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


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

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August 2009 Archives

Inquiry into Britain's involvement in torture rejected by Government 11 Aug 2009 An inquiry into whether Britain’s intelligence services have been involved indirectly in the torture of terrorist suspects by foreign agencies is not necessary, the Government said yesterday. Downing Street’s rejection of calls for an inquiry came as the head of MI6 publicly insisted that none of his intelligence officers could be accused of complicit involvement in torture.

U.S. battling CIA rendition case in 3 courts 10 Aug 2009 The Obama administration is fighting on multiple fronts - in courts in San Francisco, Washington and London - to keep an official veil of secrecy over the treatment of a former prisoner who says he was tortured at Guantanamo Bay. The administration has asked a federal appeals court in San Francisco to reconsider its ruling allowing Binyam Mohamed and four other former or current prisoners to sue a Bay Area company for allegedly flying them to overseas torture chambers for the CIA.

Judge: CIA interrogations not relevant to 9/11 accused's sanity 10 Aug 2009 U.S. military defense lawyers for accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al Shibh cannot learn what interrogation techniques CIA agents used on the Yemeni before he was moved to Guantánamo to be tried as a terrorist, an Army judge has ruled. Bin al Shibh, 37, is one of five men charged in a complex death penalty prosecution by military commission currently under review by the Obama administration. But his lawyers say he suffers a "delusional disorder," and hallucinations in his cell at Guantánamo may leave him neither sane enough to act as his own attorney nor to stand trial... The judge ruled on Aug. 6 that "evidence of specific techniques [torture] employed by various governmental agencies to interrogate the accused is... not essential to a fair resolution of the incompetence determination hearing in this case." The Miami Herald obtained a copy of the ruling Monday. Prosecutors had invoked a national security privilege in seeking to shield the details from defense lawyers.

Court upholds CIA contractor's detainee abuse conviction 11 Aug 2009 A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of David Passaro, the first US civilian found guilty of abusing a prisoner in Afghanistan, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by AFP Tuesday. A three-judge panel from the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on Monday found that, contrary to Passaro's argument, federal courts have jurisdiction over assaults committed by US citizens abroad in countries where the United States conducts military missions.

Ally warns Pentagon over plans to put detainees in Kansas 10 Aug 2009 An advocate of closing the prison camps at Guantánamo wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates Monday of his alarm that Fort Leavenworth might be used to confine some of the captives now held in Cuba, saying the choice might deter friendly Muslim countries from sending officers to train at the Army base in Kansas. The Pentagon houses some of its most serious military offenders at the so-called Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, a 512-prisoner capacity jail complex with a Death Row. It is frequently mentioned as a possible future lock-up site for some of the 229 detainees now held at the remote prison camps in southeast Cuba.

Afghan Presidential Contender Vows Closure of Bagram Prison 10 Aug 2009 A main rival of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the country's upcoming presidential voting pledged to close down Bagram Prison within 3 years if he is elected as Afghanistan's next president. "I will shut down Bagram Prison and other jails and prisons under the control of international forces within 3 years. Following this period international forces will not have the right to incarcerate Afghan citizens," Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai told FNA.

We can't 'afford' health care for all US citizens, but by golly: Afghanistan Needs More Money --U.S. ambassador asks for an additional $2.5B next year for development and [KBR-funded] civilian reconstruction. 12 Aug 2009 The United States will not meet its goals in Afghanistan without a major increase in planned spending on development and civilian reconstruction next year, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul has told the State Department. In a cable sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry said an additional $2.5 billion in nonmilitary spending will be needed for 2010, about 60 percent more than the amount President Obama has requested from Congress. Obama has asked for $68 billion in Defense Department spending in Afghanistan next year, an amount that for the first time would exceed U.S. military expenditures in Iraq. Spending on civilian governance and development programs has doubled under the Obama administration, to $200 million a month -- equal to the monthly rate in Iraq during the zenith of spending on nonmilitary projects there.

Bombs Kill 9 Civilians in Afghanistan 12 Aug 2009 Roadside bombs killed nine civilians on Tuesday, officials said. The civilians were killed when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Zhari district, in southern Afghanistan, said Daud Farhad, a doctor at Mirwais hospital in Kandahar. Five other civilians were wounded when their vehicle hit a bomb in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan, said Naziq Khan, a local official.

US drone attack in Pakistan 'kills 10' 11 Aug 2009 At least 10 suspected militants have been killed in a strike by a US drone in north-west Pakistan, local intelligence officials say. The attack targeted an "insurgents'" camp in South Waziristan near the Afghan border, the officials said.

Pakistan's nuclear bases targeted by al-Qaeda 11 Aug 2009 Pakistan's nuclear weapon bases have been attacked by 'al-Qaeda' and the Taliban at least three times in the last two years, it has emerged. The allegations, by a leading British expert on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, increased fears that terrorists could acquire a nuclear device or could trigger a nuclear disaster by bombing an atomic facility.

Al Qaeda shows resilience in N.Iraq-US commander 11 Aug 2009 Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq has shown with a string of more deadly bombings in northern areas that it can reconstitute itself and its capabilities, the commander of U.S. forces in the region said on Tuesday. Major General Robert Caslen, speaking via satellite to reporters at the Pentagon, said efforts were underway to keep a lid on sectarian tensions and it was unclear whether Iraqi security forces in the area would be capable of reining in the networks behind the attacks if the violence continues. [Translation: Xe needs to stay to 'help.' I saw this one marching down Broadway a mile away. --LRP]

'4,000 arrested' in post-election Iran protests 11 Aug 2009 Iran's Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi says about 4,000 people were arrested during post-election protests in country. "4,000 people were detained in relation with the recent incidents, but thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of judges, 3,700 of them were released soon," the Mehr news agency quoted Jamshidi as saying.

'Right now, we cannot stand here and tell you what the vaccination plan is going to look like. We have no idea.' Fairfax Schools Air CDC's Strategy for Swine Flu's Return 12 Aug 2009 The expected resurgence of swine flu this fall could lead some public schools to become mass inoculation clinics. Infected students could be forced to wear surgical masks and put in isolation rooms before being sent home. But school officials predict that the wave of school closings that caused much angst in the spring is unlikely to be repeated... Once testing is complete, the vaccine is to be given to states and local governments and administered to millions of Americans, starting with vulnerable populations such as children and young adults, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems. One option discussed would use schools as mass inoculation clinics.

Qld records first 'non-vulnerable' swine flu death 12 Aug 2009 Queensland has recorded its first swine flu death of a person who is not in a vulnerable category. A Queensland Health spokesman has confirmed the man, aged in his 40s, died in Mackay Base Hospital in north Queensland on Sunday. The man is the 21st person in Queensland to die from the virus.

First Flu Victim's Family Intends to Sue City 12 Aug 2009 The wife and three sons of the first person [Mitchell Wiener] to die during the latest swine flu outbreak in New York, an assistant principal at an intermediate school in Queens, have notified the city that they intend to file a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against the city.

Alarm grows over Tamiflu for children 12 Aug 2009 The government last night attempted to calm the fears of worried parents by insisting that the anti-viral Tamiflu was an appropriate treatment for children with swine flu. The Department of Health issued a statement underlining its confidence in the drug following a TV presenter's claim that his daughter "almost died" after taking Tamiflu and a watchdog reported a surge in the number of people suffering side-effects.

Photo of gun-toting teabagger waiting on President Obama in New Hampshire By Wndycty 11 Aug 2009 He is the one holding the sign that reads: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." . . . MSNBC just aired video of a man with a pistol strapped to his leg waiting for Barack Obama to arrive at a townhall in New Hampshire.

Police: Man arrested before Obama event had loaded gun 11 Aug 2009 Police said a man arrested at the scene of President Barack Obama's visit to the city Tuesday was found to be in possession of an unlicensed loaded gun. Richard Terry Young of Hampton, New Hampshire, was arrested around 9:40 a.m., hours before Obama's arrival, and charged with the misdemeanor crimes of criminal trespass and carrying a loaded pistol without a license. Young was found inside Portsmouth High School, where Obama later in the day held his town hall-style forum. Young was detained by the Secret Service and subsequently arrested by Portsmouth Lt. Corey MacDonald. Young was carrying a pocket knife, police said. A subsequent search of his vehicle, parked on school property, revealed a loaded hand gun, police said. Police said Young is being investigated by the Secret Service for possible federal crimes resulting from the same series of events.

Conyers Calls Prosecutor Firing 'Patronage' --House Judiciary Chairman Says Figures in Bush White House Acted Improperly 12 Aug 2009 The dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House who hashed over complaints about his work on public corruption cases against Democrats, according to newly released e-mails and transcripts of closed-door House testimony by former Bush counsel Harriet Miers and political chief Karl Rove.

Miers Told House Panel of 'Agitated' Rove --Bush White House Counsel Said Adviser Called U.S. Attorney a 'Serious Problem' 12 Aug 2009 The dismissal of U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House who hashed over complaints about his work on public corruption cases against Democrats, according to newly released e-mails and transcripts of closed-door House testimony by former Bush counsel Harriet Miers and political chief Karl Rove. A campaign to oust Iglesias intensified after state GOP officials and Republican members of the congressional delegation apparently concluded that he was not pursuing the cases against Democrats in a way that could help then-Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R) in a tight reelection race in New Mexico, according to interviews and Bush White House e-mails released Tuesday by congressional investigators. The documents place the genesis of Iglesias's dismissal earlier than previously known.

E-mails: Rove was key to firing of New Mexico U.S. attorney 11 Aug 2009 Karl Rove and other top officials in the George W. Bush White House were deeply involved in pushing for the ouster of several U.S. attorneys, notably including one in New Mexico, according to testimony and e-mails that the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee released Tuesday. Sworn testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers revealed that Rove considered former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico a "serious problem" and "wanted something done about it" because of complaints about politically sensitive investigations that Iglesias had mounted.

Sibel Edmonds Deposition Uploaded by Erik Larson 09 Aug 2009 Video of Sibel Edmonds, Stephen Michael Kohn of NWC, Bruce Fein of TALDF and TACA (formerly w/ ATAA) and David Krikorian, at Edmonds' Aug 8, 2009 deposition.

Banks profiteering on mortgages with record gap between borrowing and lending rate 11 Aug 2009 Banks are making the highest profits on mortgages since records began. Customers are also facing record costs for overdrafts and personal loans. The difference between the interest rate that banks charge and the rate at which they borrow is the biggest since the Bank of England started collecting data 15 years ago. The figures demonstrate that, two years after the credit crunch began, consumers are being hit harder than ever, despite the Bank cutting interest rates to an all-time low of 0.5 per cent.

U.S. recession seen ending in third quarter 10 Aug 2009 The worst U.S. [Bush] recession since the Great Depression will probably end in the third quarter, but uncertainty exists over the speed and duration of the economic recovery, according to the most recent survey of private economists. The Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private economists released on Monday showed about 90 percent of the respondents surveyed believe the economic downturn will be declared to have ended this quarter.

Big Insurance Gives Out Awards For Scariest Lies About Health Care Reform --'Since big government prohibits us from feeding Muslims to the lions, what better way to keep people's eyes off the ball with a fun contest?' By R J Shulman 11 Aug 2009 Two heath insurance giants have announced the winners of their "Scare Health Care Reform to Death" contest. Starting in March, UnitedHealthcare and CIGNA Health Insurance joined forces to create a contest that would award prizes to American citizens who came up with the scariest talking points against health care reform, slogans that would most likely turn public opinion against any changes to the current system. (Satire)

First tropical storm likely in Atlantic: NHC 11 Aug 2009 Stormy weather is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The second tropical depression of the season formed over the far eastern Atlantic Ocean early Tuesday, and will likely strengthen into the basin's first named storm over the next day or so, the Center forecast in a report.

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Governors oppose new DoD emergency powers --Governors: Current law already allows the Pentagon to order personnel to key areas inside the U.S. 10 Aug 2009 A bipartisan pair of governors is opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural [well, lab-generated] and terrorism-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), chairman of the National Governors Association, and Vice Chairman Gov. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia penned a letter opposing the Pentagon proposal, which they said would hinder a state's effort to respond to a disaster.

March of the state spies: One in 78 adults came under state-sanctioned surveillance last year 10 Aug 2009 Britain's extraordinary march towards a surveillance state is revealed today by shock new figures. They show that one request is made every minute for officials to spy on someone's phone records or email accounts. The number of Big Brother snooping missions by police, town halls and other public bodies has soared by 44 per cent in two years.

One in 78 under surveillance 10 Aug 2009 Big Brother requests to snoop on the public were made on average once a MINUTE last year, it was revealed yesterday. One in 78 people came under surveillance. Councils, police and the intelligence services asked more than half a million times - an average of 1,500 times a day - for permission to access private email, phone and text message data. All the requests were approved.

'Snoop' power is used 1,400 times a day to intercept private data 10 Aug 2009 Britain has "sleepwalked into a surveillance society", it was claimed last night after figures disclosed that public bodies had obtained access to private telephone and e-mail records about 1,400 times a day. Council, police and other organisations made more than half a million requests for confidential communications data last year. The statistics constitute a 44 per cent rise in requests over the past two years.

Another 45,000 US troops needed in Afghanistan, military adviser says 10 Aug 2009 The United States should send up to 45,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, a senior adviser to the American commander in Kabul has told The Times. Anthony Cordesman, an influential American academic who is a member of a team that has been advising General Stanley McChrystal, now in charge of Nato forces in Afghanistan, also said that to deal with the threat from the Taleban the size of the Afghan National Army might have to increase to 240,000.

Afghan 'drug suspects' on US hitlist --Fifty Afghans suspected of drug trafficking placed on Pentagon list of targets to be killed or captured 10 Aug 2009 Fifty Afghans suspected of drug trafficking and having links with the Taliban have been placed on a US target list to be captured or killed as part of a significant shift in Washington's counter-narcotics strategy, it emerged today... Those with known links to the insurgency had been put on the "joint integrated prioritised target list". That means they have been given the same target status as 'insurgent' leaders, and can be captured or killed at any time, according to the newspaper. The move will be disclosed in a report this week by the US Senate foreign relations committee.

U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Drug Lords Tied to Taliban [How about the ones tied to CIA? There's a lot more of them.] 10 Aug 2009 Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week. United States military commanders have told Congress that they are convinced that the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law.

US top official wants more troops in Afghanistan 10 Aug 2009 The United States government is likely to announce another troop surge for Afghanistan. US national security adviser General Jim Jones has said he will not rule out the option of sending more American troops to bolster the other nations which are contributing to the effort, including the UN and NATO.

3 more Camp Lejeune Marines killed in Afghanistan 10 Aug 2009 The U.S. military says three more Camp Lejeune Marines have died in Afghanistan. All were killed in separate incidents in combat in Afghanistan over the weekend. They were all assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. The number of U.S. and international troops killed in Afghanistan has soared this year. At least 16 deaths were Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Afghan war will exceed cost of Iraq, say experts 10 Aug 2009 As the US expands its involvement in Afghanistan, military experts are warning that it is taking on security and political commitments that will last at least a decade and a cost that is likely to eclipse that of the Iraq war. This assessment follows comments on Saturday from the new head of the British Army, General David Richards, who believes stabilising Afghanistan may take as long as 40 years. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 the US has spent $US223 billion ($267 million) on war-related funding for that country, according to the Congressional Research Service. 'Aid' spending, excluding the cost of combat operations, has grew from $US982 million in 2003 to $US9.3 billion last year.

Iraqi Officials Concerned About Threat of Swine Flu From U.S. Troops 10 Aug 2009 Iraqi officials expressed concern on Sunday that more than 100 American soldiers in Iraq may be infected with swine flu, fearing they could spread the disease in the country. The United States military said Sunday that swine flu had been diagnosed in 51 American troops in Iraq and that it suspected that 71 others were carrying the virus. Members of Parliament have expressed alarm that United States troops could be introducing the disease into Iraq, particularly among members of the Iraqi military with whom they patrol.

Xe is a busy little bee: At Least 50 Killed in Bombings in Iraq 11 Aug 2009 The entire village was gone. The latest wave of sectarian bombings struck northern Iraq and Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 50 people, wounding hundreds more and leveling the village, near Mosul. Nearly 100 people in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul have been killed in attacks since Friday, raising serious concerns about the Iraqi government’s ability to maintain security. [Oh, gee - better have the US mercenaries stay in Iraq to 'clean things up,' right? Thats why Xe is killing everything in sight - to show that they are 'needed' to remain.]

Briton may hang for killings in Baghdad 10 Aug 2009 A British guard working for a mercenary company inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone was arrested yesterday after two of his colleagues were killed and another wounded in a reported alcohol-fuelled rampage. Danny Fitzsimons, who fled the scene with a pistol, was held after a shootout and handed to Iraqi police. A judicial official in Baghdad said that Mr Fitzsimons could face the death penalty.

Pay Is Scrutinized at U.S. Contractors --KBR Inc., will be asked about its executive compensation billing policies. 11 Aug 2009 Executive pay at government contractors is drawing scrutiny from federal auditors, who have questioned some companies about compensation and pensions they have charged taxpayers. The questions come amid a broader examination of executive pay, especially at financial companies receiving taxpayer-funded bailouts. Contractors also receive government money, though until recently the question of how much of it has gone to executive pay hasn't been a big issue for lawmakers or auditors.

Americans' entry into Iran linked to vote unrest: MP 10 Aug 2009 A leading Iranian lawmaker said on Monday the illegal entry of three detained U.S. citizens into the country may have been related to unrest that erupted after Iran's June presidential election. "Their illegal entry cannot be altogether unrelated to the post-election unrest ... What mission were the three pursuing in Iran? Why did not they apply for Iran visas?" said Mohammad Karamirad, a member of parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran will strongly resist West vote interference: official 10 Aug 2009 Iran accused the West on Monday of "meddling" in its state affairs for criticizing its mass trial of moderates charged with spying and trying to topple the clerical establishment after the disputed president vote. "Do we interfere in other countries' state matters? Why should they interfere in ours? Iran will strongly resist such meddling," senior official Hassan Qashqavi told a weekly news conference.

Lebanon army on high alert as Israel moves forces 10 Aug 2009 Lebanon's army has put its forces on high alert after Israeli forces made advances toward the area of Shaba farms amid heightened tensions with the Hezbollah movement. Lebanese army sources said Sunday that three armored Israeli vehicles, accompanied by a civilian car, advanced toward Shaba farms, along southeast borders with Lebanon on Monday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Benjamin Netanyahu says lands will never go back to Palestinians 09 Aug 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Jewish settlers they can stay in the occupied Palestinian lands. Speaking on Israeli public radio, he pledged he would never evict Jews from the West Bank.

Close 'loopholes' allowing war criminals into UK, Straw told 11 Aug 2009 Proposals from the justice secretary, Jack Straw, to change the law to enable the prosecution of overseas war criminals and torturers living in Britain for crimes dating back to 1991 fail to go far enough, according to a committee of MPs and peers. A report from parliament's joint human rights committee published today says the 1991 cut-off date and a requirement that only residents in the UK should face prosecution will leave an "impunity gap" which will allow international war criminals to visit and stay in Britain without fear of prosecution.

Mexican cartels tied to stolen oil sold in U.S. --Head of Houston oil company pleads guilty to conspiracy, U.S. officials say 10 Aug 2009 U.S. refineries bought millions of dollars worth of oil siphoned from Mexican government pipelines and smuggled across the border, the U.S. Justice Department told The Associated Press -- illegal operations now led by Mexican drug cartels expanding their reach. Criminals tap remote pipelines, sometimes building pipelines of their own, to siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of oil each year, the Mexican oil monopoly said. At least one U.S. oil executive has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in such a deal.

Vaccine trials off to fast start for pandemic flu 10 Aug 2009 Early Monday, Nicholas Sarakas, 25, rolled up his sleeves for an injection in each arm, becoming one of dozens of adults enrolling in an unprecedented flurry of fast-track flu vaccine trials that will grow to include 11,131 adults and 5,740 children, with more trials planned... Studies of several thousand volunteers aren't big enough to detect more subtle [!] side effects such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

8 cities in US line up for swine flu vaccine test 10 Aug 2009 Hundreds of Americans in eight cities are lining up for experimental swine flu shots in a race to get a vaccine out in case the new flu virus regains strength this fall and winter. Sharon Frey, who is leading the government-funded testing at Saint Louis University, said scientists have been working late nights and weekends to organize the studies and recruit volunteers.

Flu drugs 'unhelpful' in children 10 Aug 2009 Research has cast doubt on the policy of giving antiviral drugs to children for swine flu. Work in the British Medical Journal shows Tamiflu and Relenza rarely prevent complications in children with seasonal flu, yet carry side effects. Although they did not test this in the current swine flu pandemic, the authors say these drugs are unlikely to help children who catch the H1N1 virus. The government has stuck by its policy of offering them to anyone infected. [See: Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug 12 Mar 2006 Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu.]

Senate probe: SC gov broke law on state travel 10 Aug 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford broke state law when he charged taxpayers for more expensive business and first-class flights, according to the chairman of the legislative committee investigating Sanford's international travel. State Sen. David Thomas, whose budget committee investigated Sanford's flights following reports last month by The Associated Press, sent evidence to Senate leaders Monday arguing the Republican governor violated state laws requiring the cheapest travel possible.

AP: SC gov's plane use questioned 09 Aug 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford used state aircraft for personal and political trips, often bringing along his wife and children -- contrary to state law regarding official use, an Associated Press investigation has found. Records reviewed by the AP show that since he took office in 2003, the two-term Republican has taken trips on state aircraft to locations of his children's sporting events, hair and dentist appointments, political party gatherings and a birthday party for a campaign donor.

Banks make $38bn from overdraft fees 09 Aug 2009 US banks stand to collect a record $38.5bn in fees for customer overdrafts this year, with the bulk of the revenue coming from the most financially stretched consumers amid the deepest recession since the 1930s, according to research. The fees are nearly double those reported in 2000. [Thanks, Bush!] The finding is likely to increase public hostility towards the financial sector, which has been under political pressure to ease the burden on consumers by increasing credit availability and lending more fairly after being bailed out by taxpayers.

'Death Panel' Palin dangerously irresponsible --Sarah the Quitter incites mob violence and national disunity by 'making stuff up' By Keith Olbermann 10 Aug 2009 Because the birther movement touches another essential part of the defective soul -- the need for an excuse. For they need to convince themselves of an immense conspiracy, and place that conviction as a barrier between their actions, and the sad reality that they are not the victims of intricate machinations against freedom, but are just garden-variety, ordinary, racists -- that they can handle the most limited of integration only in theory. They will take anything that will let them pretend that -- when they burst into tears and cry that they want their America back -- they are not asking for White Power, not asking that somebody make the black man in the White House go away.

Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat 09 Aug 2009 The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap... By this weekend the ice edge lay some 80 miles (128 kilometers) at sea.

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51 US soldiers in Iraq diagnosed with swine flu --71 US soldiers in quarantine 09 Aug 2009 Fifty-one American troops in Iraq have been diagnosed with and treated for swine flu, while another 71 soldiers remain in isolation suspected of contracting the potentially deadly virus, the U.S. military said Sunday. The figures were released as Iraqi health officials confirmed Sunday the country's first swine flu death.

Iraq confirms first death from A/H1N1 09 Aug 2009 The Iraqi Ministry of Health confirmed that the death of a teenage girl several days ago in the city of Najaf was due to A/H1N1 virus, the state-run newspaper al-Sabah reported on Sunday. "The medical tests at Baghdad's public health laboratories confirmed that the girl in Najaf, some 160 km south of Baghdad, has died from the A/H1N1 flu," Ihsan Jaafar, spokesman of the Iraqi Health Ministry, was quoted as saying.

Swine flu outbreak suspected in military prison --Soldiers at IDF's Prison Four say 15 sick inmates held in isolation, army fails to provide proper treatment. IDF denied claims 08 Aug 2009 In recent days Ynet has received dozens of reports from soldiers and their parents about a swine flu outbreak in the IDF's Confinement Base 394, more commonly know as Prison Four. According to the reports, 15 of the soldiers held at the prison have been isolated from the rest of the inmates due to suspicion they have contracted the H1N1 virus. A phone conversation with one of the inmates revealed a grim picture. "What goes on here is a catastrophe."

Suffolk County man, an NYPD cop, dies after contracting swine flu 07 Aug 2009 A young New York City police officer who lived in Blue Point died Friday after contracting swine flu, officials said. Ryan Johnson, 27, of the 83rd Precinct in Brooklyn, is the eighth person in Suffolk whose death is linked to swine flu, the Suffolk County Health Department said.

Premier hospital's swine flu detection head quarantined 08 Aug 2009 The head of the swine flu screening centre at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and a junior colleague have been put under home quarantine for suspected influenza A (H1N1). "I am now home quarantined for two days," S K Sharma, chief medical officer of the swine flu detection centre at the premium government-run hospital said.

Over 260 new A/H1N1 flu cases confirmed in Europe 09 Aug 2009 A European health agency said on Saturday that 261 new A/H1N1 flu cases were reported in European countries within the last 24 hours. Of the new cases, 199 were confirmed in Ireland, 24 in Portugal,14 in Austria, nine in Switzerland, eight in Slovenia, and seven in Romania, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control(ECDC) said in its daily situation report.

Obama attending first US-Canada-Mexico summit, will discuss pandemic 09 Aug 2009 As President Barack Obama returns to Mexico, the swine flu that spread from here across the world is increasingly back in the news -- and at the top of the agenda of at a lightning-quick, three-way summit Sunday and Monday in Guadalajara. Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will try to build on that earlier cooperation to handle an expected new wave of cases during North America's upcoming flu season. John Brennan, Obama's chief homeland security aide, said the talks are timely -- and crucial, given the long 'borders' the U.S. shares with Mexico and Canada... "There are people who are going to be getting sick in the fall and die," Brennan said.

Baxter not to provide anti-swine flu vaccine to Czechs --Czech Health Ministry: Baxter unable to guarantee vaccine is safe, won't be responsible for its side-effects 03 Aug 2009 The U.S. pharmaceutical firm Baxter which manufactures a vaccine against the swine flu in its Czech branch will not ensure the vaccine for the Czech Republic in the case of a pandemic, Baxter media representative Jana Cechova told CTK today. "No contract for the delivery of the vaccines A(H1N1) between Baxter and the Czech Republic has been concluded," Cechova said. The server tn.cz writes that the Czech Health Ministry has explained its stopping the talks with Baxter by the firm's inability to guarantee that the vaccine is safe and who will bear the risks for possible side-effects. [See: Baxter: The 'Lucky Larry' of swine flu Baxter Vaccine 'Oddities' 17 Jul 2009.]

'The Government has drawn up drastic plans to immunise every schoolchild in the UK.' Fears As Pupils Get Swine Flu Jab 07 Aug 2009 Parents' fears were growing last night over plans to use Britain's 8.5 million schoolchildren as guinea pigs for swine flu vaccinations. The Government has drawn up drastic plans to immunise every schoolchild in the UK. In the biggest mass vaccination since the 1964 operation against smallpox, school nurses, health visitors and GPs would deliver the injections to five to 16-year-olds at all 33,700 schools. But there are serious concerns as little or no data exists on the safety or effectiveness of flu vaccines on young children.

Sanofi starts swine flu shot trial, files with FDA 08 Aug 2009 Sanofi-Aventis, the world leader in flu immunisation, said on Friday it started human testing of its H1N1 swine flu vaccine on Aug. 6 and filed a supplemental licence application with U.S. regulators. The French drugmaker's vaccine unit Sanofi Pasteur had told Reuters on Tuesday tests would begin "in days"... Sales of vaccines to contain the[ir] current swine flu pandemic are expected to provide a windfall for the global drugs industry, leading to billions of dollars in additional revenues in late 2009 and early 2010, according to industry analysts.

Afghanistan could take 40 years, says new army chief --General Sir David Richards says UK involvement will last decades 08 Aug 2009 The new head of the British army warned today that the UK's involvement in Afghanistan could last for up to 40 years, as the Ministry of Defence announced that three British soldiers working with special forces had been killed in a roadside ambush. The latest military losses in Afghanistan came as the army's incoming head, General Sir David Richards, predicted that British involvement in the country could last up to 40 years. Richards, who will become Chief of the General Staff later this month, told the Times: "I believe that the UK will be committed to Afghanistan in some manner – development, governance, security sector reform – for the next 30 to 40 years."

New Obusha money pit: US, UK to spend millions to persuade Afghan farmers 'not' to plant opium poppy 08 Aug 2009 The U.S. and British governments plan to spend millions of dollars over the next two months to try to persuade Afghan farmers not to plant opium poppy, by far the country's most profitable cash crop and a major source of Taliban US mercenary funding and official corruption. "We need a way to get money in [farmers'] hands right away," said a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan... But many previous U.S.-funded crop-substitution programs have failed as well, from Asia to Latin America.

Afghan Bomb Explosion Kills NATO Soldier in Country’s South 09 Aug 2009 A bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan killed a North Atlantic Treaty Organization soldier, the coalition force said in an e-mailed statement. The soldier, belonging to the International Security Assistance Force and whose identity was not disclosed, died in the explosion yesterday, according to the statement.

Taliban commander denies Mehsud dead: report 08 Aug 2009 A fellow commander in the Pakistani Taliban insisted that Baitullah Mehsud, the movement's leader, was alive, the BBC reported on Saturday, rejecting government claims he had been eliminated in a U.S. drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the most powerful commanders in the tribal region, described reports of Mehsud's death as "ridiculous" and said it was "the handiwork of the intelligence agencies," the BBC Urdu service website said. [It usually is. Where do you think Mehsud came from in the first place?]

Australian and British mercenaries killed in Iraq 10 Aug 2009 An Australian mercenary has been killed in a shooting in the Green Zone in Baghdad, reportedly by a colleague at a private security firm. Darren Hoare was killed alongside a Briton, Paul McGuigan, while working for ArmorGroup Iraq. The Washington Post reported that the alleged gunman, Danny Fitzsimmons, also shot an Iraqi as he tried to flee. The Iraqi was critically wounded, a spokesman at the Interior Ministry said. Mr Fitzsimmons, a Briton, was taken into custody by Iraqi authorities.

Dozens dead in renewed Iraq violence 08 Aug 2009 A series of [Xe?] bomb attacks in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the capital Baghdad killed at least 35 people Friday. The worst explosion occurred near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where eyewitnesses say a car-bomb packed with explosives killed more than two dozen worshippers at a mosque.

US Army finds Iraq electrocution death accidental 08 Aug 2009 The U.S. Army has found that the death of Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth, who was electrocuted while showering at a Baghdad base in January 2008, was accidental, the Defense Department said on Friday. A Senate panel had said in May that the electrocution of Maseth, as well as three other soldiers and a contractor, was linked to wiring work carried out by engineering company and military contractor [terrorists] KBR Inc.

US attorney general 'to probe CIA torture case' 09 Aug 2009 The US attorney general is likely to name a criminal prosecutor to probe if CIA officials used harsh interrogation methods against terror suspects, a report says. A senior Justice Department official said that Eric Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be "narrow" in scope, focusing on "whether people went beyond the [illegal] techniques that were authorized" in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday.

Criminal investigation into CIA treatment of detainees expected 09 Aug 2009 U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said... Current and former CIA and Justice Department officials who have firsthand knowledge of the interrogation files contend that criminal convictions will be difficult to obtain because the quality of evidence is poor and the legal underpinnings have never been tested.

'US showed support for protesters in Iran' 09 Aug 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington was trying 'behind the scenes' to empower protesters disputing Iran's presidential election. In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Clinton said the US did not openly support demonstrators since it did not want to act in a way that would allow the Iranian leadership to use the US support to unify the Iranian nation against the protesters.

Israel planned Iran strike during unrest: Report 09 Aug 2009 As Iran was grappling with the post-election unrest, Israel was reportedly preparing to strike the country's nuclear facilities, a US diplomatic source says. According to a US diplomat based in Jerusalem (al Quds), Israel asked the US administration for a green light to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and its other vital structures in the aftermath of the country's post-election turmoil.

UK warns Iran over trial 'provocation' 08 Aug 2009 British Foreign Minister David Miliband warns that the trial of an employee of the British Embassy in Tehran over the post-vote unrest is deemed as a "provocation." "I am deeply concerned by the unjustified charges today laid against Hossein Rassam in Tehran," Miliband said Saturday. "The charges are unjustified and have brought discredit to Iran."

US steadies the hand on its nuclear trigger 10 Aug 2009 The US Air Force has opened a Global Strike Command responsible for nuclear forces after two serious mishaps raised doubts about the supervision of the country's atomic weapons. The opening of the command on Friday marks a shake-up that followed the botched handling of nuclear weapons and the subsequent sacking of the air force's top civilian and military leaders last year. The command, located at Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana, will combine nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers as well as the intercontinental ballistic missile force, which had previously been under the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.

Climate change excuse for US military intervention? --Pandemics would trigger conflicts that could dent local governments thus necessitating US military intervention 09 Aug 2009 Future climate change may force US military involvement abroad with Washington saying it has to intervene to defend power structures hardest hit by climate change. The aftereffects of the changes like wholesale population movements and pandemics would trigger conflicts that could dent local governments thus necessitating US military intervention, said the New York Times on Saturday quoting military and intelligence pundits.

Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security 09 Aug 2009 The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say. Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.

Teabaggers Bring Guns to Cohen Health Care Event By Jane Hamsher 08 Aug 2009 According to accounts from the Steve Cohen health care event in Memphis, Tennessee, the teabaggers are showing up armed. Steve Steffens wrote, "Randy Wade is to be complimented as well; he arranged for security. There were actually idiots who brought guns (legally, it seems they had carry permits, but why did they feel they needed them?). Yes, you read that right, and Randy made them all check in with the Sheriff's Deputies on hand." [In that case--like I said: What's good for the right-wing goose is good for the left-wing gander. --LRP]

Town hall tension: Memphis police call for reinforcements 08 Aug 2009 Hundreds of people crowded into the BRIDGES building in Downtown Memphis on Saturday for a congressional town hall meeting that quickly deviated into a raucous shouting free-for-all, requiring extra law enforcement officers to watch over the scene. The meeting was hosted by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis... Within 15 minutes of the start of the event, a nearly nose-to-nose confrontation between individuals with opposing views became so heated they had to be separated as Shelby County sheriff's deputies and Memphis police officers called for reinforcements.

Former Abstinence Program director Gail Dignam was long on preaching, short on virtue By James Gill 08 Aug 2009 Nobody can have been surprised when the campaign against premarital sex, started in the Mike Foster administration, took to invoking the Lord... But disdain for secular authority can become a habit, and so it came to pass that the Governor's Abstinence Program also violated state statutes, according to the legislative auditor. Gail Dignam, who worked for the program under Foster and was its director under Gov. Kathleen Blanco, allegedly figured that some of the money budgeted for the promotion of teenage virtue would be best directed to her own pockets... After Dignam became director, the program awarded 74 professional service contracts to the tune of $3.6 million in three years.

Sotomayor Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice 09 Aug 2009 Sonia Sotomayor took the judicial oath on Saturday, becoming the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. At just past 11 a.m., Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered a pair of oaths to her in two private ceremonies at the Supreme Court building, completing her ascent to a life-tenured position as the nation’s 111th justice -- the first to be nominated by a Democratic president since 1994.

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Report: Israel planned to strike Iran during riots 07 Aug 2009 Israel last month asked the United State for permission to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida reported on Friday. The paper quoted a "US diplomatic source located in Jerusalem", but the report's credibility was not confirmed. According to the sources, after the opposition riots 'broke out' in Iran following June's presidential election results, Israel asked the US government for a green light to strike the country's nuclear facilities, along with other vital facilities in Iran. The source added that the Obama administration ignored the Israeli request, that was sent by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with President Shimon Peres's signature as well.

Mercenaries we can believe in: US Still Paying Blackwater Millions By Jeremy Scahill 07 Aug 2009 Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company's owner, Erik Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for "security services" in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3.

Blackwater accused of murder in 'crusade to eliminate Muslims' 06 Aug 2009 A series of allegations including murder, weapons smuggling and the deliberate slaughter of civilians have been levelled against the founder of Blackwater, the mercenary company being investigated for shooting deaths in Iraq. The accusations, including a claim that the company founder Erik Prince either murdered or had killed former employees co-operating with federal investigators, are contained in sworn affidavits lodged at a Virginia court on Monday night.

Iraq attacks kill at least 52 08 Aug 2009 A series of attacks largely targeting Shiite Muslims killed at least 52 people Friday, most of them in a powerful [Xe?] car bombing at a mosque on the northern edge of the volatile city of Mosul. Authorities said most of the 39 fatalities at the mosque were Shiite Turkmens.

Three British special forces troops killed in Afghanistan 07 Aug 2009 Three British soldiers from the Parachute Regiment, on special forces operations in southern Afghanistan, were killed and a fourth critically injured when their patrol came under attack. The Ministry of Defence said the servicemen died after their Jackal armoured vehicle was hit by an explosion north of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province early on Thursday afternoon.

Mounting popular opposition to the war in Afghanistan 07 Aug 2009 A series of recent polls have shown growing popular opposition in Europe to the US-NATO war in Afghanistan. One recent poll puts opposition in Germany to the presence of German troops in Afghanistan at 85 percent. The latest poll in France shows 55 percent opposed to the war and in favor of the immediate withdrawal of French soldiers. In Britain, according to the latest ComRes poll, more than half of the people (52 percent) want troops to be withdrawn straight away, while some 64 percent say British forces should be removed "as quickly as possible."

IMF Adds $3.2B to Pakistan Loan; Total Aid At $11.3B 07 Aug 2009 The International Monetary Fund on Friday boosted a loan extended to Pakistan late last year by $3.2 billion, bringing the total value of the aid package pledged to the South Asian nation to approximately $11.3 billion. The total loan extended to Pakistan by the IMF is equal to about 6.3% of the country's gross domestic product. The fund, which typically disburses aid in tranches, said it will allow Pakistan to immediately draw an additional $1.2 billion in loan dollars despite its failure to meet certain criteria set by the IMF.

New Battle on Vieques, Over Navy's Cleanup of Munitions 07 Aug 2009 The United States Navy ceased military training operations on this small island in 2003, and windows no longer rattle from the shelling from ships and air-to-ground bombings. Vieques was once the largest training area for the United States Atlantic Fleet Forces. Once again, residents have squared off against the American military. The Navy has begun removing hazardous unexploded munitions from its old training ground by detonating them in the open air. It also proposes to burn through nearly 100 acres of dense tropical vegetation to locate and explode highly sensitive cluster bombs.

CLG: H1N1 vaccination 'a voluntary program,' CDC says By Lori Price 08 Aug 2009 Citizens For Legitimate Government contacted the CDC on Friday and asked if the plans to vaccinate US citizens against the H1N1 virus would be mandatory. "It's a voluntary program," said CDC spokesperson Joe Quimby. [Yes, CLG is still promoting the Refuse and Resist Mandatory Flu Vaccines petition (2525 signatures), as the CDC policy could 'change.']

Swine Flu: Vaccination Clinics May be Set Up In Schools 08 Aug 2009 Most schools should be able to stay open even if swine flu outbreaks occur again this fall, government officials said Friday as they issued recommendations for dealing with the illness when the school year starts... Emphasizing that vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the vaccine against the H1N1 virus should be ready by October. People will probably need two shots of the new vaccine, in addition to one shot for seasonal flu. Children and young people ages 6 months [!] to 24 years are to be given priority for the H1N1 vaccine, and vaccination clinics may be set up in some schools.

Homeland Security: Updated Federal Guidelines for 2009 H1N1 Influenza 07 Aug 2009 "...[A]ll Americans also have a part to play. The best way to prevent the spread of flu is vaccination. A seasonal flu vaccine is ready to go, and we should have one for the 2009 H1N1 flu by mid-October," Homeland Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "The federal government continues to coordinate closely with state and local governments, school districts and the private sector on H1N1 preparation as we head into the fall flu season--and the upcoming school year," said Secretary Napolitano. "Readiness for H1N1 is a shared responsibility, and the guidance released today provides communities with the tools they need..." [See: U.S. Flu Vaccine Updates.]

48 SoCal inmates quarantined after flu outbreak 07 Aug 2009 (CA) Dozens of inmates have been quarantined at a Rancho Cucamonga jail after seven came down with swine flu. San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller says 48 inmates have been quarantined since Saturday at the West Valley Detention Center in a jail area with its own ventilation system.

Swine flu sends 5 Collier jail inmates to isolation, another 69 quarantined 07 Aug 2009 (FL) Five inmates in the Collier County jail are in medical isolation for flu-like symptoms and another 69 inmates are under 72-hour quarantine because they had contact with the ill inmates, according to Collier County Sheriff’s officials. The quarantine also meant some inmates did not attend court hearings Friday, a decision that was made by jail officials.

Glenn Beck Jokes About Putting Poison In Nancy Pelosi's Wine 06 Aug 2009 Glenn Beck joked about adding poison to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's glass of wine on his show on Thursday afternoon. As the Fox News host imagined what it would be like to go to a Pelosi fundraiser, a staffer sat across the table from him wearing a Pelosi mask. As the staffer raised a glass of red wine to her lips, Beck demanded, "Drink it. Drink it. Drink it." [I am sick and more than tired of these racist Reichwing nutjobs, corpora-terrorist trolls and Nazi *thugs* getting a PERMANENT PASS on hate speech, mob violence, assassination threats and calls for armed revolution... while we have to sit silent and cower, offering nothing more a shake of the head and utterances of feigned outrage and condemnation? Well, what's good for the right-wing goose is good for the left-wing gander. --LRP]

'The U.S. Capitol Police has advised all of them to cancel their town halls.' Health care debate degenerates into brawls, death threats 07 Aug 2009 From Connecticut to California, angry demonstrators [corporate Waffen-SS] opposed to health care reform have disrupted recent town hall meetings held by congressional Democrats. On Friday, a Democratic lawmaker from Washington state received a faxed death threat a day after he described angry town hall demonstrators as "a lynch mob." Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, who supports President Barack Obama's push to overhaul the health care system, said that he also received threatening phone calls. He cancelled the rest of the town halls he'd scheduled during Congress' August recess. A few Democratic congressional offices also have received threats connected to the health care debate.

Protesters in Ybor City drown out health care summit 07 Aug 2009 Bitter divisions over reforming America's health care system exploded Thursday night in Tampa amid cat calls, jeering and shoving at a town hall meeting. "Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!" dozens of people shouted as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, struggled to talk about health insurance reforms under consideration in Washington, D.C. Thursday's forum/near riot was sponsored by state Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and the Service Employees International Union... Hundreds of vocal critics turned out, many of them saying they had been spurred on through the Tampa 912 activist group promoted by conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Others had received e-mails from the Hillsborough Republican Party that urged people to speak out against the plan and offered talking points.

Tempers flare in South Florida over healthcare overhaul --A raucous group of about 100 protesters confronted staffers of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, expressing their displeasure with the healthcare overhaul bills being considered in Congress. 06 Aug 2009 Confrontation over a national healthcare overhaul reached South Florida on Wednesday, when routine office hours for the staff of a Broward-area congressman turned into a raucous protest... "Where the hell is Klein?" demanded Republican activist Ana Gomez-Mallada, even though the congressman was not scheduled to be there. Others branded him a "coward'' and a "communist." From Texas to Pennsylvania, protesters have disrupted town halls. In North Florida, an effigy of a congressman, Allen Boyd, was tarred and feathered; in New York, a congressman had to be escorted to his car by police. The rally on Wednesday in Klein's 22nd congressional district office was orchestrated by a Republican campaign rival.

GOP Congressman Jokes: Dems "Almost Got Lynched" By Eric Kleefeld 06 Aug 2009 Here's another way for Republicans to handle the disruptions at Democratic town hall events: Joke about lynching. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) held a town hall of his own two days ago, and here's what he said: "This particular meeting, in a way is a little bit unique," said Akin. "Different people from Washington, DC, have come back to their districts and have town hall meetings, and they almost got lynched." The audience then broke out into laughter and applause. "I would assume you're not approving lynchings, because we don't want to do that," Akin said, putting his hand to his neck in imitation of choking, which got audience laughing some more.

Audit of Organic Program Is Ordered --Agency's Standards Will Be Scrutinized 08 Aug 2009 The U.S. Agriculture Department has ordered an audit of its National Organic Program, saying that external scrutiny is needed to improve the integrity, transparency and reliability of the seven-year-old food program. The audit will look at whether the program is using strict, internationally recognized standards for accrediting and overseeing its network of nearly 100 private certifiers, which have been granted authority to determine whether foods meet federal organic standards.

'Cash-for-clunkers' program gets $2B refill 07 Aug 2009 Car shoppers caught up in the frenzy of the "cash-for-clunkers" program now have more time and a $2 billion reason to trade in their old gas guzzlers. President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a measure tripling the budget of the $1 billion incentive program that has drawn big crowds to formerly deserted showrooms. The Senate on Thursday passed the legislation extending the two-week-old program into Labor Day and preventing it from running out of money.

The drug lobby demands, and gets, Obama pledge to protect health care profits By Kate Randall 07 Aug 2009 The Obama White House has acknowledged it made a deal with drug makers to block moves in Congress to obtain any cost savings beyond the $80 billion already agreed to by the pharmaceutical lobby. The New York Times reported Thursday that, in return for the $80 billion agreement, the Obama administration pledged that it would work to block any health care legislation that would allow the government to negotiate price-setting on drugs.

Geithner asks Congress for higher U.S. debt limit 07 Aug 2009 U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner formally requested that Congress raise the $12.1 trillion statutory debt limit on Friday, saying that it could be breached as early as mid-October.

Regulators Shut 2 Florida Banks, Pushing 2009 U.S. Toll to 71 07 Aug 2009 First State Bank and Community National Bank, both based in Sarasota, Florida, were closed today, pushing the number of failed U.S. lenders to 71 this year. A Minnesota bank assumed deposits of both lenders. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver for both banks, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Dow Industrials, Transports Top Highs in Bullish Sign 07 Aug 2009 The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Transportation Average rose to their highest levels of the year, a bullish sign for the U.S. stock market among traders who use charts to make forecasts. The 30-stock industrial average rallied 113.81 points, or 1.2 percent, to 9,370.07, exceeding its previous 2009 high of 9,320.19 on Aug. 4.

US unemployment slows sharply 07 Aug 2009 The US unemployment rate dropped last month for the first time since April 2008, a surprise fall greeted by the White House as evidence that the world's largest economy has been pulled back from the brink of depression. Although employers cut 247,000 jobs in July, by a statistical quirk the size of the labour force fell faster than employment, so the monthly rate of unemployment fell to 9.4% from June's figure of 9.5%.

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Secret deal to keep Karzai in power 07 Aug 2009 With less than two weeks to go until national 'elections,' the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, is trying to cut a secret deal with one of his rivals to knock out his leading contender and ensure a decisive victory to avoid the chaos that a tight result might unleash. Afghanistan's second 'democratic polls' threaten to split the country along sectarian lines... Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador, are understood to have discussed the proposal with [third candidate] Ashraf Ghani late last month. "It makes sense," a policy analyst with close links to the US administration said... [Later, in the same article:] US embassy officials have denied any involvement in back-room deals.

Obama faces huge bill on Afghan security 06 Aug 2009 The US will have to provide billions more dollars in coming years to finance a huge increase in the size of Afghanistan's security forces, officials and analysts warn. General Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of US and Nato forces in the country, is in the final stages of a review of policy in which he is expected to conclude that the Afghan army and police force should be increased to a combined total of 400,000. "Afghan national security forces probably need to grow to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400,000, which is currently being looked at by the McChrystal review," retired General Jack Keane, one of the architects of the surge in Iraq, told the FT, in comments backed up by serving military officials.

US sets up Pak-Afghan cell for war efforts in region --US has started work on a $1 billion project to build a 'diplomatic hub' [!] for the region in Islamabad. 07 Aug 2009 The Pentagon has established a Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell, in its basement to streamline its war efforts in that region. Headed by Brig-Gen Scott Miller, the cell includes military and civilians personnel with expertise on regional politics, economy and insurgency. The intention is to raise experts who will eventually rotate back and forth between the US and the region. By the end of the year, the United States will have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, including extra 20,000 that President Barack Obama has promised to send.

US will maintain 'unrelenting' pressure on terrorist havens on Af-Pak border 06 Aug 2009 The US Government must fundamentally redefine the struggle against terrorism, replacing the war on terror with a campaign combining all facets of national power to defeat the enemy, President Obama's senior counter-terrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, has said. Previewing what aides said will be the Obama Administration's most comprehensive statement to date on its long-term strategy to defeat 'al-Qaeda' and other violent extremists worldwide, Brennan said the US will maintain "unrelenting" pressure on terrorist havens, including those near the Afghan-Pakistani border, in Yemen and in Somalia.

Obama's counter-terrorism advisor denounces Bush-era policies [while implementing them] 06 Aug 2009 President Obama's counter-terrorism chief rebuked the Bush administration repeatedly today in a speech designed to make the case for an expanded approach to fighting Islamic extremism, just weeks before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In his first public appearance as White House counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan said the Bush administration's policies had been an affront to American values, undermined the nation's security and fostered a "global war" mind-set that served only to "validate Al Qaeda's twisted worldview."

Adviser: US sees decade of involvement in Afghanistan 06 Aug 2009 An incoming adviser to the top U.S. general in Afghanistan predicted Thursday that the United States will see about two more years of heavy fighting and then either hand off to a much improved Afghan fighting force or "lose and go home." David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who will assume a role as a senior adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has been highly critical of the war's management to date. He outlined a "best-case scenario" for a decade of further U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan during an appearance at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

5 U.S. troops killed as Afghan violence swells --26 Afghans, most of them members of a wedding party, are reported killed in roadside bombings. 07 Aug 2009 The pace of American combat deaths in Afghanistan has quickened anew as roadside bombs killed five U.S. troops in 24 hours in the same western province, the American military said Thursday. The deaths bring to 11 the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan so far in August, on the heels of what was the worst month for Western and U.S. troop fatalities since the conflict began in 2001.

Bomb strikes Afghan wedding party 06 Aug 2009 A roadside bomb in Afghanistan has killed a group of people travelling to a wedding in the south of the country, officials say. First reports said 21 people had been killed in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, but an official later confirmed the death toll as five. Nato troops are conducting offensives in Helmand ahead of presidential and provincial council elections on 20 August.

Five killed, 30 wounded in Kirkuk bombing 06 Aug 2009 An explosive-laden vehicle has been detonated at a crowded market in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing five people and leaving 30 others wounded. The bomb went off at around 8:20 p.m. (1720 GMT) on Thursday, said a local security chief Nozad al-Barzanji. The incident took place in a Kurdish neighborhood of the city, 255 kilometers (160 miles) north of Baghdad.

First-hand account details Israeli cruelty to children 06 Aug 2009 Amid shocking revelations that Israeli soldiers employed Palestinian children as human shields during the war on Gaza, a former Israeli military commander explains how Palestinian minors are treated on an ongoing basis. Palestinian youth are arrested on a regular basis, usually for hurling stones at Israeli soldiers -- something many of them consider the only means of venting their frustration over the military occupation of their homeland.

Fluor names ex-KBR exec to run government division 05 Aug 2009 Engineering company Fluor Corp has named Bruce Stanski as head of its government group, giving him a similar position to what he once held at KBR Inc as Fluor competes for more military contracts. Stanski replaces John Hopkins, who will become group executive for corporate development, Fluor said in a statement on Wednesday.

Malmstrom nuclear weapons squadron activated 05 Aug 2009 A new squadron designed to streamline and improve the handling of nuclear weapons systems was activated Tuesday at Malmstrom Air Force Base, bringing 62 new personnel with it, according to Air Force officials. The newly activated 16th Munitions Squadron will be responsible for weapons storage area logistics operations. The tenant unit at Malmstrom is part of the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Jewish security network meets with DHS chief 05 Aug 2009 Leaders of the Secure Community Network met Wednesday in Washington with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. SCN, which coordinates security for North American Jewish institutions, has been working with DHS for a while on security training and assessments, but this was the first meeting with Napolitano since she took office earlier this year.

Metro Transit Police to Add Anti-Terrorism Teams 05 Aug 1009 The federal government will pay almost $10 million for the Metro Transit Police to put 20 officers on five anti-terrorism teams, Metro officials announced Wednesday. The department has a Special Response Team, said spokeswoman Cathy Asato, but the force has not had specific teams focused on counterterrorism. A Department of Homeland Security transit grant program will provide the money to create them.

Intel to SEC: No Ties to 'Sponsors of Terrorism' 06 Aug 2009 Intel Corp. has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it does not do business with countries accused of being "sponsors of terrorism," in response to an unusual request from the agency. The SEC earlier this year had sent a letter to Intel asking the chip giant to describe the nature of its business contacts with such countries as Cuba, Iran and Syria, which have been identified as "state sponsors of terrorism," according to a company filing with the federal agency. In response, the company wrote the SEC saying, "Intel prohibits all transactions with countries identified under certain trade-related sanctions."

Heads up! Baxter to test swine flu vaccine 06 Aug 2009 Pharmaceutical firm Baxter International says it has produced its first commercial batches of a [deadly] human swine flu vaccine called Celvapan A/H1N1. The development comes as the World Health Organisation warned that the current outbreak is the fastest pandemic and could eventually affect two billion people. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

FDA never inspected China maker of Baxter's heparin 13 Feb 2008 U.S. regulators have never inspected the Chinese plant that makes Baxter International's [deadly] heparin, regulators disclosed a day after Baxter halted sales of some versions after four patients died and hundreds became ill. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration reported that it received about 350 reports of health problems associated with Baxter's injectable heparin, a blood thinner, since the end of 2007.

Swine flu vaccine on track for September, WHO says --Larger deliveries are expected in October, an official says. Human trials of the new vaccine against H1N1 have also begun. 07 Aug 2009 Manufacturers are on track to deliver the first doses of a vaccine for pandemic H1N1 influenza in September, World Health Organization officials said Thursday. The first batches will be limited, but larger deliveries are expected in October, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the organization's Initiative for Vaccine Research said at a news conference in Geneva.

Rapid tests often wrong about swine flu --CDC's first study finds cases missed at least half the time 06 Aug 2009 Current quick tests for flu miss many cases of the new pandemic H1N1 strain, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. The accuracy of the tests ranged from just 40 percent to 69 percent in detecting swine flu, the CDC team reported. The findings confirm the CDC's warnings that instant tests performed on the spot in doctor's offices and clinics are not highly worthwhile for diagnosing H1N1 infections.

Barack Opharma strikes again: White House Affirms Deal on Drug Cost 06 Aug 2009 Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion. Drug industry lobbyists reacted with alarm this week to a House health care overhaul measure that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices and demand additional rebates from drug manufacturers. In response, the industry successfully demanded that the White House explicitly acknowledge for the first time that it had committed to protect drug makers from bearing further costs in the overhaul.

'It would be unusual for a recent corporate lobbyist to be a U.S. attorney.' Ex-Lobbyist Called Top Candidate for Alexandria U.S. Attorney 06 Aug 2009 A Justice Department official who briefly worked as a corporate lobbyist has emerged as the leading candidate for U.S. attorney in Alexandria, one of the nation's most prominent law enforcement posts, sources familiar with the selection process said Wednesday. Neil MacBride, who has been an associate deputy attorney general since January, is undergoing FBI background checks for the Alexandria job, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no appointment has been announced.

US Senate confirms Sonia Sotomayor for the supreme court --Sonia Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic justice to sit on the US Supreme Court 06 Aug 2009 The US Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor today as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31 for Sotomayor, Barack Obama's first high court nominee. She becomes the 111th justice and just the third woman to serve.

Senate Confirms Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court --All 31 votes against Sotomayor came from Republicans. 06 Aug 2009 Sonia Sotomayor won confirmation Thursday afternoon as the nation's 111th Supreme Court justice and the first ever of Hispanic descent, a historic moment for the nation's fastest-growing minority group. On a 68 to 31 vote, the Senate confirmed Sotomayor after roughly 18 hours of official debate spread across three days this week, a show of support that included nine Republican 'aye' votes and 59 from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Sotomayor watches Senate vote at NYC courthouse 06 Aug 2009 Sonia Sotomayor bathed in applause from friends and colleagues at a federal courthouse in lower Manhattan Thursday as the Senate voted to confirm her appointment to the Supreme Court. The New Yorker watched the vote unfold on large-screen televisions in a conference room on the 8th floor overflowing with other judges and courthouse personnel.

Cornyn accuses White House of compiling 'enemies list' 06 Aug 2009 Texas Sen. John Cornyn [R-Hypcorite], accusing the White House of compiling an "enemies list," has asked President Barack Obama to stop an effort to collect "fishy" information Americans see about a health care overhaul. Cornyn, who leads the Republicans' Senate campaign effort, said Wednesday in a letter to Obama that he's concerned that citizen engagement on the issue could be "chilled." He also expressed alarm that the White House could end up collecting electronic information on its critics. [Oh, and Bush would never do that, right? Where was Creep Cornyn's outrage *then?*]

Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance Pledge Not to Advertise on Glenn Beck on Fox News 06 Aug 2009 Three companies who run ads during Glenn Beck -- NexisLexis-owned Lawyers.com, Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance -- today distanced themselves from Beck. LexisNexis has pulled its advertising from Beck and says it has no plans to advertise on the program in the future. Both Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance called the Beck advertising placements an error that they would correct. The decision by the three companies comes as over 45,000 ColorOfChange.org members call on advertisers to pull their ads from Glenn Beck after the controversial news host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" on "Fox & Friends" last week.

AIG breakup nets Wall Street $1 billion bonanza: report 06 Aug 2009 Wall Street banks and lawyers could collect nearly $1 billion in fees from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and American International Group Inc to help manage and break apart the insurer, The Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday, citing its own analysis. Morgan Stanley could collect as much as $250 million, the newspaper said, citing banking experts and documents released by the New York Fed.

AIG's Greenberg to pay $15 million to settle SEC charges 06 Aug 2009 American International Group's former Chief Executive Hank Greenberg agreed to pay $15 million to settle regulators' allegations of improper accounting transactions, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Thursday.

Oil price hits $76, highest since October 06 Aug 2009 Oil prices fell on Thursday after briefly reaching 76 dollars a barrel in London and the highest level this year, as some analysts predicted a sustained move downwards owing to weak demand for crude. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September reached exactly 76 dollars in early London trade. It later stood at 75.16 dollars a barrel, down 35 cents on Thursday's close.

About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011 05 Aug 2009 The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.

Congress OKs $2B Refill of 'Cash For Clunkers' --Program Would Run Through Labor Day 06 Aug 2009 Congress has passed a $2 billion extension of the popular "cash for clunkers" program, clearing the legislation for President Barack Obama's signature. The Senate passed the extension Thursday evening. The House approved the measure last week. Lawmakers made sure to keep the popular program alive before heading home for a monthlong vacation.

Clinton-Era Rule Protecting Forests Upheld 05 Aug 2009 In a victory for environmentalists, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, reaffirmed a lower court decision to strike down the Bush administration’s policy toward roads in national forests. The "roadless rule," approved in 2001 during the waning days of the Clinton administration, substantially limited road development in national forest lands.

Study finds 3 Northwest glaciers shrinking faster 06 Aug 2009 Climate change is shrinking three of the nation's most studied glaciers at an accelerated rate, and government scientists say that finding bolsters global concerns about rising sea levels and the availability of fresh drinking water. Known as "benchmark glaciers," the South Cascade Glacier in Washington state, the Wolverine Glacier on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula and the Gulkana Glacier in interior Alaska all have shown a "rapid and sustained" retreat, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey that was released Thursday.

'It moves around like a big animal without a leash.' The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan 05 Aug 2009 A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said. The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

City Says Exxon Is Liable for Tainted Well Water in Queens 07 Aug 2009 Lawyers for New York City are trying to convince a jury in a federal trial that Exxon Mobil knew that an additive that it began using in gasoline in the 1980s would contaminate groundwater. The trial, which began on Tuesday before Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of United States District Court in Manhattan, is one of hundreds of cases that have been presented around the country against oil companies over the additive, MTBE, a chemical compound that replaced lead in gasoline as an octane enhancer.

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Feds to oversee immigration detention facilities 05 Aug 2009 The Obama administration plans to place federal employees in the largest immigration detention facilities in the country to monitor detainee treatment. This oversight role is currently handled by private contractors. But under the new plan, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would be placed at the largest jails to directly supervise how the detention centers are managed, according to people briefed on the government's plan. The government has been criticized for its treatment of immigration detainees, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made detention policies a top priority for her department. [See: KBR awarded Homeland Security contract worth up to $385M --Contract may also provide detention support to 'other government organizations' as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a 'natural' disaster. [Flu?] 24 Jan 2006 KBR said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options.]

Government 'panicked' by report of MoD wasting billions --An unnamed MoD official told Channel 4 News yesterday that Number 10 had "panicked" at the findings of the report and intervened to prevent its publication. 06 Aug 2009 The government has been accused of trying to suppress a report that found the Ministry of Defence is wasting billions of pounds every year as a result of ordering projects it cannot afford. The report found that the MoD is wasting between £1.5bn and £2.5bn per year. Its findings were due to have been published before MPs broke up for the summer recess but its release has been delayed, with the prime minister announcing last month that the report would now form part of a further defence review.

CIA Drone Strike Kills Wife of Pakistani Taliban Chief 05 Aug 2009 A CIA drone strike killed the wife of a Pakistani chief today, according to local intelligence and military officials. The missile destroyed the house of Mehsud's second father-in-law, Akramud Din, around 1:00am, the intelligence officials said. At least three people were killed, including one woman. The Taliban denied that Mehsud's second wife was in the house at the time of the attack, though they did confirm that one woman was killed.

Airstrike, bomb blast kill 10 civilians in Afghanistan 05 Aug 2009 Residents in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar said Wednesday that a NATO airstrike killed four civilians, including three children, while a roadside bomb killed six civilians in eastern Afghanistan. Dozens of residents from Arghandab district brought the four bodies to Kandahar city Wednesday morning to show them to provincial authorities. The tribal men said that the civilians were killed Tuesday night when a NATO helicopter bombed their house.

Eleven die in Iraq violence as would-be female bomber jailed 05 Aug 2009 Eleven people, including a woman, died in violence across Iraq on Wednesday as officials said a teenage girl has been jailed for trying to copy her father and brother and be a suicide bomber. In the deadliest of the day's attacks, a roadside bomb exploded as policemen were travelling by car through a market in the southern Baghdad neighbourhood of Dora, killing five of them, police said.

Ahmadinejad sworn in as Iran president 05 Aug 2009 After winning a hotly disputed election in Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sworn in for a second term in office as the country's president. Ahmadinejad took his oath of office before the Parliament (Majlis) on Wednesday. He has two weeks to introduce his cabinet of ministers to Majlis for approval.

Americans who strayed into Iran accused of spying 05 Aug 2009 Three Americans detained in Iran on Friday have been questioned by Iranian security operatives. The US citizens, who were detained on charges of entering Iran from Iraq without permission, were arrested near the Iranian border town of Marivan. Iranian television has described the three Americans as spies.

'Pain Ray' First Commercial Sale Looms By David Hambling 05 Aug 2009 The military isn’t about to deploy its pain ray to the battlefield. But someone in the commercial sector is about to buy one. We don’t know who. The sale is mentioned in a presentation by Raytheon, who built the microwave weapon for the Defense Department. The so-called "Active Denial System" works by heating the outer surface of the target’s skin using millimeter waves -- short wavelength microwaves... Recently, it’s been proposed as a possible defense against pirates; last month, Raytheon gave a presentation on Active Denial at a NATO workshop on anti-pirate equipment and technologies.

US Marines Corps bans Facebook, Twitter 05 Aug 2009 The US Marine Corps has issued an order banning the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter on its network for one year. "These Internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user-generated content and targeting by adversaries," [!?!] the Marine Corps order reads.

Blackwater CEO accused of killing witnesses 05 Aug 2009 The lawsuit filed by Iraqis against the US contractor Blackwater takes turn with a former employee and a former US marine accusing the firm's owner of murder. In sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, the two testified that company owner and CEO Erik Prince may have murdered or arranged the murder of individuals cooperating with US federal authorities investigating the case.

Army prosecutor quits Guantanamo war court case 03 Aug 2009 An Army prosecutor has resigned from the Guantanamo war court in a crisis of conscience over plans to try a young Afghan accused of throwing a grenade rather than settle the case out of court, according to an affidavit filed with the court Wednesday. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, a reservist from the Pittsburgh area, becomes the fourth known prosecutor to quit the Pentagon's controversial military tribunals, which the Bush regime set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Lying about Iraq made me quit, press officer claims 05 Aug 2009 Having to peddle "government lies" about the safety of soldiers in Iraq led to a Ministry of Defence press officer suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, an employment tribunal will hear. John Salisbury-Baker will claim that he suffered "intolerable stress" through having to "defend the morally indefensible" when responding to media inquiries about the ability of army vehicles such as the "Snatch" Land Rover to protect soldiers. Mr Salisbury-Baker says he found it impossible to support the official line on deaths and injuries after seeing the suffering of soldiers' families.

Soldier Who Refused Deployment Over 'Illegal' Wars Is Jailed 06 Aug 2009 A soldier at Fort Hood who fought his deployment to Afghanistan and stopped obeying orders was sentenced to a month in jail and demoted to private in a military court on Wednesday morning. Victor Agosto, a 24-year-old signalman with the III Corps, ripped a patch showing his specialist rank off his uniform after an emotional hearing in front of an Army captain in which he had told the court he believed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan violated international law, his lawyer, James M. Branum, said. Later, about 20 antiwar protesters cheered Private Agosto as he was taken to jail, the lawyer said. "He’s not opposed to all wars; he is opposed to this war, because it is not a war of self-defense," Mr. Branum said.

Obama team quietly mulls new quarantine regulations --OMB set Sept. for target date to complete first major overhaul of quarantine regulations --W. House officials not saying what their rules might ultimately require 05 Aug 2009 The Obama administration is quietly dusting off an effort to impose new federal quarantine regulations, which were vigorously resisted by civil liberties organizations and the airline industry when the rules were first proposed by the Bush regime nearly four years ago. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has set a September target date to complete the first major overhaul of the quarantine regulations in about three decades. That would have at least some of the rules in place if swine flu returns with a vengeance later this year, though officials are reluctant to make that link publicly. [See: Military Poised to Help FEMA Battle Swine Flu Outbreak --U.S. commander for Northern Command asked Defense Secretary to sign executive order for military to set up five regional teams to deal with outbreak --Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later 29 Jul 2009 The Pentagon is preparing to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency tackle a potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, FOX News has confirmed. See: DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack and DoD to carry out 'military missions' during pandemic, WMD attack.]

Report: White House Weighing Federal Quarantine Rules 05 Aug 2009 The Obama White House may be preparing to enact new federal quarantine regulations that were first put forth by the Bush administration almost four years ago, according to a report from Politico.com. While the Obama administration has been tight lipped about the possible new regulations, the Bush-era proposal sought to give the federal government, "the authority to order a provisional quarantine of three business days or up to six calendar days, for those suspected of having swine flu or other illnesses listed in a presidential executive order," the Politico report said.

Baxter completes first swine flu vaccine batches 05 Aug 2009 Baxter International Inc said on Wednesday it completed its first commercial batches of H1N1 vaccine in late July and is discussing distribution plans with national health authorities. The swine flu vaccine, to be sold under the brand name Celvapan, is made using Baxter's cell culture process, which is designed to be faster than traditional vaccine production methods. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

More charged with terrorism offences in Australia 05 Aug 2009 Australian police charged four more men on Wednesday with planning to attack an army base and shoot soldiers as the government considered whether to ban a Somalia militant group linked to the plot. During a brief court hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday, one of those charged refused to stand before the court and then shouted at the presiding magistrate. "You call me a terrorist? I have never killed a person in my life," said Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 33, before he was led to a jail cell. "Your army kills innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel takes Palestinian land by force," he said.

Pakistan bans 25 Islamist organizations 05 Aug 2009 Pakistan has banned 25 Islamist and charity organizations across the country under the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act saying the move was aimed at stopping growing militancy in the country. Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced the decision in a parliament session held on Wednesday, a Press TV correspondent reported. Malik told the National Assembly that his ministry has issued a new list of banned organizations.

Guard troops may be 'needed' for law enforcement in Ala. county 04 Aug 2009 A judge has cleared the way for more workforce cuts in Alabama's most populous county, and National Guard troops could be called in. A judge ruled Tuesday that leaders in Jefferson County could go ahead with plans to slash $4.1 million from the budget of Sheriff Mike Hale, who filed suit to block the cuts. A spokesman for Hale, Randy Christian, said the sheriff told Gov. Bob Riley after the ruling that state assistance may be needed to perform basic law enforcement tasks once the department's funding runs out in early September.

Internet firms condemn plans for GCHQ email access --The firms will be asked to collect and store vast amounts of data. 04 Aug 2009 A proposal to allow Cheltenham listening post GCHQ to monitor any email, phone call or website visit of people in the UK has been condemned by internet firms. The London Internet Exchange, which represents more than 330 companies, says the Government's surveillance proposals are an "unwarranted" invasion of people's privacy. The £2 billion project, pioneered by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, would allow the Benhall-based intelligence headquarters access to the records of internet providers in an effort to maintain its defences against terrorism.

Murdoch papers to charge for websites by 2010 06 Aug 2009 The days of being able to read newspapers for free on the internet are coming to a close, the media mogul Rupert Murdoch signaled, as he promised The Times and The Sun would begin charging for access to their websites within months. In a sweeping rethink of how the beleaguered newspaper industry operates, the News Corporation founder declared that quality journalism must come at a price. [Rupert Murdoch is the last 'person' on earth to know what quality journalism *is.*]

House Orders Three Elite Jets 05 Aug 2009 At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress. The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service. But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.

Senate Reaches Deal to Save 'Cash for Clunkers' 05 Aug 2009 The Senate reached a deal on saving the dwindling "cash for clunkers" program late Wednesday, agreeing to vote on a plan that would add $2 billion to the popular rebate program and give car shoppers until Labor Day to trade in their gas-guzzlers for a new ride. Following lengthy negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats and Republicans had agreed to vote on the plan Thursday, along with a series of potential changes to the bill, which was passed by the House last week.

Democratic lawmaker 'physically assaulted' at local event by activists 05 Aug 2009 Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that "at least one freshman Democrat" has already been "physically assaulted at a local event." Connolly warned that conservative groups Nazis had taken things to a "dangerous level..." Recent events have given congressman good reason to be "fearful for their safety." Last week, a protester hung an effigy of freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) outside his district office, and after a June 22 town hall meeting was disrupted by an "unruly mob" of tea party activists, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) had to be escorted to his car by police. [Arming the Left: Is the time now? By Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003.]

Pa. Gunman 'Hell-bent' on Killings, Had 4 Guns --George Sodini Made Two "Practice Runs" Before Massacre, Left Notes 05 Aug 2009 The Pennsylvania gunman who killed three women and injured nine others when he opened fire in a fitness center Wednesday before taking his own life made two "practice runs" just hours before the massacre, investigators said today. Police also said the gunman, 48-year-old George Sodini, also made a phone call to an unidentified person and "had a conversation" before he slipped into a dance class at the LA Fitness club with four handguns and began shooting. Police say he used two 9-millimeter automatic pistols and fired 36 shots inside the class of around 30 women. He then used a .45 caliber revolver to take his own life. An unused .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol was later found in Sodini's pocket, police said.

Police: Pa. man who attacked gym had 4 guns 05 Aug 2009 Police in Pennsylvania say a gunman who sprayed bullets at women exercising at his suburban Pittsburgh health club, killing three of them, did not have a relationship with any of the victims. Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt also says that the gunman, George Sodini, had four guns on him and used three of them in the attack.

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'CIA and Mossad paying $1,000 to Christian converts in northern Iraq' 04 Aug 2009 Iran's Fars news agency claimed Tuesday that the CIA and Mossad were actively promoting Christianity in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. According to the report, the Americans and Israelis were offering $1,000 to any youngster willing to convert to Christianity. The news agency further claimed that several Christian organizations had translated the Bible into Kurdish and were distributing them to young Kurds.

In suit, ex-workers accuse Blackwater founder of murder By Bill Sizemore 04 Aug 2009 Two men who worked for Blackwater allege in a federal lawsuit that Blackwater founder Erik Prince or his agents murdered one or more people who were planning to provide information to federal authorities about criminal conduct by the company and its operatives in Iraq. The two are identified in court papers only as "John Doe #1" and "John Doe #2" because, they say, they fear violent retaliation themselves for making the allegations.

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder By Jeremy Scahill 04 Aug 2009 A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

DynCorp posts profit, raises year outlook 04 Aug 2009 DynCorp International Inc reported a higher quarterly profit on Tuesday and boosted its full-year earnings and revenue outlook, buoyed by defense contract wins to provide support for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company said net income came to $20.6 million, or 36 cents a share, for its fiscal first quarter, ended July 3, up 15 percent from nearly $18 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. [See: DynCorp Disgrace By Kelly Patricia O'Meara 14 Jan 2002 Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia.]

'I have been concerned about the situation in detention centres.' U.N. envoy concerned at Afghanistan jail conditions 02 Aug 2009 The U.N. special envoy expressed concern on Sunday over the conditions in detention centres in Afghanistan, saying they must be brought up to international standards to prevent further radicalisation of detainees. Kai Eide, U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's special envoy to Afghanistan, said he had visited one facility in the capital Kabul and planned to visit several more, including the prison at Bagram, the main U.S. military base. Bagram prison has become a symbol of detainee abuses for Afghans after the deaths of two detainees in 2002.

Military Lawyer Claims U.S. Paid Gitmo Prosecution Witnesses --Defense Attorneys Say Afghan Eyewitnesses Received Cash or Gifts From the U.S. Government By Daphne Eviatar 04 Aug 2009 In a startling accusation, defense lawyers in the case of an adolescent arrested and brought to Guantanamo Bay six years ago claim the Justice Department may bring a criminal case against the young man based on testimony from witnesses paid by the U.S. government for their cooperation. Mohammed Jawad was as young as 12 when he was arrested by Afghan police in 2002 and accused of throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers. Although he confessed to the crime after Afghan officials threatened to kill him and his family, his statements were later ruled inadmissible by two U.S. judges because they were coerced.

Air Force: New 3-star in charge of Mideast command 04 Aug 2009 The Air Force is putting a new three-star general in charge of its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and moving him from the United States to the front as the conflict in Afghanistan heats up. The Air Force's top commander told Congress last month a change was needed to increase the service's focus on the air wars in the region amid intensifying operations in Afghanistan.

Air Force in A-stan: Still Dropping Bombs By Nathan Hodge 04 Aug 2009 The sign on the door makes it plain: "The mission is an 18 yr old with a rifle. All else is support." Gen. Stanley McChrystal made clear in his recent tactical directive that commanders should weigh requests for close air support very carefully. But as that sign on the door at the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Bagram makes clear, the U.S. Air Force is still in the business of dropping bombs and firing cannon rounds.

British soldier killed in southern Afghanistan 04 Aug 2009 A bomb blast has killed a British soldier in southern Afghanistan, as casualties continue to rise for UK troops. The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that the serviceman died while on a vehicle patrol in Babaji in Helmand province.

Israelis arrested for laundering US tax monies 03 Aug 2009 Israeli police arrested seven Israeli and American citizens Monday on suspicion that they laundered tens of millions of dollars in U.S. tax dollars to Israeli bank accounts. According to the charges, the men forged tax documents in order to steal money intended for U.S. federal prisoners and transferred them to bank accounts in Israel.

Iran: US nationals nabbed over 'illegal entry' 04 Aug 2009 Iran's security officials confirm the arrest of three American nationals in Western city of Marivan, charging the detainees with "illegal entry". “The three, who have not been identified yet, were arrested on the Malakh- Khur border area in Marivan," Iraj Hassanzadeh, the deputy governor of Kurdistan for political-security affairs, told Fars news agency. Colonel Anwar Haj Omar of the Halabja police force in northern Iraq linked the three Americans to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to Voices of Iraq.

2 American journalists en route to US with Bill Clinton 05 Aug 2009 His mission accomplished, former President Bill Clinton left Pyongyang early Wednesday accompanied by American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned the women from their 12-year prison sentences. Clinton and the two Californians were flying back to the U.S., his spokesman Matt McKenna said, less than 24 hours after the former US leader landed in the North Korean capital on a private, humanitarian trip to secure their release.

DPRK releases two American journalists 05 Aug 2009 The two American female journalists captured on March 17 and sentenced to 12 years of "labor reform" in June by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) were granted an amnesty and released during former U.S. president Bill Clinton's visit to the country, the official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday. "The measure taken to release the American journalists is a manifestation of the DPRK's humanitarian and peace-loving policy," the KCNA report said.

More Sydney terror plot charges 05 Aug 2009 Three more men have been charged in Australia with plotting a suicide attack on an army base, police say. They were charged over the alleged plan to storm Sydney's Holsworthy base - the same offence with which another suspect had been charged earlier. The four men were arrested in massive police raids in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Terror suspect to face prolonged grilling 04 Aug 2009 Prosecutors in Melbourne have been granted extra time to question a man they believe is involved in a terrorism plot. Saney Aweyz was arrested at 4.45am (AEST) during a police swoop on a number of properties across Melbourne and Victoria's southwest today. Australian Federal Police (AFP) agent David Kinton told Melbourne Magistrates' Court Aweyz was among five people arrested during the counter-terrorism raids.

Australian police discover terror plot against army base 04 Aug 2009 Australian police have arrested four men, all Australian citizens of Somali and Lebanese descent, for allegedly plotting to attack a military base in the city of Melbourne. Over 400 police officers were involved in the search operation of 19 homes across the city early on Tuesday to arrest the suspects, who are accused of planning to stage a guerilla attack on Holsworthy Barracks, a major military installation in western Sydney.

NYPD, Coast Guard Hold Terror Drill --Drill to see how officers from different agencies work together 04 Aug 2009 NYPD and Coast Guard boats were out in force Tuesday searching the waters near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for a simulated dirty bomb in a maritime counter-terrorism exercise. The drill, part of the "Securing the Cities" program, was a coordinated effort to see how 150 officers from seven agencies could work together to track and 'stop' a vessel carrying a dirty bomb.

4th plague patient near death in NW China province 05 Aug 2009 Another pneumonic plague patient is near death and one is in serious condition in the town of Ziketan, in Xinghai county in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, health authorities said Tuesday. The prefecture is located in northwestern China's Qinghai Province. The disease has already killed three villagers.

Homeland Secretary Napolitano predicts severe flu epidemic for fall 04 Aug 2009 U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano asserted Tuesday that pandemic flu is likely to flare up soon after schools open in the fall, well before any vaccine is available. Napolitano also acknowledged that there would not be enough pandemic flu vaccine for everyone, at least in the early stages of the flu season. "There will be prioritization of vaccinations," she told members of the USA TODAY editorial board.

Glaxo: 9 more countries order swine flu vaccine 04 Aug 2009 Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline says that nine additional countries have ordered 96 million doses of swine flu vaccine since last month. That is in addition to the 195 million vaccine doses and products previously ordered by countries including Britain and the U.S., for a total of 291 million doses.

New York State makes flu shots compulsory despite nurses opposition --Association called council's action "scorched earth" approach 01 Aug 2009 The New York State Nurses Association has strongly opposed a regulation that would require every healthcare worker in the state to be immunized for influenza. Despite these objections, the New York State Hospital Planning and Review Council has adopted the proposal as an emergency rule that could go into effect before this winter’s flu season. The rule affects all healthcare personnel, both paid and unpaid, who interact with patients... In its testimony, the association called the council’s action a "scorched earth" approach. [Refuse and Resist Mandatory Flu Vaccines --Sign petition!]

515 new A/H1N1 cases confirmed in Europe 05 Aug 2009 A European health agency said Tuesday that 515 new A/H1N1 flu cases were reported in European countries within the last 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases of the A/H1N1 flu virus in the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries rose to 27,892, with 1,538 cases in Spain and 11,912 in Britain, 719 in France and 7,177 in Germany, the ECDC said.

Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: 'Yell,' 'Stand Up And Shout Out,' 'Rattle Him' By Lee Fang 31 Jul 2009 This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by "angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior" at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety... Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.

Legislators for sale --Members of Congress are failing to represent their constituents in the health care fight By Keith Olbermann 03 Aug 2009 We don't need to call the Democrats holding this up Blue Dogs. That one word "Dogs" is perfectly sufficient... I warn you all. You were not elected to create a Democratic majority. You were elected to restore this country. You were not elected to serve the corporations and the trusts who the government has enabled for the last eight years. You were elected to serve the people. And if you fail to pass or support this legislation, the full wrath of the progressive and the moderate movements in this country will come down on your heads... They elected you, and in the blink of an eye, they will replace you. If you will behave as if you are Republicans -- as if you are the prostitutes of our system -- you will be judged as such. And you will lose not merely our respect. You will lose your jobs!

Feds see biggest tax revenue drop since 1932 --Recession's toll comes as Congress and president try to fund programs 03 Aug 2009 The recession is starving the government of tax revenue, just as the president and Congress are piling a major expansion of health care and other programs on the nation's plate and struggling to find money to pay the tab. Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion.

Senate to vote on $2 billion for 'clunkers' after GOP caves 04 Aug 2009 The Senate will approve another $2 billion for the popular "cash for clunkers" program, probably by the end of the week, confident Democrats predicted Tuesday as Republican efforts to block the funding faded. "We'll pass cash for clunkers. Before we leave here," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "The vast majority will be voting for this," added Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Rough year for turtle hatchlings 04 Aug 2009 Dozens of sea turtle nests are hatching now, but street and residential lights are drawing hundreds of them away from the water, according Mote Marine Laboratory. Volunteers have already found nearly 2,000 hatchlings crawling toward homes and busy streets, instead of following the moon to the Gulf of Mexico, a figure one scientist called alarming.

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Barack Obama faces 30 death threats a day, stretching US Secret Service 03 Aug 2009 US President Barack Obama is the target of more than 30 potential death threats a day and is being protected by an increasingly over-stretched and under-resourced Secret Service, according to a new book. Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President [sic] George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service. Some threats to Mr Obama have been publicised, including an alleged plot by white supremacists in Tennessee late last year to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history.

Canada: New political powers to quarantine, invoke other measures, may be tested in flu outbreak --The top health official can now quarantine the ill, interview anyone who has been in contact with a sick person and do anything else that could help prevent the spread of a virus. 02 Aug 2009 A resurgence of swine flu anticipated this fall could test new provincial powers that include being able to place sick people under quarantine in their homes and shut down schools. If Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical health officer, believes people's health is at risk, she has the power to "investigate the situation and take such action as he or she considers appropriate to prevent, eliminate or decrease the risk." That could include closing schools, isolating the ill and forcing others to undergo medical exams. British Columbia brought in a new public health act last year which was described as giving health officials "stronger powers to protect the public against communicable diseases such as pandemic influenza." Under the new act, the province can order vaccinations or examinations and quarantine people. Health officials can also enforce the act using peace officers, warrants and even court orders. [See: CLG Pandemic Action Alerts.]

10 recruits in fever ward: Seven Swine Flu Cases Confirmed at Coast Guard Training Center --An isolation ward was set up in a barracks to house any recruits with flu-like symptoms. 03 Aug 2009 Coast Guard Training Center Cape May has seven confirmed cases of Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus), up from two cases one week ago. As of Monday, a total of 36 Coast Guard members were tested for Swine Flu with 23 test results received confirming seven members with the H1N1 Virus. . Currently, 10 recruits are residing in the medical ward or fever ward, said Chief Warrant Officer Veronica Bandrowsky.

Entire S. Korean military to be vaccinated against new flu: official 03 Aug 2009 South Korea plans to start vaccinating its entire 655,000-strong military against type-A influenza at the end of November, a defense official said Monday. The 9.2-billion-won (US$7.5 million) project comes after 81 South Korean soldiers have contracted the virus.

Fort Worth firm testing swine flu vaccine on volunteers 02 Aug 2009 Thousands of people [are insanely] rolling up their sleeves for science as drug companies, doctors and government officials work to get a safe and effective swine flu vaccine on the market by October. In Fort Worth, Benchmark Research is conducting clinical trials for several drug companies, testing to see patients' reactions to the experimental vaccine and whether it produces an immune response to the H1N1 virus. Benchmark will begin administering injections next week.

H1N1 vaccine makers granted immunity and other flu news By Kathlyn Stone 22 Jul 2009 Just as millions of Americans are being told they should get the new H1N1 or "swine flu" vaccine when it becomes available this fall, the Department of Health and Human Services has granted vaccine makers and federal officials immunity from lawsuits that result from any new H1N1 vaccine... There’s a lot of discussion on whether the H1N1 vaccine will be voluntary or mandatory. Just in case it’s the latter, Citizens for Legitimate Government has launched a petition urging people to pledge to resist a mandatory flu vaccine.

Drug resistant swine flu found 04 Aug 2009 A strain of swine flu that is resistant to treatment with the drug Tamiflu has been discovered near the US-Mexican border, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) said. "We have found resistance to Tamiflu on the border. We have observed some cases, few to be sure, in El Paso and close to McAllen, Texas," said Maria Teresa Cerqueira, head of the local PAHO office.

Entire town in quarantine after two die from the plague in China 03 Aug 2009 An outbreak of pneumonic plague has killed two people in China and forced authorities to seal off a remote town of 10,000 to halt any further spread of one of the world’s deadliest diseases... Investigating the disease that had infected so many people so quickly, medical authorities soon established that all had caught pneumonic plague. Those infected were undergoing treatment in isolation in a local Tibetan hospital while all 10,000 residents of Ziketan were placed in quarantine to try to halt the spread of one of the deadliest and infectious diseases in history.

MPs and peers call for inquiry into torture 04 Aug 2009 Democratic accountability of the security and intelligence agencies is "woefully deficient" and an independent inquiry must be set up to investigate numerous and detailed allegations of their complicity in torture, a cross-party group of senior MPs and peers will say today. In a stinging report, prompted in large part by disclosures in the Guardian, they say that in view of the detailed allegations, ministers can no longer get away with repeating standard denials. The MPs say the government must immediately publish instructions given to MI5 and MI6 officers on the detention and interrogation of suspects abroad.

MI5 men could face 'torture' perjury charge over Guantanamo prisoner 01 Aug 2009 Two MI5 agents may be charged with lying to the High Court over British complicity in the torture of a former Guantanamo prisoner. In an unprecedented move, the court has issued a 'revised judgment' a year after its original ruling, contradicting the testimony of the agents, who are already the subject of a criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Fort Leavenworth is considered for a courtroom within a prison for terror detainees 03 Aug 2009 Fort Leavenworth (KS) is one of two sites under consideration for a courtroom within a prison that would hold 229 suspected foreign fighters now at Guantanamo Bay, U.S. officials say. The facility would operate as a hybrid prison system jointly operated by the Justice Department, the military and the Department of Homeland Security.

Melbourne terror attack 'could have claimed many lives' 04 Aug 2009 Counter-Terrorism raids in Melbourne have "disrupted a terrorist attack that could have claimed many lives," the nation's most senior police officer said this morning. Four men - all Australian citizens - were arrested this morning as federal and state police, armed with search warrants, swooped on members of the suspected terror cell this morning in the second-largest counter-terrorism operation in the nation's history. About 400 police raided homes in the northern Melbourne suburbs of Glenroy, Meadow Heights, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows, Westmeadows, Preston and Epping. They also raided homes at Carlton in inner Melbourne and Colac in southwestern Victoria.

Australian Police Detain Men in Anti-Terrorism Raids 04 Aug 2009 Australian police arrested several people in the southeastern state of Victoria in raids against a Somali-linked group allegedly planning a terrorist attack. About 400 officers executed search warrants at about 4:30 a.m. today at homes in eight Melbourne suburbs and the town of Colac before “several people” were taken into custody to help with inquiries, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

French general takes over NATO command in Virginia --Appointment marks first time in NATO's 60-year history that a non-American officer has been appointed to fill the position 30 Jul 2009 In an unprecedented move, a French general will take over a key NATO command in Norfolk, Virginia, charged with transforming the Europe-centered Cold War alliance to tackle today's global challenges, NATO said Wednesday. Gen. Stephane Abrial of the French Air Force will take over from U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as NATO's commander in charge of military modernization, the alliance said in a statement. The position has traditionally been held by a four-star U.S. general.

Al-Qaeda offers US conditional peace 04 Aug 2009 Al-Qaeda has offered the US President Barack Obama a truce in exchange for a complete withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan. Ayman al Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's [dead?] number two, offered the conditional truce in a 90-minute video released on Monday. "If Obama wants to [reach] an understanding then he should respond to Sheikh Osama [bin Laden's] two offers," Zawahiri noted, referring to the militants' commander-in-chief's suggestions for a ceasefire. [See: Al-Qaeda No. 2 May be Injured, Possibly Re-killed--But Still Cranking Out Videotapes By Lori Price 08 Sep 2008.]

Bomb blast hits west Afghan city 03 Aug 2009 A bomb attack in the western Afghan city of Herat has killed at least 12 people and injured at least 20 more, police officials say. They said the attack had targeted a police convoy, killing and wounding both police and civilians. Police spokesman Raouf Ahmedi said the explosion on Monday was detonated by remote control, AP reported.

US to seek more British troops for Afghanistan --McChrystal review is expected to call for a doubling of the Afghan army from the current 150,000 troops to more than 300,000 02 Aug 2009 Britain will come under fresh pressure to send more troops to Afghanistan this month when General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander in the country, tells President Barack Obama that a further troop surge by the military alliance is necessary. The review was ordered by Obama and British officials have been closely involved. It comes as the foreign affairs select committee criticised almost every aspect of the conduct of the war, and doubted whether the Taliban represented a threat to Western security. A former Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, meanwhile claimed there would not be public backing for a long war in Afghanistan.

Civilian death toll soaring in Afghanistan By James Cogan 03 Aug 2009 A report issued late last month by the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) sheds light on the rising number of innocent Afghan men, women and children who are being killed in order for the US and its allies to consolidate their neo-colonial occupation of the country. ...[A]s the Obama administration has escalated the war and sent thousands of additional troops and aircraft to Afghanistan, the number of civilian deaths has soared by 24 percent.

KBR Q2 net tops view, to seek new Iraq contracts 30 Jul 2009 Engineering and construction company [terrorists] KBR Inc (KBR.N) reported a rise in quarterly profit on Thursday as revenue surged 17 percent on strength in its businesses serving the oil and gas industry. Shares of KBR gained 4.6 percent to $20.49, near its highest level in more than 10 months... Still, the company is optimistic about the amount of work that is yet to be awarded.

Seven killed, 40 injured in Iraq bomb blasts 03 Aug 2009 A string of bomb attacks in various parts of Iraq has killed at least seven people, including a policeman and two soldiers, while leaving more than 40 others injured. In Fallujah, an explosive-laden car rammed into a police checkpoint on Monday, killing two people including one policeman, police major Khalid Mohammed told AFP... In Mosul, separate roadside bombings on Monday killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded four others as they were on patrol in the west of the restive northern city, said a local policeman who declined to be identified.

US, Britain test new ways to track combat troops 01 Aug 2009 British military officials are testing new technologies that they say will make operations with the United States and other coalition partners more efficient and responsive to threats. More important, British officials say, they will be able to give a better accounting of troop locations on the battlefield, making for quicker action and avoiding friendly-fire incidents.

US asks Iran to help locate missing Americans 03 Aug 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over the case of the three missing Americans near the Iran border and called for their quick return. Three US nationals were reportedly arrested on Friday after crossing into Iran via Iraq's northern Kurdistan region. She added that Washington had asked the Swiss Ambassador who represents US interests in Iran to help determine the status of the three.

Leader endorses President Ahmadinejad 03 Aug 2009 Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has endorsed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his second term in office. Ahmadinejad was declared the victor of the June 12 election with almost two-thirds of the vote.

Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman Says Will Resign If Indicted 03 Aug 2009 Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he will resign should prosecutors indict him on corruption charges being recommended by police. Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beitenu party is the second-largest in the coalition government, denied the allegations of fraud, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice while speaking to members of his party in parliament.

Banks defend bonus culture as profits jump 03 Aug 2009 Barclays and HSBC made a passionate defence of the City's bonus culture yamid a growing public backlash about the return to a big pay bonanza barely a year after the government bailed out the financial system. As criticism of bonuses crossed the traditional political divide, the banks compared their high-flyers to footballers and Hollywood stars to try to explain the need for the hundreds of thousands of pounds individuals are expected to receive this year.

Predatory capitalism we can believe in: Wall Street profits from trades with Fed 02 Aug 2009 Wall Street banks are reaping outsized profits by trading with the Federal Reserve, raising questions about whether the central bank is driving hard enough bargains in its dealings with private sector counterparties, officials and industry executives say. The Fed has emerged as one of Wall Street’s biggest customers during the financial crisis, buying massive amounts of securities to help stabilise the markets.

Senate Republicans aren't buying 'cash for clunkers' 03 Aug 2009 Republican opposition is stalling Senate efforts to keep the popular "cash for clunkers" program alive. The program, which gives consumers who trade in old gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient models as much as $4,500 each, is likely to end by the weekend unless the Senate approves additional funding.

Oops! Another 'family (puke) values' GOPer bites the dust: Tenn. senator has affair with intern, resigns 03 Aug 2009 The Tennessee state senator said he was opposed to sex outside marriage, but his private life told a different story: He was having an affair with his 22-year-old intern. When an extortion plot exposed married Republican Sen. Paul Stanley's illicit relationship, he said he would be "clearing up" misimpressions later. He's now clearing out his office, the latest [Republican] politician caught in a sex scandal, this one made worse by not coming clean.

Sarah Palin denies reports of divorce 02 Aug 2009 Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska [nutjob], has denied an anonymous blog report that she was about to divorce her husband Todd, catapulting the story into the mainstream media and invigorating her aggrieved conservative supporters. The initial denial was made by her spokesman via Facebook. "Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story," Meg Stapleton wrote on John McCain's former vice-presidential running mate's Facebook page.

Half of all the fruit and veg you buy is contaminated 03 Aug 2009 Almost half of the fresh fruit and veg sold across the UK is contaminated with toxic pesticides, according to the latest scientific surveys for the government. Nearly every orange, 94% of pineapples and 90% of pears sampled were laced with traces of chemicals used to kill bugs. High proportions of apples, grapes and tomatoes were also tainted, as were parsnips, melons and cucumbers. Alarmingly, as much as a quarter of the food on sale in 2008 - the date of the latest figures - was found to contain multiple pesticides.

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Gulags we can believe in: AP sources: Military-civilian terror prison eyed --The facility would operate as a hybrid prison system jointly operated by the Justice Department, the military and the Department of Homeland Security. 02 Aug 2009 The Obama administration is looking at creating a courtroom-within-a-prison complex in the U.S. to house suspected terrorists, combining military and civilian detention facilities at a single maximum-security prison. Several senior U.S. officials said the administration is eyeing a soon-to-be-shuttered state maximum security prison in Michigan and the 134-year-old military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as possible locations for a heavily guarded site to hold the 229 prisoners now jailed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The administration's plan, according to three government officials, calls for: long-term holding cells for undetermined number of prisoners who will never face trial; building detention cells for prisoners ordered released by courts but still held behind bars.

'Others had unexplained gaps of up to three months in their CVs.' Did MI5 Recruit Al Qaeda Infiltrators? MI5 'mistakenly' recruited al Qaeda sympathisers who were trying to infiltrate the British secret service, it has been alleged. 01 Aug 2009 Conservative MP Patrick Mercer is demanding a probe into claims six Muslims were thrown out of MI5 because of concerns about their past. Two of the six allegedly attended al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan while the others had unexplained gaps of up to three months in their CVs. [!] Mr Mercer told the Daily Telegraph he was concerned that al Qaeda sympathisers who may have infiltrated the security services had not all been rooted out yet.

UK in Afghanistan for decades, says our man in Washington --Diplomat's warning comes as MPs say Britain has lost sight of its original 'security' objectives 02 Aug 2009 Britain must concentrate all its efforts on the military campaign to conquer the Taliban as its attempts to achieve a wide-ranging "rescue" of Afghanistan have failed miserably, an influential committee of MPs warns today. A report on the Afghan campaign from the Foreign Affairs Committee claims that British politicians have allowed "mission creep" to interfere with the original objectives set eight years ago, but they have still failed to pull off wider goals including stamping out the opium trade. [What *is* the mission in Afghanistan?]

More US troops die in Afghanistan 02 Aug 2009 Three American soldiers died on Sunday after coming under attack in eastern Afghanistan, the international peacekeeping force, Isaf, says. Six foreign soldiers were killed on Saturday, making it one of the worst weekends for foreign forces since the 'ousting' of the Taliban in 2001. The casualties come as concern grows over the aims of the Isaf 'mission.'

3 U.S. Soldiers Killed By Afghanistan Bomb --Toll Continues to Rise After Deadly July 02 Aug 2009 After the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, three American soldiers were killed Saturday in a bombing in a southern province, and a French soldier died in a separate attack north of Kabul.

Afghan war troop deaths surged in July 01 Aug 2009 The month began with a fatal roadside bombing and ended with word that an American had died of wounds suffered in a firefight. After nearly eight years of warfare in Afghanistan, July proved by far the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops and their foreign allies. Bombs and rocket attacks, ambushes and aviation accidents killed many of the 72 foreign troops, including 43 Americans, according to data at the website icasualties.org.

War effort is being hampered by troops too unfit to deploy --Leaked army memo reveals many British soldiers are so obese they cannot be sent to Helmand 02 Aug 2009 Britain's war effort is being hampered by the number of front-line troops who are too fat or unfit to be deployed to southern Afghanistan. A leaked memo sent to all army units and obtained by the Observer reveals that basic fitness policy "is not being carried out" and highlights concern among military commanders over a "worrying trend of obesity" that is limiting the number of soldiers fit enough to fight in Helmand.

'West sought to prompt color revolution after June vote' 02 Aug 2009 The Head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Political Bureau, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, says certain Western states are seeking to turn the ongoing political milieu in Iran to their advantage. In an exclusive interview with Press TV, he stated that the United States together with some Western countries are leaving no stone unturned to benefit enormously from the current political situation in Iran and kick up a velvet revolution in the country.

'Chemical attack planned during Iran unrest' 01 Aug 2009 Anti-Islamic Revolution groups had plans to plant numerous chemical bombs in different Iranian cities in the unrest that ensued the June election, says the country's minister of science and technology. Almost six weeks since the polls closed, Mohammad-Mehdi Zahedi said that Iran's intelligence forces had foiled a plot by anti-revolution groups to detonate 10 chemical bombs in different cities in the country.

Did British bomb attacks in Iran provoke hostage crisis? Abduction of computer expert and bodyguards in Iraq were an act of revenge by Tehran, source reveals 01 Aug 2009 The abduction of the British computer expert Peter Moore and his four bodyguards was carried out partly in revenge for deadly bomb attacks in south-west Iran which Iranian officials blamed on Britain, according to a well-placed source in Baghdad. The five men were abducted by an Iranian-backed group in 2007 and it is now believed four of them have been killed. The fate of Mr Moore remains unclear.

US Used Communications Companies In '03 Cyberwar Against Iraq 02 Aug 2009 Although a plan for a large-scale digital attack on Iraq’s financial system was not carried out, the American military and its partners in the intelligence agencies did receive approval to cripple Iraq’s military and government communications systems in the early hours of the war in 2003. Besides blowing up cellphone towers and communications grids, the offensive included electronic jamming and digital attacks against Iraq’s telephone networks. American officials also contacted international communications companies that provided satellite phone and cellphone coverage to Iraq to alert them to possible jamming and to ask their assistance in turning off certain channels. While the Bush regime seriously studied computer-network attacks, the Obama administration is the first to elevate cybersecurity -- both defending American computer networks and attacking those of adversaries -- to the level of a White House director, whose appointment is expected in coming weeks.

Iraq: Nine women face imminent execution --One of condemned women says she was tortured into falsely confessing 23 July 2009 Amnesty International is warning that at least nine women in Iraq are facing imminent execution after recently having their death sentences confirmed. Amnesty has learnt that Iraq's Presidential Council has ratified death sentences against the women and that a number of women prisoners have recently been transferred to the 5th section (al-Shu'ba al-Khamisa) of Baghdad's al-Kadhimiya Prison, where condemned prisoners are usually held immediately before execution. At least three women have already been executed since early June. [The US-installed ExxonMobil/Monsanto government in Iraq needs to be removed. The 'mainstream' media only covers arrests (of CIA-backed disruptors) in Iran - but rarely cover the imprisonment, torture and executions carried out by the regime in *Iraq.* --LRP]

Death toll rises to 7 in western Iraq car bombing 02 Aug 2009 The death toll from a car bomb explosion at a marketplace in western Iraq's Anbar province on Sunday rose to seven, a local police source said. "The latest reports said that seven people were killed and 20 others injured by the blast" in the town of Haditha, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Israeli settlers 'are wrecking peace process' 02 Aug 2009 Britain has accused Israel of allowing extremist Jewish settlers to disrupt attempts at relaunching the peace process after police evicted more than 50 Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. As Jewish settlers moved into the Palestinian homes, the British consulate said it was appalled by the evictions, which took place a few hundred yards from the diplomatic mission, after an Israeli court decided in favour of the settlers. "Israel’s claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighbourhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is entirely unacceptable," the consulate said in a statement.

National Guard Job: 31E - Internment / Resettlement Specialist 01 Aug 2009 Internment / Resettlement Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. Internment / Resettlement Specialists... provide custody, control, supervision and security to internees within a detention/internment facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel... As an advanced level Internment / Resettlement Specialist, you may be: Responsible for all personnel working in the confinement/correctional facility, including security, logistical, and administrative management of the prisoner/internee population... Conducting stand-alone operations, providing command and control, staff planning, administration and logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility.

MedImmune Ramps Up H1N1 Vaccine --Injection will use live virus instead of dead one 01 Aug 2009 MedImmune said it is producing more vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus than it originally predicted and expects to have more than 200 million doses by the end of the year. MedImmune, part of global drugmaker AstraZeneca, is one of five companies with a contract to sell a vaccine for the H1N1 virus to the federal government. MedImmune's flu vaccine differs from the others in two major ways: It is delivered via nasal spray instead of an injection and is made with a live but weakened virus instead of a dead one.

Refusing vaccination labels you a "criminal", so says WHO By Marti Oakley 30 Jul 2009 The World Health Organization determined in 2005 it has the authority to dissolve sovereign governments and take control should there be a "pandemic". This applies to any country signed onto WHO….which of course we are... From the WHO 2005 declaration: (excerpted) "Under special pandemic plans enacted around the world including the USA, in 2005, national governments are to be dissolved in the event of a pandemic emergency and replaced by special crisis committees, which take charge of the health and security infrastructure of a country, and which are answerable to the WHO and EU in Europe and to the WHO and UN in North America." If the Model Emergency Health Powers Act is implemented on the instructions of WHO, it will be a criminal offence for Americans to refuse the vaccine. Police are allowed to use deadly force against "criminal" suspects."

Pandemic Pusher$ and Profiteer$ --Canadian pandemic flu leaflet to download and distribute! 01 Aug 2009 "And advanced forms of biological warfare that can trigger specific 'genotypes' can transform biological warfare from the realm of terror into a politically useful tool." Project for a New American Century, (PNAC) 'Rebuilding America's Defenses', (Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc. 9/2000) On June 17, 1996, the U.S. Air Force released 'Air Force 2025'. In the unclassified study, The College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education put forth several "fictional representations of future scenarios". In Chapter five, the authors present a timeline representing a plausible history in which in 2009 influenza will kill 30,000,000 people and it is not "determined if the virus was a natural mutation or bioengineered. Many feared the latter."

Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program 31 Jul 2009 The U.S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over 'nuclear threats' from Iran and North Korea. Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010.

Journalists criticize Iraq bill 'protecting' media 31 Jul 2009 Iraq announced on Friday a law to protect journalists' rights, but the country's journalists' syndicate said the bill was too vague and left them open to government interference... But some passages were deemed problematic by Iraq's journalists' body, including protection for anonymous sources unless "the law requires the source is revealed" and a guarantee of freedom of the press that can be waived if publications "threaten citizens or make provocative or aggressive statements." What is published also cannot "serve enemies of the state," the bill read, without defining "enemies of the state" or what constitutes an aggressive or provocative statement.

Suspect arrested in LaGuardia bomb scare 01 Aug 2009 Authorities evacuated LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal for several hours Saturday after a man with a bag containing wires and a battery entered the airport, a Port Authority spokesman said. The man is in custody, and authorities have allowed passengers back into the terminal, Port Authority spokesman John Kelly said. Authorities identified the man as Scott McGann, 32, of New York. McGann faces three charges: Placing a false bomb or hazardous substance, in the first degree; making terrorist threats; and placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in a transportation facility, said Meris Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney's office.

NY airport terminal evacuated due to suspicious bag 01 Aug 2009 Authorities closed one of the terminals at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Saturday and took a man into custody after discovering a suspicious bag, a television station reported. A police bomb squad was called in to check out the man's bag, NBC's New York affiliate said. A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the airport's main terminal was evacuated about 5:30 a.m./(0930 GMT) There was no indication when the terminal would be reopened.

Lobbying Firm Employee Forged Climate Bill Letters 01 Aug 2009 An employee of a Washington lobbying firm forged a letter from a Latino social-service group to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), urging Perriello to make changes in a bill capping greenhouse-gas emissions, the Latino group said Friday. The letter used the letterhead of Creciendo Juntos, a Charlottesville-based group. It asked Perriello, whose district includes Charlottesville, to work to add "pro-consumer" changes to the bill. "We are concerned about our electric bills," the letter read in part.

House votes to clamp limits on Wall Street bonuses 31 Jul 2009 Bowing to populist anger, the House voted Friday to prohibit pay and bonus packages that encourage bankers and traders to take risks so big they could bring down the entire economy. Passage of the bill on a 237-185 vote followed the disclosure a day earlier that nine of the nation's biggest banks, which are receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout aid, paid individual bonuses of $1 million or more to nearly 5,000 employees.

Health Insurer Cigna's Second-Quarter Profit Surges By 60%; Tops Analysts' Estimates 30 Jul 2009 Health insurer Cigna Corp. will remain in the spotlight on Thursday in healthcare sector after the firm posted a 60 percent rise in profit in the second quarter that topped estimates. Net income in the second-quarter increased to $435 million, or $1.58 a share, compared to $272 million, or 96 cents a share, in the year earlier period.

GOP Congressmen: No One Has a Right to Health Care Except US --The new 'Harry and Louise' ad that is set to start Monday features Harry killing Louise because under Obama's socialized medicine plan, doctors are forced to tell Louise how to commit suicide. By R J Shulman 01 Aug 2009 Saying that they will fight to the death to stop any reform of America's health care system, Republican senators and representatives have stepped up their attacks on every health care reform bill. "There is nothing in the Bill of Rights that says a citizen has a right to be alive, let alone be healthy," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. "And since the first ten amendments to the Constitution were written by God, anyone who wants to propose a bill that changes any rights hates Jesus." (Satire)

Regulators shut down banks in five states 01 Aug 2009 Regulators on Friday shut down banks in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma and Illinois, boosting to 69 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year amid the pressures of the weak economy and mounting loan defaults. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the five banks.

Voices From Above Silence a Cable TV Feud 01 Aug 2009 On June 2, Bill O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that "federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business" and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis. Then the attacks mostly stopped. Shortly after, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Keith Olbermann's lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees.

California public union OKs strike authorization 01 Aug 2009 California's largest state employees' union voted on Saturday to approve a strike authorization measure to protest furloughs of state workers and pressure state officials to ratify its labor contract. A spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 1000 said a strike was not imminent but that the vote authorized union officers to initiate certain job actions, including a strike if necessary.

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Pandemic Police State: U.S. to provide $1 billion to hire cops --Grants will be awarded to 1,046 law enforcement agencies 28 Jul 2009 The federal government will give $1 billion in grants to law enforcement agencies in every state to pay for the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. The money comes from the stimulus bill -- the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- the officials said. The Department of Justice received more than 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions, representing a total of $8.3 billion in requested funding.

Vaccine for swine flu may be unsafe warns WHO 27 Jul 2009 Plans to fast-track the swine flu vaccine in Britain came under fire from World Health Organisation chiefs today. More than 132million doses have been ordered with the first batch due to arrive next month. However, Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's flu chief, today warned about the potential dangers of the untested vaccine: "There are certain areas where you simply do not try to make any economies. One of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of vaccines." The European Medicines Agency, the drug regulatory body for the EU, is accelerating the approval process for the vaccine, allowing firms to bypass large-scale human trials and instead test a vaccine based on bird flu.

Wal-Mart weighs role in U.S. H1N1 vaccination plans 30 Jul 2009 Wal-Mart Stores Inc is discussing with U.S. health officials the possibility of putting vaccination sites at some of its stores for an H1N1 swine flu inoculation campaign this fall, a company official said on Thursday. Federal officials met with Wal-Mart executives on Wednesday in Arkansas to discuss the issue, Dr. John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness for Wal-Mart U.S., told public health leaders at a conference in Orlando.

Pensioners at back of queue for swine flu vaccine 31 Jul 2009 Pensioners will be at the back of the queue for the new swine flu vaccine as a list of priority groups are drawn up, it has emerged. Health and social care workers will be vaccinated first, followed by pregnant women and all children under the age of five, under initial plans. The first batches of H1N1 vaccine are due to arrive next month with enough for half the population expected to be delivered by December.

Watchdog delays UK debut of Astra swine flu treatment 31 Jul 2009 Britons will have to wait for a pioneering line of defence against swine flu according to AstraZeneca, which today admitted its H1N1 vaccine has been hit by delays. FluMist, the spraying mechanism that is used to administer its flu vaccine, is available in the US but is still awaiting approval by the drug watchdog in Brussels, which will keep it out of the UK until at least next year. FluMist works as a nasal spray rather than by injection. The American watchdog the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the seasonal flu version of FluMist over a year ago, helping Astra to rake in $151 million (£92 million) from US sales of its swine flu vaccine so far this year.

US swine flu deaths surpass 350, CDC says 31 Jul 2009 Health officials say their count of U.S. swine flu deaths has risen to 353 and swine-flu associated hospitalizations have grown to more than 5,500. The cumulative number of deaths rose from the 302 reported last Friday. Last week, health officials said there have been about 44,000 lab-confirmed illnesses but the government would stop providing such counts. Officials believe more than 1 million Americans have had the infection, but many cases go unreported.

KBR named top key supplier by UK defense ministry 30 Jul 2009 For the second year running, engineering, construction and services company KBR Inc. has been named by the British Ministry of Defense as its top key supplier. The British Defense Ministry carried out its performance reviews of 29 key suppliers and 97 MoD project teams between April 2008 and March 2009.

US stay in Iraq stinks 'like fish', says memo 31 Jul 2009 A top US military adviser says Iraqi forces are now able to protect the government, admitting that US troops are no longer welcome in Iraq. In an unusually blunt memo, Col. Timothy R. Reese details the deficiency roots of the Iraqi army, but admits that any the US military presence beyond August 2010 will do little to improve their performance while deepening resentment of Americans. "As the old saying goes, 'Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,' " Colonel Reese wrote. "Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose."

Iraq in throes of environmental catastrophe, experts say 30 Jul 2009 Decades of [US] war and mismanagement, compounded by two years of drought, are wreaking havoc on Iraq's ecosystem, drying up riverbeds and marshes, turning arable land into desert, killing trees and plants, and generally transforming what was once the region's most fertile area into a wasteland. Falling agricultural production means that Iraq, once a food exporter, will this year have to import nearly 80% of its food, spending money that is urgently needed for reconstruction projects. "We're talking about something that's making the breadbasket of Iraq look like the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma in the early part of the 20th century," said Adam L. Silverman, a social scientist with the U.S. military who served south of Baghdad in 2008.

8 killed in $7-million Baghdad bank robbery --Iraq police say the overnight robbery appeared to be a sophisticated operation. 29 Jul 2009 Thieves killed eight security guards and made off with nearly $7 million in an overnight bank heist Tuesday that police officials say could have been the work of insurgents Xe. The deadly robbery came on the day U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates flew into Baghdad on an unannounced visit to get a first-hand look at conditions now that American combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq's cities.

Bombs near Shia mosques kill at least 28 in Baghdad --Iraqis accused security forces of failing to protect them even though they had warned of a suspicious car. 31 Jul 2009 Bombs near five Shia mosques killed at least 28 people across Baghdad yesterday, according to police. The blasts, which wounded at least 130 people, appeared to target Shia Muslims taking part in Friday prayers. In the worst attack, a car bomb killed at least 23 people praying in the street near the crowded alShurufi mosque in northern Baghdad’s Shaab district.

US probes reports of three Americans kidnapped in Iraq 31 Jul 2009 The United States said Friday it was investigating reports that three Americans have been abducted in northern Iraq. "Embassy Baghdad is aware of the reports and is investigating," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said, referring to reports he said were on Al-Jazeera Television, an Arab satellite station based in Qatar.

Report: Israel defends Gaza war: Israeli army 'used munitions containing white phosphorus' in Gaza --163-page document published ahead of a UN war crimes investigation that is due to be published in August 31 Jul 2009 The Israeli government has said that its war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, that left up to 1,417 Palestinians dead, was "necessary and proportionate". The government also said on Thursday that it was investigating about 100 complaints of misconduct by its forces during the three week war that began on December 27... The report also defended Israel's controversial use of the chemical agent white phophorus in the conflict, saying its use was in accordance with Israeli law. The Israeli army "used munitions containing white phosphorus" in Gaza, the government report said, but denied firing such weapons inside populated areas.

US calls missile defense test in Hawaii a success 31 Jul 2009 The US military said Friday it had carried out a successful test of its missile defense system off Hawaii's coast, as Washington keeps a close eye on North Korea's missile program. In the test carried out late Thursday, an interceptor missile from a naval destroyer, the USS Hopper, shot down a short-range ballistic missile, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.

Four more failed banks brings year's tally to 68 31 Jul 2009 Four more banks failed according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday, bringing the year's total to 68, and to 93 failed banks since the beginning of the recession. First BankAmericano of Elizabeth, N.J., will have its deposits transferred to Crown Bank, Brick, N.J.; Peoples Community Bank of West Chester, Ohio, will have deposits sent to First Financial Bank of Hamilton, Ohio; Integrity Bank of Jupiter, Fla., will transfer deposits to Stonegate Bank of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and First State Bank of Altus in Altus, Okla. will transfer deposits to Herring Bank of Amarillo, Texas.

US banks slammed for bonus shock 31 Jul 2009 The New York Attorney-General has revealed taxpayers' money was used to pay bank staff bonuses last year. After receiving $175 billion from taxpayers, the large banks paid numerous staff members bonuses of over $US10 billion. JP Morgan Chase paid the largest amount in bonuses. A report from the office of the Attorney General despite also stated that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch had paid large bonuses before being given $US55 billion in taxpayer money.

House Approves $2B to Extend 'Cash for Clunkers' Plan 31 Jul 2009 The House approved a bill Friday afternoon to provide $2 billion to continue the federal government's week-old "cash for clunkers" program, which has proven so popular with consumers that it was almost out of cash. The vote was 316 to 109. The money will come from funds in the already-passed economic stimulus package that were intended for energy loan guarantees.

US job cuts, foreclosures mount By Tom Eley 31 Jul 2009 This week brought new indications that any economic "recovery" in the US will not be shared by the working class. Telecommunications giant Verizon announced that it would eliminate 8,000 jobs by the end of the year, new data showed that the foreclosure crisis is continuing to mount, and weekly initial jobless benefit claims rose.

House Panel Approves Landmark Health-Care Bill 01 Aug 2009 House members headed home on Friday, leaving behind the outlines of a nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul that is sure to draw fire from a variety of interests, but also shows the beginnings of a consensus that would provide insurance for more Americans and give them new rights in dealing with insurers. As a final act before recessing until September, one crucial panel, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, approved landmark health legislation that could lead ultimately to coverage for about 95 percent of Americans and create a new government-run insurance program. The 31-to-28 vote occurred at 9:05 p.m. Friday. Five Democrats joined all 23 Republicans on the panel in voting no.

AP Sources: Dems want to limit insurance increases 30 Jul 2009 House Democrats are taking steps to limit annual price increases for insurance policies sold under a sweeping bill to extend health care to nearly all the 50 million uninsured Americans, officials told The Associated Press on Friday. The legislation taking shape in the Energy and Commerce Committee also would permit the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices on drugs under Medicare, the officials said.

Sen. Chris Dodd Has Prostate Cancer Diagnosed 31 Jul 2009Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) announced Friday that he has had early-stage prostate cancer diagnosed. He said he has no plans to resign and will seek reelection next year. Dodd, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980, told the Hartford Courant he "feels fine" and will undergo surgery during Congress's recess next month.

White House beer summit: race row professor and policeman make peace 31 Jul 2009 In perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated meeting of his administration, President Barack Obama hosted Professor Henry Gates, a leading black scholar, and Sergeant James Crowley, a white police officer, for beers in the White House Rose Garden. The three men have been at the centre of a racial furore that has gripped the nation. But they all struck a conciliatory tone after what has been widely dubbed the "beer summit", convened by the "bartender-in-chief" under a magnolia tree near the Oval Office.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill tops 58,000 gallons as debate continues on expanding offshore drilling By Glenn Henderson 29 Jul 2009 An underwater pipeline leaked more than 58,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting. The spill, which occurred about 30 miles off the Louisiana coast, has now spread to cover 80 square miles -- up from just 28 square miles on Monday. The cause is still under investigation. The spill "was among the largest in recent years in U.S. waters," Reuters reports.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill sheen grows 28 Jul 2009 The sheen from a 58,800-gallon weekend oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now covering an area of 80 square miles, up from yesterday's figure of 28 square miles, a Coast Guard spokesman said this morning. A Shell pipeline released the oil Saturday for reasons that are still under investigation, Atkeson said.

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Banks Paid $32.6 Billion in Bonuses Amid U.S. Bailout 30 Jul 2009 Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and seven other U.S. banks paid $32.6 billion in bonuses in 2008 while receiving $175 billion in taxpayer funds, according to a report by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The state analyzed 2008 bonuses at nine banks that received financing under the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. New York-based Citigroup and Merrill, which has since taken over by Bank of America Corp., received tax dollars totaling $55 billion, Cuomo said.

KBR 2Q profit surges 40 percent on revenue boost 30 Jul 2009 Engineering and construction company [terrorists] KBR Inc. posted second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street expectations as revenue rose on work in its energy and power projects and contracts in Iraq. Net income of $67 million, or 42 cents per share, was up 40 percent from $48 million, or 28 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

'If a flu pandemic were severe enough to qualify as a catastrophic incident, the DoD response could be anticipatory in nature.' The Role of the Department of Defense During A Flu Pandemic 04 Jun 2009 Examples of Defense Support Which Civil Authorities Might Request During a Flu Pandemic --providing disease surveillance and laboratory diagnostics; transporting response teams, vaccines, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostic devices, pharmaceuticals and blood products; treating patients; evacuating the ill and injured; processing and tracking patients; providing base and installation support to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies; controlling movement into and out of areas, or across borders, with affected populations; supporting law enforcement; supporting quarantine enforcement; restoring damaged public utilities; providing mortuary services... Another important factor to consider when federalizing National Guard forces is the impact of the Posse Comitatus Act. While they remain in a state status (either state active duty or Title 32 status), National Guard personnel are not covered by the Act and therefore are a valuable tool for state governors in maintaining public order. Federalization of the National Guard generally brings them under the restrictions of the Act and thereby limits their utility for law enforcement purposes.

Swine flu hits Air Force operations in north Fla. 30 Jul 2009 Swine flu has hit the Air Force's special operations command in northwest Florida. As many as 59 airmen at Hurlburt Field are suspected of having the virus, while another four have tested positive. First Special Operations Wing spokeswoman Amy Oliver said Wednesday they won't be testing the probable cases.

'A Whole Industry Is Waiting For A Pandemic' --In an interview with SPIEGEL, epidemiologist Tom Jefferson speaks about dangerous fear-mongering, misguided, money-driven research 21 Jul 2009 Jefferson: It's true that influenza viruses are unpredictable, so it does call for a certain degree of caution. But one of the extraordinary features of this influenza -- and the whole influenza saga -- is that there are some people who make predictions year after year, and they get worse and worse... Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur. SPIEGEL: Who do you mean? The World Health Organization (WHO)? Jefferson: The WHO and public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. They've built this machine around the impending pandemic. And there's a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions!

Tamiflu causes sickness and nightmares in children, study finds 31 Jul 2009 More than half of children taking the swine flu drug Tamiflu experience side-effects such as nausea and nightmares, research suggests. An estimated 150,000 people with flu symptoms were prescribed the drug through a new hotline and website last week, according to figures revealed yesterday. Studies of children attending three schools in London and one in the South West showed that 51-53 per cent had one or more side-effects from the medication, which is offered to everyone in England with swine flu symptoms.

Britain: Dozens fall victim to side effects of swine flu drug 27 Jul 2009 The agency that licenses medicines in Britain has received 150 reports of suspected adverse reactions to the Tamiflu treatment for swine flu. The figure was released yesterday as GPs said some patients were choosing not to take the drug because of concern about the possible side effects.

Lull in swine flu cases -- but 'big surge' to follow 30 Jul 2009 The swine flu pandemic appears to have peaked for the moment but the virus will return with "a very big surge" in the autumn, the chief medical officer said today. Sir Liam Donaldson hailed new data as proof of a "pretty firm downturn" in the number of people seeking medical help with H1N1 from a GP.

Fox News: Military teams, U.S. Northern Command, mass quarantines to combat flu pandemic: Video Posted by CrashmagProductions 29 Jul 2009

U.S. Adviser's Blunt Memo on Iraq: Time 'to Go Home' [to 'help' with the flu pandemic] 31 Jul 2009 A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that the Iraqi forces suffer from deeply entrenched deficiencies but are now capable of protecting the Iraqi government, and that it is time "for the U.S. to declare victory and go home." Col. Timothy R. Reese, an adviser to the Iraqi military’s Baghdad command, argues that extending the American military presence in Iraq beyond 2010 will do little to improve the Iraqis’ military performance, while fueling a growing resentment.

Blair will be called up to testify before Iraq inquiry 31 Jul 2009 Tony Blair will be called to give evidence before the Iraq inquiry, the head of the investigation has confirmed, as a row continued to rage over whether vital evidence will be heard in secret. The former prime minister will be expected to appear before the five-strong panel, Sir John Chilcot, the former senior civil servant who chairs the inquiry, said yesterday. The Chilcot inquiry could take until 2011 to complete and will investigate the run up to the war, from the summer of 2001, the war itself and the aftermath up to July this year.

Opposition anger over 2011 date for Iraq war report --Chairman confirms Blair will give public evidence --Hague says inquiry goes against nation's wishes 30 Jul 2009 Opposition politicians expressed renewed doubts about the scope and approach of the Iraq inquiry today after its chairman Sir John Chilcot confirmed that he may not be able to report until 2011. At a news conference, Sir John, a former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office and a former staff counsellor for the security and intelligence agencies, insisted the inquiry would be "thorough, rigorous fair and frank".

U.S. briefs Israel on new Iran nuke sanctions 31 Jul 2009 American officials briefed Israel this week on the administration's ideas for intensifying sanctions against Iran if it fails to respond to President Barack Obama's offer of dialogue. U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, who is now in Israel to discuss Iran's nuclear program, indicated that Tehran has until the UN General Assembly in the last week of September to respond. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered a similar message during his visit here earlier this week.

Killing of Gazans was 'obligation', says Tel Aviv 31 Jul 2009 The Israeli Foreign Ministry has released a detailed report in defense of Tel Aviv's three-week-long all-out offensive on the Gaza Strip. The report, published on Thursday, claims that Israel had "both a right and an obligation to take military action" against the blockaded people of Gaza in response to Hamas rockets fired into Israel, Haaretz reported. In the 163-page document, entitled 'The Operation in Gaza - Factual and Legal Aspects,' Tel-Aviv admits for the first time that the Israeli army used munitions containing white phosphorous in Gaza.

U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Prepares New 'Strategy' 30 Jul 2009 The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is preparing a new 'strategy' that calls for major changes in the way U.S. and other NATO troops there operate, a vast increase in the size of Afghan security forces and an intensified military effort to root out corruption among local government officials, according to several people familiar with the contents of an assessment report that outlines his approach to the war. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who took charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last month, appears inclined to request an increase in American troops to implement the new strategy, which aims to use more unconventional methods to combat the growing Taliban insurgency, according to members of an advisory group he convened to work on the assessment.

US planners say Afghan war cannot be won without more troops 30 Jul 2009 Strategic planners working with the new US military commander in Afghanistan have said governments with troops committed in the country need to be more realistic about the amount of troops needed to win the war.

Judge Orders Young Gitmo Detainee's Release --Mohammed Jawad Arrived At Guantanamo At About Age 12 30 Jul 2009 A judge ruled Thursday that one of the youngest detainees prisoners brought to Guantanamo Bay is being held illegally and must be released. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle's order does not end the case of Mohammed Jawad, however. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ian Gershengorn told the judge that as the United States negotiates with the prisoner's home country of Afghanistan for his return next month, the Justice Department also is pursuing a criminal investigation.

Judge Orders Obama Administration to Free Gitmo Detainee 30 Jul 2009 A US district court judge has ordered the release of one of the youngest prisoners at Guantanamo Bay after the government agreed that it could no longer hold him. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle granted Mohammed Jawad's petition for habeas corpus and ordered the government to file a report on Jawad's release with Congress by August 6. Under new rules for the release of prisoners established by Congress, the Obama administration would have to wait 15 days after filing the report to release Jawad.

Rove Had Heavier Hand in Prosecutor Firings Than Previously Known 30 Jul 2009 Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe. The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.

Hutchison Web site contained hidden phrases 30 Jul 2009 A Web site for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison contained hidden phrases including "rick perry gay." So Gov. Rick Perry's campaign is accusing the Hutchison team of being slanderous and of setting a negative and divisive tone. The two Republicans are running for governor in next year's GOP primary. The Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday on the phrases.

Pete Sessions's blimp flies into storm 30 Jul 2009 Rep. Pete Sessions -- the chief of the Republicans’ campaign arm in the House -- says on his website that earmarks have become "a symbol of a broken Washington to the American people." Yet in 2008, Sessions himself steered a $1.6 million earmark for dirigible research to an Illinois company whose president acknowledges having no experience in government contracting, let alone in building blimps. What the company did have: the help of Adrian Plesha, a former Sessions aide with a criminal record who has made more than $446,000 lobbying on its behalf.

Liberal Democrats threaten to reject House healthcare deal --Dozens say they'll vote against a plan that includes concessions to Blue Dogs corpora-terrorist trolls 30 Jul 2009 After months of marching in line as senior Democrats worked with the White House to develop healthcare legislation, liberal lawmakers from solidly Democratic districts are threatening a revolt that could doom President Obama's bid to sign a major bill this year. In the House, liberals are furious at their leaders for striking a deal with conservative Democrats that would weaken the proposal to create a government insurance program, a dream long cherished on the left.

House Republicans plan August health care blitz 29 Jul 2009 House Republicans are planning an August blitz against Democrats who have supported President Barack Obama's health care agenda, making it clear that the GOP believes it has the political edge now on health care heading into the summer break. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Thief), the chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, is providing GOP candidates with opposition research about what vulnerable Democrats have said and how they have voted in committee on health care bills.

Senate Probes Banks for Meltdown Fraud 30 Jul 2009 A Senate panel has subpoenaed financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, seeking evidence of fraud in last year's mortgage-market meltdown, according to people familiar with the situation. The congressional investigation appears to focus on whether internal communications, such as email, show bankers had private doubts about whether mortgage-related securities they were putting together were as financially sound as their public pronouncements suggested. Collapsing values for many of those securities played a big role in precipitating last year's financial crisis.

'Clunkers' Auto Rebate Plan So Popular It's Broke 31 Jul 2009 After an unanticipated response from car owners seeking new car discounts under the "cash for clunkers" program, the government was reported Thursday evening to have exhausted the funds available, leaving unclear whether further applications would be accepted. The National Automobile Dealers Association surveyed its members and told the Transportation Department that it had a very large backlog of applications, according to Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the association. Late in the day the group said the Transportation Department had responded by telling it to stop taking applications at midnight.

House Approves Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations 30 Jul 2009 The House approved Thursday the first major changes to food safety laws in 70 years, giving sweeping new authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the way food is grown, harvested and processed. The action follows a wave of food-borne illnesses over the last two years which has shaken consumer confidence and made the issue a priority for congressional leaders and the White House. Food illnesses sicken one in four Americans and kill 5,000 each year, according to government statistics.

Gates, Police Officer Share Beers and Histories With President 31 Jul 2009 Two weeks after a noted black scholar accused a white police sergeant of racial profiling for [illegally] arresting him at his home near Harvard University, the men hoisted mugs of beer Thursday evening at the White House with President Obama and Vice President Biden.

World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns --New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Niño southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics 27 Jul 2009 The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun's activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years, according to a study... The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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Torture report a 'security risk' 30 July 2009 Britain's national security and the lives of its citizens will be put at risk if the High Court publishes its findings on what happened to former terror detainee prisoner Binyam Mohamed at the hands of the CIA. That was the effect of letters from the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and CIA officials, two judges were told in London yesterday. The letters warned that the US, even under the new Obama administration, will review its intelligence-sharing agreement with the UK if the court releases seven brief paragraphs about Mr Mohamed's treatment into the public domain. They are central to the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner's claim that he was subjected to torture with the consent of UK authorities.

UK Government to be Sued For Involvement in CIA Rendition Program --Former Gitmo Detainee Alleges Stopover on British Island Makes UK Complicit in Torture 28 Jul 2009 The British government is being sued for the first time over its complicity in the operation of the CIA rendition program. A former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, now living back in Pakistan, claims the CIA plane that took him to be interrogated in Egypt stopped to refuel on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has an air base.

Guantanamo inmate to be released 30 Jul 2009 The Obama administration says it will release Mohammed Jawad, who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp since 2002. Earlier this month officials admitted that there was no military case for Mr Jawad's continued detention. But government lawyers had said they wished to keep him in detention pending a possible criminal prosecution. The decision could set a precedent leading to the release of other Guantanamo inmates.

Hello, Pot? This is Kettle... Clinton "deplores" any abuse of prisoners in Iran 29 Jul 2009 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday "deplored" the alleged abuse of political prisoners in Iran following the election and urged their immediate release. "We believe that it is imperative for (Iran) ... to release political prisoners and treat them appropriately and humanely," said Clinton, adding that the continued detention and alleged abuse of prisoners suggested the political situation inside of Iran had not been resolved. [LOL! Hey, Hillary! Do you 'deplore' this? 'I saw ___ fucking a kid...' Source: The "Taguba Report" On Treatment of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq, statement by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, 1300/18 Jan 2004.]

U.S. Rejects Call for Immigration Detention Rules --Number of people detained has soared to more than 400,000 a year 29 Jul 2009 The Obama administration has refused to make legally enforceable rules for immigration detention, rejecting a federal court petition by former detainees prisoners and their advocates and embracing a Bush-era inspection system that relies in part on private contractors. The decision, contained in a six-page letter received by the plaintiffs this week, disappointed and angered immigration advocacy organizations around the country. [See: KBR awarded $385M Homeland Security contract for U.S. detention centers 24 Jan 2006.]

Military Poised to Help FEMA Battle Swine Flu Outbreak --U.S. commander for Northern Command asked Defense Secretary to sign executive order for military to set up five regional teams to deal with [their] outbreak --Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later 29 Jul 2009 The Pentagon is preparing to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency tackle a potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, FOX News has confirmed. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to set vaccination priorities for those groups Wednesday during a meeting in Atlanta. The vote came on the same day that Gen. Victor Renuart, the U.S. commander for Northern Command, has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to sign an executive order for the military to set up five regional teams to deal with the potential outbreak if FEMA requests help. Gates is expected to sign the order soon. It is not known how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces. As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called "execution order" that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan. [Barack Obama was 'allowed' to win so that he could put a friendly face on the military dictatorship that is at our doorstep. Obama has done *nothing* for the Left -- those who worked tirelessly for him so that he could implement 'change.' Obama has, in fact, out-Bushed Bush. Bush-Cheney could only *dream* of what Obama is poised to 'accomplish.' The full-blown police state is here -- the raison d'etre for the US Army-created flu pandemic. Just as the CLG has documented and predicted. --Lori Price. The swine flu is really an alibi to justify the containment of social unrest that may result from the exacerbated crisis of capitalism. --MDR]

Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak 29 Jul 2009 The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials. The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command's Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

Obama Homeland Security Plans to Expand Bush Initiatives --Homeland Security Secretary Unveils New Antiterror Plans 29 Jul 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano outlined Wednesday the Obama administration's domestic approach to preventing terrorist attacks -- a strategy that will rely in large measure on refining and expanding initiatives launched under President [sic] George W. Bush. In an interview this week, Ms. Napolitano signaled that the Obama administration isn't contemplating a wholesale revision of the agencies or programs created under Mr. Bush to further antiterrorism efforts... A key component of the integration efforts is a national network of roughly 70 so-called intelligence-fusion centers. They bring federal, state and local officials under the same roof to "fuse" terrorism-related intelligence.

Judge: Swine flu good cause to suspend some constitutional rights --Judge made ruling over objections of county public defender's office and alternate defender's office after special 90-minute hearing 28 Jul 2009 (CA) A Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that there is legal justification to keep the Central Men’s Jail under medical quarantine – at least for a couple of days – to control a swine flu outbreak. Judge Thomas Goethals said the "significant medical public health event" in the men’s jail is good cause to temporarily suspend constitutional guarantees to speedy trials, preliminary hearings and arraignments for some criminal case defendants.

Pandemic 'contingency planning': Govt may invoke emergency clause to force BBC to air content --Such action would be "tantamount to a government takeover". 29 Jul 2009 The BBC could be asked to clear its schedules to make way for educational programmes if schools have to close due to swine flu, it has emerged. Ministers are understood to have had discussions with BBC officials as part of "contingency planning" for the pandemic. Discussions have centred around government moves to invoke a clause in the BBC's agreement which states that, in the case of an emergency, the government has the power to make the BBC broadcast another announcement or programme than that scheduled. However, the proposal has attracted strong criticism, with one BBC source saying such action would be "tantamount to a government takeover". The insider also claimed the clause did not give the government the right to direct programming.

Senate Pages May Have Contracted Swine Flu, Says Top Official --The H1N1 virus has arrived on Congress's doorstep. 28 Jul 2009 Five Senate pages appear to have contracted the dreaded flu virus, which has been linked to more than 300 deaths, and they have been quarantined from their peers and lawmakers, Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer announced Tuesday night in an internal memo to senators and staff. Gainer, who oversees the page program, said the teenagers "are exhibiting flu-like symptoms -- slightly elevated temperature, cough, and sore throats -- and the Office of Attending Physician believes that they most likely have influenza, quite possibly the H1N1 virus."

NHS cannot cope with swine flu epidemic, report warns 28 Jul 2009 The NHS may not be able to cope with a swine flu epidemic this winter as intensive care beds will be overwhelmed, a Lords report has warned. While preparations for a flu pandemic in Britain are more advanced than in most countries, there is more that could have been done, peers said in a report. The Government has failed to offer reassurance that NHS services can deal with an expected "second wave" of swine flu in the autumn, The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said.

Flu Vaccine Panel Creates Priority [Guinea Pig] List --Priority list names targeted groups and suggests order in which they should be vaccinated 30 Jul 2009 A complicated list of who should get pandemic flu vaccine in the fall is now set. When the vaccine starts arriving in September, first in line will be pregnant women; the caretakers of infants; children and young adults; older people with chronic illness; and health-care workers. That's the advice of a 15-member committee of experts, which met all day Wednesday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to advise the federal government on vaccine policy.

House Set to Spend $6.9B on Unwanted Military Equipment 29 Jul 2009 The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is poised to give the Pentagon dozens of new ships, planes, helicopters and armored vehicles that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the military does not need to fund next year, acting in many cases in support of political contributors from the defense industry under an approach the Obama administration has decried as "business as usual" and vowed to end.

Top-secret Obama safe-house leaked on LimeWire 30 Jul 2009 The US is pondering a crackdown on peer-to-peer file sharing programs after details of a Secret Service safe-house location for President Barack Obama and his family were found being traded on LimeWire. A senior US lawmaker has said that it may be time for the Government to regulate companies that provide online file-sharing services after several people managed to access FBI files, medical records and Social Security numbers. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) said during a hearing on the safety of peer-to-peer software that he was astonished at privacy breaches involving LimeWire, operated by the Lime Group.

CIA Persuaded Pakistan In '91 to Free NC Terror Suspect --Conflicting portrait of NC terror suspect emerges 29 Jul 2009 Daniel Boyd may have spent the past three years traveling to the Middle East, secretly buying guns and training for jihad with a group of aspiring terrorists as federal authorities claim, but people on his cul-de-sac said Tuesday he also made plenty of time to be a good neighbor... In 1991, Boyd and his brother were convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan. They were also accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. Each was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was later overturned. A former CIA official who was stationed in Pakistan at the time said the agency intervened and quickly persuaded the Pakistani intelligence service to help free the Boyd brothers. The former official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

Wife and mother of terror suspects says FBI tricked her 29 Jul 2009 A woman whose husband and two sons are accused of plotting "violent jihad" overseas said federal authorities tricked her into leaving her home so they could search it. Sabrina Boyd said Tuesday that she rushed out to a hospital earlier this week after being told her loved ones had been in a serious car accident. The FBI declined to comment on the allegation.

Policy Would Allow Cops to Shoot At Fleeing Cars --Policy would take effect on Monday 29 Jul 2009 The Chicago Police Department is considering a major change in policy regarding the use of deadly force. The department is looking at allowing police officers to fire their guns under circumstances where they previously could not. The new policy, from police Supt. Jody Weis and confirmed by WBBM Newsradio 780 Wednesday morning, would allow police officers to shoot at fleeing vehicles if the driver or passengers are suspected of committing a felony.

Israel targets U.K. funding of group that exposed IDF crimes in Gaza 29 Jul 2009 Israel continues to ratchet up diplomatic pressure against European Union funding of a group that exposed what it described as war crimes perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. The deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, expressed "concern" last week over Britain's financial contributions to "Breaking the Silence," an organization founded by IDF veterans which collects testimonies from soldiers serving in the Palestinian territories.

Israeli tanks, bulldozers roll into Gaza 29 Jul 2009 The Israeli army has launched another cross border attack on the Gaza Strip, opening fire on villagers' homes south of the impoverished sliver. Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled hundreds of meters deep into the strip on Wednesday and flattened cultivated fields in Al Qararra town in southern Gaza.

KBR Wins a Victory In One of Its Iraq-Electrocution Suits 29 Jul 2009 Sometimes it's not enough to simply bring in steal billions from no-bid contracts from in Iraq; sometimes a company needs a hug. And that's what KBR got from federal judges in Houston and Florida, the company announced late yesterday. Judges dismissed two lawsuits stemming from the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq, the company said.

Marine says KBR zapped him in Iraq 29 Jul 2009 A U.S. Marine in Fallujah says he suffered permanent nerve damage when Kellogg, Brown & Root electricians ignored instructions and powered up the camp's generator as he worked on a wiring box. Peter Taylor, a hospital corpsman, says KBR's generator was frequently broken, so the Marines had to assemble a back-up generator. Taylor says he suffered permanent nerve damage and scarring in the July 2007 accident. He seeks $2.5 million in damages for negligence.

Senate "don't ask, don't tell" hearings set for this fall 27 Jul 2009 Officials at the Senate Armed Services Committee just confirmed they'll hold hearings this fall on the controversial "don’t ask, don’t tell" law banning homosexuals from serving openly in the military. The hearings will be the first in the chamber since 1993, and represent another big step forward for opponents seeking to overturn the ban.

In break with Bush, speculators blamed for oil price spikes 28 Jul 2009 The chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission signaled Tuesday that his agency is likely to limit financial speculators' ability to drive up prices for oil and other fuels. Excessive speculation, suggested CFTC chief Gary Gensler, drove the price of oil to a record $147 a barrel a year ago... Gensler's comments mark a stark shift from the Bush administration's view. When a Republican headed the CFTC last year, the agency concluded that market forces of supply and demand, not financial speculators, drove record increases in energy prices.

Citigroup's $100 million banker By Tom Eley and Barry Grey 29 July 2009 The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that a top Citigroup trader is demanding that the bank follow through on a 2009 pay package estimated at $100 million. Andrew J. Hall, who runs Citigroup’s energy trading division, has threatened to quit should the bank fail to honor his pay deal in full. According to the Journal, Hall, an energy speculator and top money-maker for the bank, received more than $100 million last year.

Liberals Threaten Revolt After Blue Dog Deal on Health Care 29 Jul 2009 Hours after the Blue Dog Democrats announced a deal on a scaled-back health care reform bill Wednesday, anger among liberal members threatened to derail the bill from the left. "There's angst, there's questions, there's anger," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D) of New York, coming out of a hastily scheduled meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Engel said that without the guarantee of a fully funded public option, he no longer knew if he would support the House version of health care reform.

House Democrats Break Health-Care Gridlock 29 Jul 2009 With the White House prodding both sides behind the scenes, House Democrats broke two weeks of gridlock Wednesday and reached a health-care deal that granted critical concessions to the party's conservative wing, allowing a key committee to resume consideration of the legislation. The compromise plan forced Democratic leaders to try to tamp down a new rebellion from party liberals, who complained that what they regarded as a central plank of the legislation -- a government-financed "public option" for insurance -- had been watered down.

Hawaii Asserts Obama's U.S. Citizenship 28 Jul 2009 State officials in Hawaii on Monday said they have once again checked and confirmed that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen, and therefore meets a key constitutional requirement for being president. Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said she hoped to end lingering rumors about Obama's birthplace.

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