating his bail conditions by taking a business trip to Canada. Kilpatrick, who faces eight felony counts including perjury and misconduct in office, was ordered to the Wayne County Jail by District Judge Ronald Giles.
Edwards admits sexual affair 08 Aug 2008 John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extra-marital affair with a novice film-maker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News Friday. In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News he did have an affair with 42-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her. Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.
Fannie Mae unveils loss of $2.3bn 08 Aug 2008 Problems in the US housing market have pushed mortgage finance company Fannie Mae into the red. The group sank to a net loss of $2.3bn in the three months to 30 June, against a profit of $1.97bn last year. It comes days after its sister company Freddie Mac posted worse-than-expected results and its top executive warned house price falls are not over yet.
California state computers can't handle pay cut, controller says 05 Aug 2008 If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) wants to issue minimum-wage checks to 200,000 state workers in less than a month, he may want to rehire any semi-retired computer programmers he terminated last week. The massive pay cut would exhaust the state's antiquated payroll system, which is built on a Vietnam-era computer language... State Controller John Chiang (D) said Monday it would take at least six months to reconfigure the state's payroll system to issue blanket checks at the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, though Schwarzenegger insists such a change should occur this month.
Officials: E. Coli case linked to Nebraska beef 08 Aug 2008 Massachusetts health officials believe seven recent cases of E. coli are linked to ground beef that was recalled by a Nebraska company. The most recent E. coli case was announced by health officials on Friday. The seven people who got sick all ate ground beef purchased from Whole Foods Markets in July.
The Six Million Dollar Man By Lori Price 06 Aug 2008 According to Ron Suskind in his book, 'The Way of the World,' Iraq Intelligence Director Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti collected a cool $5 million from the CIA for forging a backdated letter for Bush's henchmen. But, if you turn him in through the US 'Rewards for Justice' program, you can collect up to a million bucks! As of 06 August 2008, Tahir Jalil Habbush resides on the Rewards for Justice 'Wanted Terrorist' list. This means that George W. Bush funded a wanted terrorist.
Russia to move rockets to EU border if Poland hosts US missile shield 07 Aug 2008 Russia threatened to deploy bombers and short-range missiles on the Polish border if Warsaw agrees to host elements of a US missile defence shield on its territory. The warning marks a further escalation in the diplomatic crisis between Russia and the United States. Russian military hardware has not been stationed on the border of what is now the European Union since the Cold War. Russia's ambassador to Minsk, Alexander Surikov, said that bombers and short-range quasiballistic missiles would be stationed in the west of Belarus, Moscow's most important ex-Soviet ally, once Poland and the United States agree terms.
2 US aircraft carriers headed for Gulf 07 Aug 2008 Two additional United States naval aircraft carriers are heading to the Gulf and the Red Sea, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Kuwait Times. Kuwait began finalizing its "emergency war plan" on being told the vessels were bound for the region. The US Navy would neither confirm nor deny that carriers were en route.
Israel mulls military option for Iran nukes 07 Aug 2008 Israel is building up its strike capabilities amid growing anxiety over Iran's nuclear ambitions and appears confident that a military attack would cripple Tehran's atomic program, even if it can't destroy it. The Jewish state has purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and will receive 11 more by the end of next year. It has bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads -- in addition to the three it already has. Israel, itself an undeclared nuclear power, sees an atomic bomb in Iranian hands as a direct threat to its existence. [Maybe some nations see the US and/or Israel as a 'direct threat' to *their* existence.]
Kirkuk row scuppers chance of Iraq elections next year 07 Aug 2008 The chances of key local polls taking place in Iraq this year all but vanished yesterday after Parliament failed to pass an law on elections because of a row over the contested [oil-rich] city of Kirkuk, which threatens to heighten Arab-Kurdish tensions. Lawmakers will meet again after a month-long summer break to continue the debate, to the disappointment of the United Nations, Britain and the United States.
Iraq parliament fails to pass elections bill 07 Aug 2008 The Iraqi parliament broke for summer vacation Wednesday without passing a bill that would have allowed provincial elections to be held this year, dealing a blow to hopes for bringing alienated Sunni and Shiite Muslim voices into the political process any time soon. The parliament, which tried during a four-day special session to pass the legislation under pressure from the United States and United Nations, could not resolve differences over oil-rich Kirkuk, a volatile mixed area that the Kurds wish to annex to their semiautonomous northern region.
More troops may be sent to Afghanistan, hints Des Browne 07 Aug 2008 More troops may be sent to Afghanistan to help fight the Taliban, the Defence Secretary has hinted. Military chiefs have been in discussion to almost double troop numbers in Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph understands. Senior military officers have held preliminary talks about troop strenght and believe increasing numbers up to approximately 14,000 from the current 8,200 may be necessary to defeat the Taliban.
Musharraf faces impeachment bid 07 Aug 2008 Pakistan's ruling coalition parties say they will begin impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf. Party leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif made the announcement after three days of talks. They would need a two-thirds majority to impeach. Mr Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup in 1999. [Bush took power in a bloodless coup in 2000.]
U.S. says submarine leaked radiation in 3 Japan ports --U.S. nuclear-powered sub had leaked radiation for over two years 07 Aug 2008 A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine which has steadily been leaking a small amount of radiation for over two years stopped at three Japanese ports, as well as Guam and Pearl Harbor, the United States and Japan said on Thursday. Japan was notified by the United States last week that the nuclear-powered USS Houston had been leaking water containing a 'small' amount of radiation, but was told at the time that it was unclear when the leak had started. A statement from the U.S. government on Thursday said the Houston had been leaking radiation from June 2006 to July 2008.
New European spying proposals 'threaten British security' 07 Aug 2008 MI5 and MI6 could be forced to share their intelligence with the rest of Europe under new proposals from the EU. Under the plans, seen by the Daily Telegraph, all countries would feed secret information into a central intelligence unit so that any member state can use it. But the proposals risk hard won intelligence gathered by British agents being leaked by less scrupulous security services, particularly in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe [or the US].
Secret EU security draft risks uproar with call to pool policing and give US personal data --Blueprint wants new force to patrol world flashpoints --New EU internet-based propaganda campaign to defeat radicalisation and terrorist recruitment 07 Aug 2008 Europe should consider sharing vast amounts of intelligence and information on its citizens with the US to establish a "Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation" to combat terrorism, according to a high-level confidential report on future security. The 27 members of the EU should also pool intelligence on terrorism, develop joint video-surveillance and unmanned drone aircraft, start networks of anti-terrorism centres, and boost the role and powers of an intelligence-coordinating body in Brussels, said senior officials. The 53-page report, seen by the Guardian, was submitted to EU governments last month following 18 months of work.
Saudi Arabia prisons to replace Guantanamo Bay 27 Jul 2008 Saudi Arabia is to build five modern prisons in the kingdom to replace the US Guantanamo detention facility, a new report has revealed. Jordanian daily quoted unnamed sources as saying that US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi officials are cooperating to construct the prisons which are to replace Guantanamo and US secret prisons in Europe. Riyadh is to spent about two billion Saudi Rials for the project which can accommodate up to 18000 inmates, they added. Bin laden firm and with the help of German engineers will build the prisons in the Saudi cities of Mecca, Haer, Demmam, and Qasim.
Hamdan gets 5 1/2 years on terror charge --Bin Laden driver pleaded for leniency; he says just wanted a good job 07 Aug 2008 A military jury sentenced Osama bin Laden's former driver to 5 1/2 years in prison for aiding terrorism, making him eligible for release in six months. Salim Hamdan was acquitted of conspiracy in the first Guantanamo war crimes 'trial.' The sentence was delivered by the same six jurors who convicted Hamdan on Wednesday in the war crimes tribunal authorized by the Bush regime to try non-U.S. captives on terrorism charges outside the regular civilian and military courts.
'He was informed by his superiors that only guilty verdicts would be tolerated.' Guilty as Ordered (The New York Times) 07 Aug 2008 It is impossible, in any case, to judge the evidence against Mr. Hamdan because of the deeply flawed nature of this trial — the blueprint for which was the Military Commissions Act of 2006, one of the worst bits of lawmaking in American history. At these trials, hearsay and secret documents are admissible. Mr. Hamdan’s defense was actually required to began its case in a secret session... Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor in Guantánamo, put the trial in a disturbing light. He testified that he was informed by his superiors that only guilty verdicts would be tolerated. He also said that he was told to bring high-profile cases quickly to help Republicans score a pre-election public relations coup. Colonel Davis gave up his position on Oct. 4, 2007. That, he wrote in The Los Angeles Times in December, was "the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system."
Ivins Was Sole Anthrax Attacker, U.S. Says; Case Will Be Closed 07 Aug 2008 Government scientist Bruce E. Ivins acted alone in committing the 2001 anthrax killings, U.S. authorities said, citing evidence that he controlled access to the strain used in the attacks and tried to deceive investigators. Ivins, 62, 'committed suicide' last week after learning he was to be charged. He was a scientist at the U.S. biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and had helped investigators analyze anthrax samples used in the [Cheney] attacks.
Experts Question FBI's Genetic Test in Anthrax Case 07 Aug 2008 Scientists and legal experts questioned the reliability of novel genetic tests that the FBI says link deadly anthrax letters to an Army bioweapons scientist who authorities allege carried out the 2001 killings by himself. Because the FBI has never offered such tests in criminal cases, it's uncertain the results would have been admitted in court as evidence against Bruce E. Ivins, who 'committed suicide' last week, experts said. The government said it will close the case soon.
a total absence of proof that he committed this crime.' Officials
Say Documents Tie Scientist to Anthrax Attack --The search
warrant affidavits offered only incomplete data on how the letter anthrax
was linked genetically to Dr. Ivins's lab to the letters and almost
nothing on the preparation of the powder. 07 Aug 2008 After nearly
seven years of a troubled investigation, officials of the Federal Bureau
Man in Florida arrested for threatening to assassinate Obama --Suspect held without bail Thursday after a brief court hearing 07 Aug 2008 A man is being held in Florida by federal authorities on charges of threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Raymond Hunter Geisel was ordered held without bail Thursday at a brief court hearing. The Secret Service says Geisel made the threat during a training class for bail bondsmen in Miami in late July.
Bill Clinton to speak at Democratic Convention 07 Aug 2008 The Obama campaign has offered former President Bill Clinton a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, NBC News reported Thursday. The Clinton's have accepted the offer, and Bill Clinton will speak before the vice presidential running mate speaks, NBC reported.
Sen. Hillary Clinton Seeks Democratic Convention Voice --Clinton Not Ruling Out Having Name Put Up for Vote in Denver 06 Aug 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton told a gathering of supporters last week that she's looking for a "strategy" for her delegates to have their voices heard and "respected" at the Democratic National Convention -- and did not rule out the possibility of having her name placed into nomination at the convention alongside Sen. Barack Obama's.
No Crisis Is Immune From Exploitation Under Bush By Hillary Rodham Clinton 06 Aug 2008 In the past few years, the number of corporations flocking to places like the Cayman Islands to evade U.S. taxes has exploded. One of these companies, former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, has used offshore tax havens to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes. To no one's surprise, instead of cracking down on KBR, the Bush administration has rewarded the company in April of this year with a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq. There appears to be no crisis, tragedy or disaster immune from exploitation under the Bush administration.
Leaked McCain Memo: Paint Obama As a "Job Killing Machine" By Sam Stein 07 Aug 2008 In a McCain campaign "Economic Communications Plan" that was obtained by the Huffington Post, an aide to the Senator lays out several themes, tactics and objectives to shore up the Arizona Republican's standing on the economy and paint Barack Obama as a "job killing machine." The strategy, which was authored by Taylor Griffin -- a veteran of the Bush White House and Treasury Department who serves McCain as a senior adviser -- seems built around traditional themes. The McCain campaign will paint Obama as being "aligned with trial lawyers" and "unions (card check, trade, education reform)," and push the frame that he "raises taxes" and "will kill jobs." In contrast, McCain will be positioned as a bold leader on economic matters, someone who has a "record of taking on corporate interests" and will "fight speculation driving up prices of oil and food" [His f*cking trolls are responsible for the 'Enron loophole'] as well as "the lawsuit culture." "People are tired of big corporations, lobbyist and special interests who they feel prosper at their expense," the memo reads... The campaign also will work the fourth estate. [They always do.] As detailed in Taylor's memo, McCain will "provide compelling set of programming and surrogate activity to drive media interest," and "mobilize economists in target states supporting the McCain plan to engage the media in support of our plan."
Say cheese, speeders --Gov hopes to raise millions to fight crime by putting cameras on interstates 07 Aug 2008 To make good on his offer to help Chicago combat violence, Gov. Blagojevich envisions putting speed cameras on interstates across Illinois -- and using the revenue to form an "elite tactical team" [!?!] that would operate in Chicago and other cities. According to State Police Director Larry Trent, new State Police teams will stop motorists for traffic violations on Chicago expressways near high-crime [?] areas. The State Police will provide planes to the Chicago Police for surveillance. And a new State Police unit will track gangs across the state, Trent said.
Morgan Stanley Said to Freeze Home-Equity Credit Withdrawals 06 Aug 2008 Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest U.S. securities firm, told thousands of clients this week that they won't be allowed to withdraw money on their home-equity credit lines, said a person familiar with the situation.
29 States Faced Total Budget Shortfall of At Least $48 Billion for 2009 05 Aug 2008 At least 29 states plus the District of Columbia, including several of the nation’s largest states, faced an estimated $48 billion in combined shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2009 (which began July 1, 2008 in most states). At least three other states expect budget problems in fiscal year 2010.
Foreign energy firms 'picking the pockets' of British consumers 07 Aug 2008 British households are having their "pockets picked" by foreign energy firms to subsidise customers in their own countries, the Government’s new consumer champion has said. In his first comments as Gordon Brown’s consumer advocate, Ed Mayo claimed a lack of competition in the European energy markets meant millions of British families were being ripped off.
Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist --Defra's chief adviser says we need strategy to adapt to potential catastrophic increase 07 Aug 2008 The UK should take active steps to prepare for dangerous climate change of perhaps 4C according to one of the government's chief scientific advisers. In policy areas such as flood protection, agriculture and coastal erosion Professor Bob Watson said the country should plan for the effects of a 4C global average rise on pre-industrial levels.
Presidential Motorcade Map Found at House of Bomb Suspect --His father, Joseph Gude, a retired Air Force captain who works for the Treasury Department, also was charged in the case, accused of buying guns for his son. --McKenzie-Gude attended St. John's College High, a Catholic private school with a strong military background. At St. John's, he joined the junior ROTC and was a rifle team member. 06 Aug 2008 Police found a map of Camp David marked with a presidential motorcade route inside the Bethesda home of the teenager at the center of a bombmaking probe, along with a document that appears to describe how to kill someone at a distance of 200 meters, a Montgomery County prosecutor said yesterday at a court hearing. Collin McKenzie-Gude, 18, also had two forms of fake identification: one portraying him as a Central Intelligence Agency employee, and the other in the name of a federal contractor purportedly protected by the Geneva Conventions, authorities said. The investigation has expanded to include officials from the CIA, FBI and Secret Service, prosecutors said. McKenzie-Gude, who is in the Montgomery County jail, faces charges that include weapons violations, possession of explosives and attempted carjacking. At the house last week, police found more than 50 pounds of chemicals, assault-style weapons and armor-piercing bullets.
Oops! Looks like an 'October surprise' hit a bump: Bethesda Teen Bomb Suspect Case Gets Weirder By Sommer Mathis 06 Aug 2008 We've been following the case of Collin McKenzie-Gude, 18, of Bethesda since his arrest last week on charges of making and exploding pipe bombs and illegally possessing firearms... Gude appeared in court again yesterday, where prosecutors revealed that they had also found among his possessions a map of Camp David marked with a presidential motorcade route, and a document that appears to describe how to kill someone at a distance of 200 meters. They also found two fake IDs, one that purported him to be a Central Intelligence Agency employee, and the other in the name of a federal contractor. Lastly, they found a "to-do" list of items to be bought by October 2008, which included things like "equipment to convert semiautomatic rifles to fully automatic rifles," and "range-finding glasses that typically are used by a sniper team."
Iraq oil bonanza flows to tune of $80 billion 06 Aug 2008 A new [Government Accountability Office] report shows that high oil prices are enabling the Iraqi Government to store up a huge budget surplus, but that it is spending US money on reconstruction far faster than its own. According to the GAO’s latest report to Congress, the oil boom will give Iraq a surplus of $79 billion (£40.5 billion) in unspent funds by the end of this year. Nearly $10 billion has been sitting in a US bank in New York. The report, commissioned from the oversight agency by two senators, the Democrat Carl Levin and the Republican John Warner, will reignite questioning about the $48 billion the US has spent since the 2003 invasion on rebuilding a country with the third-greatest oil reserves in the world.
GAO: Iraq's oil profits huge as U.S. bears reconstruction load 05 Aug 2008 Iraq has benefited handsomely from this year's surge in oil prices and is well-positioned financially to shoulder a greater share of its own economic and security needs, the U.S. government's accounting watchdog concluded in a report released Tuesday. The Government Accountability Office estimates that Iraq will earn $67 billion to $79 billion in oil sales this year, twice the average annual amount of revenue that it generated from oil sales from 2005 through 2007... "The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large-scale reconstruction projects. It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said in a statement. "We should not be paying for Iraqi projects while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank, including outrageous profits from $4 a gallon gas prices in the U.S." [Yeah, but then Fluor and KBR wouldn't get their prerequisite Bush blowjobs.]
White House 'buried British intelligence on Iraq WMDs' --The White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. 05 Aug 2008 Tony Blair was told by MI6 before the invasion of Iraq that a high-placed and potentially credible Iraqi source was saying that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction - intelligence that was passed to the US but buried by the White House, according to an explosive new book... In 'The Way of the World', Pulitzer-prize winning author Ron Suskind also claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. The letter was designed to portray a false link between the Baathist regime and al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh], nine months after the invasion and at a time when no weapons of mass destruction had materialised.
Book Claims White House Forged War Intel --"The Way of the World" Alleges U.S. Faked Letter That Linked Iraq With 9/11 05 Aug 2008 A new book published Tuesday accuses the White House of trying to manipulate intelligence to support the war in Iraq, reports CBS News. The book, by author Ron Suskind, charges that the Bush White House faked a letter from Saddam Hussein's intelligence chief connecting Iraq with 9/11 and an ongoing nuclear program - neither of which was true. This letter, in the handwriting of Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, is dated July, 2001. It says that Iraqis hosted Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 'hijackers...' The book alleges that Habbush, Saddam's intelligence chief, was in CIA protective custody after the 2003 invasion, that the White House ordered CIA officials to have Habbush write and backdate the letter, and paid him $5 million. The author quotes two former CIA officials who claim to have seen a draft of the letter on White House stationery. Suskind writes: "The idea was to take the letter to Habbush and have him transcribe it in his own neat handwriting on a piece of Iraqi government stationery to make it look legitimate. CIA would then take the finished product to Baghdad and have someone release it to the media [lapdogs]."
Book claims White House ordered faked letter to tie Hussein and 9/11 05 Aug 2008 A new book by author Ron Suskind alleges that the White House ordered the CIA to fabricate a letter purportedly showing links between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the September 11, 2001 attacks. The book, "The Way of the World," was immediately attacked by the White House, the CIA and former CIA director George Tenet who is alleged to have passed the White House order to senior CIA operators.
White House denies fake Iraq-al-Qaeda link letter 05 Aug 2008 The White House and the CIA on Tuesday adamantly denied a report that the Bush administration concocted a fake letter purporting to show a link between Saddam Hussein's government and al-Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war. The allegation was raised by Washington-based journalist Ron Suskind in a new book, "The Way of the World," published Tuesday. The letter supposedly was written by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, director of Iraqi intelligence under Saddam Hussein.
Iraq reissues tender to drill 2 oil wells 05 Aug 2008 Iraq's Oil Ministry is reissuing an invitation to drill two deep exploration oil wells in a pair of major oilfields in southern Iraq. The state-run Oil Exploration Co. says the new deadline to receive proposals for drilling in the South Rumaila and Luhais oilfields near Basra will be Aug. 20.
Iraq invites energy contractor bids 04 Aug 2008 Iraq is inviting bids from contractors to drill seven new oil wells and complete work on four natural gas wells. The Oil Ministry says contractors have until September 15 to submit bids to drill in the East Baghdad oil field. Sunday's statement says bids to complete four gas wells in the Akkas gas field in western Iraq will be accepted until September 30.
Oil prices dropped on Wednesday, ergo: U.S. warns of 'punitive' action on Iran [That should send 'em back up on Thursday.] 06 Aug 2008 Iran may face "punitive" measures because of its insufficient response to an incentives package offered in return for a cutback in its nuclear program, a senior White House official said Wednesday. The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that world powers will seek new sanctions against Iran for failing to accept an international offer for economic incentives in exchange for suspending its nuclear activity.
US Air Force think tank warns against attack on Iranian nuclear facilities 06 Aug 2008 Amid rising speculation about the possibility of an Israeli or US bombing attack on Iranian nuclear facilities earlier this month, a major study produced for the US Air Force by a top defense think tank concluded that US military action against Iran was "likely to have negative effects for the United States." The study, by the RAND Project AIR FORCE, was released July 9, the same day that Tehran test-fired missiles in an apparent response to reports the previous week that Israel had carried out secret exercises designed to simulate a raid on Iran's nuclear facilities the previous month.
U.S. convicts Hamdan at Guantanamo 06 Aug 2008 A military court on Wednesday convicted Osama bin Laden's driver of supporting terrorism but acquitted him on the more serious charge of conspiring with al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in the first U.S. war crimes 'trial' since World War Two. The trial of Yemeni captive Salim Hamdan at the remote U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was the first full test of the controversial tribunal authorized by the Bush regime to try foreign captives on terrorism charges outside the regular U.S. court system.
Changing lug nuts not a war crime, jury told 04 Aug 2008 Osama bin Laden's driver performed vital services that enabled "the world's most dangerous terrorist" to launch attacks, a prosecutor told jurors before they began deliberations on Monday in the first U.S. war crimes 'trial' at Guantanamo. But defense lawyers for Yemeni captive Salim Hamdan argued he was merely a hired laborer akin to the defense contractors who provide services to U.S. forces. "Changing lug nuts and oil filters" were hardly war crimes, they said. Even if he is acquitted, or sentenced to less than the six years he has already spent in captivity, the United States says it still can hold him as an "unlawful enemy combatant" until the end of the war on terrorism declared by President [sic] George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks.
'One person said he'd sit at his desk and weep.' FBI used aggressive tactics in anthrax probe 06 Aug 2008 Before 'killing himself' last week, Army scientist Bruce Ivins told friends that government agents had stalked him and his family for months, offered his son $2.5 million to rat him out and tried to turn his hospitalized daughter against him with photographs of dead anthrax victims. Ivins complained privately that FBI agents had offered his son, Andy, $2.5 million, plus "the sports car of his choice" late last year if he would turn over evidence implicating his father in the anthrax attacks, according to a former U.S. scientist who described himself as a friend of Ivins... Dr. W. Russell Byrne, a friend and former supervisor of Ivins at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., said he was told by people who had recently worked with Ivins that the investigation had taken an emotional toll on the researcher.
U.S. judge unseals documents in anthrax investigation 06 Aug 2008 An American judge unsealed hundreds of pages of secret FBI documents on Wednesday, shedding light on the bizarre and deadly anthrax case that gripped the U.S. in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. The documents, including more than a dozen search warrants, suggest that the lead suspect in the case had possession of highly purified anthrax spores similar to the ones used in the anthrax mailings that killed five people in the United States and sickened 17 in 2001.
Pressure Grows to Release Evidence in Anthrax Case 05 Aug 2008 Federal law-enforcement officials continued to deliberate the release of 'evidence' they say implicates a U.S. military researcher in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Closed-door discussions between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department come amid rising pressure from Congress to unseal evidence against Bruce Ivins, the Fort Detrick, Md., researcher.
DIA's new mission adds to intel arsenal 05 Aug 2008 The Defense Intelligence Agency, long a home for intelligence analysis, is joining the spy vs. spy game. DIA joins just three other military organizations authorized to carry out offensive counterintelligence operations_ the Army Counterintelligence office, the Navy Criminal Investigative Serve and the Air Force office of Special Investigations. The classified operations will be carried out by a small, tightly controlled group at sites inside the United States or outside, but only against foreigners [?].
'Fakeproof' e-passport is cloned in minutes 06 Aug 2008 New microchipped passports designed to be foolproof against identity theft can be cloned and manipulated in minutes and accepted as genuine by the computer software recommended for use at international airports. Tests for The Times exposed security flaws in the microchips introduced to protect against terrorism and organised crime.
dies after police Tasering --County investigates incident
in which Swissvale resident was
Three dead in feared bird flu outbreak in Indonesia: officials 06 Aug 2008 Three people have died and 13 have been admitted to hospital with symptoms of bird flu in Indonesia, a nurse treating the patients said Wednesday.
Police fire water cannon on anti-Bush protesters in South Korea 05 Aug 2008 Police fired water cannons at thousands of protesters Tuesday as U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush got a volatile reception in South Korea at the start of his Asian trip. As evening approached, an estimated 20,000 anti-Bush protesters gathered nearby. Police turned water cannons on them as they tried to move onto the main central downtown boulevard, telling the crowd that the liquid contained markers to tag them so they could be identified later.
House Republican leader rips Bush 05 Aug 2008 A House Republican leader is lambasting President Bush on his decision not to call Congress back into session to deal with the energy crisis. In a legislative update sent to GOP members and staff on Tuesday, Republican House Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) accused "Beijing George" Bush of throwing House Republicans "under the bone-dry bus" on his way to the Olympics in [bear-torturing] China.
McCain Gaffes, Volunteering Wife For Topless Contest 05 Aug 2008 Sen. John McCain, R-Misogynist-Az., perhaps unknowingly, volunteered his wife for a beauty pageant on Monday that often features contestants topless -- and, occasionally, without any decency -- at the Sturgis, South Dakota, motorcycle rally. "I was looking at the Sturgis schedule, and noticed that you had a beauty pageant, so I encouraged Cindy to compete," McInsane told an audience at the rally. "I told her [that] with a little luck, she could be the only woman to serve as both the First Lady and Miss Buffalo Chip."
McCain Calls to Build 45 Nuclear Plants 05 Arizona Republican John McCain toured the 20-year-old [deadly] Enrico Fermi Nuclear Plant near Detroit today in a campaign effort to portray himself as an energy problem solver. McMoron used the visit to the plant to highlight his call to build dozens of new atomic power plants in the United States and to distinguish himself from his likely Democratic opponent. "I proposed a plan to build 45 new nuclear plants before the year 2030. And that would provide 700,000 jobs for American workers," McCain told the crowd of reporters that gathered at the plant.
Did New York couple give $61,600 to McCain, GOP? 05 Aug 2008 Alice Rocchio is an office manager at the New York headquarters of the Hess Corp., drives a 1993 Chevy Cavalier and lives in an apartment in Queens, N.Y., with her husband, Pasquale, an Amtrak foreman. Despite what appears to be a middle-class lifestyle, the couple has written $61,600 in checks to John McCain's presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, most of it within days of McCain's decision to endorse offshore oil drilling. At a June fundraiser, the Rocchios joined top executives at Hess Corp. and six other officials in giving a total of $313,500 to a joint McCain-RNC fundraising committee, Federal Election Commission records show.
Media Fall for 'Race Card' Spin --Outraged press ignores McCain's ties to GOP race-baiting tradition (FAIR) 05 Aug 2008 Corporate media have been absurdly receptive to the McCain campaign's charge that Barack Obama "played the race card" by predicting that his opponents in the presidential race would try to use his race against him. The fact is that racialized attacks are a standard part of the Republican playbook--and the strategy has been employed by key advisers to John McCain.
'That wrinkly white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad.' Paris Hilton strikes back at McCain ad 05 Aug 2008 Paris Hilton struck back Tuesday at Republican presidential candidate John McCain for running a campaign ad that likened Democratic rival Barack Obama’s celebrity to that of the blond socialite and to singer Britney Spears. The video began with images of the 71-year-old Arizona senator: "He’s the oldest celebrity in the world, like super-old. Old enough to remember when dancing was a sin and beer was served in a bucket. But, is he ready to lead?"
Greenspan warns more banks may be bailed out 05 Aug 2008 Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman, has warned that more banks and financial institutions could end up being bailed out by governments before the credit crunch is over. Writing in the Financial Times today, he said that stability has not been restored to the financial sector even though central banks have injected billions of pounds in liquidity, and warned that fears of insolvency still persist.
Bush warns Pakistan of 'serious action' 04 Aug 2008 The United States has accused Pakistan’s main spy agency of deliberately undermining Nato efforts in Afghanistan by helping the Taliban and al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] militants they are supposed to be fighting, the Sunday Times reported. President [sic] George W Bush confronted Yusuf Raza Gilani in Washington last week with evidence of involvement by the ISI in a deadly attack on the Afghan capital and warned of retaliation if it continues. Bush warned that if one more attack in Afghanistan or elsewhere were traced back to Pakistan, he would have to take serious action.
Marines ordered to stay longer in Afghanistan 04 Aug 2008 The Pentagon has ordered roughly 1,250 Marines serving as trainers for the Afghan security forces to stay on the warfront about a month longer to continue a 'mission' that military leaders say is a top priority, according to a senior military official. In addition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has authorized the deployment of up to 200 other troops to Afghanistan to support the Marines. [What *is* the Afghan mission?]
Secret deal kept British Army out of battle for Basra 05 Aug 2008 A secret deal between Britain and the notorious al-Mahdi militia prevented British Forces from coming to the aid of their US and Iraqi allies for nearly a week during the battle for Basra this year, The Times has learnt. Four thousand British troops -- including elements of the SAS and an entire mechanised brigade -- watched from the sidelines for six days because of an "accommodation" with the Iranian-backed group, according to American and Iraqi officers who took part in the assault. US Marines and soldiers had to be rushed in to fill the void, fighting bitter street battles and facing mortar fire, rockets and roadside bombs with their Iraqi counterparts.
Major powers threaten new sanctions on Iran: US 04 Aug 2008 Six major world powers agreed Monday to seek new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program after the country failed to meet a weekend deadline to respond to an offer intended to defuse the dispute, the United States said. Representatives of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany decided in a high-level conference call that Iran's lack of response to an incentives package aimed at getting it to halt sensitive atomic activity left them no option other than to pursue new punitive measures, the United States said.
Iran threatens to shut Gulf shipping lanes 04 Aug 2008 Iran has warned it is ready to shut down the shipping lanes of the Gulf as it boasted of a new missile system designed to "prolong" war at sea. The fusillade of belligerence [?] fired at "major powers" came as Tehran was poised to reject demands to curtail its nuclear programme. The country's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, spoke to Javier Solana, the EU's foreign affairs supremo, to tender a belated response to an offer of compensation in return for a suspension of its uranium production.
Iran test-fires another missile 04 Aug 2008 Iran has test fired a new missile which is said to be capable of targeting an enemy vessel within a range of 300 kilometres. Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commander Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Ja'fari has said Iran's new missile technology has not been tried by any other country.
Israel High Court says government acting unlawfully 04 Aug 2008 The Israeli government is under attack form the High Court of Justice. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, and Justices Eliezer Rivlin and Ayala Procaccia have slammed the state for ignoring the court's ruling in relation to the security fence a year ago. The Court has given the government 45 days to submit a new route for part of the fence which runs through lands belonging to Bil'in villagers, according to a report in the Haaretz newspaper.
Army: Soldier found dead in car was homicide 05 Aug 2008 The Army is investigating as a homicide the death of an 82nd Airborne Division soldier found July 20 on Fort Bragg, authorities said Monday. The Army Criminal Investigation Command has "an open investigation" into the death of Pfc. Luke J. Brown, said Jeffrey Castro, a spokesman at the headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va. Brown’s body was found in a car in a parking lot near a building off Bastogne Drive. Brown, who was 27 and from Fredericksburg, Va., was an intelligence analyst with the division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
'The question is: Did the U.S. destroy everything?' U.S. May Have Taped Visits to Detainees --Foreign Countries Sent Interrogators 05 Aug 2008 The Bush regimeinformed all foreign intelligence and law enforcement teams visiting their citizens held at Guantanamo Bay that video and sound from their interrogation sessions would be recorded, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. The policy suggests that the United States could possess hundreds or thousands of hours of secret taped conversations between detainees and representatives from nearly three dozen countries. Should such videotapes exist, they would reveal how representatives from countries such as China, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia treated detainees in small interrogation booths at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- sessions that some prisoners have said were abusive and at times contained threats of torture or even death.
Lawyer Suggests Detainee Aided U.S. in Afghanistan 05 Aug 2008 Secret evidence at the war crimes trial of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver, showed that Mr. Hamdan offered "critical details" to American forces "when it mattered most" in the early days of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Hamdan’s military lawyer said Monday in his closing argument. The defense lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Brian L. Mizer, suggested that Mr. Hamdan, during interrogations in late 2001 and early 2002, might have helped in the hunt for Mr. bin Laden or in some other vital operation. American forces were in pursuit of Mr. bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, at that time. "You know what Mr. Hamdan agreed to do," Commander Mizer said to the military panel’s members who heard the secret testimony last week. "You know what happened, how we squandered that opportunity."
Aafia Siddiqui detained for political reasons: lawyer 04 Aug 2008 Elaine Whitfield Sharp, the lawyer representing Aafia Siddiqui’s family, alleged on Monday that the MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist was being detained for political reasons. Talking to Dawn, Ms Sharp also claimed that so far all the allegations brought against Ms Siddiqui had "proven wrong and unsubstantiated". The US media reported on Sunday that Ms Siddiqui was in US custody in Afghanistan, but gave no details. Ms Sharp claimed that "every time that US authorities accused Aafia of something, we showed it was false".
FBI concedes Aafia Siddiqui in US custody: lawyer --In a 2006 report, Amnesty International listed Mrs Siddiqui as among a number of "disappeared" suspects in the war on [of] terrorism. On July 6, 2007, AI listed Mrs Siddiqui as a possible CIA "secret detainee". 04 Aug 2008 Five years after her mysterious disappearance in Karachi, the FBI has finally conceded that an MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist is alive and is in US custody in Afghanistan. Aafia Siddiqui, 36, disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her over her alleged links to Al Qaeda. Her family’s lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp said she believed recent media reports about Mrs Siddiqui’s incarceration increased pressure on the US and Pakistani authorities to divulge more information. "I don’t believe that they just found Aafia," she said. "I believe that she was there all along."
US Army sniper detector to be used on UK streets 04 Aug 2008 Technology used by the American army to detect snipers in warzones is to be trialled on British streets in an effort to tackle gun crime. Four British police forces are believed to have registered their interest in ShotSpotter, a system used to detect the position of any gunfire within 80ft in seconds. Police in London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands are set to trial the device next month, and could introduce it permanently next year.
Peers slam Brown's "ill-advised" terrorism law plan 05 Aug 2008 The government's plans to extend the time terrorism suspects can be held without charge are ill-advised and a "recipe for confusion" that could jeopardise trials, a report by a committee of peers said on Tuesday. Under the proposals, both houses of parliament would have to vote on the Home Secretary's decision allowing police to detain suspects for up to 42 days for a temporary period in the face of an "exceptional terrorist threat".
Homeland Security: All Your Laptops Belong to Us By Mitch Wagner 04 Aug 2008 The gropers [LOL!] at the Department of Homeland Security, not content with patting you down and rummaging through your underwear, now say that they can confiscate electronics brought into the U.S. for any reason, anytime, and share the devices and their contents with anybody... Interestingly, the Post quotes the DHS regulation as covering "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form." While the Post lists only electronic devices and their associated documentation as examples, books and other paper documents are also "device(s) capable of storing information in... analog form." Does the DHS also have the authority to confiscate books and paper documents?
Pressure Grows for F.B.I.'s Anthrax Evidence 05 Aug 2008 After four years of painstaking scientific research, the F.B.I. by 2005 had traced the anthrax in the poisoned letters of 2001 to a single flask of the bacteria at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., according to government scientists and bureau officials. But at least 10 scientists had regular access to the laboratory and its anthrax stock -- and possibly quite a few more, counting visitors from other institutions, and workers at laboratories in Ohio and New Mexico that had received anthrax samples from the flask at the Army laboratory.
GPs refuse to treat bird flu patients 05 Aug 2008 Bird flu will hit Australia but some GPs will refuse to treat patients - preferring to keep themselves and their families safe, research shows. Others say they are unprepared to deal with the "horror" situation and hope it never happens, although experts say it is a matter of "when", not "if" disaster strikes.
Phew! Bush Dirty Diapers! By Karl Schwarz 02 Aug 2008 Some time around 2000, there was an "investment club" created. It was somewhere around $20 to $22 billion dollars and was promoted by a lot of high profile names mentioned often in this 9-11 / Caspian Basin fiasco, and some not mentioned at all. Names like George H W Bush, Tricky Dick Cheney, Nicholas Brady, John Sununu and others... They had all purchased front row seats to get at those trillions, and trillions and trillions of dollars in Caspian oil and gas... There is a very real possibility that this 'investment club' was involved in getting 9-11 done, and it is also a possibility that they are about take a major hit due to Junior losing the Caspian Basin.
GOP stalwart arrested in 2-day St. Paul prostitution sting 25 Jul 2008 Peter Hong, a longtime Republican operative in Minnesota, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of soliciting prostitution in St. Paul. Police spokesman Peter Panos said that the arrest came during the first day of a two-day sting operation during which "johns" and prostitutes responded to ads placed on the Internet and in print.
Unconventional 04 Aug 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney will not make an appearance at the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next month, according to sources in his office. Cheney has not sought a speaking slot at the convention, nor has his staff sought a role for him at the convention. The McCain campaign has not gone out of its way to reach out to Cheney, though a segment of conservative Republicans had been pressing the campaign to include Cheney in the convention agenda.
DNC: McCain Campaign Fueled By Oil and Gas Industry 04 Aug 2008 This week, as John McCain continues on the Low Road Express... donations from oil and gas companies are fueling his campaign - and driving his policies. Last week top oil companies Exxon and Shell announced that they made record-breaking profits for the second quarter of 2008 -- $11.68 billion and $11.56 billion, respectively -- as Americans were paying record-high prices at the pump. Yet McCain refuses to support a windfall profits tax on oil companies... Instead, McCain is offering a set of policies, from $4 billion in tax breaks for the top five oil companies to a gas tax "holiday" that wouldn't even fill a tank, that will do more for Exxon-Mobil and Shell than working Americans.
Companies Tap Pension Plans to Fund Executive Benefits --Little-Known Move Uses Tax Break Meant For Rank and File 04 Aug 2008 At a time when scores of companies are freezing pensions for their workers, some are quietly converting their pension plans into resources to finance their executives' retirement benefits and pay. In recent years, companies collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.
US junk-bond defaults may quadruple 04 Aug 2008 Defaults on American corporate junk bonds could more than quadruple in the next year as the declining economy in the United States severely restricts companies' ability to repay their debts, the Standard & Poor's ratings agency has said.
'Completely ridiculous and a waste of the court's time' Alaska sues over listing polar bear as threatened 05 Aug 2008 The state of Alaska sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Monday, seeking to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Gov. [Reichwing maggot] Sarah Palin and other state officials fear a listing will cripple offshore oil and gas development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska's northern waters, which provide prime habitat for the only polar bears under U.S. jurisdiction. Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead author of the petition that led to the listing, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists addressed skeptics' objections during the listing process. She called the lawsuit "completely ridiculous and a waste of the court's time."
Winnipeg zoo's polar bear, world's oldest, dying: officials 01 Aug 2008 The Assiniboine Park Zoo's polar bear Debby, famous for being the oldest living polar bear in the world, is dying from age-related medical complications, zoo officials said Thursday. "They are offering her special treats, special foods -- like, she loves veggie dogs and smoked goldeye, a few things like that -- so they're trying to give her things she really likes, just get a bit more weight on her," said zoo curator Bob Wrigley. "A wonderful ambassador for her species, it is significant that she has survived to 2008, the International Year of the Polar Bear, so designated by Polar Bears International, which promotes the conservation of the species under threat by global warming," officials said.
Pass the PAW Act -- End Alaska's Aerial Hunting Program! 04 Aug 2008 Rep. George Miller (CA) has introduced the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, legislation to close a federal loophole and curb Alaska's brutal aerial hunting program -- and prevent programs like it from spreading to places like the Greater Yellowstone region. But he needs your support to win passage of this wolf-saving measure. Fill out the form below to urge your Representative to sign on as a cosponsor to Rep. George Miller's PAW Act.
'They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East.' White House officials pressed FBI to blame anthrax scare on Al Qaeda 02 Aug 2008 In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], but investigators ruled that out, the Daily News has learned. After the Oct. 5, 2001, death from anthrax exposure of Sun photo editor Robert Stevens, Mueller was "beaten up" during President [sic] Bush's morning intelligence briefings for not producing proof the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide. "They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East," the retired senior FBI official told The News.
Anthrax Evidence Is Said to Be Circumstantial 04 Aug 2008 The evidence amassed by F.B.I. investigators against scientist Dr. Bruce E. Ivins... was largely circumstantial, and a grand jury in Washington was planning to hear several more weeks of testimony before issuing an indictment, a person who has been briefed on the investigation said on Sunday. While genetic analysis had linked the anthrax letters to a supply of the deadly bacterium in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., at least 10 people had access to the flask containing that anthrax, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also have no evidence proving that Dr. Ivins visited New Jersey on the dates in September and October 2001 when investigators believe the letters were sent from a Princeton mailbox, the source said. In an indication that investigators were still trying to strengthen their case, F.B.I. agents took two public computers [without a warrant] from the downtown public library in Frederick last week, The Frederick News-Post reported.
FBI seizes local Md. library computers without court order 03 Aug 2008 The FBI removed computer records from the C. Burr Artz Library this week, a library official confirmed Saturday. Darrell Batson, director of Frederick County Public Libraries, said two FBI employees came to the downtown Frederick library either Wednesday or Thursday. The agents removed two public computers from the library's second floor. They told him they were taking the units back to their office in Washington, D.C., Batson said. This was the third time in his 10 years with FCPL that the FBI has come to the library seeking records, Batson said. It was the first time they came without a court order.
Spy-in-sky patrols over British cities in hunt for Taliban fighters --Planes with eavesdropping equipment are now flying over British cities. 03 Aug 2008 MI5 is using a fleet of sophisticated surveillance aircraft to search for unidentified Britons who fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. The manhunt has been ordered because it is feared the committed and highly trained fighters may have returned home to plot terror attacks in the UK. Planes with eavesdropping equipment are now flying over British cities searching for returning Afghan fighters. They are attempting to identify suspects using 'voice prints' of fighters with British accents picked up by RAF Nimrod spy planes monitoring Taliban battlefield radio signals.
Al-Qaida announces deaths of 4 commanders 03 Aug 2008 Al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] confirmed in a Web statement Sunday the death of a senior commander known as a top explosives and poisons expert, who is believed to have been [re-]killed in a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan 'last week.' The statement said Abu Khabab al-Masri and three other commanders were killed. It did not give details on when or how they were killed, Pakistani authorities have said they believe al-Masri died in an American airstrike last Monday on a compound near the Afghan border.
Dead, now wounded or re-killed: Al-Qaeda No. 2 May be Injured, Possibly Re-killed --Ayman al-Zawahiri 'died' in February 2006, but may be critically wounded or possibly re-killed. By Lori Price 02 Aug 2008 Only days after the CIA re-killed Abu Khabab al-Masri (aka Midhat Mursi) who 'died' in January 2006, CBS News 'exclusively reports' that al-Qaeda #2 (tons of those, btw) Ayman al-Zawahiri was injured and 'believed to be somewhere in Pakistan's remote tribal areas' (so he can be re-killed during a 'bad news' week for the Bush administration).
Gitmo interrogators shift focus to prison activity --Critics say the inward focus proves Guantanamo has outlived any purpose. 03 Aug 2008 Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are asking detainees primarily about activity inside the U.S. military prison, the mission commander said, revealing a shift in focus from the wider fight against terrorism. The information gleaned from prisoners is most important to preventing them from hurting themselves or attacking guards, said Navy Rear Adm. David Thomas, the top officer at the detention and interrogation center. The shift reflects the diminishing intelligence value of al-Qaida and Taliban suspects who have been held as long as six years at this isolated U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
2 U.S. soldiers charged with killing Iraqi 02 Aug 2008 Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with the premeditated killing of an Iraqi prisoner, military officials said Saturday. Staff Sgt. Hal Warner and 1st Lt. Michael Behenna also face charges of assault, making false statements and obstruction of justice, CNN reported.
Elections Bill in Iraq Stalls --Dispute Persists Over Oil-Rich City in North 04 Aug 2008 Iraqi lawmakers on Sunday failed to settle a dispute over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and pass a provincial elections bill viewed as vital for national reconciliation, despite intense pressure from the United States and the United Nations.
Truck blast kills 12 in Sunni area of Baghdad --Separately, U.S. serviceman dies in vehicle accident southwest of capital 03 Aug 2008 A truck bomb exploded during rush hour Sunday on a busy commercial street in northern Baghdad, killing at least 12 people and wounding about two dozen, Iraqi police and health officials said. Separately on Sunday, one American soldier died and another was injured in a vehicle accident southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. [Yup, McBush's surge is a failure.]
Filthy Iraqi drinking water raises cholera fears 02 Aug 2008 Two-thirds of the raw sewage produced in the capital flows untreated into rivers and waterways, Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in his quarterly report released Wednesday. Last year in Iraq, the World Health Organization confirmed more than 3,300 cases of cholera, a gastrointestinal disease typically spread by contaminated water, and at least 14 deaths from the acute and rapid dehydration it causes.
Did McCain's foreign-policy advisor profit from the Iraq war? In a confidential memo, a company tells investors consultant Randy Scheunemann can help it win Iraqi oil contracts -- because he was a "key player" in getting the U.S. to invade. By Mark Benjamin 01 Aug 2008 As recently as last year, John McCain's senior foreign-policy and national security advisor, a neoconservative who played a leading role in pushing for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, was trying to use his role in promoting the Iraq war to make money off Iraqi oil. In a confidential memo, a company called World Strategic Energy, for which top McCain aide Randy Scheunemann was an executive consultant, told prospective investors that Scheunemann could help World Strategic Energy win oil contracts in Iraq because he was well-connected in the Iraqi exile community and had been a "key player" in getting the U.S. involved in Iraq.
U.N. council must increase sanctions on Iran: U.S. 03 Aug 2008 The United States said on Sunday that Iran has left the U.N. Security Council no choice but to increase sanctions on the Islamic Republic for ignoring demands that it halt sensitive nuclear activities. The U.S. declaration came a day after an informal deadline lapsed for Iran to respond to an offer from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia for talks on its disputed nuclear program.
Iran near nuclear advance, Israel warns --'As Soon As 2010' 02 Aug 2008 Iran is heading toward a major breakthrough in its nuclear program, an Israeli official said yesterday, as the White House warned Iran could face new sanctions if it ignores an international freeze offer. "As soon as 2010 [Iran] will have the option to reach [uranium production] at military levels," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz told an audience in Washington, adding that this would be an "unacceptable" development.
Israel's secret police pressuring sick Gazans to spy for them, says report --Treatment only offered to would-be informants 04 Aug 2008 Israel's secret police are pressuring Palestinians in Gaza to spy on their community in exchange for urgent medical treatment, according to a report released today by an Israeli human rights organisation. Physicians for Human Rights says the Shin Bet began interrogating Palestinian patients seeking permission to travel from Gaza to Israel for crucial medical help after Israel blockaded and then declared the tiny territory an enemy entity more than a year ago. Refusal to cooperate often results in the denial of medical treatment.
House arrest for homicide: Israeli policeman arrested after Palestinian boy's death 03 Aug 2008 An Israeli border policeman has been arrested in connection with last week's shooting death of a Palestinian boy, an Israeli police spokesman said Sunday. The border policeman was placed under house arrest [!] Thursday, two days after Ahmed Moussa's death in the West Bank. According to Israeli media reports, Moussa was shot in the head during a demonstration against an Israeli security barrier near the village of Nil'in.
IDF vets train NY Jewish paramilitaries 25 Jul 2008 Yonatan Stern, the "Sgan Mefaked Hakita" (deputy squad commander) of Kitat Konenut New York, insists his "paramilitary emergency armed response team" is no "group of vigilantes or a JDL [Jewish Defense League]." On Friday, the third session of the group's training camp will begin in the Catskills woodlands of upstate New York, on land belonging to a Jewish supporter of the organization. With tuition at $400, the group expects 15 participants and five instructors for the 10 days of training.
AP: Seoul probes civilian massacres by US 03 Aug 2008 South Korean investigators, matching once-secret documents to eyewitness accounts, are concluding that the U.S. military indiscriminately killed large groups of refugees and other civilians early in the Korean War. In clear weather from low altitude, "U.S. forces napalmed numerous small buildings, (and) strafed children, women and old people in the open area," the commission said. One U.S. air attack on 2,000 refugees assembled Aug. 20, 1950, at Haman, near Masan, killed almost 200, survivors reported. "There were many similar incidents -- refugees gathered in certain places, and there were air strikes," she said. "Everybody came out of their houses to see these low-flying planes, and everyone was hit," farmer Ahn Shik-mo, 77, told AP reporters visiting the apple-growing village. "It appeared they were aiming at people." At least 51 were killed, the commission found, including Ahn's mother. Sixty-nine of 115 houses were destroyed in what the panel called "indiscriminate" bombing.
Minot Air Force Base truck crashes carrying booster for Minuteman III 02 Aug 2008 The Air Force said a truck carrying the booster for a Minuteman III overturned Thursday a few miles east of Parshall in northwest North Dakota, but there was 'no danger' to the public. The truck was traveling from Minot Air Force Base to a launch facility in northwestern North Dakota when it crashed on the gravel road Thursday morning between Parshall and Makoti, about 70 miles from the air base. Two airmen in the vehicle were not seriously injured, the Air Force said.
Al-Haramain refiles suit against US wiretapping 03 Aug 2008 In yet another blow to the American terrorist surveillance program, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF) has refiled a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court accusing the Bush administration of illegal wiretapping. "The refiling of the suit has asserted that the Bush administration had circumvented the US Constitution by authorizing wiretaps," M. Wendell Belew, president of the Friends of Charities Association (FOCA), said yesterday.
'It was like, literally, an episode of "24," when they bust in on a terrorist cell.' DEA agents raid Culver City medical marijuana dispensary --The action comes on the same day an appellate court in San Diego rules that federal law does not preempt California's medical pot law. 01 Aug 2008 Federal agents raided a Culver City medical marijuana dispensary [Organica Collective] where they spent more than four hours this afternoon, serving a search warrant that resulted in no arrests but left the shop in disarray. "We heard some noise outside, and then the door literally burst in, and the DEA came in in full combat gear, told everybody to get on the floor and put their hands behind their heads," Clyde Carey said. "It was like, literally, an episode of "24," when they bust in on a terrorist cell."
Reporting while black: McCain's Waffen SS removes only black reporter from rally McCain security ousts reporter --A Panama City police officer approached while Price was speaking to the security member. 02 Aug 2008 Tallahassee Democrat senior writer Stephen Price on Friday was singled out and asked to leave a media area at the Panama City rally of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. Price was among at least three other reporters, and the only black reporter, surrounding McCain's campaign bus when a member of the Arizona senator's security detail asked the reporter to identify himself. Price had shown his media credentials to enter the area. Price showed his employee identification as well as his credentials for the Friday event. "I explained I was with the state press, but the Secret Service man said that didn't matter and that I would have to go," Price said. When another reporter asked why Price was being removed, she too was led out of the area. Other state reporters remained.
McCain's son resigns two bank board posts 27 Jul 2008 Andrew McCain, son of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, on Saturday resigned from the boards of Silver State Bancorp of Henderson and Silver State Bank for "personal reasons," the holding company said. Andrew McCain was appointed chairman of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, starting this month. The younger McCain is chief financial officer of Phoenix-based Hensley & Co., a large beer distributorship [owned by Cindy McCain].
FDIC warns four US banks over liquidity 01 Aug 2008 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation revealed on Friday that it had issued warnings to four small US banks that lacked sufficient reserves to cover potential loan losses. The cease-and-desist orders issued in June said the four banks needed to raise more capital, expand their loss allowances and better oversee and diversify their loan portfolios. A fifth bank was cited for violating consumer protection laws.
Big Oil's biggest quarter ever: $51.5B in all 01 Aug 2008 Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total SA wrapped up a string of gargantuan, record-breaking earnings reports Friday, a stretch in which six of the major international oil companies topped $50 billion in combined profit for the first time. While the profits of unparalleled size have brought withering criticism from Washington and disgust from consumers across the country, very few were surprised. Crude prices during the second quarter were nearly double what they were a year ago.
Oil Rises as Storm Threatens U.S. Output, Iran Misses Deadline 04 Aug 2008 Crude oil rose for a second day as a storm threatened U.S. output in the Gulf of Mexico, and Israeli and U.S. officials sought additional sanctions against Iran. Tropical Storm Edouard lies about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of the Mississippi River mouth and may strengthen to a hurricane as it heads west toward Texas, the National Hurricane Center said. Oil rose from an 11-week low last week as Iran ignored a deadline in its dispute with the United Nations over its uranium research. "It's that time of the year, and U.S. Gulf production could be in the path of the storm," said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin & Gertz Inc. in Singapore. "Concern about Iran is coming to the fore and supply risks would provide a high floor for prices." [B*** me. See: Big Oil's biggest quarter ever: $51.5B in all 01 Aug 2008.]
U.S. fleet costs questioned 03 Aug 2008 Americans love their cars, and so apparently does Uncle Sam -- who has 642,233 of them. Operating those vehicles -- maintenance, leases and fuel -- cost taxpayers $3.4 billion last year. While Cabinet and other officials say they need the vehicles to do their jobs, watchdogs say mismanagement of the government fleet is costing millions of dollars a year in wasteful spending. Add to that the cost of drivers, a perk given to high-level government officials.
Man Sues Wal-Mart Over Tainted Peppers 02 Aug 2008 A Colorado man [Brian Grubbs] is suing Wal-Mart and an unnamed supplier, saying that he fell ill after eating jalapeño peppers bought from the company tainted with the same strain of salmonella that has infected more than 1,300 people over the past three months. The suit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Colorado, alleges that Wal-Mart and its supplier were negligent in distributing and selling tainted peppers and liable for the quality of its merchandise, among other claims.
Tropical storm forms in oil area of Gulf of Mexico 03 Aug 2008 The fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season formed near a major oil and gas producing area of the northern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Tropical Storm Edouard, located around 95 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River by 6 p.m. EDT, was expected to come ashore at close to hurricane strength in a few days on the Texas coast, the Miami-based hurricane center said.
A Surge on the Homefront? 01 Aug 2008 Answering a question at the Urban League about his approach to combating crime, John McCain suggested that military strategies currently employed by US troops in Iraq could be applied to high crime neighborhoods here in the US. McCain called them tactics "somewhat like we use in the military." "You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control," he said. "And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement." [Goodbye, Posse Comitatus! For likely response, see: 'La Battaglia di Algeri' (1966).]
Homeland Security: We can seize laptops for an indefinite period By Declan McCullagh 01 Aug 2008 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has concocted a remarkable new policy: It reserves the right to seize for an indefinite period of time laptops taken across the border. A pair of DHS policies from last month say that customs agents can routinely--as a matter of course--seize, make copies of, and "analyze the information transported by any individual attempting to enter, re-enter, depart, pass through, or reside in the United States." (See policy No. 1 and No. 2.) This is a disturbing new policy, and should convince anyone taking a laptop across a border to use encryption to thwart DHS snoops. Encrypt your laptop, with full disk encryption if possible, and power it down before you go through customs. Here's a guide to customs-proofing your laptop that we published in March.
'The policies . . . are truly alarming.' Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border --No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies 01 Aug 2008 Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism.
US holds secret session of Guantanamo military tribunal --Journalists are removed from courtroom 01 Aug 2008 The U.S. military has removed journalists from a Guantanamo courtroom for a secret session of the war crimes tribunal. It is the first time the U.S. has held a closed session at the tribunals created to prosecute alleged terrorists at the base in Cuba. Observers without security clearance were told to leave Thursday while a defense witness testified in the 'trial' of Salim Hamdan.
July 7 trial jury fails to reach verdict 01 Aug 2008 The jury in the case of three men accused of helping the July 7 London bombers was today dismissed after failing to reach a verdict in three weeks of deliberations. Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, were the first people to be tried in connection with the 2005 attacks on London's transport network that killed 52 people. The three were today remanded in custody following the dismissal of the jury, which had retired to consider its verdict on July 14. Mr Justice Gross said he was working on the assumption there might be a retrial next year, while the Crown Prosecution Service said it was considering its position.
Source: US Used British Territory for Terrorism Interrogations --U.S. may also have kept prisoners on ships within Diego Garcia's territorial waters 31 Jul 2008 A former senior American official tells TIME that in 2002 and possibly 2003, the U.S. imprisoned and interrogated one or more terrorism suspects on Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean controlled by the United Kingdom. The official, a frequent participant in White House Situation Room meetings after Sept. 11 who has since left government, says a CIA counterterrorism official twice said that a high-value prisoner or prisoners were being held and interrogated on the island. According to this single source, who requested anonymity because of the classified nature of the discussions, the U.S. may also have kept prisoners on ships within Diego Garcia's territorial waters, a contention the U.S. has long denied.
US held terrorism suspects at British island-report 01 Aug 2008 The United States imprisoned and interrogated one or more terrorism suspects at the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia in 2002 and possibly 2003, a former senior U.S. official has told Time magazine. "The official, a frequent participant in White House Situation Room meetings after Sept. 11 who has since left government, says a CIA counter-terrorism official twice said that a high-value prisoner or prisoners were being held and interrogated on the island," the magazine reported.
Anthrax scientist awarded highest nonmilitary honor from DoD in 2003 - Mission accomplished! Anthrax scientist stood to benefit from a panic --The contract was the first awarded under legislation promoted by President [sic] Bush, Project BioShield. 02 Aug 2008 Bruce E. Ivins, the government biodefense scientist linked to the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001, stood to gain financially from massive federal spending in the fear-filled aftermath of those killings, the Los Angeles Times has learned. Ivins is listed as a co-inventor on two patents for a genetically engineered anthrax vaccine, federal records show. Separately, Ivins also is listed as a co-inventor on an application to patent an additive for various biodefense vaccines. The product had languished on laboratory shelves until the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax mailings, after which federal officials raced to stockpile vaccines and antidotes against potential biological terrorism. He also played a lead role in helping a private company, BioPort, win regulatory approval to continue making the vaccine required for U.S. service personnel deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions. At a Pentagon ceremony on March 14, 2003, Ivins and two colleagues from USAMRIID were bestowed the Decoration of Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest honor given to nonmilitary employees of the Defense Department.
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 UK Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice. See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu --Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing. 31 Oct 2005 The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza 'remedy.' Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.
Says Bird Flu Becoming More Contagious
01 Aug 2008 In America the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) say that the bird flu virus is
Suspect in 2001 anthrax attacks dies of apparent suicide --Top U.S. biodefense researcher played pivotal role in research on anthrax vaccines, preparing anthrax formulations --Microbiologist was committed to a facility in Frederick for 'treatment' 01 Aug 2008 One of the nation's top biodefense researchers has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax attacks of 2001 that killed five, the Los Angeles Times has learned. Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the past 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., had been informed of the impending prosecution, people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and with the FBI investigation said. Regarded as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins also had helped the FBI analyze the powdery material recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator's office in Washington, D.C. [to persuade him to vote for the Patriot Act]. The death was announced to Ivins' colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, through a staffwide e-mail. [See: Air Force brigadier general dies of gunshot wound 28 Jul 2008; Aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb found dead from apparent gunshot wound 29 Jul 2008.]
Feds sued over anthrax documents --Legal group wonders why White House took Cipro before attacks 07 Jun 2002 Legal watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed lawsuits against several Bush administration agencies for failure to produce documents concerning the terrorist anthrax attacks of last October, the organization announced today. The agencies named include: the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Postal Service. The documents were requested under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.
Israeli parliamentarian says Israel wants war 02 Aug 2008 Arab countries are committed to peace while Israel prefers war, Arab Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsur said Friday evening in a speech before thousands of people attending a Muslim festival. "The Arab world decided that peace is its strategic choice, but to our regret war and the use of force remain Israel's preferable option," Sarsur said.
Five NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan 02 Aug 2008 Five soldiers from NATO-led forces and a civilian have been killed by two separate improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Four soldiers of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and one civilian were killed by an IED in the northwestern province of Kunar on Friday, the ISAF said in a statement.
U.S. sub leaked radioactive water, possibly for months 01 Aug 2008 Water with trace [?] amounts of radioactivity may have leaked for months from a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine as it traveled around the Pacific to ports in Guam, Japan and Hawaii, Navy officials told CNN on Friday. The leak was found on the USS Houston, a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, after it went to Hawaii for routine maintenance last month, Navy officials said. [See: U.S. fires captain of Japan-bound nuclear warship 31 Jul 2008 The U.S. Navy said it had replaced the captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier scheduled for a controversial berth in Japan after blaming him for a fire on board on the warship.]
FCC rules Comcast violated Internet access policy 01 Aug 2008 A divided Federal Communications Commission [two GOP whores on the commission issued lengthy dissents] has ruled that Comcast Corp. violated federal policy when it blocked Internet traffic for some subscribers and has ordered the cable giant to change the way it manages its network. In a precedent-setting move, the FCC by a 3-2 vote on Friday enforced a policy that guarantees customers open access to the Internet.
Clinton asks not to be nominated at Democratic National Convention 01 Aug 2008 Hillary Clinton has decided against being nominated for President at the Democrats' Denver convention, but many of her more die-hard partisans may vote for her anyway. A source close to the New York senator confirmed she won't file a formal request to the convention asking to be nominated along with Barack Obama, who eked out the victory in their fierce primary slugfest.
Obama says would consider limited offshore drilling 01 Aug 2008 Democratic [?] presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Friday he would back limited offshore drilling as part of a broader energy package that attempted to bring down gas prices and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Obama dropped his blanket opposition to any expansion of offshore drilling and signaled support for a bipartisan compromise in Congress aimed at breaking a deadlock on energy that includes limited drilling.
Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win 01 Aug 2008 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart. In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.
Florida bank closed by FDIC --First Priority Bank becomes the eighth bank failure of the year. Branches will reopen as Sun Trust Bank. 01 Aug 2008 Federal regulators closed Florida's First Priority Bank on Friday, marking the eighth bank failure of the year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was named the receiver of the failed bank, entered into an agreement with Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank to assume the insured deposits of First Priority.
U.S. jobless rate jumps to four-year-high --5.7% Nonfarm payrolls fall by 51,000 in July, marking seventh straight drop 01 Aug 2008 Nonfarm payrolls fell for the seventh straight month in July while the nation's unemployment jumped to 5.7%, a four-year high, the Labor Department reported Friday.
He Was So Bad We Had to Kill Him Twice-Gate --'Countdown' with Keith Olbermann 31 Jul 2008 In the Administration's fifty running scandals, Bushed! Number three: He was so bad we had to kill him twice-gate. (MSNBC video) Legitgov.org mentioned!
U.S. auditor says funding for Iraqi rebuilding should cease --With burgeoning oil income and unspent money from previous budgets, the war-torn nation can meet its own needs, the special inspector general says. 30 Jul 2008 Rising production and skyrocketing prices could more than double the Iraqi government's expected bonanza in oil revenue this year, leading a top U.S. government auditor to call for an end to American funding of Iraqi reconstruction projects. The Iraqi government had projected 2008 oil revenue of about $35 billion. But a U.S. report to be issued today by the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction will say that oil production in the second quarter of the year hit 2.43 million barrels per day, a post-invasion record. "With oil now hovering around $125 per barrel... and Iraq's oil production at record levels, SIGIR estimates that oil revenues for 2008 could exceed $70 billion," the report states.
Pentagon Attempted to Cover-Up KBR's Negligence In Electrocution of U.S. Soldier By Satyam 30 Jul 2008 On January 2, 2008, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth was electrocuted while taking a shower at the Legion Security Forces Building in Baghdad. Press reports have indicated that contractor KBR ignored repeated warnings about the unsafe wiring. In memo to House Oversight Committee this week, Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell claimed there was "no credible evidence" that either KBR or the DOD knew about the hazards beforehand. Information uncovered by the Committee, however, contradicts Heddell. In a Committee hearing today, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a work order from July 8, 2007 –- months before Maseth’s death -- in which Sergeant Justin Hummer, the previous occupant of the room, reported to KBR: Pipes have voltage. Get shocked in shower. Furthermore, in sworn testimony on June 6, 2008, Hummer said he was shocked at least four times in the shower between June and October 2007. In each case, KBR personnel tried to fix the hazard.
Report: Iraqi journalist detained by US military --Reuters photographer held at U.S. detention facility at Camp Cropper 31 Jul 2008 Reuters news agency said Thursday one of its Iraqi photographers had been detained by the U.S. military and called on the American command to make public the reasons for his detention. Ali Al-Mashhadani is being held at the U.S. detention facility at Camp Cropper near Baghdad International Airport, the agency said. The U.S. military confirmed the detention and told The Associated Press in an e-mail that al-Mashhadani was being held "because of a perceived security threat."
Reuters seeks evidence on why cameraman held in Iraq 31 Jul 2008 Reuters urged the U.S. military on Thursday to immediately release an Iraqi cameraman working for the news organization or to publicly produce evidence to justify his detention. Ali al-Mashhadani, who also works freelance for the BBC and Washington-based National Public Radio, was detained in Baghdad on Saturday while he was in the Green Zone government compound for routine checks for a U.S. military press card. A U.S. military spokesman said Mashhadani was being held at Camp Cropper, an American prison near Baghdad's airport. "He is being detained because he has been assessed to be a threat to the security of Iraq and coalition forces," the spokesman said.
Sexual assault in military 'jaw-dropping,' lawmaker says 31 Jul 2008 A congresswoman said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military. A government report indicates that the numbers could be even higher. Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.
Troops' tours of duty in Iraq cut to 12 months --Bush: Further reductions in troop levels are imminent. 31 Jul 2008 At the end of what has been the least violent month in Iraq in more than four years, President [sic] Bush marked the conclusion of his 30,000-troop surge and cautiously proclaimed Thursday that "a degree of durability" has been reached in a war that 18 months ago had nearly spiraled out of control. Hailing what he called encouraging news, Bush said he ordered a cut in new military tours of duty there to 12 months from 15 months.
Afghanistan spiralling back to days of Taliban, say charities --Terror attacks spreading into areas that were previously thought safe. By Jerome Starkey 01 Aug 2008 Violence in Afghanistan has reached record highs, with unprecedented numbers of civilian casualties and terror attacks spreading into areas once thought safe, a coalition of charities warns. In a damning indictment of the international community's effort to stabilise Afghanistan, more than 100 aid agencies claimed security is worse now than at any time in the past seven years.
To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them By Faiz 31 Jul 2008 Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh... revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s [sic] office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran... Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected: HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build -- we in our shipyard -- build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Candidate who wants Olmert's job once 'sought deaths of 70 Palestinians a day' 01 Aug 2008 A leading candidate to be Israel's next premier called for a death toll of 70 Palestinians a day when he was head of the military during the second intifada, according to a best-selling book by two Israeli journalists. The account of a briefing given in May 2001 to senior West Bank army commanders reinforces the image of hawkishness enjoyed by Shaul Mofaz. He has emerged as the main rival to the Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, for the leadership of the Kadima party being vacated by Ehud Olmert.
Clicked By Will Femia 31 Jul 2008 When I saw the headline the other day about the latest high profile terrorist-I-never-heard-of killed by U.S. forces in the war on terror my reaction was a cynical snort because the news came on the same day as another big headline, "Bush Leaving Next President Record Federal Budget Deficit." Funny, that. Such is the sorry state of my faith in our ruling powers but even I wasn't cynical enough to think this could be a recycled terrorist-I-never-heard-of. I guess Abu Khabab al-Masri is a common name or else we're fighting zombie terrorists, in which case things are much worse than I realized.
Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say 01 Aug 2008 American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials. The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region. [See: US to triple aid to Pakistan 16 Jul 2008; Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007; US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007. See: Dozens of U.S. cities to get fewer anti-terror dollars 23 Jul 2008.]
CIA concerned about Pakistan intelligence service 30 Jul 2008 US military and intelligence officials have agreed there is a close relationship between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and the militants operating in Pakistan's tribal areas. According to the official sources, a Central Intelligence Agency official travelled secretly to Islamabad this month to confront Pakistan's senior officials with this new information.
U.S. fires captain of Japan-bound nuclear warship 31 Jul 2008 The U.S. Navy said it had replaced the captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier scheduled for a controversial berth in Japan after blaming him for a fire on board on the warship [?]. The United States has been trying to allay fears over the planned stationing of the George Washington in Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks. Doubts about the ship's safety were renewed when a fire broke out on board in May... U.S. Naval Air Forces said in a statement it had fired commanding officer David C. Dykhoff and another officer over the incident and installed Captain J.R. Haley as the ship's new commander. [Well, at least he was 'only' fired. See: Air Force brigadier general dies of gunshot wound 28 Jul 2008. See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' --Updated!]
Bush Orders Revamping of Intelligence Gathering --DNI's Authority Boosted, Document Shows 31 Jul 2008 President [sic] Bush ordered a major restructuring of the nation's intelligence-gathering community yesterday, approving new guidelines aimed at bolstering the authority of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as the leader of the nation's 16 spy agencies. The overhaul of Executive Order 12333 gives the DNI greater control over spending and priority-setting, and also over contacts with foreign intelligence services -- a responsibility that has traditionally fallen to the CIA, according to a Bush administration document describing the changes.
Bush Administration Wants to Block ACLU From Wiretapping Law Litigation 30 Jul 2008 Should federal judges interpreting the new U.S. wiretapping law be able to hear and consider legal arguments from outside parties like the American Civil Liberties Union? The Bush administration says no. The Department of Justice filed court papers yesterday seeking to block the ACLU -- and any other third party -- from submitting briefs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the classified forums that will be primarily responsible for translating the federal law signed last month into practice.
US judge: White House aides can be subpoenaed --US judge: 'No legal basis' for Bush's argument [There never is.] 31 Jul 2008 President [sic] Bush's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee wants to question the president's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former legal counsel Harriet Miers, about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. But President Bush says they are immune from such subpoenas. They say Congress can't force them to testify or turn over documents. disagreed. He said there's no legal basis for that argument. He said that Miers must appear before Congress and, if she wants to refuse to testify, she must do so in person.
Fired by MnDOT, now at Homeland Security --Sonia Pitt, who skipped recovery efforts after the bridge collapse, is now working for TSA. 31 Jul 2008 Sonia Pitt, the MnDOT emergency response executive fired for taking an unauthorized, state-paid trip to Washington during the Interstate 35W bridge disaster, is now working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Pitt, of Red Wing, confirmed Wednesday that she is working for Homeland Security's Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) at its headquarters in Arlington, Va. Her job title is "Transportation Security Specialist.'' Pitt declined to discuss her job responsibilities, her length of employment with the federal agency or her salary.
'Even private homes' City Council agrees to expand camera coverage 31 Jul 2008 The City Council agreed Wednesday to dramatically expand Chicago’s Big Brother reach -- with surveillance cameras on street sweepers and a revolutionary hook-up that adds private-sector cameras to the city’s vast video network. Businesses, high-rises and even private homes with exterior surveillance cameras could share their video with Chicago’s 911 center to create a panoramic view of disaster scenes, under Mayor Daley’s plan.
NYPD calls on citizens for amateur video evidence 31 Jul 2008 New Yorkers can soon take a bite out of city crime by uploading video or photo evidence directly to the New York Police Department, in a move welcomed [?] on Thursday by civil rights groups. "We're putting that technology in place to enable us to do that," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, adding that the service will be available soon. Soon citizen sleuths can transmit evidence of criminal activity directly to the police and 911, including evidence of police misconduct.
ExxonMobil profit hits record on oil surge [Looks like the 'surge' worked.] 01 Aug 2008 Surging oil prices helped US energy giant ExxonMobil to a 14 percent jump in quarterly net profit to 11.68 billion US dollars in results Thursday short of most forecasts [!] on Wall Street. The earnings set another record for ExxonMobil, which has been the world's most profitable publicly traded firm and a magnet for criticism in Washington over policies toward big oil companies.
Exxon has record profit again on soaring oil prices 31 Jul 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp said on Thursday soaring oil prices pushed its second-quarter earnings up 14 percent, again breaking its own record for the highest-ever profit by a U.S. company. Net income in the quarter rose to $11.68 billion, or $2.22 a share, from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, last year. Exxon -- the world's largest publicly traded company -- previously set the high-water mark for quarterly earnings in the fourth quarter of last year, when it brought in $11.66 billion.
Shell announces £2m an hour profits 31 Jul 2008 Shell stoked the furore over high petrol and wider fuel prices today by reporting profits of nearly $8bn (£4bn) in the second quarter of the year, equivalent to £2m an hour. The figures were boosted by earnings from the company's controversial oil sands business in North America which increased their earnings by 74% over the last three months.
Royal Dutch Shell reports 33% rise in profit --Shell's earnings surpass $11.5 billion 31 Jul 2008 Royal Dutch Shell became the second oil explorer to top the $10 billion mark for earnings in a single quarter, with its second-quarter profit rising 33% to $11.56 billion. Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, reported a 33 percent increase in second-quarter profit Thursday, helped by a higher oil price even as production declined. Like smaller rival BP earlier this week, Shell profited from an oil price that almost doubled in the second quarter from the year earlier but a 13 percent drop from a record on July 11 raised some concern among investors about whether oil companies can keep up the pace of earnings growth.
Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans; Drilling Expansion Will Enrich U.S. and Foreign Corporate Freeloaders By Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program 30 Jul 2008 A bureaucratic oversight has allowed 24 oil companies to avoid more than $1.3 billion in royalties for the privilege of extracting oil and natural gas from U.S. territory in the Gulf of Mexico - with foreign companies responsible for 55 percent of that total. But this $1.3 billion in forgone royalties pales in comparison to the $60 billion that Americans stand to lose in royalty revenue over the life of these leases. And if Congress repeals the moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling that has existed since 1982, these freeloading oil companies will be eligible to bid on new leases, providing them with more record profits while American families are left holding the bag. These 24 companies have posted a combined $365 billion in profits since 2006.
Dividend bonanza as British Gas bills rise 31 Jul 2008 Centrica, owner of British Gas, today revealed profits of nearly £1 billion and a £144.6 million dividend payout for its shareholders just hours after unveiling the largest energy price hike in UK history. Yesterday, Centrica unveiled huge rises in energy bills which could increase the cost of gas and electricity for some of British Gas's 10 million customers by up to 44 per cent.
Gag me with a chainsaw! McCain accuses Obama of playing politics with race 31 Jul 2008 John McInsane accused Barack Obama of playing politics with race on Thursday, raising the explosive issue after the first black candidate with a serious chance of winning the White House claimed Republicans will try to scare voters by saying he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." In recent days, McCain has been going after Obama with new fervor, painting him as not ready to lead and too liberal for the country. It's an aggressive approach reminiscent of GOP operative KKKarl Rove... Now, several of Rove's former rank-and-file are in elevated roles in McCain's campaign, and it shows.
Stevens pleads not guilty in corruption case --Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is accused of lying about gifts from a contractor 31 Jul 2008 Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Thursday and received an unusually speedy trial date, which he hopes will clear his name before voters consider re-electing him in November. The Senate's longest-serving Republican faces a tough re-election fight and made it clear Thursday that he does not want his seven-count indictment getting in the way.
Stevens trial to begin before election 31 Jul 2008 The criminal trial for Sen. Ted Stevens will begin just weeks before the November election, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan announced Thursday. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 for the trial of the Alaska Republican, who was indicted Tuesday on seven felony counts for allegedly concealing $250,000 in gifts from an oil services company. The judge said the date was "reasonably firm."
Schwarzenegger cuts Calif. workers' pay to $6.55 an hour 31 Jul 2008 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Installed) signed an executive order today eliminating jobs for as many as 22,000 temporary state employees and reducing pay for about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, portraying it as a stopgap measure to ensure the state can pay its bills without a state budget.
Sprint early termination fees are illegal, judge rules 30 Jul 2008 Californians fed up with being charged for ending their cell phone service prematurely won a major victory in a Bay Area court decision that concluded such fees violate state law. In a preliminary ruling Monday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw said Sprint Nextel must pay California mobile-phone consumers $18.2 million as part of a class-action lawsuit challenging early termination fees.
Fat Cat Is Victim of Foreclosure --'Prince Chunk' Falls 2 Lbs. Short Of World Record 31 Jul 2008 Turns out, the economy is the reason a 44-pound cat found lumbering the streets of New Jersey became homeless. The Camden County Animal Shelter said the cat's owner came forward to say she had to abandon the tubby tabby because her home was foreclosed.
It's 'Groundhog Day' at the CIA! Al-Qaeda expert re-killed by CIA --Abu Khabab al-Masri 'died' in January 2006 and again on Monday. By Lori Price 30 Jul 2008 Once again, the 'mainstream' media announces the re-killing of another 'key al-Qaeda operative' by a 'CIA-operated unpiloted drone!' These top al-Qaeda operatives - and their subsequent deaths - are more bountiful than poppy fields in Afghanistan and oil smuggling routes in Iraq.
Pentagon study says Bush's "war on terror" off target --The study calls for "fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy" to focus on minimizing overt military action and increasing intelligence collection and partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world. 31 Jul 2008 A Pentagon-commissioned study published Wednesday said the Bush administration's 7-year-old war-on-terror is off target. The report, done by Rand Corp. under a Pentagon commission, said the current strategy for defeating al Qaida [al-CIAduh] has not been successful and is unlikely to do better without a shift in emphasis. It said since 2001, al Qaida has conducted a greater number of attacks across a larger geographic area than at any time in its history. The authors evaluate al Qaida since 2001 as being both "strong" and "competent" [and "hired"].
Israeli military chiefs spent last week in Washington 30 Jul 2008 Israel's top military officers were in Washington last week for high level talks with the Bush administration and U.S. military officials. The Israeli delegation, which spent a full week in the capital, included the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Strategic Department in the IDF Planning Branch, Brig. Gen. Yosi Hayman, and the Commander of the 74th Armored Battalion, Nir Ben-David. The group met with Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, and other senior U.S. military officers.
Obama to House Dems: If Sanctions Fail, Israel Will Likely Strike Iran 30 Jul 2008 Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, met with House Democrats yesterday, talking about his trip abroad and his observations. Obama told the caucus, according to an attendee, "Nobody said this to me directly but I get the feeling from my talks that if the sanctions don’t work Israel is going to strike Iran."
No charges over death of ITN reporter killed in Iraq 28 Jul 2008 There will be no prosecutions over the death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd, killed in Iraq in 2003, after the Crown Prosecution Service said today there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against any individuals. Last year ITN claimed a US marine from red platoon, delta company, "almost certainly" fired the fatal shot that killed Lloyd, but American authorities have not confirmed this.
CPS rules out Terry Lloyd prosecution 28 Jul 2008 The Crown Prosecution Service has said there is insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution over the death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd in Iraq. Mr Lloyd was in a four-man ITN team which also included French cameraman Fred Nerac, Belgian cameraman Daniel Demoustier and interpreter-driver Hussein Osman. If the CPS had decided there was available evidence, it could have considered bringing a prosecution under the Geneva Convention. Coroner Andrew Walker concluded just under two years ago that Terry Lloyd was unlawfully killed by American troops and ITN has done everything it could to try and ensure Terry's killer is brought to justice," she said. "We are disappointed that the CPS has decided they cannot take this matter further, and that despite the coroner's call on the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions to demand that the Americans bring the perpetrator of a possible war crime before a British court of law, the US authorities remain uncooperative."
Defense firm, ex-employee spar in court --Whistleblower defendant: The faulty $40,000 systems already in use represented both a threat to U.S. troops and a possible criminal defrauding of the Department of Defense. 28 Jul 2008 Dennis P. Glynn, a military veteran and electrical engineer, claims he was fired from his senior position at a New Hampshire defense contractor in December 2006 after he alerted the Department of Defense that hundreds of the anti-terrorist systems it bought for deployment in Iraq were defective at high temperatures. Glynn alleges more than 700 electronic jamming systems meant to frustrate the detonation of IEDs were not recalled from the battlefield, even after the problem was identified, because Impact Science & Technology Inc. executives did not want to jeopardize their relationship with the government or EDO Corp., which acquired IST shortly thereafter in September 2006.
Scientists to develop miniature military robots 30 Jul 2008 U.S. Army, academic, and industry scientists are combining efforts to improve warfighter situational awareness with miniature robots inspired by biologic organisms found in nature. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md., has signed a $38 million agreement with BAE Systems executives in Merrimack, N.H., toward this goal. BAE Systems engineers in the company’s Electronic Warfare division will lead the Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance.
Ehud Olmert to step down as Israeli PM 30 Jul 2008 The Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has announced his intention to resign following his party's leadership convention this autumn, effectively ending an 19-month reign dogged by allegations of fraud and mismanagement. In a surprise press conference, Mr Olmert said he could not adequately defend himself against an ongoing police investigation, and therefore would not contest his Kadima party's leadership race on Sept 17. He pledged to resign once a new leader was selected.
Driver doesn't fit terrorist profile, expert witness says 30 Jul 2008 Al Qaeda terrorists are the elite of Osama bin Laden's followers, gifted linguists with college degrees plucked from paramilitary training camps -- and don't fit the profile of a Yemeni truck driver with a fourth-grade education, a defense witness testified Wednesday. "I don't see Salim Hamdan by any stretch of the imagination fitting this profile," said Brian Glyn Williams, in live video testimony beamed from the U.S. air base at Incirlik, Turkey.
Hamdan's admissions thrown out at Guantanamo terrorism trial --Pentagon charges another prisoner, frees three others 29 Jul 2008 A military judge penalized U.S. prosecutors Tuesday by blocking their use of a May 2003 interrogation as they finished presenting evidence against Salim Hamdan, the first suspect to be tried on terrorism charges at Guantanamo Bay. Judge Keith Allred, a U.S. Navy captain, said the government could not use statements made by Hamdan during his interrogation at Guantanamo as a penalty for not providing his defence team with potentially important documents until after the military 'trial' had started. Allred had already decided last week to ban evidence obtained from Hamdan by interrogators under "highly coercive" conditions in Afghanistan. Captives held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been tortured in some instances, according to the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the FBI.
Bush signs new rules for spy agencies --The order has been under revision for more than a year. It was carried on in secret. 30 Jul 2008 President [sic] Bush approved an order Wednesday that rewrites the rules governing spying by U.S. intelligence agencies, both in the United States and abroad, and strengthens the authority of the national intelligence director, according to a U.S. official and government documents. Executive Order 12333 lays out the responsibilities of each of the 16 agencies. The new order gives the national intelligence director, a position created in 2005, new authority over any intelligence information collected that pertains to more than one agency.
pledges review of White House powers instigated by Bush 30 Jul
2008 Barack Obama yesterday evening pledged to review executive orders
George Bush issued during his White House tenure if elected president,
and excise any that "trample on liberty". US presidents have leeway
to direct federal government policy without the approval of Congress
or the courts - but to his critics, Bush has used executive orders to
push his conservative policies
Aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb found dead from apparent gunshot wound 29 Jul 2008 Authorities in Botetourt County this morning discovered the body of a well-known Democratic operative and U.S. Senate aide along U.S. 220, dead from an apparent gunshot wound. The body of Frederick W. Hutchins Jr., 26, of Roanoke was found shortly after 7 a.m. along southbound U.S. 220 by a Botetourt County deputy who had stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the highway's shoulder, according to the sheriff's office. Hutchins was an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va. Hutchins had been shot in the head, and a gun was found beneath his body, Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said.
Air Force brigadier general dies of gunshot wound 28 Jul 2008 An Air Force brigadier general died of a gunshot wound that likely was self-inflicted [!?!], a spokesman said Monday. Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Tinsley, the commander at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, suffered a gunshot wound to his chest late Sunday night and was pronounced dead within a half hour, said Col. Richard Walberg, who assumed command at Elmendorf after Tinsley's death. "To the best information, it's possible it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Walberg said at a news conference. The weapon was likely a handgun. His previous 22-month assignment was executive officer to the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Mosely, who in June resigned under pressure in an agency shake-up. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ousted both Mosely, the Air Force military chief, and Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne, the agency's civilian head, holding them accountable for failing to fully correct an erosion of nuclear-related performance standards. One concern was a cross-country flight in August 2007 of a B-52 carrying armed nuclear weapons. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' --Updated!]
British NASA hacker to face U.S. trial --Using a limited 56K dial-up modem, he found many U.S. security systems used an insecure Microsoft Windows programme with no password protection. [So prosecute Microsoft, douchebags.] 30 Jul 2008 A British computer expert faces up to 70 years in jail after losing his fight on Wednesday against extradition to the United States, where he is accused of "the biggest military hack of all time". Gary McKinnon was arrested in 2002 after U.S. prosecutors charged him with illegally accessing computers, including Pentagon, U.S. army, navy and NASA systems, and causing $700,000 (353,500 pounds) worth of damage. McKinnon's lawyers had argued that sending him to the United States would breach his human rights, be an abuse of the English court process and should be barred as his extradition was sought "for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his nationality or political opinions". If found guilty in the United States, McKinnon could face up to 70 years in prison and fines of up to $1.75 million.
School to Put Students In 'Prison' Jumpsuits As Punishment 30 Jul 2008 (Gonzales, TX) A school in Texas will force students who don't follow the rules to wear prison-like jumpsuits in a controversial move this coming school year. Violators will be forced to wear the jumpsuit for the day, the report said. Some parents said the jumpsuits will make students feel like prisoners. [That's the whole idea.]
Jewish Internet Defense Force 'seizes control' of anti-Israel Facebook group 30 Jul 2008 The Jewish Internet Defense Force, a group that claims to have 5,000 members worldwide, says it is steadily removing members from a viciously anti-Israel and anti-Semitic group on Facebook, having taken control of the group on Sunday. "Facebook wouldn't do anything about [the group], so we did what had to be done," the group posted on its Web site.
A 'big rat' may greet Lieberman at GOP convention 30 Jul 2008 Joseph LIEberman might want to pack some rodenticide if he decides to stump for John McCain at the upcoming Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Some of the same Connecticut Democrats who stalked the senator on the re-election trail two years ago with the famous "kiss" float - a papier mache likeness of President [sic] Bush kissing LieberBush after the 2005 State of the Union address - are hoping to make a similar splash at the GOP fete Sept. 1-4. If Lieberman's detractors get their way, their prop would be a 30-foot inflatable rat.
Bush signs housing bill in private 30 Jul 2008 With none of the fanfare that usually attends a landmark bill becoming law, President [sic] Bush signed the huge housing rescue bill just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after he arrived in the Oval Office. Only a few aides and administration officials were present. The White House announced the signing by e-mail moments later.
McCain trumpets oil drilling as ad likens Obama to Britney 30 Jul 2008 On the stump and in a new television ad, John McCain attacked Democratic candidate Barack Obama, accusing him of preferring to be an international celebrity over trying to lower gasoline prices at home. McInsane's campaign unveiled a television ad attacking Obama called "Celeb" that will air in Colorado and other battleground states including Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
House panel votes to cite Rove for contempt 30 Jul 2008 A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart publicly pursued possible punishments for an array of alleged past and present Bush administration misdeeds. Voting along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broke the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats.
Earnings Preview: Exxon 2Q may be stunning 30 Jul 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp. is expected to report second-quarter earnings before U.S. financial markets open Thursday. Already, skyrocketing crude prices and high natural gas prices have led to massive second-quarter profits for oil majors ConocoPhillips and BP PLC, and the same is expected for Irving-based Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company. Crude prices have dipped sharply in recent weeks, but their meteoric levels in the April-June period are expected to lift Exxon Mobil's net income well above the $10.26 billion it posted a year ago.
Exxon Mobil, Chevron will report record earnings this week 30 Jul 2008 Exxon Mobil is expected to report tomorrow that second- quarter net income rose 26 percent to $12.9 billion, the highest ever for a U.S. company without one-time gains, according to the average of seven analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Chevron, which is slated to release earnings Aug. 1, probably netted $5.95 billion, an 11 percent gain, estimates indicated.
Three senators call for EPA chief to resign 29 Jul 2008 Democratic senators called on Tuesday for the resignation of Stephen Johnson, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, saying he sided with polluters instead of fighting global warming and other ecological problems. The three senators also asked the U.S. attorney general to investigate whether Johnson has made false or misleading statements in sworn testimony before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee.
Huge chunk snaps off storied Arctic ice shelf --Break marks latest in erosion that has whittled 9,000 square kilometres down to 1,000 over past century 29 Jul 2008 A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks. Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further.
Russia joins WWF 'polar bear patrol' 30 Jul 2008 Russia has joined the World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Patrol project, an attempt to count the total number of polar bears in the wild, the WWF said on its website on Wednesday. Rangers from Taimyr, a peninsula on Siberia's Arctic coast and part of Russia's largest nature reserve, will start collecting data on polar bears in and around Dickson, the only one small town on the Arctic coast of Taimyr Peninsula, this autumn.
The US 'provided the UK with the fruits of his interrogation' Security services are accused of role in detainee's torture --UK shared information with US, court told --Lawyers want government to disclose secret files 29 Jul 2008 The security and intelligence agencies were "mixed up in wrongdoing" in cooperating with the US in the unlawful treatment of a UK resident now held in Guantánamo Bay, the high court heard yesterday. They allegedly gave information to the US about Binyam Mohamed, held incommunicado in Pakistan before being secretly rendered to Morocco where he said he was tortured. In return, the US "provided the UK with the fruits of his interrogation", the court was told. The claims were made by Dinah Rose QC, Mohamed's counsel, in a legal challenge to the government's refusal to disclose documents which, Mohamed's lawyers say, would demonstrate he was tortured and would shed light on Britain's knowledge of his mistreatment.
Gravel: Take Bush to The Hague 26 Jul 2008 Former Democratic candidate Mike Gravel says President [sic] George W. Bush should be taken to The Hague for war crimes rather than being impeached. In a Monday video conference with Press TV, the former Alaska senator said President Bush does not 'deserve' to be impeached for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, which has resulted in the loss of 'millions of lives'. "An Impeachment just means you would only take away his (Bush's) presidency. Well, he is almost done (with) his presidency. What really needs to happen is that these people have to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed," the Libertarian said referring to the US president and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney.
Ahmadinejad: The big powers are going down 29 Jul 2008 Iran's president on Tuesday blamed the U.S. and other "big powers" for nuclear proliferation, AIDS and other global ills, and accused them of exploiting the U.N. and other organizations for their own gain and the developing world's loss. But, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, time was on the poor countries' side. "The big powers are going down," Ahmadinejad told foreign ministers of the Nonaligned Movement meeting in Tehran. "They have come to the end of their power, and the world is on the verge of entering a new, promising era."
US lawyer seeks to sue US over Iran threats 22 Jul 2008 An American lawyer has offered to represent Iran in an international lawsuit against Israel and his own government in an effort to stop Washington and Tel Aviv from initiating further sanctions against Tehran. Francis A. Boyle says following Washington's latest ultimatum to Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment within two weeks or face further isolation, Iran needs to act quickly. In an email interview with Press TV, Boyle urged Iran to begin drafting lawsuits for presentation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague before the two-week ultimatum expires.
Inspector questions Blackwater contracts --Millions at stake over guards' classification 29 Jul 2008 A high-stakes dispute that flared Monday between Blackwater and the federal government boils down to a definition: Are the hundreds of Blackwater guards protecting diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan employees or contractors? By labeling them contractors, Blackwater and its affiliates qualified for federal small-business contracts worth nearly $110 million. Those contracts and others were called into question Monday when the Small Business Administration's inspector general said Blackwater got dozens of the contracts even though the private security company may have exceeded size limits for a small business.
Perle Linked to Kurdish Oil Plan 29 Jul 2008 Influential former Pentagon official Richard Perle has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan, according to people with knowledge of the matter and documents outlining possible deals. Mr. Perle, one of a group of security experts who began pushing the case for toppling Iraqi president Saddam Hussein about a decade ago, has been discussing a possible deal with officials of northern Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, including its Washington envoy, according to these people and the documents.
British Group, Israel Resume Talks over Gaza's Gas Field 27 Jul 2008 BG Group, the British gas producer, has resumed talks with Israel over developing a gas field off the coast of Gaza, the UAE daily The National reported on Sunday. BG holds a 90 per cent interest in the project to develop the Gaza field. That could drop to 60 per cent if the Palestinian Authority, which controls project licensing, exercises its option to take a stake in the development.
BP profits soar on record oil price 29 Jul 2008 Record crude prices and soaring natural gas prices helped BP on Tuesday to report a 28 per cent rise in second-quarter profits to $9.46bn (£4.74bn), from $7.37bn a year ago. Replacement cost profit, which excludes gains from the value of the company’s crude oil inventories, was up 6 per cent to $6.85bn for the quarter. It rose 23 per cent to $13.44bn for the second half.
BP boss warns of more pain for consumers from oil prices --Mr Hayward unveiled another set of bumper profit figures as BP benefited from the soaring oil price. 29 Jul 2008 The chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward, has warned that the long term trend for oil and gas prices spells more pain for consumers. Earlier this year, Mr Hayward said that the era of cheap energy was over, at least for the medium term. Today he added: "Events are playing out even faster than any of us expected." [It's time for these events to play out even faster than any of us expect.]
Texas: Report Faults BP on Refinery 29 Jul 2008 Safety violations continue to plague a Texas City BP refinery, leaving it susceptible to another major accident like the 2005 explosion that killed 15 people, according to a report. The report was prepared on behalf of victims who object to a federal criminal plea deal for BP, the oil giant that is based in London. The report criticized BP for not making widespread improvements and for the plant’s "abysmal safety record" since the explosion, which includes three more worker deaths.
Blast victims say BP Texas refinery still unsafe 28 Jul 2008 BP Plc's giant refinery in Texas City, Texas remains unsafe three years and $1 billion in safety upgrades after a blast killed 15 people there, an expert said on Monday in a report prepared for victims of the blast. "The continuing violations of federal law are critical to plant safety. They are life-threatening," engineer Michael Sawyer wrote in a report filed with U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal on behalf of victims contesting a plea deal between London-based BP and the U.S. government.
US-produced al-Qaida movie played at Gitmo trial 28 Jul 2008 A Pentagon-produced movie about al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] had its premiere Monday at the first Guantanamo war crimes 'trial' -- shown to an audience of military jurors hearing evidence against a former driver for Osama bin Laden. "The Al-Qaida Plan," is a 90-minute documentary that traces the origins and goals of the terrorist group, highlighting such milestones as the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the Sept. 11 attacks.
drug lords hire foreign chemists to make refined heroin -- Afghanistan
now supplies more than 90 per cent of the world's heroin. 29
Jul 2008 Drug lords in Afghanistan, where poppy growing has soared
PA Preventive Security Police arrests Hebron Journalist 29 Jul 2008 The Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Force (PSF) on Tuesday arrested Awadh Rajoub, a Hebron-area journalist, apparently as part of a general crackdown on non-conformist journalists and intellectuals. Eyewitnesses said a dozen PSF officers raided and searched Rajoub’s press office in the small town of Dura, 12 miles south west of Hebron shortly before sunset Tuesday. Rajoub, 29, works for the Arabic service of al-Jazeera.net and a number of other media outlets.
Execution by Military Is Approved by President 29 Jul 2008 President [sic] Bush on Monday approved the first execution by the military since 1961, upholding the death penalty of an Army private convicted of a series of rapes and murders more than two decades ago. As commander in chief, the president has the final authority to approve capital punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and he did so on Monday morning in the case of Pvt. Ronald A. Gray, convicted by court-martial for two killings and an attempted murder at Fort Bragg, N.C., the White House said in a statement.
Prosecutor denied DOJ counterterorism job because of wife's 'political affiliation' --Report: 'As a result, a much less experienced, but politically acceptable, attorney was assigned this important responsibility.' 29 Jul 2008 Two career federal prosecutors [William J. Hochul Jr. and John Kelly] from the Western New York district were denied high-level promotions because of the lawbreaking political influence exerted by a Bush administration appointee [Monica M. Goodling] at the U.S. Department of Justice, according to an internal report released Monday. One of the prosecutors, a candidate for a top Justice Department counterterrorism job, was denied the temporary Washington assignment "because of his and his wife’s political affiliation," the report says.
Flint seeks sponsors for police surveillance cameras; some question whether it's appropriate 27 Jul 2008 The City of Flint is looking for sponsors for surveillance cameras that will be mounted around the city to keep a watch out for crooks. In exchange for cash, the city will plaster business names next to police logos on the pole-mounted camera boxes that sport a blue police light that flashes 24 hours a day. Don't have $30,000? Depending on the size of the check, smaller logos and even people's names can be placed on the boxes similar to those found on a NASCAR racer.
Congress Agrees to Ban Toxins in Kids' Products --White House opposes ban 29 Jul 2008 Congressional negotiators agreed yesterday to a ban on a family of toxins found in children's products, handing a major victory to parents and health experts who have been clamoring for the government to remove harmful chemicals from toys. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that President [sic] Bush opposes the ban but that it is too early to say whether he will veto the measure, which is part of popular legislation to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
EPA tells its staff: Don't answer watchdogs' queries 28 Jul 2008 The Environmental Protection Agency has told its staff not to answer questions from the agency's internal watchdog, news reporters or the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, according an internal memo that an environmental group released Monday. The June 16 memo to the staff of the EPA's enforcement division told them that if they're contacted by the EPA inspector general's office, an independent internal watchdog that monitors the agency, or by the Government Accountability Office, the investigators who work for Congress, they're to forward the call or e-mail to a designated person.
US deficit zooming to half-trillion as Bush leaves 28 Jul 2008 The government's budget deficit will surge past a half-trillion dollars next year, according to gloomy new estimates, a record flood of red ink that promises to force the winner of the presidential race to dramatically alter his economic agenda. The deficit will hit $482 billion in the 2009 budget year, the White House estimated Monday. That figure is sure to rise after adding the tens of billions of dollars in additional Iraq war funding it doesn't include, and the total could be higher yet if the economy fails to recover.
Businesses owe $58 billion in tax withholdings 28 Jul 2008 Congressional investigators say businesses have failed to pay the IRS some $58 billion over the past decade in taxes they were supposed to have withheld from their employees' paychecks and forwarded to the government. The Government Accountability Office says more than one and a half million businesses owed the supposedly withheld income, Social Security and Medicare taxes as of the end of September last year. Because the taxes weren't paid, the government had to dip into its general fund to cover shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare.
Home prices fell at record pace in May: S&P 29 Jul 2008 Prices of U.S. single-family homes plunged at a record pace in May from a year earlier, with each of the 20 regions monitored showing annual declines for a second month, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price indexes reported on Tuesday. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.9 percent in May from April, bringing the measure down 15.8 percent from May 2007.
A Touch of Crash --Depression-Era Chic 28 Jul 2008 The duds say it all - and it's depressing. Taking a cue from the grim economy, this fall's fashions are featuring a distinctly Depression-era trend of cloche hats, pencil skirts, conductor caps and baggy, vintage-style dresses. One of the most popular styles appears to hark back to the impish, newsboy getup of the 1930s: baggy trousers, caps, pinstriped vests, oxford lace-up shoes and utilitarian handbags. "We associate the newsboy look with urban poverty - street kids of the 1930s," said Daniel James Cole, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. "Given that we're in an unstable economy and an uncertain political landscape, it's possible that a retro style has come back as a way to connect with our heritage."
Alaska Sen. Stevens Indicted on 7 Criminal Counts 29 Jul 2008 Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted today on seven criminal counts relating to his duties as a U.S. senator. Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator and one of the most powerful members in the Senate, has been the target of a year-long and wide-ranging federal corruption investigation in to whether he accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or gifts from Alaska oil firm VECO Corp., and its chief executives. His son, former state Sen. Ben Stevens is also under investigation, as is fellow Republican Alaska lawmaker Rep. Don Young, who has already spent over $1 million on legal bills in the past year.
Justice Department indicts Sen. Ted Stevens --Prosecutors say he received $250K in gifts and services from VECO Corp. 29 Jul 2008 Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home. Stevens, the first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993, has been dogged by a federal investigation into his home renovation project and his dealings with wealthy oil contractors.
How Obama Became Acting President By Frank Rich 27 Jul 2008 While drama-queen commentators on television last week were busy building up false suspense about the Obama trip... few focused on the alarms that Mr. McCain’s behavior at home raise about his fitness to be president. Once again the candidate was making factual errors about the only subject he cares about, imagining an Iraq-Pakistan border and garbling the chronology of the Anbar Awakening. Once again he displayed a tantrum-prone temperament ill-suited to a high-pressure 21st-century presidency. His grim-faced crusade to brand his opponent as a traitor who wants to "lose a war" isn’t even a competent impersonation of Joe McCarthy... His sound-bite-deep knowledge of the country’s No. 1 issue, the economy, is a Gerald Ford train wreck waiting to happen in any matchup with Mr. Obama that requires focused, time-limited answers rather than rambling.
Kaine in 'Serious' Talks With Obama 29 Jul 2008 Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has told close associates that he has had "very serious" conversations with Sen. Barack Obama about joining the Democratic presidential ticket and has provided documents to the campaign as it combs through his background, according to several sources close to Kaine.
McCain has spot removed from his face for biopsy 29 Jul 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has suffered from skin cancer in the past, said on Monday his doctor has removed a spot from his face during a routine [sic] checkup in Phoenix earlier in the day. McCain said the spot on the right side of his face, which an aide described as being like a mole, would be biopsied to ensure it was not cancerous.
Cat Becomes First Mammal to Die of Bird Flu in Korea 29 Jul 2008 The first bird flu infection of a mammal in Korea was confirmed on Monday. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service confirmed that the cause of death of a cat found dead in marshland along the Mangyeong River in Gimje, North Jeolla Province, in late April was a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu virus, H5N1.
Post-quake callers overload phone systems 30 Jul 2008 Today's earthquake led to overloaded telephone circuits on both land line and wireless networks as residents tried to reach family and friends, phone companies said. The overload worried the state's Office of Emergency Services enough that it urged people to curb non-emergency calls because they could cause 911 calls to be blocked.
5.4 earthquake rocks L.A. area; minor injuries and damage reported --The quake, which Caltech officials downgraded from an initial magnitude of 5.8, was centered near Chino Hills. Some are hurt in Brea and L.A. Flooding is reported at Topanga Plaza Macy's. 29 Jul 2008 A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook large parts of Southern California late this morning, shaking a wide swath from Ventura County to San Diego. The quake shook downtown L.A. buildings and was felt as far east as Palm Springs.
Scientists Study Polar Bear Hearing as Arctic Acoustic Environment Faces Change 29 Jul 2008 As global warming melts Arctic ice and pressure mounts for oil exploration, scientists worry that increasing noise might interfere with polar bear reproduction.
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