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, Page Two

Memos: CIA pushed limits on sleep deprivation --Interrogators pressed to extend the treatment for another 24 hours, depriving the prisoner of sleep for six straight days. 26 Aug 2009 A year after the Bush regime 'abandoned' its harshest interrogation methods, CIA operatives used severe sleep deprivation tactics against a terror detainee in late 2007, keeping him awake for six straight days with permission from government lawyers. Interrogators kept the unidentified detainee prisoner awake by chaining him to the walls and floor of a cell, according to government officials and memos issued with an internal CIA report... The documents show that even as the Bush regime was scaling back its use of severe interrogation techniques torture, the CIA was still pushing the boundaries of what the administration's own legal counsel considered acceptable treatment. The documents describe two instances in 2007 in which the CIA was allowed to exceed the guidelines set by Bush administration lawyers allowing prisoners to be kept awake for up to four days.

CIA Releases Its Instructions For Breaking a Prisoner's Will --With the release late Monday of guidelines for interrogating high-value detainees, the agency has provided -- in its own words -- the first detailed description of the step-by-step procedures used to systematically crush a prisoner's will to resist by eliciting stress, exhaustion and fear. 26 Aug 2009 As the session begins, the prisoner stands naked, except for a hood covering his head. Guards shackle his arms and legs, then slip a small collar around his neck. The collar will be used later; according to CIA guidelines for interrogations, it will serve as a handle for slamming the detainee's head against a wall. After removing the hood, the interrogator opens with a slap across the face -- to get the prisoner's attention -- followed by other slaps, the guidelines state. Next comes the head-slamming, or "walling," which can be tried once "to make a point," or repeated again and again. "Twenty or thirty times consecutively" is permissible, the guidelines say, "if the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question." And if that fails, there are far harsher techniques to be tried...

CIA prisoners faced chilling interrogation methods --The "black sites" were run with the singular goal of extracting potentially valuable information from some of the most high-profile terror suspects in US custody, and there was a clear theory about how that should be done. 26 Aug 2009 The first detailed picture of how so-called high value detainees spent their days inside secret Central Intelligence Agency-run prisons overseas has emerged in dozens of previously classified documents released this week. And the picture is chilling. A detainee could be forced to stand, almost naked, handcuffed, going days without sleep, and if that failed to break his will, there were other methods for interrogators at secret prisons to try.

CIA probe shields architects of US torture regime By Bill Van Auken 27 Aug 2009 The Obama administration’s release of a 2004 internal CIA report on torture and the announcement by the Justice Department of an extremely limited investigation into actions by individual interrogators is part of an elaborate attempt to cover up the scale of the crimes carried out under the Bush administration, while shielding its top figures from prosecution.

UK to stay in Afghanistan for 'a generation' 27 Aug 2009 The British Ambassador to Afghanistan Mark Sedwill expects his country's presence in Afghanistan to last for at least "a generation." "We would expect there to be a British presence here (Afghanistan) ... trying to bring this country up for at least a generation," Sedwill said on Wednesday, adding that they would be active in the "training and mentoring" role for many years. [See: 'Afghan drug trafficking brings US $50 billion a year' 20 Aug 2009.]

10 soldiers died and only 150 Afghans voted: Low election turnout in area seized in British troops' bloodiest campaign 27 Aug 2009 Ten British soldiers died in Afghanistan for the sake of just 150 votes in the country's selection. Operation Panther's Claw, which claimed their lives in ferocious fighting, was meant to improve security in the Babaji district of Helmand. But only 150 of the 80,000 potential voters there braved Taliban threats to vote last week, it was reported yesterday.

General slams 'muddling' MoD 27 Aug 2009 A former head of the Armed Forces has launched a scathing attack on the Ministry of Defence over its handling of the war in Afghanistan. General Lord Charles Guthrie said our brave servicemen and women were starved of single-minded leadership because of ministers who "sit frozen in indecision". The former UK Chief of Defence Staff said: "Britain is at war, but one would never know it walking around Whitehall... The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan appear no more than inconvenient blips - something to be muddled through until things return to normal."

Water shortage threatens two million people in southern Iraq --Electricity supply to Nasiriyah has dropped by 50% because of falling levels of Euphrates river 26 Aug 2009 A water shortage described as the most critical since the earliest days of Iraq's civilisation is threatening to leave up to 2 million people in the south of the country without electricity and almost as many without drinking water. An already meagre supply of electricity to Iraq's fourth-largest city of Nasiriyah has fallen by 50% during the last three weeks because of the rapidly falling levels of the Euphrates river, which has only two of four power-generating turbines left working. If, as predicted, the river falls by a further 20cm during the next fortnight, engineers say the remaining two turbines will also close down, forcing a total blackout in the city.

US military acknowledges keeping tabs on reporters' work 27 Aug 2009 The US Army in Afghanistan admitted Thursday to keeping files on journalists and classifying reporting on the war as positive, negative and neutral, but insisted reporters had never been denied access on the basis of past reporting... US forces in Afghanistan acknowledged in a statement that it uses public relations group Rendon for "several analytic reports, to include characterization of specific topical stories/events as positive, negative or neutral, as well as whether media reporting is an accurate portrayal of the facts as we know them." [The liars at the Pentagon wouldn't know a 'fact' if it jumped up and kissed them.]

Israel calls for 'crippling' sanctions against Iran 27 Aug 2009 The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for "crippling sanctions" against Iran to halt the country's nuclear program. "There is not much time" to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions, Netanyahu [nut_ n'_yahoo] told reporters after talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.

Israeli war on freedom of Expression, Swedish paper to be sued By Sameh A. Habeeb 27 Aug 2009 New York lawyer sues Swedish newspaper: A lawyer in New York has sued the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet following its article accusing Israeli soldiers of smuggling dead Palestinians' organs. The Israeli lawyer Guy Ophir, based in New York, has submitted a civil action to the New York State Supreme Court, the TT news wire wrote. He's claiming $7.5 million in damages against Aftonbladet because of the harm the tabloid has caused Jews and Israelis, himself included, he wrote in his writ.

Boycott Israel's IKEA Boycott --Shop Till You Drop at IKEA to Counteract Israel's Boycott! --Posted by Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 24 Aug 2009 Thousands of Israelis petition to boycott Sweden retailer IKEA By Adi Dovrat and Irit Rosenblum, Haaretz 23 Aug 2009 Thousands of Israelis have signed an online petition to boycott the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, in the wake of a controversial article published in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet that suggested that Israeli soldiers "harvested" the organs of Palestinians.

Homeland Security revamps guidelines for border searches of electronics 27 Aug 2009 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it is developing new guidelines for searches of computers and other electronic devices at border crossings. That includes the use of high-tech data collection and surveillance equipment to scan laptops and other devices. The federal announcement comes a day after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against DHS in U.S. District Court in New York claiming such searches violate privacy and constitutional rights.

Korean students to have temperatures checked each morning 26 Aug 2009 South Korea's elementary and secondary school teachers will take the body temperature of all their pupils at school gates every morning and sterilize classrooms daily as part of the government's all-out campaign to stem the spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, government officials said Wednesday. In addition, the government will push to prioritize elementary and secondary school students in a national inoculation campaign against the flu set to go into full swing in November, they said.

Swine flu vaccine program in jeopardy 28 Aug 2009 (AU) The Federal Government's plan to immunise the population against swine flu is in chaos because doctors' insurers may not cover them to administer the jab, saying inadequate testing and the possibility of spreading other infections mean there is too high a risk that patients will sue them later. Despite weeks of crisis talks, the Government has refused to underwrite doctors' liability for the vaccinations, and medical groups say the program - due to start as early as mid-September - cannot proceed unless doctors are insured.

E.U. Officials Do Not Say Whether Vaccinations Could Be Mandatory 26 Aug 2009 European Union health officials issued a list Tuesday of people who should be the first in line for vaccinations against the H1N1, or swine flu, virus. The officials, who represent 27 E.U. countries and the European Commission, did not say whether vaccinations could be mandatory in some cases, although some governments, including Britain, have already ruled out that possibility.

Flu fascism in West Virginia: CAMC will require flu shots --Employees will be fired if they don't get vaccinated by Dec. 15 26 Aug 2009 (WV) Charleston Area Medical Center employees must get seasonal flu shots this year or risk losing their jobs. All CAMC Health System workers must get vaccinated by Dec. 15 or their employment will be terminated, CAMC said in its August newsletter Vital Signs.

100 suspected swine flu cases at Georgia Tech 26 Aug 2009 Georgia Tech spokesman Matt Nagel says there have been about 100 suspected cases in just one week on the Atlanta campus, with 12 of them confirmed as the highly contagious H1N1 virus. He said the 18,000-student university is asking those who have flulike symptoms to isolate themselves for a few days.

Carnegie Mellon confirms 26 swine flu cases --Ill students have been placed in isolation in on-campus facility 26 Aug 2009 Carnegie Mellon University has confirmed another eight cases of swine flu, bringing the total number of sick students to 26. CMU's director of student health services Anita Barkin says the H1N1 flu virus hit the campus just days before classes officially begin on Monday.

Report: 30 Texas college students sick 27 Aug 2009 At least 30 Texas Christian University students are sick with flu-like symptoms. Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT reports that number has nearly tripled in the past two days. The Fort Worth university posted a statement Monday on its Web site indicating at least 10 students were sick with the H1N1 virus.

Rep. Jenkins: GOP looking for 'great white hope' 27 Aug 2009 U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a recent gathering in northeast Kansas that the Republican Party is looking for a "great white hope" to help stop President Barack Obama's political agenda. Videotape shows Jenkins, a Republican, making the comment at an Aug. 19 forum. She was discussing the GOP's future after Democrats took control of the House and Senate and Obama became the nation's first black president. Jenkins is white.

Palin supports Fox's Beck over boycott 26 Aug 2009 Former Alaska Gov. [polar bear-killing terrorist] Sarah Palin is jumping into the fray over Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck, whose assertion last month that President Barack Obama is "a racist" led to a boycott of the companies advertising on his show, and ultimately, led some to drop their sponsorship of his show. Palin on Wednesday had this to say on Facebook, the social networking Web site: "FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House."

Advertisers bail after US talk show host calls Obama 'racist' 26 Aug 2009 A conservative talk show host who called President Barack Obama a "racist" is facing a loss of advertisers after a group launched a campaign to persuade companies to pull their ads from his program. Fox News Channel's [sociopath] Glenn Beck sparked controversy last month when he said Obama, America's first black president, has a "deep-seated hatred for white people."

Study: Oil speculators dominate open interest in oil futures --Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy paper calls for enhanced regulation of noncommercial traders 27 Aug 2009 A new policy paper by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy shows a clear increase in the size and influence of noncommercial traders, or "speculators," in the oil futures market since regulations were eased by the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Speculators now constitute about 50 percent of those holding outstanding positions in the U.S. oil futures market, compared with only about 20 percent prior to 2002. The report also finds that the correlation between oil and the dollar has strengthened significantly over the past several years.

Will Halliburton Come Between You and Your Health Care? By Sandy LeonVest 26 Aug 2009 Would Americans who don’t want government coming between them and their health care prefer Halliburton play the role of the decider? ...If the Golden State’s reputation as a ‘trend setter’ holds true for health care, those in need of affordable health insurance could find themselves up against private contractors like Halliburton... or Maximus Inc... The news that California’s legislative leaders had agreed to consider Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to replace current county workers who assist Californians enrolling in Medi-Cal and other social services with a private contractor "like Maximus or Halliburton" was reported back in July, but with so many devastating budget cuts making headlines this summer in the state, it barely made the radar screens of most Californians – much less the rest of the nation. ['Those in need of affordable health insurance could find themselves up against private contractors like Halliburton.' ]

Health care industry contributes heavily to Blue Dogs 26 Aug 2009 As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over the timing, shape and cost of health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, more than half the $1.1 million in campaign contributions the Democratic Party's Blue Dog Coalition received came from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations.

1,000 Banks to Fail In Next Two Years: Bank CEO 27 Aug 2009 The US banking system will lose some 1,000 institutions over the next two years, said John Kanas, whose private equity firm bought BankUnited of Florida in May. "We’ve already lost 81 this year," he told CNBC. "The numbers are climbing every day."

FDIC: Number of troubled banks rises to 416 27 Aug 2009 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday that the number of troubled banks rose to 416 at the end of June from 305 at the end of March. FDIC said this is the largest number of banks on its "problem list" since June 30, 1994, when 434 banks were on the list. Assets at troubled banks totaled $299.8 billion, the highest level since Dec. 31, 1993, the agency said.

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Group: US is monitoring journalists in Afghanistan [It's better than killing, arresting and detaining them --which the US has been doing since the invasion of Iraq.] 26 Aug 2009 The International Federation of Journalists complained Wednesday that news people covering the war in Afghanistan are being monitored by the U.S. military to see if they are sympathetic to the American cause. The federation said journalists seeking to travel under the protection of U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan may be screened first by an American public relations firm to see if their coverage portrays the military in a positive light. [What, exactly, *is* the American cause?]

Files prove Pentagon is profiling reporters 27 Aug 2009 Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as "positive," "neutral" or "negative." Moreover, the documents -- recent confidential profiles of the work of individual reporters prepared by a Pentagon contractor -- indicate that the ratings are intended to help Pentagon image-makers manipulate the types of stories that reporters produce while they are embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Journalists' work examined by Pentagon contractor before embeds 24 Aug 2009 Journalists seeking permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in escalating military operations in Afghanistan could be screened by a controversial Washington-based public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light. U.S. public affairs officials in Afghanistan acknowledged to Stars and Stripes that any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces is subject to a background profile by The Rendon Group, which gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq for its work helping to create the Iraqi National Congress. That opposition group, reportedly funded by the CIA, furnished much of the false information about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion.

Mohammed Jawad: 'I was 12 when I was arrested and sent to Guantanamo' --Human rights activists say that in one seven-day period, Jawad was subjected to 152 episodes of mistreatment. 27 Aug 2009 In December 2002, when Mohammed Jawad says he was only 12, he was arrested on suspicion of throwing a grenade into a Jeep carrying US special forces soldiers through Kabul, wounding two of them and an interpreter. He was taken first to an airbase north of Kabul, then to the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, where he remained until his release a few days ago after a ruling by a US judge that his confession had been obtained by force. Since returning, Mr Jawad has accused his captors of torturing prisoners, depriving them of food and sleep, and insulting Islam and the Koran.

CIA Memo Reveals Flaws in Waterboarding's Legal Justification --Memo shows the technique used didn't follow legal guidelines for 'enhanced interrogations' 26 Aug 2009 A footnote in the recently released 2004 CIA Office of Inspector General's review of the government's interrogation program appears to undermine a key legal justification that allowed the spy agency to use the controversial technique of waterboarding against suspected terrorist detainees prisoners. A central legal--and polemic--argument for use of waterboarding has been the fact that some U.S. soldiers are subjected to the procedure during training... But the latest review shows the waterboarding technique used on suspected terrorists was different in technique and duration from that administered to U.S. soldiers.

CIA memo details procedures for breaking detainees 26 Aug 2009 Sleep deprivation, "insult slaps", water dousing and "walling", or slamming a prisoner's head against a wall, were techniques used by CIA interrogators to break high-value detainees, according to an agency memo. The memo, sent to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel on Dec. 30, 2004, was released on Monday under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday named a special prosecutor to probe Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisoner abuse cases. [See: Report: CIA officer concerned agents would one day appear on 'wanted list' and before war crimes court --Report reveals agents' doubts about whether their actions were legal --Only two weeks' training for CIA interrogators 26 Aug 2009.]

Interrogation Probe to Examine CIA Contractors 26 Aug 2009 As part of his controversial new assignment, the Justice Department prosecutor appointed this week to examine the CIA's interrogation program will revisit long dormant-cases of abuse torture by the agency's civilian contractors mercenaries... Civilian contractors used by the CIA at secret overseas facilities were involved in a series of cases of detainee prisoner abuses and deaths in the years following the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but only one was ever prosecuted. The contractors also played a key, but secret, role in the CIA's brutal interrogations of suspected top Al Qaeda leaders at black-site prisons overseas.

Cheney says Obama CIA probe should not go ahead 25 Aug 2009 Former US Vice-President [sic] Dick Cheney has criticised President Barack Obama for the investigation into CIA practices against terrorism suspects. In a statement, Cheney said the decision calls into doubt the Obama administration's ability to handle national security [after he had 3,000+ killed on his 'watch'].

Army judge: 9/11 lawyers can't see CIA 'black sites' 25 Aug 2009 A military judge says defense lawyers for an alleged Sept. 11 plotter held at Guantánamo don't need to inspect secret CIA overseas prisons to determine whether the accused 'al Qaeda' terrorist is competent to stand trial. Judge Stephen Henley, an Army colonel, ruled Monday that the so-called black sites have likely changed enough since 2006 that an inspection would be of no use to Ramzi Bin al Shibh's Pentagon-appointed defense lawyers.

ACLU Sues DHS over Laptop Searches 26 Aug 2009 The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to uncover documents related to laptop searches at the border. "The ACLU believes that suspicionless searches of laptops violate the First and Fourth Amendments," the group wrote in the suit, filed in a New York District Court. In July 2008, the Customs and Border Protection agency within DHS published formal guidelines for laptop border searches that gave CBP officials permission to search laptops and electronic devices at the border.

ACLU Seeks Records About Laptop Searches At the Border --Customs and Border Protection Policy Allows Searches of Laptops Without Suspicion of Wrongdoing 26 Aug 2009 The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today demanding records about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)'s policy of searching travelers' laptops without suspicion of wrongdoing. Among the documents being sought by the ACLU are records pertaining to the criteria used for selecting passengers for suspicionless searches, the number of people who have been subject to the searches, the number of devices and documents retained and the reasons for their retention.

'Afghan drug trafficking brings US $50 billion a year' --The US is not going to stop the production of drugs in Afghanistan as it covers the costs of their military presence there, says Gen. Mahmut Gareev, a former commander during the USSR's operations in Afghanistan. 20 Aug 2009 Mahmut Gareev: Americans themselves admit that drugs are often transported out of Afghanistan on American planes. Drug trafficking in Afghanistan brings them about 50 billion dollars a year – which fully covers the expenses tied to keeping their troops there. Essentially, they are not going to interfere and stop the production of drugs. They engage in military action only when they are attacked. They don’t have any planned military action to eliminate the Mujahideen. Rather, they want to make the situation more unstable and help the Taliban to be more active.

2 US troops killed in Afghanistan 26 Aug 2009 The NATO-led force in Afghanistan says attacks have killed two U.S. troops, keeping August on track to be the deadliest month of the war for the U.S. military. NATO says one American died Wednesday after an improvised explosive device detonated in southern Afghanistan. A second service member was killed in an attack in the east. No other information was released.

Deadly bomb 'not linked to Afghan vote' 27 Aug 2009 Hours after the initial vote tally results were released in the capital, Kabul yesterday, a huge blast shook the southern city of Kandahar killing 41 and injuring more than 80. The [Xe] bomb appeared to have targeted a Japanese construction company that employs mostly Pakistani engineers, prompting local and international outrage. The Taliban denied involvement in the Kandahar strike, the deadliest since a suicide car bomber killed more than 60 people in an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul in July last year.

Official says Taliban Storm Hospital in Afghanistan 26 Aug 2009 Afghan officials say Taliban militants stormed a hospital in eastern Paktika province Wednesday, sparking a gun battle with coalition forces in which at least 14 attackers were killed and six others captured. A provincial spokesman said troops who responded to the scene rescued the hospital's staff, and that one hospital guard was wounded.

France's Sarkozy raises Iran sanction threat 26 Aug 2009 French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened on Wednesday to press for tougher sanctions on Iran and repeated his call for broad international action to curb financial market abuses. He also lambasted the leadership of Iran and said tougher sanctions would have to be discussed if Tehran does not change its position on the contentious nuclear program that the West believes is aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.

Judge denies group's bid to block swine flu vaccine 26 Aug 2009 A judge on Wednesday denied an advocacy group's bid to prevent the government from giving pregnant women flu vaccines with a preservative that contains mercury. Leaders of the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs say their effort took on a new urgency when a government advisory committee recently recommended that pregnant women be among the first people to get swine flu vaccinations when the vaccine becomes available this fall.

Health-care workers steer clear of swine flu vaccine --Many health-care workers have made it obvious that they are unwilling to be vaccinated. 26 Aug 2009 A new study finds that the majority of health-care workers refuse to take the swine flu vaccine due to its possible side effects. According to a study published in British Medical Journal, more than half of health-care workers around the world are worried about the side effects of the new vaccine. Doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine are also reported as another main reason for them declining the vaccine.

Swine flu test authorized for troops overseas 25 Aug 2009 The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it has authorized the emergency use of a swine flu test for U.S. troops overseas, allowing the military to speed up diagnoses and treatment of the virus... The FDA emergency authorization lets the Defense Department distribute the swine flu test to its qualified laboratories that have the right equipment and personnel to perform and interpret test results. The Defense Department will use the test for combat units in the Middle East and on Navy ships, beginning with deliveries next month, according to a statement from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense.

Pandemic flu event staged 26 Aug 2009 Law enforcement joined with other emergency personnel, as well as local business and government leaders, for a Monday night exercise on how to react in case of a pandemic flu event. The tabletop exercise was hosted by the Crawford County Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management and the Crawford County Health Unit. Module A outlined the early stages of a new flu pandemic, dubbed H17N10, a combination of seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus and H5N1.

End of an American Epoch --Kennedy to Be Buried Near Brothers at Arlington Cemetery 27 Aug 2009 The death of Edward Moore Kennedy, scion of a privileged, charismatic and often tragic family, has closed a historic epoch in the United States and opened a void in the political spectrum. As flags were lowered to half-staff over the U.S. Capitol, where the Massachusetts Democrat served 46 years as a senator, devoted supporters, political opponents and leaders from around the world mourned his death, which came late Tuesday.

Obama Orders Flags Flown at Half-Staff in Honor of Kennedy 26 Aug 2009 President Obama issued Wednesday a presidential proclamation on death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, calling him "one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy." The proclamation orders that flags be flown at half-staff "at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on August 30, 2009."

Ted Kennedy: Barack Obama pays tribute to his dead 'friend' --A 'heartbroken' US President Barack Obama praised his 'friend' Senator Edward Kennedy as a 'singular figure in American history' after his death at the age of 77. 26 Aug 2009 Leading the tributes to a man he mourned as a "friend, colleague and counsellor", the president lauded his defence of the American dream and ability to affect millions of people through his robust support of liberal causes. "Even though we knew this day was coming for some time now, we awaited it with no small amount of dread," Mr Obama said at the holiday estate he is renting on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

Statement from The Kennedy Family 26 Aug 2009 "Edward M. Kennedy -- the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply -- died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all..."

Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Dies 27 Aug 2009 Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died Tuesday night. He was 77. The death was announced Wednesday morning in a statement by the Kennedy family.

SC gov rebuffs call to quit; vows to finish term 26 Aug 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford rebuffed a call from his lieutenant governor [fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer] to resign Wednesday, two months after he admitted an affair, saying he will not be "railroaded" out of office. Sanford returned from a nearly weeklong disappearance in June to reveal he had been in Argentina to visit his mistress, a disclosure that led to questions about the legality of his travel on state, private and commercial planes.

New home sales blast past expectations 26 Aug 2009 Sales of newly constructed homes leaped unexpectedly in July to hit their highest level since last September. New homes sold at an annualized rate of 433,000 during the month, according to a joint report issued by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. That far exceeded analysts' forecasts and was up 9.6% from the revised 395,000 rate recorded in June.

Mysterious Tubular Clouds Defy Explanation 24 Aug 2009 These long, crazy-looking clouds can grow to be 600 miles long and can move at up to 35 miles per hour, causing problems for aircraft even on windless days. Known as Morning Glory clouds, they appear every fall over Burketown, Queensland, Australia, a remote town with fewer than 200 residents. Similar tubular shaped clouds called roll clouds appear in various places around the globe.

Cheney: We Did Not Use Electric Drill to Force Tom Ridge to Increase Terror Alert --'That little snitch popped it up to orange alert without needing persuasion.' By R J Shulman 26 Aug 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney lashed out at those that assert he used so-called enhanced interrogation to force former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to increase the national security-threat level before important elections. "That little snitch popped it up to orange alert without needing persuasion," Cheney said, "although, he did scream like a little girl when I showed him that Photoshopped picture of him and Larry Craig in Minneapolis." (Satire)

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Report: CIA officer concerned agents would one day appear on 'wanted list' and before war crimes court --Report reveals agents' doubts about whether their actions were legal --Only two weeks' training for CIA interrogators 26 Aug 2009 New details about the treatment of terror suspects in the wake of 9/11 contradict old assurances from former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney that interrogators were "highly trained professionals" who well knew the boundaries of the law. Often, they had received barely two weeks' training and sometimes made up the rules as they went along. Torture details: 'We're going to kill your children.' ..."The debriefer entered the cell where Al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to Al-Nashiri's head. On what was probably the same day, the debriefer... revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded." ... One officer expressed concern that one day officers would wind up on a 'wanted list' to appear before a war crimes court due to [their] activities.

Report Shows Tight C.I.A. Control on Interrogations --The harsh treatment began with the "attention slap," and for three prisoners of the nearly 100 who passed through the program, the endpoint was waterboarding. 26 Aug 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program operated under strict rules, and the rules were dictated from Washington with the painstaking, eye-glazing detail beloved by any bureaucracy. Managers, doctors and lawyers not only set the program’s parameters but dictated every facet of a detainee’s daily routine, monitoring interrogations on an hour-by-hour basis. From their Washington offices, they obsessed over the smallest details... Lawyers at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, likewise, were immersed in the details of investigations.

CIA agents threatened child killing and rape 24 Aug 2009 The self-'confessed' mastermind of the September 11th bombings in the US was threatened with the deaths of his children by CIA interrogators. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was told if there were another terrorist attack in the US his children would be killed. According to a declassified document released by the US Justice Department, another suspect was told his mother would be raped in front of him. [How could KSM 'control' terror attacks on US soil? It wasn't KSM that ordered NORAD to 'stand down' on 9/11 and to 'pull' WTC 7 -- that was Bush and 'Lucky Larry.' Bush/Cheney controlled the terror attacks -- including the Fort Detrick anthrax attacks -- on US soil. --LRP]

Full text: CIA internal report on interrogation methods 25 Aug 2009 On Monday, the US Justice Department released a declassified version of a 2004 internal CIA report, entitled "Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities" (September 2001 - October 2003).

Deaths, Missing Detainees Still Blacked Out in New CIA Report --Inspector General Reportedly Discovered Three Died, Many Unaccounted For by CIA 25 Aug 2009 The CIA and the Obama Administration continue to keep secret some of the most shocking allegations involving the spy agency's interrogation program: three deaths and several other detainees prisoners whose whereabouts could not be determined, according to a former senior intelligence official who has read the full, unredacted version. Of the 109 pages in the 2004 report, 36 were completely blacked out in the version made public Monday, and another 30 were substantially redacted for "national security" reasons. The blacked-out portions hide the Inspector General's findings on the circumstances that led to the deaths of at least three of the detainees in the CIA's program, the official said.

Special prosecutor named to look into interrogations 25 Aug 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a special prosecutor Monday to determine whether CIA interrogators or contractors should be criminally investigated for the alleged torture of post-Sept. 11 terrorism prisoners. The announcement came shortly after the release of a 2004 CIA inspector general's report that documented abuses by interrogators who exceeded even the authority granted by the Bush administration Justice Department to use "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding, which is considered torture. Holder said that in appointing John Durham, a longtime federal prosecutor in Connecticut who also is investigating the CIA's destruction of videotapes of interrogations, he was following the recommendations of a still-secret report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Cheney Slams Obama Administration Decision --Strong Words From the Former VP on the Attorney General's Decision to Appoint a Prosecutor to Review CIA Interrogators 25 Aug 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney slammed the Obama administration for its decision to appoint a prosecutor to review and investigate whether CIA interrogators violated U.S. torture statutes and questioned its ability to protect the nation's security.

Cheney Slams Obama Administration for Opening Investigation of CIA Interrogators 25 Aug 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney slammed the Obama Administration for its decision to appoint a prosecutor to review and investigate whether CIA interrogators violated US torture statues and questioned its ability to protect the nation’s security.

Rep. King On Probe: 'It's Bulls---' 25 Aug 2009 Long Island Rep. Pete King (R-Sociopath) tells Ben Smith over at Politico that "it's bulls---" that the Justice Department has decided to open an investigation -- however narrowly focused -- on CIA interrogation abuses. "It’s bulls***. It’s disgraceful," King said, adding that this is a "declaration of war against the CIA, and against common sense."

Republicans Denounce 'Witch Hunt' of CIA Interrogators 25 Aug 2009 Leading Republicans denounced Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s decision to appoint a prosecutor to investigate alleged abuses torture of roughly a dozen detainees prisoners under a Bush-era CIA policy, as top Democrats expressed mixed views on Monday's actions by the Obama administration and some worried that the Justice Department probe would not go far enough.

Barack Obama continues rendition 26 Aug 2009 The Obama administration will continue the Bush regime's policy of "extraordinary rendition" - sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation - but has pledged to closely monitor the program to ensure those held are not tortured, reports say. The decision will allow the US to continue the transfer of prisoners for interrogation to countries with a history of torture. The Obama administration was condemned yesterday by human rights groups who said promises from other countries of humane treatment was no protection against abuse. As a presidential candidate, US President Barack Obama had strongly suggested he might end the practice. [But, alas alak, Obama broke this promise, too. --LRP]

Top Iran reformist in alleged links with UK intelligence 25 Aug 2009 Saeed Hajjarian, a premier reformist strategist who was disabled in a 2000 assassination attempt, has been accused of having links with the British intelligence service. During the fourth round of the mass trials held for those arrested during Iran's post-election violence, the co-founder of Iran's main reformist party, the Islamic Participation Front, was linked to renowned political theorist John Keane, Open Society Institute's George Soros and German philosopher Jurgen Habermas. "Hajjarian has twice met with John Keane, the British mastermind connected to MI5," the prosecution said. Hajjarian, the prosecutor said, had met well-known philosopher and sociologist Jurgen Habermas, who is famous for the theory of Civil disobedience.

$2m witness payment, bogus forensic evidence and Pentagon memo blaming Iran: How Lockerbie bomber appeal threatened Scottish justice 24 Aug 2009 As the political furore over the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi engulfs three countries in bitter recriminations, The Mail on Sunday can now reveal the new and compelling evidence which he says would have proved his innocence. In a submission to the Court of Appeal running to thousands of words, Megrahi’s lawyers list 20 grounds of appeal which include: Details of a catalogue of deliberately undisclosed evidence at the original trial. Allegations of 'tampering' with evidence. A summary of how American intelligence agencies were convinced that Iran, not Libya, was involved but that their reports were not open to the 2001 trial.

Four US soldiers killed, making 2009 deadliest year for Nato in Afghanistan --Number of coalition deaths rises to 295, compared with 294 in whole of 2008 25 Aug 2009 Four US soldiers with the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force were killed today in Afghanistan, making 2009 the deadliest year for coalition troops since operations began. These latest deaths bring the number of Nato soldiers killed since the start of the year to 295. In 2008, there were 294 coalition deaths.

Afghanistan 'needs more US troops' [like a hole in the head or the light brown apple moth] 24 Aug 2009 US military commanders in Afgahnistan have told the US special envoy to the region that they need more troops to bring security to the country, a report in The New York Times has said. The military chiefs gave their assessment to Richard Holbrooke during his visit to regional command centres in Afghanistan over the past two days, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

Massive truck bomb kills dozens in Kandahar 25 Aug 2009 A massive truck bomb has killed 36 civilians in the major Afghan city of Kandahar as violence by the 'insurgency' continues to intensify. The truck bomb ripped through 10 residential buildings near the offices of the Kandahar provincial council in the center of the city Tuesday night. More than five dozen people were also wounded.

Iraqi suspect: It cost $10,000 to pass checkpoints 24 Aug 2009 Attackers paid $10,000 to get a bomb-laden truck past checkpoints and next to the Iraqi Finance Ministry in last week's attacks, one of the suspected masterminds said in a confession broadcast Sunday. The attackers paid $10,000 to a [an Xe] facilitator who knew the Iraqi security forces manning the checkpoints on the roads from Muqdadiyah to the Finance Ministry, 57-year-old suspect, Wisam Ali Khazim Ibrahim, said.

Your tax dollars at work: Israel Makes Waves by Simulating an Earthquake --Experiment financed by DoD 25 Aug 2009 The Seismologic Division of the Ministry of National Infrastructure's Geophysical Institute will attempt to simulate an earthquake in the southern Negev on Thursday. The experiment, financed by the U.S. Defense Department, is a joint project with the University of Hawaii and is part of a scientific project intended to improve seismological and acoustic readings in Israel and its environs, up to a 1,000 km/621 mile radius.

Health scare sent to 1,800 veterans 25 Aug 2009 More than 1,800 Gulf War veterans were sent letters from the Veterans Administration this month informing them that they had Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal neurological disease. But at least some of the letters -- and the diagnoses -- were a mistake. Jim Bunker, president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, said VA officials told him the letters dated Aug. 12 were the result of a computer coding error that mistakenly labeled the veterans with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of H1N1 Test for U.S. Troops Serving Overseas --'The FDA worked quickly with the Defense Department to authorize the use of this test.' 25 Aug 2009 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that allows a 2009 H1N1 influenza virus test to be used to detect the virus in troops serving overseas. The EUA allows the U.S. Department of Defense to distribute the H1N1 test to its qualified laboratories that have the required equipment and trained personnel to perform the test and interpret its results. An EUA authorizes the use of unapproved medical products (i.e., deadly vaccines) or unapproved uses of approved medical products during a declared public health emergency.

Half of GPs refuse swine flu vaccine over testing fears --Of those who said they did not want to jab, 71 per cent said it was because of safety concerns. 25 Aug 2009 Up to half of family doctors do not want to be vaccinated against swine flu. GPs will be first in the line for the jabs when they become available but many will decline, even though they will be offering the vaccine to their patients. More than two thirds of those who will turn the jab down believe it has not been tested enough. A week ago, a poll of nurses showed that a third would turn down the opportunity of being vaccinated against swine flu.

Feds to launch massive propaganda campaign on 'safety' of swine flu vaccines --The federal government will spend about $16 million on outreach propaganda to convince people of the 'need' to get the swine flu vaccine. 25 Aug 2009 Federal authorities plan to launch a massive campaign in the coming weeks to convince Americans to get the swine flu vaccine and to erase any public skepticism about the flu's danger and the safety of immunizations. Even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has manufacturers working overtime to produce a vaccine for the swine flu by mid-October, government officials are concerned [!?!] that demand for immunization will not be high.

CDC's Advice: Swine Flu Shots for All 25 Aug 2009 The first swine flu precaution that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests for parents: As soon as a vaccine is available, try to get it for everyone in your family. "We're going to continue to stress that the vaccine is the most important thing that parents can do to protect their children," said Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman [We'll pass on the mercury-laden, squalene-filled, Polysorbate 80 cancer sticks, manufactured (along with the pandemic itself) with legal immunity granted on 17 July, to enhance Barack Opharma's corpora-terrorists' coffers.]

Swine flu could cause as many as 90,000 US deaths: WHouse --Epidemic's resurgence could 'produce infection of 30-50 percent of the US population this fall and winter' 24 Aug 2009 Swine flu could infect as much as half of the US population this fall and winter and cause up to 90,000 deaths, President Barack Obama's 'science' advisors warned Monday. Laying out a "plausible scenario" for the epidemic's impact in the United States, the report painted a grim picture of stress on the US health care system as it struggles to cope with a flood of flu patients.

Obama reappoints Bernanke as Fed chairman --Bernanke was selected as Federal Reserve chairman by George W Bush in 2005 24 Aug 2009 US President Barack Obama has awarded Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke a second term, charging him with steering the US economy out of the worst slump since the 1930s. Obama suddenly interrupted his vacation on the resort island of Martha's Vineyard to make the announcement on Tuesday, reasoning that Bernanke had led the Fed through "one of the worst financial crises that this nation and this world have ever faced.''

Fed Must Release Reports on Emergency Bank Loans, Judge Says 25 Aug 2009 The Federal Reserve must make records about emergency lending to financial institutions public within five days because it failed to convince a judge the documents should be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska rejected the central bank’s argument that the records aren’t covered by the law because their disclosure would harm borrowers' competitive positions.

Remember Me? Wall Street Repackages Toxic Debt 24 Aug 2009 Wall Street may have discovered a way out from under the bad debt and risky mortgages that have clogged the financial markets. The would-be solution probably sounds familiar: It's a lot like what got banks in trouble in the first place. In recent months investment banks have been repackaging old mortgage securities and offering to sell them as new products, a plan that's nearly identical to the complicated investment packages at the heart of the market's collapse.

'Stress' is shrinking polar bears 25 Aug 2009 Polar bears have shrunk over the last century, according to research. Scientists compared bear skulls from the early 20th Century with those from the latter half of the century. Their study, in the Journal of Zoology, describes changes in size and shape that could be linked an increase in pollution and the reduction in sea ice. Physical "stress" caused by pollutants in the bears' bodies, and the increased effort needed to find food, could limit the animals' growth, the team said. The researchers used the skulls as indicators of body size. The skulls from the later period were between two and 9% smaller.

With Bat Extinctions Looming, 1.5 Million Dead, Group Says Feds Must Make Saving Bats First Priority (Center for Biological Diversity) 24 Aug 2009 Mounting evidence that several species of bats have been all but eliminated from the Northeast due to a new disease known as white-nose syndrome prompted a conservation group to send a letter today to Sam Hamilton, the new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, urging that action on the bat epidemic be his first priority.

Quick action! Bats Need Urgent Help, Contact Fish and Wildlife 24 Aug 2009 Bats are on a clear trajectory toward oblivion. For months, the Center for Biological Diversity has warned that the bat crisis is dire while calling for more funding to try to determine what, exactly, is killing America's bats -- and how the disease can be stopped. We spearheaded an effort to send a letter to every member of Congress, pleading for action and more resources for this wildlife catastrophe... Please send a message today urging Fish and Wildlife Service director Sam Hamilton to create a white-nose syndrome plan immediately to prevent the complete unraveling of America's bat populations.

World's ocean temps are warmest on record --At 62.6 degrees in July, that's a full degree above 20th Century average 25 Aug 2009 July was the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping. The average water temperature worldwide was 62.6 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center, the branch of the U.S. government that keeps world weather records. June was only slightly cooler, while August could set another record, scientists say. At a full degree above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees, "the global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record," the center said.

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'We could get your mother in here. We can bring your family in here.' CIA told suspect his mother would be raped in front of him 24 Aug 2009 An internal CIA reported published today reveals a host of incidents in which its interrogators went far beyond acceptable bounds, such as threats against family members, including hinting that an [alleged] al-Qaida suspect's mother would be raped in front of him. Interrogators, questioning 'al-Qaida' and other suspects at Guantánamo and secret prisons round the world, took a power drill and a handgun into the interrogation room, and also staged a mock execution in a cell next door. The CIA document, which the agency fought for years to prevent publication of, says that Saudi terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was told that if he did not talk, "we could get your mother in here. We can bring your family in here". It added that the debriefer wanted Nashiri to infer that the "interrogation technique involves sexually abusing female relatives in front of the detainee".

Report: CIA Used Power Drills, Guns, Threats Against Children --Declassified Report Says --Then-Attorney General Knew One Suspect Waterboarded 119 Times 24 Aug 2009 CIA officers used power drills, mock executions and threats against children in often futile attempts to break [alleged] high-value al Qaeda targets, according to portions of a 2004 report by the CIA inspector general that was made public today. "We now have a document that the world can read that shows in excruciating and disgusting detail that the United States violated its own beliefs and turned to the dark side when it didn't have to," said Richard Clarke, a former national security official and now an ABC News consultant.

'The CIA hired Blackwater to conduct targeted killings in Afghanistan.' Death Squad: Blackwater Accused of Creating 'Killing Program' --A memo obtained by SPIEGEL indicates that cooperation between the CIA and private security firm Blackwater was deeper than previously known. SPIEGEL has uncovered further details about a plan to set up squads for targeted killings of suspected al-Qaida leadership in Afghanistan... In a memo obtained by SPIEGEL, two former employees describe details of cooperation between the firm and the intelligence agency that then-Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney asked the CIA not to disclose to the United States Congress. The intelligence service commissioned Blackwater and its subsidiaries to transport terror suspects from Guantanamo to interrogations at secret prison camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The paper identifies aircraft movements and unveils how the flights were disguised. The memo says: "The CIA hired Blackwater to conduct extraordinary renditions". And: "Blackwater flew the rendition targets from Fort Perry and Cuba to Kandahar, Afghanistan." Blackwater also supported the CIA with other controversial activities during the Bush years, the memo states. "The CIA hired Blackwater to conduct targeted killings in Afghanistan," it reads.

Blackwater mercenaries used for CIA renditions By Patrick Martin 24 Aug 2009 The German news magazine Der Spiegel announced Saturday that it has obtained evidence that the security firm formerly known as Blackwater Associates was hired by the CIA to transport prisoners from Guantánamo Bay to secret prisons in Central Asia where they could be tortured. US press reports late last week revealed that Blackwater had CIA contracts to carry out "targeted killings"--assassinations--and to load and service the missiles used by CIA officers to conduct assassination strikes against targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In another U-turn, Obama upholds Bush's rendition policy 24 Aug 2009 US President Barack Obama makes another U-turn, recycling the Bush regime's controversial 'extraordinary rendition' exercise. Upon taking office in January, Obama had ruled that the use of 'extraordinary rendition' was illegal under his administration. However, administration officials said on Monday that the practice will continue under the Obama White House.

Rendition of Terror Suspects Will Continue Under Obama 25 Aug 2009 The Obama administration will continue the Bush regime’s practice of sending terror suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but will monitor their treatment to insure they are not tortured, administration officials said on Monday. The administration officials, who announced the changes on condition that they not be identified, said that unlike the Bush administration, they would give the State Department a larger role in assuring that transferred detainees prisoners would not be abused. [See: Barack Obama: Change We Can Deceive In --A critique from the Left By Lori Price 19 Aug 2009.]

Obama creates interrogation unit to handle high-interest people around the world --Interrogators will not necessarily read prisoners their rights before questioning --Main purpose of new unit is to glean intelligence, especially about potential terrorist attacks 24 Aug 2009 President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday. Obama signed off late last week on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG. Made up of experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the interrogation unit will be housed at the FBI but will be overseen by the National Security Council -- shifting the center of gravity away from the CIA and giving the White House direct oversight... Interrogators will not necessarily read detainees their rights before questioning, instead making that decision on a case-by-case basis, officials said.

Administration Releases More of Long-Classified CIA Report on Interrogations 24 Aug 2009 The Obama administration on Monday released additional portions of a long-classified CIA report on the agency's interrogation of high-level [alleged] al-Qaeda detainees prisoners. The document contains new allegations of detainee abuse torture at secret prisons around the world and seems likely to prolong a debate about the legality and effectiveness of employing coercive methods to elicit intelligence from terrorist suspects.

CIA Inspector General Report 07 May 2004 (Heavily redacted)

Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Torture Cases 24 Aug 2009 The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors mercenaries to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter. The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse torture that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released.

US backdown on secret suspects in camps 24 Aug 2009 The Pentagon, in an abrupt reversal of policy, will for the first time notify the International Committee of the Red Cross of the identities of [alleged] militants held in secret at camps in Iraq and Afghanistan. The change begins to lift the veil from the US Government's most secretive remaining overseas prisons by allowing the Red Cross to track the custody of dozens of suspected terrorists and foreign fighters plucked off the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Terrorists R Us: Iraqi minister blames insiders for bomb attacks --The attacks were carried out by suicide bombers in trucks that had been allowed through checkpoints, even though large trucks are banned from the city centre during daytime. 23 Aug 2009 Iraq's Foreign Minister has blamed members of the security forces for colluding in a massive truck bombing that wrecked his ministry. Hoshyar Zebari has called for a serious investigation into last week’s bombing and has criticised a prime ministerial decision that led to the removal of most blast walls from Baghdad's streets. Nearly 100 people died and 1,000 were injured on August 19th at the Foreign Ministry and in a second explosion at the Finance Ministry. Mr Zebari said he had received information that there had been collaboration between security officers and the people [Xe] who set off the bombs.

Twin blasts kill 10 in southern Iraq 24 Aug 2009 At least 10 Iraqis have been killed and another 19 wounded when bombs exploded in two buses near the southern city of Kut, police says. Women and children were among the victims of the attacks on Monday, according to an AFP report.

Radioactive US weapons taking toll in Iraq 24 Aug 2009 Years after the US attacks on Iraq, people in the Persian Gulf state are suffering form the consequences of radioactive contamination caused by the use of depleted uranium. Iraq's Environment Minister, Narmin Othman Hasan, said Monday that depleted Uranium (DU) weapons used by US-led troops against Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion still blight the country.

U.S. Military Says Its Force in Afghanistan Is Insufficient 24 Aug 2009 American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do 'their job' [which is WHAT?], pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders. The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud. [LOL! 'As-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.' That would be a 'coup.']

Afghan conflict serious, 'deteriorating'-Mullen 23 Aug 2009 The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating along with U.S. public support for the war, Washington's top military officer said on Sunday as he left open the possibility of another increase in troops. "I think it is serious and it is deteriorating, and I've said that over the past couple of years -- that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

3 NATO troops killed in southern Afghanistan 24 Aug 2009 Three NATO troops -- two from Estonia and one from the United States -- were killed in attacks in southern Afghanistan as fraud charges continued to pour in Monday from last week's turbulent presidential vote. On Monday night, NATO jets fired on targets near the airport in the southern city of Kandahar, which also serves as major NATO base. Witnesses reported seeing a half dozen aircraft firing at targets to the southwest of the main runway.

Thousands of Israelis petition to boycott Sweden retailer IKEA By Adi Dovrat and Irit Rosenblum, Haaretz 23 Aug 2009 Thousands of Israelis have signed an online petition to boycott the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, in the wake of a controversial article published in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet that suggested that Israeli soldiers "harvested" the organs of Palestinians. The signatories were also dismayed at the refusal of the Stockholm government to denounce the allegations under the banner of press freedom. Various figures in the Israeli government have harshly criticized the article and demanded, to no avail, that the Swedish government issue a condemnation. On Sunday it emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to press Stockholm for an official condemnation.

Aide says Ahmadinejad popularity 'historic' 24 Aug 2009 As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad awaits the Parliament approval of his new Cabinet, his chief of staff says the president enjoys a "historic" approval rate around the globe following his disputed re-election. Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, whose nomination as the vice president sparked a nationwide controversy in Iran, said on Monday that in the face of all developments following the June 12 election, President Ahmadinejad is more popular than ever, Parliament News reported.

Swine Flu Could Kill 90,000: White House --Could infect half the U.S. population this year 24 Aug 2009 Swine flu could infect half of the U.S. population and kill as many as 90,000, more than twice the number of casualties incurred in a typical seasonal flu. The White House said in a report today that President Obama has been encouraged to push for quicker and more widespread vaccine production and appoint a staffer to be in charge of the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported. [The pharma-terrorists' vaccine police state push is exploding as organizations such as CLG expose the H1N1 virus (likely created at Fort Detrick and disseminated by Baxter) fraud, following the same path -- and by the same perps -- as the 'Saddam Hussein has WMD' terrorists. We are on to you. --LRP]

Flu Strategists See Schools on Front Line --In a Fairfax County 'Schools Are the Front Lines in Flu Prevention' pamphlet, principals are advised that children who go to school sick are to be given surgical masks and placed in an isolation room. 24 Aug 2009 Schools are likely to serve as centers for mass immunizations, which could sharply reduce H1N1's reach, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities... Still waiting to be resolved are questions about who gets the vaccine, whether schools are used as vaccination sites, whether parents are present when children are vaccinated and whether the vaccine is administered by injection or nasal spray. Health officials in Virginia, Maryland and the District said that at least some school campuses will be used as vaccination sites.

CLG: Exposed: The Swine Flu Hoax By Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D. 24 Aug 2009 If the current H1N1 swine flu virus does become abnormally lethal, there would be three leading explanations: first, that the virus was accidentally released, or escaped, from a laboratory; second, that a disgruntled lab employee unleashed the virus (as happened, according to the official version of events, with the 2001 anthrax attack); or third, that a group, corporation or government agency intentionally released the virus in the interests of profit and power. Each of the three scenarios represents a plausible explanation should the swine virus become lethal. The 1918 flu virus was dead and buried -- until, that is, scientists unearthed a lead coffin to obtain a biopsy of the corpse it contained.

Sources: Two Miami Dolphins corners tested for swine flu --Sean Smith and Jason Allen were suffering from flu-like symptoms; the team told the players not to attend Saturday's game. 23 Aug 2009 The Dolphins advised their players Saturday morning that two of their teammates would not attend Saturday night's game out of fear that both contracted swine flu, but test results have not yet indicated whether such fears are warranted. Cornerbacks Sean Smith and Jason Allen fell ill late last week, suffering from flu-like symptoms, which led to the team's decision to treat the situation with extreme caution by telling the players to increase their hygiene practices.

Lieberman says many health care changes can wait 23 Aug 2009 An independent senator A traitor counted on by Democrats in the health care debate showed signs of wavering Sunday when he urged President Barack Obama to postpone many of his initiatives because of the economic downturn. "I'm afraid we've got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy's out of recession," said Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman [R-Israel].

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Kidnapping we can believe in: Lebanese man is target of first rendition under Obama --Contractor Raymond Azar is arrested in Afghanistan, hooded, stripped and flown to the U.S. His alleged crime? Bribery. 22 Aug 2009 A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration. Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated tortured and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush regime, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices. Azar, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery, the only charge against him. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, but a sentence of 2 1/2 years or less is likely under federal guidelines.

US military disclosing list of secret prisoners 22 Aug 2009 The Pentagon plans to give the Red Cross access to a list of terror suspects held in secret prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, US military officials say. In another shift of policy made by the US President Barack Obama, the Pentagon will give the Red Cross access to dozens of suspected terrorists and militants held in what it calls the Special Operations camps, The New York Times reported on Saturday, citing three unidentified military officials.

U.S. judge orders Guantanamo prisoner released 21 Aug 2009 A Yemeni prisoner held since 2002 in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay must be freed because there is no evidence he belonged to al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] or was a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, a U.S. judge said in a decision published on Friday. Mohammed Adahi is one of 29 detainees who have been ordered released from Guantanamo, a controversial prison on a U.S. Navy base in Cuba that has housed suspected militants since the September 11 attacks on the United States by al Qaeda in 2001.

Afghanistan Contractors Outnumber Troops --Despite Surge in U.S. Deployments, More Contractors Are Posted in War Zone; Reliance Echoes Controversy in Iraq 22 Aug 2009 Even as U.S. troops surge to new highs in Afghanistan they are outnumbered by military contractors working alongside them, according to a Defense Department census due to be distributed to Congress. The number of military contractors in Afghanistan rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point... The reliance on contractors has prompted a shift in the defense industry, sending more money to logistics and construction companies that can perform everything from basic functions to project engineering. A recent contract is worth up to $15 billion to two firms, DynCorp International Inc. and Fluor Corp., to build and support U.S. military bases throughout Afghanistan.

"I was building a bridge," an Afghan contactor said, one evening over drinks. "The local Taliban commander called and said 'don't build a bridge there, we'll have to blow it up.' I asked him to let me finish the bridge, collect the money -- then they could blow it up whenever they wanted. We agreed, and I completed my project." Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don't want to know. 13 Aug 2009 In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country. Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, "spoils of war," the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.

Observers say Afghanistan elections had serious flaws 22 Aug 2009 International monitors are praising Afghanistan for this week's 'elections,' but say it is too soon to determine whether the process was free and fair. [LOL!] Observers with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) said Saturday the presidential and provincial elections were held "in accordance with democratic principles" even though there were serious flaws. [Did the troglodyte who just passed the law that allows women get raped and starved - the Unocal/opium puppet the US/Blackwater installed, Hamid Karzai - win? Or did the other puke, Abdullah Abdullah, claim victory? Either way, it's billion$ more for Fluor, Xe, and the child-rapists at DynCorp, so it's all good. --LRP]

Intimidation and Fraud Observed in Afghan Election 23 Aug 2009 Reports of fraud and intimidation in Afghanistan’s presidential election continued to mount Saturday, with anecdotal but widespread accounts of ballot-box stuffing, a lack of impartiality among election workers and voters casting ballots for others. [Just like the US '00 and '04 'elections.']

$7.5 Billion more in US tax dollars for Pakistan money pit: 'US helping Pakistan to invest more in education' --Hillary says bills being finalised in US for socio-economic development aid to Pakistan [Oh, but we can't extend 'Cash-for-Clunkers,' though, right? Notice the GOP always votes NO for increases on health care and eduction for US citizens, but always votes for an increase in foreign 'aid,' where US 'contractors' distribute the monies?] 23 Aug 2009 The US is 'helping' Pakistan to invest more in schools and children instead of just its military, as was the case in the past, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday. In an interview with The New York Times, Hillary said spreading education was part of the Obama administration’s policy. Hillary said the bills being finalised in the US Senate and the House of Representatives were aimed at providing aid to Pakistan for socio-economic development, including building schools. US lawmakers have voted to provide $7.5 billion for Pakistan over the next five years in non-military assistance.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Pakistan Seeks More U.S. Military Aid 23 Jul 2009; US to send $110 million in emergency aid to Pakistan 19 May 2009; Pakistan to get billions from U.S. despite oversight concerns 27 Mar 2009; Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage: West funding insurgency in Afghanistan with Taleban payoff system --"We estimate that approximately 25 per cent of the money we pay for security to get the fuel in goes into the pockets of the Taleban." 12 Dec 2008 The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country; Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007; US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.

Terrorists R Us: Iraqi security forces collaborated with bombers: FM 22 Aug 2009 Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Saturday alleged there had been collaboration between Iraqi security forces and the 'insurgents' whose massive truck bombings killed 95 people three days ago. The ministry lost 32 workers in the blast at its headquarters. Wednesday's bombings at the ministeries of foreign affairs and finance culminated in the worst day of violence seen in the conflict-hit country in 18 months, with around 600 people also wounded. "How could this truck pass unless there is collaboration?" Zebari told reporters in Baghdad. "There was collaboration between security forces and the terrorist group to facilitate the passing of this truck through such a sensitive area." [Who does the US pay to train Iraqi security forces? Xe. Who benefits from bombings to show that US mercenaries are still 'needed' in Iraq?]

CIA staged mock execution, wielded power drill in interrogations, secret report says --The methods were not mentioned in Justice Department memos authorizing the so-called enhanced interrogation program for prisoners. 22 Aug 2009 The CIA staged a mock execution and brandished weapons, including a gun and a power drill, during interrogation sessions with detainees prisoners the agency was desperate to persuade to talk, according to a long-secret internal CIA report expected to be released Monday. The episodes are part of a catalog of alleged abuses torture -- a 2004 report by the CIA's inspector general -- that has prompted U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to consider appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate cases in which the CIA strayed beyond its interrogation authorities.

CIA Used Gun, Drill in Interrogation --The federal torture statute prohibits a U.S. national from threatening anyone in his or her custody with imminent death. 22 Aug 2009 CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured [alleged] al-Qaeda commander into giving up information, according to a long-concealed agency report due to be made public next week, former and current U.S. officials who have read the document said Friday. The tactics -- which one official described Friday as a threatened execution -- were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA's inspector general's report on the agency's interrogation program... In a separate encounter, a power drill was held near Nashiri's body and repeatedly turned on and off, said the officials, who spoke about the report on the condition of anonymity because it remains classified.

Israel to actively participate in NATO operation 22 Aug 2009 For the first time, the Israeli army will actively participate in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Active Endeavor maritime operation. The decision to send an Israeli Navy ship was made recently by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli occupation army Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and commander of the Navy Adm. Eliezer Marom.

Sweden flatly rejects Israeli request for media quiet 21 Aug 2009 Sweden has turned down a demand that it condemn the recent publication of an article that links Israeli soldiers to the death of Palestinian civilians with the motive of obtaining their organs. In an article published earlier in the week, Sweden's best-selling daily Aftonbladet recounted grotesque incidents dating as far back as 1992 in which Israeli soldiers allegedly abducted Palestinian youths and returned their bodies mutilated a few days later.

Employers experience life in the National Guard 22 Aug 2009 By Rodger Nichols (Boise, ID) That morning we had arrived at Gowen Air National Guard base, next to the Boise Airport, as part of a program called Boss Lift. It's an activity coordinated by the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve. ESGR was set up in 1972, when the national draft ended, as a way to smooth relations and resolve conflicts between employers and the obligations of their employees to be away from their jobs at times for Guard and Reserve training... Over the course of our carefully organized stay, we'll have two rides in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, spend time in a $3 million A-10A Thunderbolt II flight simulator, clamber on an M1-A1 Abrams tank, and have a chance to fire laser-rigged machine guns at a whole wall of computer-generated targets.

Up to 11,000 U.S. veterans may have been mistakenly infected with HIV 21 Aug 2009 11,000 veterans who had colonoscopies at U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The veterans were advised equipment used during their treatment was not sterilized. Of those so far that responded by having follow-up blood checks, 8 have tested positive for HIV. Twelve of the veterans have tested positive for hepatitis B, and 37 have tested positive for hepatitis C.

'The government is prepared to buy enough to vaccinate every person.' [Well, they can save on my dose. 'I want to be one less.' Yes, that's the Merck Gardakill campaign slogan. We're taking it as our own, against Baxter's mercury, squalene, cancer-landen shots.] Government Plans 'Mass Vaccination Events' In Vast Swine Flu Effort --"There's little doubt we're going to vaccinate people," said Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is leading the government's testing of the vaccine. 23 Aug 2009 Government health officials are mobilizing to launch a massive swine flu vaccination campaign this fall that is unprecedented in its scope -- and in the potential for complications. The campaign aims to vaccinate at least half the country's population within months. Local officials are drafting plans tailored to their communities. The shots in the arms and squirts up the nose will happen in schools, medical offices, hospitals, public health clinics, workplaces, drug stores and at mass vaccination events, possibly including drive-through clinics in parking lots where people would stick their arms out their car windows for a stab.

Vaccine caution --Swine flu vaccine could be a recipe for disaster By Colin G. Fink, Micropathology Ltd, University of Warwick 20 Aug 2009 Sir, Dr David Salisbury does NHS nurses an injustice by saying that they have a duty to their patients to be vaccinated against swine flu (report, Aug 18). Their caution is based on the experience in the US where an influenza vaccine was withdrawn during a previous influenza outbreak when the vaccine was found to cause many cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (an ascending paralysis that may also affect sensory nerves). Adequate safety trials are a prerequisite for any new vaccine and require volunteers who are not morally blackmailed. The new vaccine for the pandemic strain is being trialled on nursing staff.

Common Sense 2009 By Larry Flynt 20 Aug 2009 The American government -- which we once called our government -- has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "economic royalists," who choose our elected officials -- indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government. This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars.

Banker who tipped feds to UBS tax scam gets prison time 21 Aug 2009 In a surprisingly heavy judgment, Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS private banker who blew the whistle on a wide-ranging scheme in which the Swiss bank helped wealthy Americans dodge income taxes through secret accounts, was sentenced to 40 months in prison Friday morning. The sentence was 10 months longer than the prosecution had asked for.

Mercury found in every U.S. fish tested 20 Aug 2009 A federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday found the toxic substance in every fish tested at nearly 300 streams across the country, a finding that underscores how widespread mercury pollution has become. From 1998 to 2005, scientists collected and tested more than a thousand fish from 291 streams nationwide.

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Report Reveals CIA Conducted Mock Executions, Threatened With Power Drill --The inspector general's report alludes to more than one mock execution. 21 Aug 2009 A long-suppressed report by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general to be released next week reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency's post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects, NEWSWEEK has learned. According to two sources, the report describes how one prisoner, suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a gun and a power drill during the course of CIA interrogation. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with "imminent death."

Change we can deXeive in: U.S. Still Using Security Firm It Broke With 22 Aug 2009 Despite publicly breaking with an American mercenary company in Iraq, the State Department continues to award the company, formerly known as Blackwater, more than $400 million in contracts to fly its diplomats around Iraq, guard them in Afghanistan, and train security forces in antiterrorism tactics at its remote camp in North Carolina. The contracts, one of which runs until 2011, illustrate the extent to which the United States government remains reliant on private contractors like Blackwater, now known as Xe Services.

CIA Accused of Third Torture Prison in Europe --Black Site in Lithuania? 21 Aug 2009 As Americans continue to debate the torture era of the Bush administration, a new report has emerged about the alleged existence of a third secret prison used by the CIA in Europe. According to ABC News, the CIA operated a "black site" prison in Lithuania until the end of 2005. Following reports on "black site" prisons in Poland, ABC News is now reporting that a third jail existed in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. According to the report, as many as eight prisoners were held there for at least one year.

In Obusha Land, attorneys are investigated -- while torturers get a free pass. Gitmo lawyers accused of blowing CIA agents' cover 21 Aug 2009 An investigation is launched into whether military defense attorneys at the Guantanamo prison had compromised the cover of CIA interrogators by showing their pictures to prisoners. The investigation was lunched by the Justice Department almost two weeks ago, when the FBI and the Judge Advocate General's Corps approached three military defense lawyers, The New York Times said on Friday.

Bush's security chief: I faced pressure to raise terror alert before election 21 Aug 2009 Tom Ridge, the former US homeland security secretary, has accused members of George W Bush's administration of putting pressure on him to raise the terror alert level on the eve of the 2004 presidential 'election.' In a new book, Mr Ridge claims that Mr Bush's defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld the attorney general John Ashcroft had attempted to persuade him to raise the national threat level from yellow, which represents an "elevated" threat, to orange or "high". Mr Ridge declined.

In Pakistan, US blitz death toll rises fourfold 21 Aug 2009 The death toll from US missile strikes in a tribal belt of the troubled northwest Pakistan has risen to twelve after more bodies were pulled from rubbles, officials say. Initial reports indicated that three people were killed in the attack near Miran Shan, capital of North Waziristan tribal district.

Pakistan: US missile attack toll mounts to 12, including women and children 21 Aug 2009 The death toll of US drone strike in Danday Darpa Khel reached 12 as women and children are also among the dead. According to sources, a US drone fired missile at a house in Danday Darpa Khel area. Eyewitnesses said 12 bodies have been recovered from the rubble so far whereas several were injured, some of them reported in critical condition. Five houses were also demolished in the attack.

Karzai and Abdullah both claim victory in Afghan 'elections' 21 Aug 2009 Despite calls by the US [the world's busiest nosy parker] for the leading candidates in Afghanistan's election not to claim victory, both Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah said they won yesterday's vote. Although the first early official results are not expected until Saturday or even Sunday, both campaign teams claimed they were ahead, with President Karzai's staff saying he had taken a majority of votes, making a second round run-off unnecessary. Abdullah's spokesman, Sayyid Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, said the former foreign minister was ahead with 62% of the vote.

Afghanistan Bomb Blasts Kill Two U.K. Soldiers, One U.S. 21 Aug 2009 Three soldiers serving in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, one American and two Britons, were killed by separate explosions. The U.S. soldier died today from wounds caused by a homemade bomb in eastern Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in an e-mailed statement.

Blast leaves 4 army personnel dead in Mosul 22 Aug 2009 At least four Iraqi army personnel have lost their lives as a car bomb explosion ripped through their police patrol in the west of Mosul. Talafar's Police Chief Ali Hadi Ubeid said that a car rigged with explosives blew up on Friday afternoon near an Iraqi army vehicle patrol at Uwaynat village in the Rabiea district, west of the northern city of Mosul.

US: 4 American troops in Iraq charged with cruelty 21 Aug 2009 The U.S. military says four American soldiers in Iraq have been charged with cruelty and maltreatment of soldiers in their platoon. In a statement released Friday, the military says charges were filed Wednesday against the four soldiers serving with Multi-National Division-South.

Israel closes case against offending settlers 21 Aug 2009 Israeli police drop a case against the masked settlers who were captured on a widely broadcast videotape beating Palestinian shepherds in the occupied West Bank. Israel announced the decision on Friday, citing lack of evidence as the reason. "The file was closed because it turned out to be impossible to identify the attackers," AFP quoted a police spokesman as saying.

Mega barf alert! KBR forms new business group 21 Aug 2009 KBR Inc. has formed a new government, defense and infrastructure business group. The group will serve the Houston engineering, construction and services company’s customers in North America, the Middle East, United Kingdom and Australia.

'The guard called a Homeland Security Officer who asked Thomas what he was filming.' Homeland Security cop arrests man for filming FBI building in NYC By Carlos Miller 20 Aug 2009 A 43-year-old man was jailed for six hours – and had his camera and memory card confiscated by a judge - after filming an FBI building from across the street in New York City Monday. Randall Thomas, a professional photographer, said he was standing on the corner of Duane Street and Broadway in downtown Manhattan when he used his video camera to pan up and down on the 42-story building at 26 Federal Plaza. He was immediately accosted by a security guard in a brown uniform who told him he was not allowed to film the building.

Police Taser use 'up nearly a third' 17 Aug 2009 Police use of Taser stun guns has increased by nearly a third, figures revealed today. Officers fired the electro-shock weapons 226 times in the first three months of this year - up from 174 in the last three months of 2008.

Second 9/11 Investigation Petition Moves Toward NYC November Ballot By Barbara G. Ellis for Portland 9/11 Legislative Alliance 20 Aug 2009 A second 9/11 investigation about the destruction of the World Trade Center and attack on the Pentagon--this one independent of the U.S. government--may start late this year if legal debris is cleared away for approval as a referendum issue on November 3 in New York City.

Government's Tamiflu advice is wrong, says WHO 22 Aug 2009 Only seriously ill and vulnerable patients should be prescribed antiviral drugs to help them to get over swine flu, the World Health Organisation said yesterday, in advice which conflicts with the decision taken by the British Government to prescribe Tamiflu to everyone with swine flu. Most people will recover from swine flu within a week, just as they would from seasonal forms of influenza, the WHO said.

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) gains on UNH swine flu assurances 21 Aug 2009 Sanofi-Aventis shares are rising today after health insurer Unitedhealth Group announced that it would fully cover swine flu vaccinations, even for members that do not have immunizations typically covered. As one of the drugmakers that is producing a swine flu vaccine, SNY stands to benefit.

WHO predicts 'explosion' of swine flu cases 21 Aug 2009 The global spread of swine flu will endanger more lives as it speeds up in coming months and governments must boost preparations for a swift response, the World Health Organization said Friday. There will soon be a period of further global spread of the virus, and most countries may see swine flu cases double every three to four days for several months until peak transmission is reached, said WHO's Western Pacific director, Shin Young-soo.

U.S. Sells Seized Texas Bank to Spanish Firm 22 Aug 2009 The federal government is casting more broadly as it seeks buyers for a growing number of failed banks, including entertaining bids from foreign firms and seeking to attract new investors to the industry by easing restrictions. The results were on display Friday, as regulators seized Guaranty Bank of Texas and immediately sold its branches, deposits and most of its assets to Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. The failure of Guaranty, with $13 billion in loans and other assets, was the 10th-largest in U.S. history and the fourth-largest since the financial crisis began last year.

Failed Bank List (fdic.gov) Last Updated 21 Aug 2009 The FDIC is often appointed as receiver for failed banks. This page contains useful information for the customers and vendors of these banks... This list includes banks which have failed since October 1, 2000.

AP source: White House projects lower deficit 21 Aug 2009 The federal budget picture will look slightly better next week. Relatively speaking. The White House plans to announce the federal deficit will still be a record breaker, at $1.58 trillion, for the current 2009 fiscal year. But the amount is about $262 billion less than officials predicted earlier this year.

Existing homes selling fast - record fast --The volume of home re-sales has been on the upswing for four consecutive months. 21 Aug 2009 Sales of existing homes rose in July for the fourth consecutive month, lending support to economists who argue a recovery is near. Sales of previously owned single-family homes were up 7.2% compared with June and 5% from July 2008, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Friday. The monthly gain was the largest on record for existing-home sales, which NAR has tracked since 1999.

Consumer Groups Warn of Dealer Double-Dipping In Cash For Clunkers --Dealers should not be getting paid twice By James Limbach 21 Aug 2009 A coalition of consumer groups is calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure, as the agency winds down the Cash for Clunkers program, that dealers are not "double-dipping" and getting paid twice -- once by their customers and again by the government.

NEA Attacks Administration's Education Reform Plan 21 Aug 2009 The nation's largest teachers union sharply attacked President Obama's most significant school improvement initiative on Friday evening, saying that it puts too much emphasis on a "narrow agenda" centered on charter schools and echoes the Bush administration's "top-down approach" to reform. The National Education Association's criticism of Obama's $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" initiative came nearly a month after the president unveiled the competitive grant program...

Dimwitted bimbo is world's biggest hypocrite: Bachmann: No Government Control Over My Body! By Eric Kleefeld 21 Aug 2009 Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Insane-MN), who is a a staunch champion of the religious right and an opponent of President Obama on all things under the sun, has a new line against the Democrats on health care: Keep the government off my body! Bachmann appeared on Sean Hannity's radio show on Tuesday. Bachmann said, "That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress," said Bachmann, "and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions."

Britain's 'toxic ship' returns from Brazil --Waste shipment illegally exported from UK had prompted UN complaint 22 Aug 2009 A massive shipment of toxic waste, alleged to have been illegally exported from the UK to Brazil, arrived back in Britain yesterday after its discovery prompted an angry complaint to the United Nations from the Brazilian authorities. The 1,400 tonnes of rubbish were found in three Brazilian ports in July, in 89 containers believed to have been exported from Britain under the guise of recyclable plastic.

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Change we can deXeive in: C.I.A. Said to Use Blackwater to Put Bombs on Drones --Blackwater, now Xe Services, has grown through government work, even as it attracted criticism and allegations of brutality in Iraq. 21 Aug 2009 From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s [alleged] leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees. The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors mercenaries assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

CIA hired Blackwater for assassination programme, sources say --Blackwater staff recruited in 2004 for secret plan 21 Aug 2009 The CIA enlisted the notorious security firm Blackwater in a secret programme to hunt and kill 'al-Qaida' leaders, US intelligence sources confirmed today. Blackwater staff, many of whom are former US special forces and CIA members, were recruited in 2004 as part of the programme, estimated to have costs millions of dollars. However, the New York Times, which broke the story, said it was unclear whether Blackwater had been engaged to carry out assassinations or simply to help with intelligence-gathering, planning and training.

Detainees Shown CIA Officers' Photos --Justice Dept. Looking Into Whether Attorneys Broke Law at Guantanamo 21 Aug 2009 The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees prisoners charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Investigators are looking into allegations that laws protecting classified information were breached when three lawyers showed their clients the photographs, the sources said. The lawyers were apparently attempting to identify CIA officers and contractors mercenaries involved in the agency's interrogation of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in facilities outside the United States, where the agency employed harsh techniques torture... At a hearing in July, the audio feed was cut when a lawyer for Ramzi Binalshibh, one of the alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators, mentioned sleep deprivation, one of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used at the CIA's black sites.

'The CIA does not publicly discuss where facilities associated with its past detention program may or may not have been located.' Officials: Lithuania Hosted Secret CIA Prison to Get 'Our Ear' --CIA told ABC News that reporting location of now-closed prison was 'irresponsible' 20 Aug 2009 A third European country has been identified to ABC News as providing the CIA with facilities for a secret prison for high-value al Qaeda suspects: Lithuania, the former Soviet state. Former CIA officials directly involved or briefed on the highly classified program tell ABC News that Lithuanian officials provided the CIA with a building on the outskirts of Vilnius, the country's capital, where as many as eight suspects were held for more than a year, until late 2005 when they were moved because of public disclosures about the program. Flight logs viewed by ABC News confirm that CIA planes made repeated flights into Lithuania during that period.

Federal judge limits use of hearsay evidence in Guantanamo cases 20 Aug 2009 Judge Reggie Walton of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling Wednesday that severely curtails the federal government's ability to use hearsay evidence in trials against Guantanamo Bay detainees prisoners... The government had argued that hearsay was broadly permitted by the US Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. In his opinion, Walton disagreed.

Bush admin pressured ex-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge to raise terror warnings pre-'election' --'Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by Rumsfeld.' 20 Aug 2009 Top advisers to George W. Bush pressed for a politically-motivated terror alert a few days before the 2004 election, ex-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge charges in a new book. In a chapter of "The Test Of Our Times" titled "The Politics of Terrorism," Ridge alleges ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft argued for an Orange Alert -- or "high" threat -- because of an Oct. 29, 2004, video by 'Osama Bin Laden.'

Ridge reveals pressure to raise alert level before 2004 'election' --DHS pressured to connect homeland security to 'war on terror' 20 Aug 2009 Tom Ridge, President [sic] Bush's first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is out with a new book next month... Ridge writes in The Test of Our Times that he "effectively thwarted a plan to raise the national security alert just before the 2004 election." He also writes that the DHS was pressured to connect homeland security to the international "war on terror" and says he lost in a turf battle over his attempt to integrate DHS with the FEMA disaster management before Hurricane Katrina.

German Party Calls for Plan for Removal of Troops From Afghanistan 21 Aug 2009 After ignoring the issue of Afghanistan for much of the federal election campaign so far, the Free Democrats, an opposition party that hopes to join Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in the next government, have called for a plan to bring home the 4,500 German troops serving in the NATO force there. "The next government must formulate a precise plan that spells out how a pull-out of the German Army over the coming years would look," Jürgen Koppelin, a federal legislator and defense expert for the Free Democrats, said in a newspaper interview Wednesday.

Afghan Vote's Reports of Low Turnout May Hurt Karzai's Chances 21 Aug 2009 Voters in Afghanistan’s presidential 'election' may have failed to deliver the increased turnout sought by Afghan and U.S. officials, hindering efforts to win a broader mandate for the government as it battles Taliban militants.

Over 50 killed on Afghan election day 21 Aug 2009 More than 50 people have been killed throughout Afghanistan, as voters went to the polls to 'elect' a new president to lead the country out of militant-related violence. Nine policemen and nine civilians died and 14 law officers and 13 other people were wounded in the polling violence on Thursday, Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said, DPA reported.

Va. soldier dies after being shot in Afghanistan 20 Aug 2009 A soldier from Virginia has been fatally shot in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense said yesterday that Army Sgt. 1st Class William B. Woods Jr., 31, of Chesapeake died Sunday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. The department said Woods had been taken to Germany after being shot two days earlier while on patrol in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

Three killed in US drone attack on Pakistan 21 Aug 2009 A missile fired from an un-manned US drone has killed at least three people in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, officials say. "A missile hit a house at 3:50 a.m. on Friday (2150 GMT Thursday). It was a drone attack. The missile targeted a house in Dandey Darda Khel," a security official told AFP.

At least 30 killed, nearly 200 injured in another spate of bombings in Iraq 20 Aug 2009 string of bombings Thursday south of Baghdad killed at least 30 people and wounded nearly 200. Iraqi officials sought to get Baghdad under control Thursday, heightening security and arresting 11 police and military officers as part of an investigation into how insurgents [Xe terrorists] managed to park truck bombs in front of two government ministries Wednesday in attacks that killed 95 people and wounded as many as 1,203.

Blast kills 2, wounds 10 in Baghdad 20 Aug 2009 A bomb planted on a bicycle has exploded at a market in central Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 10 others a day after twin fatal blasts in the capital. Security and medical officials said that the blast hit the commercial area of Hafiz al-Qazi at the al-Rasheed street in central Baghdad, causing damages to several nearby shops and buildings on Thursday.

Israeli troops brutally attack cameraman filming raid 20 Aug 2009 Israeli soldiers brutally attack a number of peace activists, who were documenting an overnight raid on a Palestinian house in the West Bank town of Bil'in. The incident happened in the early hours of Thursday as 25 Israeli soldiers, with their faces painted black, were raiding the house of Mohammad Abu Rahma -- a member of the village's Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements.

Was Freed Lockerbie Bomber a Patsy? By Robert Schlesinger 20 Aug 2009 Scotland today released terminally ill Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of blowing up Pan Am 103 on December 21, 1988. The decision was made on the grounds of compassion... But there are some who believe that al-Megrahi should never have been convicted in the first place, that he was, to use the Lee Harvey Oswald-ism, a patsy. Journalist Nathan Thrall laid out the case here in January, a few days after the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

Crown fights to keep 48 pieces of Lockerbie trial evidence secret 19 Feb 2009 Prosecutors are trying to keep secret 48 pieces of evidence relating to the Lockerbie trial, including a secret fax that could discredit a key Crown witness. Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 bombing, yesterday began a challenge over material they believe will free their terminally ill client. But the Crown Office and the UK Advocate General are fighting against disclosure, claiming that in some cases the evidence does not exist. The Herald can today reveal that the first item on the list is a fax which, the Libyan's defence team claims, places a fundamental question mark against the original trial testimony of Tony Gauci, who sold clothes later found in the wreckage of PanAm 103 at Lockerbie.

Suit filed over mass arrest during DNC 20 Aug 2009 Eight people who were arrested on the second day of the Democratic National Convention during a mass protest filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver last night alleging wrongful arrest. The plaintiffs who filed their case in Denver District Court - are represented by lawyers for the ACLU of Colorado and include a legal observer for the People's Law Project, a journalist, students documenting the protest and onlookers along 15th Street and Cleveland Place on Aug. 25.

Colleges Warned About Fall Flu Outbreaks on Campus 20 Aug 2009 Federal officials said Thursday that colleges should consider suspending classes this fall if the H1N1 flu virus begins to cause severe illness in a significantly larger share of students than last spring. A guidance document released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses "self-isolation" of sick students and employees until a full day after fever subsides.

Doctors warn: swine flu vaccine poses too many risks 20 Aug 2009 MARK COLVIN: The country's top infectious diseases body has written to the Government to warn that the swine flu vaccine is being distributed too hastily, with too many risks for the public. The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases says the vaccine will come in multi-dose vials. It says these have been shown to transmit infection, spread HIV and hepatitis and even cause death. The Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the Government expects to receive two million doses by the end of next week, and a widespread immunisation program could start by mid-September. But the infectious diseases doctors say the swine flu threat has now passed, and there's no need for urgent mass vaccination.

Infectious disease risk in swine flu jabs 21 Aug 2009 Leading infectious disease experts have called on the Federal Government to abandon its mass swine-flu vaccination plan because of fears the vaccine is a contamination risk that could spread blood-borne diseases. Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday announced that the Government would start deploying its first batch of swine-flu vaccine in coming weeks. But in a letter sent to Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop, the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases expresses deep concern about CSL's use of multi-dose vials for the vaccine and urged the Government to abandon its plan until it had single-dose vials.

Two million shots for most at risk of swine flu 20 Aug 2009 Millions of Australians will be vaccinated 'against' the deadly swine flu within weeks... Federal health authorities are still awaiting safety data from vaccine manufacturer CSL before approving the massive vaccination program, which will be closely watched overseas. It is believed the Government is not fully satisfied with initial information provided by the company.

Quarantine threat to non-immunised kids 20 Aug 2009 The Ministry of Health says non-immunised children may be quarantined at home to contain the spread of measles. It is renewing calls for parents to get their children immunised against the disease, or risk having well children sent home from school.

Police face calls to scrap thousands of DNA files --Ministers are under pressure to delete the records of at least 850,000 people who have never been convicted of an offence. 20 Aug 2009 The DNA records of hundreds of thousands of innocent people should be deleted from the national database, said Damian Green, a Tory MP, after he won a battle with police to have his profile removed. Mr Green, the shadow immigration minister, demanded that his details be erased after no charges were brought against him following his arrest over Whitehall leaks last year.

U.S.'s 'Cash for Clunkers' Program Ending Monday 21 Aug 2009 The government, acknowledging that the "Cash for Clunkers" program was running out of money, declared it a success Thursday and killed it off, effective 8 p.m. Monday. After just a week, the program, which began July 24 and was expected to last until Nov. 1, ran out of the $1 billion originally appropriated by Congress. An additional $2 billion was approved two weeks ago, and it was supposed to last until Labor Day. Now that's almost gone, too.

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C.I.A. Sought Blackwater's Help in Its Assassination Plans 20 Aug 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors mercenaries from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate [alleged] top operatives of 'Al Qaeda,' according to current and former government officials. Executives from Blackwater, which has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not capture or kill any terrorist suspects. The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.'s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.

FBI: Arm Boston Police With M-16s to Prepare for Terror Attack 18 Aug 2009 An FBI official said Boston police officers should be armed with assault rifles to make the city more prepared for a terrorist attack. Warren Bamford, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Boston, said Tuesday that he is baffled by opposition to a proposal to give some neighborhood police officers the semiautomatic weapons. In May, Boston Mayor Tom Menino criticized a proposal to arm up to 200 officers with M-16s that the police department had ordered from the U.S. military. Menino said only specially trained units should have the guns.

F.B.I. Agents' Role Is Transformed by Terror Fight 19 Aug 2009 Spending two days with the 21-member threat squad, known as Counterterrorism 6, or CT-6, offered a rare window on the daily workings of an F.B.I. transformed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The bureau now ranks fighting terrorism as its No. 1 priority. It has doubled the number of agents assigned to counterterrorism duties to roughly 5,000 people, and has created new squads across the country that focus more on deterring and disrupting terrorism than on solving crimes. Of the 5,500 leads that the squad has pursued since it was formed five years ago, only 5 percent have been found credible enough to be sent to permanent F.B.I. squads for longer-term investigations, said Supervisory Special Agent Kristen von KleinSmid, head of the squad.

Australia: No-warrant terrorism raids proposed 12 Aug 2009 The Federal Government has unveiled plans to toughen its counter-terrorism laws, including a change to allow police to break into a suspect's home without getting approval from a judge. It also wants to make it easier to stop suspects getting out of jail on bail. But the Government is planning to put a cap on the amount of time suspects can be held without charge.

Iraqi bombers infiltrate Green Zone 19 Aug 2009 At least 95 people have been killed in Iraqi bombings, which took place in a wave of attacks in Baghdad. A massive truck bomb exploded outside the finance ministry in the capital's northern neighbourhood of Waziriyah. Apart from many dead, more than 400 were injured.

Iraq bombs kill 95 20 Aug 2009 At least 95 people were killed and 536 injured by two huge [Xe?] truck bombs in Baghdad yesterday. Government buildings were hit in co-ordinated attacks that rocked the Iraqi capital.

Public Opinion in U.S. Turns Against the War --New poll comes amid widespread speculation that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will request more troops 20 Aug 2009 A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll... When it comes to the baseline question, 42 percent of Americans say the United States is winning in Afghanistan; 36 percent, say it is losing.

Media blackout imposed as Afghans await polls 19 Aug 2009 Afghanistan has called on local and international media outlets to refrain from reporting violent incidents a day ahead of crucial presidential 'elections.' "All domestic and international media agencies are requested to refrain from broadcasting any incidence of violence during the election process form 6:00 am to 8:00pm on 20 August 2009," a government statement said Wednesday.

Kandahar blast kills 6 ahead of elections 20 Aug 2009 A blast has left six people killed in the Afghan city of Kandahar as 17 million people are getting ready to vote in the presidential 'elections.' No group has so far claimed responsibility for the early Thursday attack, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Afghanistan war claims another 8 U.S. soldiers' lives 19 Aug 2009 The bloodshed in war-torn Afghanistan continues to surge. The deaths of eight American soldiers and 6 election workers have been announced in the past 24 hours.

Pakistani VOA journalist released from U.S. detention 19 Aug 2009 Immigration officials released a Voice of America journalist Wednesday after deciding he could apply to remain in the U.S. because of a "credible fear" of being tortured or persecuted in his native Pakistan, his attorney said. Early last month, Rahman Bunairee's house in a northern Pakistani village was blown up.

North Korea 'wants direct N-talks with US' 20 Aug 2009 A top US official claims that North Korea has called for fresh negotiations on its nuclear program and called for direct talks with the US. "They (North Koreans) want a new format. And the format they want is direct talks with the United States. Now, maybe a compromise might be some kind of direct talks within the six-party format, but, again, this is something that diplomats should negotiate," New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson told CNN on Wednesday.

Tech Gunman's 'Missing' Records Released 20 Aug 2009 The missing mental health records of Seung Hui Cho, released Wednesday afternoon, provide more evidence that Virginia Tech's counseling center and the state's mental health system failed to recognize, communicate and treat the gunman's increasingly erratic behavior... On Dec. 14, 2005, the day Cho was released from a psychiatric hospital, was declared a danger for threatening to kill himself and was ordered by a judge to receive involuntary outpatient treatment at Cook Counseling Center, the therapist who saw him there did not evaluate his mood.

N.Y. health facilities required to provide flu shots, report vaccine refusals 19 Aug 2009 New York’s State Hospital Review and Planning Council has approved an emergency regulation requiring each healthcare facility to provide or arrange for influenza vaccinations for personnel, at no cost to its workers, either at the facility or elsewhere. The vaccinations and appropriate documentation need to happen by Nov. 30 of each year, the regulation said... The state’s nursing homes must offer flu vaccines to staff and residents and report any refusals to be vaccinated.

Pregnant Women in D.C. Area Cautious About Shot 20 Aug 2009 They are usually urged not to drink coffee, sip wine or pop aspirin. But now pregnant women find themselves high atop the federal government's priority list for those who ought to receive the new [deadly] swine flu vaccine -- a prospect that some mothers-to-be are greeting with caution. A surprisingly low number of pregnant women -- less than 15 percent -- do so, according to the CDC.

CSL Fiscal Year Profit Jumps 63% Boosted By Flu Vaccine Orders 18 Aug 2009 CSL Ltd., the world's second-largest maker of human plasma products, said Wednesday full-year net profit rose 63% boosted by flu vaccine orders and it expects further profit growth ahead. Profit in the year ended June 30 rose to A$1.15 billion, from A$701.8 million a year earlier, as total revenue grew 32% to A$5.04 billion, from A$3.80 billion in fiscal year 2008.

Obama Calls Health Plan a 'Moral Obligation' 20 Aug 2009 President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as "a core ethical and moral obligation," imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans... As the president returned to the health care debate after two days of silence, the administration [insanely] encouraged Republicans to take part in the negotiations. Still, Democratic leaders moved ahead with plans to advance a measure next month with or without Republican cooperation.

Why Funding for Abortions is Essential to the Nation's Health By Jim Fetzer 17 Aug 2009 Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has taken the stand that federal taxpayer-funding for abortions is immoral... A debate ensued between Shane Matthews, a Ron Paul supporter, and me, where I contended that staking out a position that would severely limit a woman's right to choose is an absurd position for a prominent libertarian--who is an ob/gyn physician, to boot!--to defend. The situation is laden with irony, moreover, because the weight of the evidence, in my estimation, not only demonstrates that Ron Paul's position is indefensible but that, on the contrary, denying abortion funding in a tax-payer funded health care plan would be profoundly immoral.

UBS to Provide Data on 4,450 Accounts in Tax Accord 19 Aug 2009 -- UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, will divulge information on 4,450 accounts to settle a U.S. lawsuit that sought names of American clients suspected of evading taxes. Switzerland and the U.S. announced the agreement today, resolving a six-month legal tussle that put unprecedented pressure on Swiss banking secrecy.

Texas bank hit by California dreaming 19 Aug 0209 Guaranty Bank, an Austin-based savings institution with $13.5 billion in assets, is expected to be seized by the FDIC by the end of the week. According to multiple reports late Wednesday, Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV) has won the bidding for Guaranty.

New limits on credit card issuers begin to take effect (finally) 18 Aug 2009 The credit card legislation signed by President Barack Obama in May provides consumers their first morsel of relief on Thursday when card issuers must begin giving more notice before imposing rate increases or charging late fees. Beginning Aug. 20, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 increases the required notice before raising credit card interest rates to 45 days from 15 days.

'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Bill churns in Atlantic --Forecasters: Bill may strengthen further over next two days 19 Aug 2009 Described as "an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane," Hurricane Bill was churning closer to the Atlantic island of Bermuda on Wednesday, forecasters said... As of 5 p.m. ET, Bill's center was about 335 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands and about 970 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, the hurricane center said.

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CLG Exclusive: Barack Obama: Change We Can Deceive In --A critique from the Left By Lori Price 19 Aug 2009 President Barack Obama is selling out the left wing of his party - those who contributed $750 million to his campaign for 'change' - quicker than a Blue Cross rate rise in August. Mr. Obama won the Democratic nomination -- and the presidency -- on a wave of anti-Bush sentiment and the promise of 'change we can believe in.' But when the assertions and actions of the Obama Administration are critically examined, a conclusion can be drawn that the key difference -- thus far -- between Barack Obama and George W. Bush is their choice in breed of White House pet. 'Bipartisanship,' the bane of Obama's first eight months as president, is providing the groundwork for an extended (albeit educated, charming) Bush-light Administration. Those of us on the left are fearing a Bush-ultra Administration, wrapped in populist rhetoric, and disguised as everything but the same.

Afghan poll media blackout urged 18 Aug 2009 Afghanistan has called on domestic and foreign media not to cover any violence on the day of the presidential election in case such reports scare away voters. The government urged a media blackout on any attacks from 0600 to 2000 during polling on Thursday and asked reporters to avoid the scene of such incidents. Human-rights activists and journalists condemned the move.

Suicide car bomb strikes Kabul in pre-vote violence 18 Aug 2009 A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a NATO convoy in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, killing at least eight people in a wave of violence two days before an 'election' the Taliban has vowed to disrupt. Rockets also hit Kabul, several rural polling stations were attacked, a provincial council candidate was gunned down and three election workers were killed by a bomb in violence ahead of Thursday's vote.

2 U.S. soldiers killed in E Afghanistan 18 Aug 2009 Two American soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed and three others were injured by roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, according to a statement issued by ISAF. "Two ISAF service members were killed and three others were injured after their convoy struck an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan today," said the statement.

Obama tells veterans Afghanistan is a 'war of necessity' 18 Aug 2009 Speaking to more than 5,500 veterans, President Obama on Monday renewed his commitment to dismantling 'Al Qaeda' in Afghanistan -- a struggle he said was "fundamental to the defense of our people" -- and offered assurances that his healthcare overhaul would not touch veterans' medical benefits. "This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity," Bush Obama told the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars conference -- cautioning that the insurgency would not be defeated overnight. "Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans."

Pakistan needs "months" for Waziristan push: general 18 Aug 2009 Pakistan will need months to prepare for a ground offensive against the Taliban in their South Waziristan stronghold on the Afghan border, a senior army commander said on Tuesday, citing equipment shortages. U.S. President Barack Obama's visiting special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said Washington was trying to expedite delivery of the equipment requested by the Pakistani army, including helicopters and parts.

BP, Iraq officials meet over Rumaila oil deal 17 Aug 2009 A technical team from oil major BP has met Iraqi oil engineers as part of preparations to sign a deal to develop Iraq's giant Rumaila field, senior Iraqi oil officials said on Monday. In July, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said his company expected to finalise the deal by the end of the year.

Doctor kidnapped, two killed in northern Iraq 18 Aug 2009 A Christian doctor was kidnapped and two people were killed in attacks by armed gunmen [Xe?] in the restive northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, police said. The doctor, a paediatrician, was abducted from his car by unidentified gunmen as he drove home in the oil-rich city, a local police official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Homosexuals lined up and killed in Iraq 17 Aug 2009 Human Rights Watch has reported that Iraqi homosexuals are being rounded up and killed by local militia. The systematic campaign has spread from Baghdad to many other cities, where the bodies of gay men have been found, dumped in garbage or hung as warnings on the street.

Raytheon eyes new anti-missile system for Israel 18 Aug 2009 Raytheon Co, the world's biggest missile maker, said it was developing a new system that, if deployed, could boost Israel's defenses against Iran as soon as 2013 and beef up anti-missile bulwarks worldwide. The plan is to create a land-based version of Raytheon's existing Standard Missile-3, a mainstay of U.S. missile defense from the sea.

Israeli troops 'kidnap' Palestinians for organs 18 Aug 2009 A leading Swedish newspaper claims Israeli soldiers kidnap Palestinians to steal their organs and sell them in the black market. In an article titled They plunder the organs of our sons, the daily Aftonbladet said Israeli soldiers abduct young Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and return their bodies to their families after removing their organs.

Protesters want UC Berkeley law professor fired 17 Aug 2009 Anti-war activists protested Monday at the University of California, Berkeley to call for the firing of a law professor who co-wrote legal memos that critics say were used to justify the torture of suspected terrorists. Campus police arrested at least four people who refused to leave the university's law school building. The demonstrators said John Yoo should be dismissed, disbarred and prosecuted for war crimes for his work as a Bush administration attorney from 2001 to 2003, when he helped craft legal theories for waterboarding and other harsh interrogation torture techniques.

Attorney: FBI trained NJ blogger to incite others 18 Aug 2009 A New Jersey blogger facing charges in two states for allegedly making threats against lawmakers and judges was trained by the FBI on how to be deliberately provocative, his attorney said Tuesday. Hal Turner worked for the FBI from 2002 to 2007 as an "agent provocateur" and was taught by the agency "what he could say that wouldn't be crossing the line," defense attorney Michael Orozco said.

Ky. Office of Homeland Security Will Feature 'Eyes & Ears' At State Fair 18 Aug 2009 Eyes & Ears on Kentucky, an anonymous telephone tip line for reporting suspicious activity, will be featured by the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville on Aug. 20-30. Eyes & Ears enables anyone to report suspicious activity that might logically pose a threat to individuals, community or the commonwealth of Kentucky. Dialing the tip line: (866) 393-6659, connects callers with the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center. Information is then forwarded to the appropriate law-enforcement agency, other appropriate first responders, or because of details provided, to an intelligence specialist for quick analysis.

Man Tasered in stop by state cops dies 18 Aug 2009 A Philadelphia man who was Tasered by a police officer during a traffic stop Friday after he and his female companion allegedly assaulted state troopers, died from unknown causes Sunday morning at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The circumstances of Hakim Jackson's death are being investigated by the state police.

Swine flu closes Ky. school for a week 18 Aug 2009 A central Kentucky public school has been closed for the week after students and teachers became ill and an eastern Kentucky school is shut down because of swine flu. In Boyle County, Junction City Elementary School is closed until next week. School officials said dozens of students and several teachers were absent on Monday -- most of them with flulike symptoms.

A third of nurses will refuse to have the swine flu jab 18 Aug 2009 Up to a third of nurses will say no to the swine flu jab because of concerns over its safety, a poll has found. NHS workers are first in line for the vaccine, but a survey of 1,500 nurses found many will reject it. The poll, by Nursing Times magazine, will raise questions over the Government's planned mass vaccination programme.

Tamiflu puts 600,000 at greater risk of a stroke 19 Aug 2009 GPs have been put on alert over fears that Tamiflu can put some people at greater risk of suffering a stroke. A Government watchdog is concerned that the anti-swine flu drug can interact with the blood-thinning medication warfarin, which is taken by more than 600,000 people in the UK. The combination can dangerously thin the blood, putting patients at risk of uncontrolled bleeding which can lead to a stroke.

Congress Discovers Another Forged Advocacy Letter 18 Aug 2009 A Congressional committee's inquiry has turned up a 13th forged letter criticizing a climate-change bill, this time in the name of a Charlottesville senior center, and sent to a lawmaker by a Washington lobbying firm. The letter to U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) was released Tuesday by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. The founder of the lobbying firm that sent the letter, Bonner and Associates, said the missive was discovered Monday during a internal review by his company's law firm, Akin Gump, launched in response to the House committee's investigation.

White House: Obama still backs public health plan 18 Aug 2009 President Barack Obama isn't backing off on support for a public health-insurance plan, his spokesman said Tuesday, after his health and human services secretary said over the weekend that the public option wasn't "the essential element" of health-care reform. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama is open to ideas if others have them but that Obama prefers the public plan.

Liberal Democrats fight U.S. healthcare shift 17 Aug 2009 Liberal Democrats warned President Barack Obama on Monday that a retreat on support for a government-run health insurance plan could endanger passage of major healthcare reform in Congress this year. The head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus [Raul Grijalva, D-AZ], which represents more than 80 members of the House of Representatives and two senators, said a majority of the group would oppose any bill that did not include a government-run insurance plan.

Conservative commentator Robert Novak dies aged 78 18 Aug 2009 Robert Novak, a conservative political columnist known as the "Prince of Darkness" and who unleashed a political firestorm by publishing the name of an undercover CIA operative, died on Tuesday. He was 78. Novak's most famous column, in July 2003, named as a CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose husband Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, had publicly criticized the Iraq war.

Cold summer weather means healthier polar bears 18 Aug 2009 A colder summer has been good for Hudson Bay polar bears. Experts say the sea ice has lasted longer than it has in years, giving the bears more time to hunt and feed. Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta says it's good news in an area where the polar bear population has declined by 25 per cent. He says even a few extra weeks on the ice can make a huge difference to the survival of the bears. But experts say this doesn't mean polar bears are no longer under threat from climate change.

Hurricane Bill Strengthens to Category 3 Storm 18 Aug 2009 Hurricane Bill strengthened to a Category 3 storm Tuesday evening, making it the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season. The National Hurricane Center said people in the Leeward Islands should monitor Bill's progress.

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Armed men at Obama speech: Man carrying assault rifle attends Obama protest 17 Aug 2009 About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with an AR-15 assault rifle, milled among protesters outside an event where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday in Phoenix. It's the latest incident of gun-rights advocates visibly displaying firearms near the president. Phoenix police say the people with guns, including a man carrying the assault rifle, didn't need permits. [See: Guns OK Outside Obama Town Hall; Kerry Pins Brought Arrest At Bush Rally By Lori Price 12 Aug 2009.]

Legal battle over British detainees --They have never been charged with an offence. 18 Aug 2009 A human rights organisation has announced the start of legal action against the Government over questions of alleged rendition to Afghanistan. Reprieve will demand the Ministry of Defence gives answers about the treatment of two men arrested by the British in Iraq in 2004 who have since been held at the US detention facility at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan. They have never been charged with an offence, and the periodic review of their status by the US military has been characterised by a US federal judge as falling "well short of what the Supreme Court found inadequate at Guantanamo". Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, said: "These two men have been held in appalling conditions for five years, and the Government chose to do nothing."

Romania denies reports of secret CIA prisons in its territory 14 Aug 2009 Romania denied the reports that it hosted a secret prison of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Bucharest, saying the allegations groundless, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alin Serbanescu said on Thursday. The New York Times reported on Thursday that a newly-decorated building on a busy street in Bucharest was one of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

Iraq May Hold Vote On U.S. Withdrawal --U.S. has quietly lobbied against plebiscite 18 Aug 2009 U.S. troops could be forced by Iraqi voters to withdraw a year ahead of schedule under a referendum the Iraqi government backed Monday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's move appeared to disregard the wishes of the U.S. government, which has quietly lobbied against the plebiscite. American officials fear it could lead to the annulment of an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay until the end of 2011, and instead force them out by the start of that year. The Maliki government's announcement came on the day that the top U.S. general in Iraq proposed a plan to deploy troops to disputed areas in the restive north, a clear indication that the military 'sees a continuing need' for U.S. forces even if Iraqis no longer want them here.

US military proposes tripartite forces for N.Iraq --Idea might require modification of a U.S.-Iraqi security pact to allow U.S. troops to return to towns and villages 17 Aug 2009 The U.S. military commander in Iraq said on Monday he had proposed setting up security teams formed of Iraqi, Kurdish and U.S. forces to protect inflame volatile areas disputed by Kurds and Arabs from insurgent attacks. The tripartite arrangement, if approved, would be "a little bit" like a U.S. peacekeeping mission between the rival forces as they face off in a potentially explosive dispute over land, power and oil, Gen. Ray Odierno said. The Iraqi government may have to grant U.S. troops an exemption from the bilateral security agreement under which U.S. troops retreated to rural bases at the end of June and which sets an end-2011 deadline for a full U.S. withdrawal, he said.

U.S. troops may be sent to Iraq's Arab-Kurdish 'trigger line' 18 Aug 2009 The U.S. military is proposing to deploy troops for the first time in a strip of disputed territory in northern Iraq, the top American general in Iraq said Monday. Army Gen. Ray Odierno said the proposal would see U.S. troops deployed alongside Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga militiamen on the Arab-Kurdish fault line in the northern province of Nineveh, the scene of several recent high-profile [Xe?] bombings.

British forces to remain in Afghanistan for another five years, says Richard Dannatt 17 Aug 2009 General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, has said British forces could remain committed to operations in Afghanistan for another five years. Sir Richard said: "We have got to get it right. It will take a bit of time. We will go on doing, as the military, what we need to do until the Afghan capability is good enough to take over from us. That will continue for years. I don't want to put a figure on that but certainly two to four years, three to five years, of this kind of level of commitment by the military."

Mother of soldier killed in Afghanistan slams govt 17 Aug 2009 The mother of the 200th British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan urged Tuesday all members of parliament to "get out on the front line" to see how desperate troops were for resources. Hazel Hunt, whose 21-year-old son died from bomb blast injuries on Saturday, said politicians have "short changed" the army fighting in Afghanistan and the "troops are suffering because of it."

Suicide soars among US soldiers 17 Aug 2009 As the US government throws its weight about the globe, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fall before Uncle Sam's swinging scythe. But, those at the cutting edge of the scythe are falling too, often by their own hands, in the inescapable confines of their homes or quarters in the barracks back on the US soil. In 2008, 143 soldiers committed suicide, the highest number in the three decades that the army has kept records, reports Washington Post.

Supply Officer Charged Over Iraq Work 18 Aug 2009 In a war burdened with seemingly bottomless corruption, the crimes allegedly carried out by Captain Williams, of Clarksville, Tenn., a member of the celebrated 101st Airborne Division, may appear of little significance: taking at least $20,000 to award favored companies more than half a million dollars in contracts for things as varied as copiers and guard towers in 2005 and 2006. But the indictment, handed up last Wednesday in the federal court for the Southern District of New York, provides a rare window into the troublesome question of how military and civilian contracting officers have so often managed to set up corrupt deals at the heart of the United States enterprise in Iraq, and more recently in Afghanistan.

U.S. group invests tax-free millions in East Jerusalem land 17 Aug 2009 American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a nonprofit organization that sends millions of shekels worth of donations to Israel every year for clearly political purposes, such as buying Arab properties in East Jerusalem, is registered in the United States as an organization that funds educational institutes in Israel. The U.S. tax code enables nonprofits to receive tax-exempt status if they engage in educational, charitable, religious or scientific activity. However, such organizations are forbidden to engage in any political activity... Financing land purchases in East Jerusalem would, therefore, seem to violate the organization's tax-exempt status.

Minot base forms new unit --The Air Force cited Minot AFB as part of an overall deterioration in managing the nation's nuclear arsenal. 17 Aug 2009 An administrative unit that will supervise the maintenance of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal will be activated on Tuesday at a North Dakota Air Force base. The Minot Air Force Base was chosen in June to be the headquarters of the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group. Col. David Milner Jr., the group commander, says the unit will consist of about a dozen military and civilian personnel. The North Dakota base got attention after a series of missteps, including a cross-country flight from Minot in 2007 by an Air Force bomber 'mistakenly' armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

Officials Say Detainee Fatalities Were Missed 18 Aug 2009 More than one in 10 deaths in immigration detention in the last six years have been overlooked and were omitted from an official list of detainee fatalities issued to Congress in March, the Obama administration said Monday. The administration added 10 previously unreported deaths to the official roster and disclosed an 11th, which occurred Friday... What Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials call "the death roster" stands at 104 since October 2003, up from the 90 that were on the list the agency gave to Congress this spring.

'A swine flu jab was blamed for more deaths than the disease itself.' Swine flu vaccine linked to deadly breathing disease 16 Aug 2009 Doctors have been put on alert for a deadly disease linked to swine flu jabs. The Health Protection Agency has told neurologists to look out for a rise in Guillain-Barr Syndrome - in which paralysis of the breathing muscles can cause death by suffocation - when vaccination starts in the next few weeks. The link was made following a mass immunisation programme in the U.S., in which a swine flu jab was blamed for more deaths than the disease itself.

DH director of immunisation tells nurses they have a 'duty' to have swine flu jab --Survey reveals one third of frontline nurses do not want the jab 17 Aug 2009 The Department of Health’s director of immunisation Professor David Salisbury has said nurses have a responsibility to be vaccinated against swine flu, after a Nursing Times survey reveals one third of frontline nurses do not want the jab. Up to a third of frontline nurses are not currently planning to get immunised against swine flu when the vaccine becomes available later this year, a snapshot survey by Nursing Times reveals.

Doctors on lookout for Guillain-Barré symptoms in swine flu patients 16 Aug 2009 Doctors treating swine flu patients have been instructed to monitor the incidence of a rare nerve disease that has been linked to the body’s immune response to flu-like illnesses. Neurologists will study the occurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which affects the nervous system and can cause temporary paralysis, during the swine flu pandemic and vaccination programme.

President Obama is the real target of health care protesters, not policy By Mike Lupica 17 Aug 2009 We hear that all of this is democracy in action. It's not. It's boom-box democracy, people thinking that if they somehow make enough noise on this subject, they can make Obama into a one-term President. The most violent opposition isn't directed at his ideas about health care reform. It is directed at him. It is about him. They couldn't make enough of a majority to beat the Harvard-educated black guy out of the White House, so they will beat him on an issue where they see him as being most vulnerable. In the process, they'll come after him on health care the way Kenneth Starr went after Bill Clinton on oral sex in the Oval Office.

Public Option Called Essential --Democratic Lawmakers Express Concern 18 Aug 2009 Several leading Democrats voiced concern Monday about an apparent White House shift on health-care reform, objecting to signals from senior administration officials that they would abandon the idea of a government-run insurance plan if it lacked the backing to pass Congress. In the Senate, where negotiations are now focused, John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.) said that a public option, as the plan has become known, is "a must." Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.) said that "without a public option, I don't see how we will bring real change to a system that has made good health care a privilege for those who can afford it."

UBS to reveal about 5,000 names in U.S. deal: source 17 Aug 2009 UBS will give U.S. authorities the names of about 5,000 wealthy Americans suspected of using the Swiss bank to evade taxes under a deal that will be formalized this week, a U.S. legal source said on Monday. The source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the agreement, said it was due to be announced jointly by the Swiss and U.S. governments on Wednesday.

3 Indicted in Theft of 130 Million Card Numbers 18 Aug 2009 The man who prosecutors said had masterminded some of the most brazen thefts of credit and debit card numbers in history was charged on Monday with an even larger set of digital break-ins. In an indictment, the Justice Department said that Albert Gonzalez, of Miami and two unnamed Russian conspirators made off with more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers from late 2006 to early 2008. Prosecutors called it the largest case of computer crime and identity theft ever prosecuted.

US hacker charged with stealing 130m credit card IDs --Former secret service worker in jail in New York accused of record scam against retail companies 18 Aug 2009 A serial hacker has been charged with carrying out the largest theft of credit card identities ever recorded in the US, in a sophisticated scam in which he and accomplices allegedly stole at least 130m accounts from big retail companies. Albert Gonzalez, who once worked with the US secret service, is accused of working with two unidentified Russian conspirators to hack into the databases of retail chains, selling the information around the world.

Poll: 57% don't see stimulus working 17 Aug 2009 Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation's economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more --60% --doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.

Scalia says there's nothing unconstitutional about executing the innocent. By Ian Millhiser 17 Aug 2009 In light of the very real evidence that Davis could be innocent of the crime that placed him on death row, the Supreme Court today invoked a rarely used procedure giving [Troy Anthony] Davis an opportunity to challenge his conviction. Joined by Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, however, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized his colleagues for thinking that mere innocence is grounds to overturn a conviction: This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally cognizable.

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Opharma poised for final sellout: White House appears ready to drop 'public option' 16 Aug 2009 President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run health insurance as part of his ambitious health care proposal. Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives. Such a concession is likely to enrage his liberal supporters but could deliver Obama a much-needed win on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

Sebelius Says Government Insurance Plan Not Essential 16 Aug 2009 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said providing citizens with the option of government-run insurance isn’t essential to the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of U.S. health care. "What’s important is choice and competition," Sebelius said today on CNN’s "State of the Union." The public option itself "is not the essential element."

California board votes to drop healthcare coverage for 60,000 children 14 Aug 2009 Nearly 670,000 children could be dropped by June 30. The announcement by state officials that California has enough cash to stop paying bills with IOUs did little to take the sting out of other budget news Thursday: Tens of thousands of poor children are about to lose their healthcare coverage. A state board voted Thursday to begin terminating health insurance for more than 60,000 children Oct. 1 as a result of the budget amendments signed into law recently by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [R-Enron]. [Oh, but there's *plenty* of money to train Georgian troops and (pretend to) rebuild Afghanistan. Not a *peep* when billions are handed to corpora-terrorist contractors to pour down their sewers, right? Also, where is the town hall outrage when the GOP 'pulls the plug on grand*KIDS?* --LRP]

Three more British soldiers killed in Afghanistan --Three more British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, taking the number of UK personnel killed since operations began in 2001 to 204. 16 Aug 2009 The three, all from The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died on Sunday morning after they were attacked while on patrol near Sangin, the Ministry of Defence said.

British soldier's death brings Afghanistan toll to 200 15 Aug 2009 A soldier who died in the UK from wounds suffered in Afghanistan has become the 200th British serviceman killed since the start of operations in 2002, the Ministry of Defence said.

Four killed in Iraq attacks 16 Aug 2009 At least four people were killed and 18 wounded in a bomb attack in the Iraqi capital on Sunday, an interior ministry official said. Two bombs, one planted inside a restaurant and one outside, tore into diners at around 8:20 pm (1720 GMT) in the east Baghdad neighbourhood of Jadidah, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Mercenaries and murder in Iraq --As private security firms take on more responsibility in Iraq, no amount of regulation can stop tragedies from happening By Eric Stoner 14 Aug 2009 In fact, with no countries officially left in the so-called "coalition of the willing", contractors are now playing a more important role than ever, as the Obama administration begins to slowly scale back the war in Iraq. In June, a Pentagon report revealed that there are still 132,610 contractors in Iraq – effectively doubling the size of the occupation – and that the use of armed "private security contractors" in the country actually increased by 23% during the second quarter of 2009.

Coups we can believe in: US 'involved in Honduras military coup' 16 Aug 2009 The United States was involved in a military coup in Honduras that ousted President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, a top aide to Zelaya says. Before heading to Costa Rica, the Honduran military plane that flew Zelaya into exile stopped to refuel at the Soto Cato air base (Palmerola) where at least 500 US troops are based, said Patricia Valle, the deputy foreign minister of Zelaya. Palmerola is a Honduran air base that houses US troops who according to Washington conduct counter-narcotics operations and other missions in Central America. "The United States was involved in the coup against Zelaya," Valle told The Associated Press on Saturday.

US military denies role in Honduras coup flight 16 Aug 2009 The U.S. military said Sunday its troops in Honduras did not know of and played no role in a flight that took ousted President Manuel Zelaya to exile during a military coup. Zelaya says the Honduran military plane that flew him to Costa Rica on June 28 stopped to refuel at Soto Cano, a Honduran air base that is home to 600 U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen engaged in counter-narcotics operations and other missions in Central America. Zelaya said last week, "Now, there are some elements of the CIA that could have been involved. When they took me by plane to Costa Rica, it was a short flight but the plane made a stop at the Palmerola air base to refuel. Palmerola is a base administered by Honduran and U.S. troops. If it was a short flight, some 40 minutes, why did they have to refuel at Palmerola base?' Palmerola was used by the United States during the Central American civil wars of the 1980s.

Brazil played role in U.S.-backed overthrow of Chile's Allende, document shows --The Chilean leader died during a U.S.-backed overthrow of his elected government in September 1973. 16 Aug 2009 President Nixon's determination to eliminate the socialist government of Salvador Allende led him to offer financial support to efforts by the Brazilian military to undermine the Chilean leader, according to a newly declassified summary of a White House meeting between Nixon and the president of Brazil. The offer of U.S. help came after Medici told Nixon that Brazilian military officers were working with counterparts in Chile and that he thought Chilean armed forces were capable of overthrowing Allende.

New CIA money pit opens: Moussavi Forms 'Grass-Roots' Movement in Iran 16 Aug 2009 The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi announced the formation of a new social and political movement on his Web site on Saturday, following through on a promise made last month and defying a renewed government campaign of intimidation aimed at him and his supporters. The movement is not a political party but a "grass-roots and social network" that will promote 'democracy' and adherence to the law [?!?], Mr. Moussavi wrote in a statement on his site.

North Korea puts military on 'special alert' 17 Aug 2009 North Korea says its military will be on "special alert" because of South Korea's joint military drills with the US. North Korea's army made the announcement Monday, the same day that the country said it was restarting key reconciliation projects with South Korea. The North's army said its troops would go on "a special alert" starting Monday, when South Korean and US militaries planned to start annual computer-simulated war games.

Nuclear riddle of missing ship as pirates demand a £1m ransom 16 Aug 2009 Pirates last night demanded a ransom of almost £1million for the release of the cargo ship which sparked an international search after vanishing from the English Channel a fortnight ago. Police in Finland confirmed the ransom demand was made to the Finnish owners of the 4,000-ton Arctic Sea and that the case was now being treated as 'a hijacking with aggravated extortion'. The ransom demand came as The Mail on Sunday established radiation tests were carried out at the port of Pietarsaari in western Finland, where the Maltese-flagged ship Arctic Sea started its voyage.

Bill Gives DHS Lead on Fed IT Security Policy 14 Aug 2009 A newly revised U.S. Information and Communications Enhancement Act (U.S. ICE), if enacted as is, would grant the Department of Homeland Security unprecedented authority over the development of federal IT security policy. The responsibility to oversee information security among federal agencies would shift to DHS from the White House Office of Management and Budget under revisions of the measure, nicknamed U.S. ICE, that updates IT security guidance detailed in the seven-year-old Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), according to a senior cybersecurity staff member on the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

Feds to Use Wiki For Cybersecurity Collaboration --The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies will use the platform to share operational information on cybersecurity threats and best practices.14 Aug 2009 The Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Center plans to deploy a wiki to facilitate collaboration among federal agencies on cybersecurity. NCSC and other agencies will use the wiki for real-time information sharing on threats, attacks, and responses and as a repository for technical and standards information.

U.S. judge sets trial date for terrorism suspect --Accusations include keeping waterproof socks and raincoats --Suspect faces 70-year prison sentence 12 Aug 2009 A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday set a trial date of November 30 for an American student who was the first person extradited to the United States from Britain on terrorism charges. Syed Hashmi, 29, has pleaded not guilty to charges of supporting al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], which include accusations he kept ponchos, raincoats and waterproof socks in his London apartment knowing they would be passed on by a friend for use by al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. Hashmi was arrested in June 2006 at London's Heathrow Airport and extradited to New York. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 70 years in prison.

Bollywood star held in US airport, fans outraged 16 Aug 2009 Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan said he felt angry and humiliated after he was detained and questioned at a US airport, sparking an uproar in India among his fans. Khan, one of India's best known actors, was enroute to Chicago for a parade to mark the Indian independence day on Saturday when he was pulled aside at Newark airport Friday, he said. "I was really hassled perhaps because of my name being Khan. These guys just wouldn't let me through," he said in a text message to reporters in India.

Pharma-terrorists fight over their WMDs: Novartis sues Glaxo Smith Kline over vaccine patent 16 Aug 2009 Novartis, the Swiss drugs giant, has launched a legal action against Glaxo Smith Kline claiming that its larger rival is infringing one of its patents. The move, which will be fiercely resisted by the British company, is the latest twist in a bitter dispute that centres on the techniques used to produce a set of vaccines... Vaccines in particular are becoming a growth area for the big pharma companies.

Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America 15 Aug 2009 A warning that the new swine flu jab is linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter. The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins. It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. The letter, sent to about 600 neurologists on July 29, is the first sign that there is concern at the highest levels that the vaccine itself could cause serious complications.

Children Will Be Flu Vaccine Guinea Pigs 14 Aug 2009 (UK) Children and babies with under­lying health conditions will get the new swine flu vaccine before it has even passed clinical trials, it emerged last night. Fears were raised the drug is being rushed through before it has been properly tested on vulnerable groups such as babies, putting lives at risk. The Department of Health confirmed last night that none of the 900 children taking part in safety tests are believed to be under three but babies with health problems will be among the first to get the vaccine.

Illinois schools considering flu vaccination plans 16 Aug 2009 Vaccination clinics for swine flu could take place in some Chicago high schools this fall, but nobody should expect flu shots in elementary schools or in every school building, one health official said. Authorities are making tentative plans to distribute swine flu vaccine to clinics, hospitals and retail pharmacies in Chicago, and to hold mass vaccination clinics at large facilities scattered across the city.

Swine flu drug advice rejected by government --Ministers pressed ahead with prescription despite concern from advisory panel 16 Aug 2009 The government rejected advice from its expert advisers on swine flu, who said there was no need for the widespread use of Tamiflu and suggested that the public should simply be told to take paracetamol. An independent panel set up by the Department of Health warned ministers that plans to make the stockpiled drug widely available could do more harm than good, by helping the flu virus to develop resistance to the drug. But ministers pressed ahead with a policy of mass prescription, fearing the public would not tolerate being told that the millions of doses of Tamiflu held by the state could not be used during a pandemic, one of the committee members has told the Guardian.

Mutant Polio Virus Spreads in Nigeria --124 Children Afflicted This Year By Paralyzing Disease, Believed to Be Caused By Same Vaccine Used to Fight It 14 Aug 2009 Polio, the dreaded paralyzing disease stamped out in the industrialized world, is spreading in Nigeria. And health officials say in some cases, it's caused by the vaccine used to fight it. In July, the World Health Organization issued a warning that this vaccine-spread virus might extend beyond Africa. So far, 124 Nigerian children have been paralyzed this year - about twice those afflicted in 2008.

Oil trader under scrutiny for phenomenal success 14 Aug 2009 An oil trader who has rocked Wall Street and the White House over his nine-figure salary clings to a low profile, quietly making trades from a former dairy farm in Westport, Connecticut, and emerging occasionally to satisfy his passion for art. Andrew Hall, a British-born naturalized American, has been phenomenally successful with the Citigroup unit Phibro, earning an estimated $100 million this year while the parent company reported a net loss of $18.7 billion in 2008 and took $45 billion in taxpayer bailouts. In the previous five years, Hall earned more than $250 million, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of securities filings and Hall's compensation structure... But his pay packets also have grabbed the attention of Kenneth Feinberg, the White House pay czar who is examining the compensation of the top earners at financial companies that accepted government bailouts.

Deep Into Season, 3 Storms Finally Form --Tropical Storm Bill could become a major hurricane. 16 Aug 2009 After 11 weeks of a quiet-as-a-church hurricane season, three storms were churning toward the United States coast on Sunday. Two are several days away in the Atlantic Ocean, but one popped up just Sunday morning, very close to the Florida panhandle in the Gulf of Mexico.

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"I was building a bridge," an Afghan contactor said, one evening over drinks. "The local Taliban commander called and said 'don't build a bridge there, we'll have to blow it up.' I asked him to let me finish the bridge, collect the money -- then they could blow it up whenever they wanted. We agreed, and I completed my project." Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don't want to know. 13 Aug 2009 In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country. Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, "spoils of war," the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy... The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.

Deadly blast shakes NATO HQ in Kabul 15 Aug 2009 A car bomb explosion outside NATO headquarters has rocked the Afghan capital, killing seven people and wounding 91 others as the country prepares for a presidential 'election.' The explosion, at the main gate of the NATO compound, occurred about 8:30 a.m. local time in a heavily fortified area that also includes the US embassy and the Afghan presidential palace, the Telegraph reported.

Captain Removed After Slamming Afghan War --A British Army captain who anonymously wrote a scathing attack about the Afghan war has been removed from his unit, Sky News understands. 14 Aug 2009 The unnamed officer wrote the emotive article in Monday's Independent newspaper. "My motivation is simple" he said. "Writing this helps vent off some of the frustration at what is happening out here in Afghanistan to those serving in the British Army, where death and serious injury are sickeningly common occurrences." The officer, who has been in the Army for eight years, is likely to be brought back from Afghanistan and faces disciplinary action and a possible court martial. Serving members of the Armed forces are banned from speaking to the media without prior agreement from the Ministry of Defence.

Top General in Afghanistan Looks to Replace Support Force With Combat Troops --McChrystal is considering a 12 percent rollover from support personnel to combat troops 14 Aug 2009 The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan may look to replace desk jockeys with gun-toters while keep troop levels even in the Taliban-infested war zone, The Washington Times reports. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is preparing a major strategy review to be sent to the White House shortly, and while some advisers have suggested he request as many as 21,000 more troops, Pentagon chief Robert Gates has been downplaying the idea of building on top of the 68,000-strong force already committed there by the end of the year.

New Obusha money pit opens: U.S. to Resume Training Georgian Troops 14 Aug 2009 The United States is resuming a combat training mission in the former Soviet republic of Georgia to prepare its army for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, despite the risks of angering Russia, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday. The training effort is intended to prepare Georgian troops to fight at NATO standards alongside American and allied forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon officials said.

Iraqi protest at media censorship --New rules censor books, ban websites 14 Aug 2009 About 200 Iraqi journalists, writers and publishers have protested in Baghdad at what they say is growing state interference in their work. The protest follows the introduction of new rules for censoring books, and a proposal to ban certain websites. Some journalists say there has been an increase in lawsuits against those investigating security or corruption. [Most Iraqis likely prefer Saddam Hussein over the US-installed Maliki-ExxonMobil-Monsanto dictatorship. --LRP]

Double Suicide Bombing Kills at Least 21 in Northern Iraq 14 Aug 2009 Two suicide bombers killed at least 21 people in a cafe in northern Iraq on Thursday, Iraqi officials said. The double bombing occurred about 5 p.m. in the Ayoub coffeehouse in Sinjar, a town about 240 miles northwest of Baghdad. At least 30 people were wounded.

Finding child's severed head drove Iraq guard over edge, says family 15 Aug 2009 A former British soldier accused of shooting dead two colleagues in Iraq was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and should never have been given a job as a private security guard in the country, his family has said. Danny Fitzsimons was arrested by Iraqi police after the attack in Baghdad's International Zone last Sunday which left two fellow ArmorGroup employees dead and a third injured. Michael Fitzsimons recalled his brother sobbing as he spoke of the child's head he had found in Kosovo and picking up bits of his friend's brain in Iraq.

Israel told to probe murder of white flag Gazans 13 Aug 2009 Human Rights Watch has demanded that Israel probe into the "unlawful" killing of 11 civilians, including 4 children, who were murdered while waving white flags during the Gaza war. The New York-based organization said in a 63-page report on Thursday that the 11 civilians were only a small fraction of the civilians killed during the December-January Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Swiss move to ban minarets as 'symbols of Islamic power' 14 Aug 2009 The Swiss country town of Langenthal has become the focus of a virulent right-wing campaign to ban minarets from all mosques in the Alpine republic on the grounds that they symbolise ideological opposition to the country's constitution. Switzerland's "stop minaret" movement is backed by the influential ultra-conservative Swiss People's Party, (SVP) which was re-elected in 2007 with its largest ever share of the vote after mounting an anti-foreigner campaign that was denounced by the United Nations as racist. Ulrich Schüler, an SVP parliamentarian and leading member of the anti-minaret movement, says the edifices are political rather than religious.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Halliburton Expanding in Williston 13 Aug 2009 Williston's oil and energy sector is continuing to expand, thanks to Halliburton's latest investment in a new 30-acre facility. The project is estimated to cost between $15 and $20 million. Shane Goettle, North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Commissioner, says Halliburton's investment is a signal that they are here to stay for the long haul.

Pentagon, governors clash over emergency military powers 14 Aug 2009 The Pentagon is upsetting the nation's governors by pushing for authority to call up military reservists for natural disasters -- and to control how the troops would be used in any state. "Control" is the key word. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine reserves can be tapped by the president for military deployments overseas and for national emergencies such as terrorist attacks. Defense officials recently floated a new proposal on Capitol Hill, sparking a sharp response from the governors. At the heart of the disagreement is who will command reserve troops when they are sent to a particular state to deal with a hurricane, wildfire or other [H1N1] disaster.

Terrorism Trials May Be at New Va. Court --Security May Favor Newport News Over Alexandria 13 Aug 2009 A new, high-security courthouse in Newport News, Va., could be the site of terrorism trials for some Guantanamo Bay inmates, including the self-proclaimed [under torture] mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, if the Obama administration sends cases into the federal courts, law enforcement sources said. The Justice Department recently began sending the files of about 30 detainees prisoners to U.S. attorney's offices in Alexandria, Manhattan, Washington and Brooklyn. Prosecutors are trying to determine which terrorism suspects can be tried in federal courts, Justice Department sources have said, and each office is working with Defense Department prosecutors to decide whether some cases should be assigned to military tribunals.

Homeland Security Expands Biometric Security Program 14 Aug 2009 The Department of Homeland Security is expanding a pilot project that uses fingerprint scanners and kiosks to speed travelers headed overseas through airport security. On August 24th, the Global Entry Trusted Traveler program will be available at 13 additional airports in the United States and Puerto Rico, bringing the total number of airports equipped with the technology to 20. The program is also available at airports in the Netherlands through a partnership.

Nine USAF personnel monitoring PR blowback --Air Force used Twitter to track NY flyover fallout 10 Aug 2009 As the Pentagon warns of the security risks posed by social networking sites, newly released government documents show the military also uses these Internet tools to monitor and react to coverage of high-profile events. The Air Force tracked the instant messaging service Twitter, video carrier YouTube and various blogs to assess the huge public backlash to the Air Force One flyover of the Statue of Liberty this spring, according to the documents... According to the Air Force One documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, a unit called the Combat Information Cell at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida monitored the public fallout from the April 27 flight and offered recommendations for dealing with the fast-breaking story. Formed two years ago, the cell is made up of as many as nine people who analyze piles of data culled from the Internet and other sources to determine whether the Air Force's message is being heard.

Fort Detrick, Quantico, DHS and Halliburton --What do they all have in common? They're all monitoring the CLG. By Lori Price 14 Aug 2009 I took a walk through the Citizens For Legitimate Government visitor logs over the past thirty hours and saw numerous .gov, .mil and state visitors in the logs. I compiled some of them. Note: This is only a snapshot!

Fear for Obama's Safety Grows as Hate Groups Thrive on Racial Backlash --Violent Signs, Gun, Standoff Latest in Emerging Anger Towards the President 14 Aug 2009 Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges... While officials told ABC News that the President's daily threat matrix has yet to reflect a sharp increase in threats, White House officials privately admit deep concern and have told the Secret Service to keep security tight, even if Obama objects.

Man in Custody After 8-Hour Federal Building Standoff --The suspect made an unspecified threat against the White House, according to a law enforcement source. 14 Aug 2009 A man accused of making threats against the White House was taken into custody Thursday after an 8 hour standoff with police outside the Federal Building. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan identified the suspect as Joseph Moshe of Los Angeles. After several refusals to surrender to officials, Moshe withstood four rounds of tear gas tossed through his car window before officers fired a taser gun at him.

Mom in minivan tasered twice in Salina traffic stop; camera captures deputy's rough roadside arrest 13 Aug 2009 (NY) In January, an Onondaga County sheriff's deputy pulled over Audra Harmon, who had two of her kids with her in her minivan. A routine traffic stop escalated quickly. The deputy, Sean Andrews, accused her of talking on her cell phone. She said she could prove him wrong. He said she was speeding. She denied it and got out of the van. He told her to get back in. She did, then he ordered her back out. He yanked her out by the arm, knocked her down with two Taser shots and charged her with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. His rationale on the disorderly conduct charge: She obstructed traffic when she got out of the van. The speeding accusation: going 50 mph in a 45-mph zone.

International Swine Flu Conference August 19-20, 2009 Workshop: August 21, 2009 - Washington, DC (New-Fields.com/ISFC) --Concurrent Breakout Session #1 Mass Fatality Management Planning Develop and implement training and exercise programs; Direct fatality management tactical operations; Activate fatality management operations; Conduct morgue operations; Manage ante-mortem data; Conduct final disposition --Session #7 First Responders: Fire Department Protect fire department first responders from falling ill & from being hurt in civil disturbances; Effectively transition into All-Hazards Incident Management Responders; Effectively undertake mass vaccinations; Enforce quarantines --Session #8 First Responders: Fire Department Protect public works first responders from falling ill or being hurt in civil disturbances

Glaxo Starts Testing Swine Flu Vaccine With Additive --Vaccine contains experimental adjuvant additive 14 Aug 2009 GlaxoSmithKline Plc has started clinical tests on its experimental swine flu vaccine, completing enrollment for the first of 16 studies planned. Glaxo, of London, said the first trial of adults ages 18 to 60 in Germany is part of a program to test the vaccine in 9,000 infants, children and adults in Europe, Canada and the U.S., the drugmaker said in an e-mailed statement today. [See: German health expert warning: Does virus vaccine increase cancer risk? 07 Aug 2009 German health expert Wolfgang Wodarg has given a shock warning about the swine flu virus vaccine - does it increase the risk of cancer?]

'In some cases, it's caused by the vaccine used to fight it.' Vaccine spreading polio in Nigeria, health officials warn 14 Aug 2009 Polio, the dreaded paralyzing disease stamped out in the industrialized world, is spreading in Nigeria. And health officials say that in some cases, it’s caused by the vaccine used to fight it. In July, the World Health Organization issued a warning that this vaccine-spread virus might extend beyond Africa.

U.S. tests system to break foreign Web censorship 13 Aug 2009 The U.S. government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break through screens set up by their governments to limit access to news on the Internet. The "feed over email" (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the U.S. government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system.

The brutal truth about America's healthcare --An extraordinary report from Guy Adams in Los Angeles at the music arena that has been turned into a makeshift medical centre 15 Aug 2009 They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life. In the week that Britain's National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an "evil and Orwellian" example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

Did Obama sabotage health care reform? By Lori Price 13 Aug 2009 The health care CEOs are making millions of dollars per year, mainly by denying people coverage. President Obama would have won popular support for quality reform ('single-payer' health care) by putting this issue front-and-center. But he didn't. Instead, he allowed the rightwing to hijack the debate. Did Obama do that on purpose, so that he would not be held accountable to his campaign promise (apparently, a lie) that he would push for universal health care coverage? Health Insurance Company CEOs Total Compensation in 2008 By Michael Ricciardelli 20 May 2009 Ins. Co. & CEO With 2008 Total CEO Compensation: Aetna, Ronald A. Williams: $24,300,112 Cigna, H. Edward Hanway: $12,236,740 Coventry, Dale Wolf: $9,047,469 Health Net, Jay Gellert: $4,425,355 Humana, Michael McCallister: $4,764,309 U. Health Group, Stephen J. Hemsley: $3,241,042 Wellpoint, Angela Braly: $9,844,212]

Republican Death Trip By Paul Krugman 14 Aug 2009 The truth is that the factors that made politics so ugly in the Clinton years -- the paranoia of a significant minority of Americans and the cynical willingness of leading Republicans to cater to that paranoia -- are as strong as ever... The question now is how Mr. Obama will deal with the death of his postpartisan dream. So far, at least, the Obama administration’s response to the outpouring of hate on the right has had a deer-in-the-headlights quality.

Dems Scurry from Tea-Baggers Over Health Care "Many progressives don't really feel they have a dog in this fight." By Glen Ford 12 Aug 2009 The so-called health care reform measure that single-payer advocate Rep. John Conyers calls "crap" got crapped on by a motley mob from the Sarah Palin Party. Like denizens of the original, 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead, Rush Limbaugh’s basic-unit American know-nothings and racists lurched into Democratic town hall meetings with mayhem on their rotting minds. The stage for the Revolt of the Zombies was set by Barack Obama himself, who from day-one of his presidency sowed mass confusion by never saying what he actually meant by health care reform, except that he was for it.

Cheney Volunteers For Obamacare Death Panel --Cheney said he would donate his collection of waterboards and other so-called enhanced interrogation equipment. By R J Shulman 15 Aug 2009 Once a fierce opponent to health care reform, former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney made a surprise announcement that he now fully supports President Barack Obama's vision of health care. "When I learned that under Obama's health care bill there was going to be a death panel," Cheney said, "I realized that the president had finally gotten it right." (Satire)

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National Guard drill at high school to prepare for possible H1N1 riot 13 Aug 2009 (ME) Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School will be the site of a National Guard riot control drill Thursday morning to prepare in the event of a panic over distribution of serum to treat the swine flu. The school on Route 26 at the Paris-Norway town line has been designated by state officials as a distribution site for the H1N1 flu vaccine. The drill is to prepare for a worst-case scenario should the serum have to be transported from Augusta and people rush to get it. On Thursday morning, four or five National Guard Humvees will travel from Augusta to Paris with vials of fake serum. The National Guardsmen will take on the roles of panicked citizens and military police and practice what they would do, such as using tear gas, in the case of a riot. Plans were developed in April [?] to have vials of serum sent from the federal government to Augusta, Parker said... Local police chiefs have also been involved in the planning, Parker said. In a real event, local police would be in charge of security once the serum arrives in Paris.

State deputizes dentists, others to help with vaccinations --State takes extra steps to battle flu in fall 13 Aug 2009 Massachusetts health authorities took the unprecedented step yesterday of deputizing dentists, paramedics, and pharmacists to help administer vaccines against both the seasonal flu and the novel swine strain expected to make a return visit in the fall. In another emergency measure, regulators directed hospitals and clinics to provide [deadly] vaccine to all their workers and some volunteers.

Swine flu vaccinations plans revealed --First swine flu vaccinations on the way for more than 13m Britons 13 Aug 2009 More than 13 million Britons will be offered the first doses of a vaccine against swine flu this autumn, in a dramatic move which the government says will save lives. The initial stage of a mass immunisation campaign will see almost 11 million people in four priority groups, mostly those whose health puts them at risk from the pandemic, invited to have a course of two injections three weeks apart, probably starting in October.

German health expert warning: Does virus vaccine increase cancer risk? --German health expert Wolfgang Wodarg has given a shock warning about the swine flu virus vaccine - does it increase the risk of cancer? 07 Aug 2009 Lung specialist Wolfgang Wodarg has said that there are many risks associated with the vaccine for the H1N1 virus. He has grave reservations about the firm Novartis who are developing the vaccine and testing it in Germany. The vaccination is injected "with a very hot needle", Wodarg said. The nutrient solution for the vaccine consists of cancerous cells from animals and "we do not know if there could be an allergic reaction". But more importantly, some people fear that the risk of cancer could be increased by injecting the cells. The vaccine - as Johannes Löwer, president of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, has pointed out - can also cause worse side effects than the actual swine flu virus. Wodrag also described people’s fear of the pandemic as an "orchestration": "It is great business for the pharmaceutical industry," he told the 'Neuen Presse'. Swine flu is not very different from normal flu.

Startling New Evidence That The 'Swine Flu' Pandemic Is Man-Made --Novartis Patent Detailed And Mass Murder Charged By A. True Ott, PhD, ND 26 Jul 2009 I submit this paper will provide more than enough hard evidence to at least result in a series of criminal indictments of charges of MASS MURDER, and CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WORLD GENOCIDE against Novartis Pharmaceutical principals and agents and others. The Primary Motive behind this alleged criminal activity is also the primary cause of most murders in the world today, and that motivation is simply: BIG MONEY. Billions of Dollars of windfall profits from government contracts worldwide, as a matter of fact.

96 cases, mostly U.S. soldiers, diagnosed with A/H1N1 flu in Iraq 12 Aug 2009 The Iraqi Ministry of Health announced Wednesday it registered 96 cases of A/H1N1 virus, including 67 cases among the U.S. soldiers in the country.

'Statute of Limitations Has Expired' on Many Secrets, Former Vice President Says --Cheney Uncloaks His Frustration With Bush 13 Aug 2009 In his first few months after leaving office, former vice president [sic] Richard B. Cheney threw himself into public combat against the "far left" agenda of the new commander in chief. More private reflections, as his memoir takes shape in slashing longhand on legal pads, have opened a second front against Cheney's White House partner of eight years, George W. Bush. Cheney's disappointment with the former president [sic] surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. [You know you're in trouble when... you reflect upon your term in office vis-à-vis the statute of limitations. --LRP]

AP: Former AG Gonzalez says criminal probe of CIA interrogations could be dangerous 12 Aug 2009 Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says a criminal investigation into whether CIA interrogations after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks crossed legal lines could have a chilling effect on U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Gonzales said a Justice Department investigation "could discourage" CIA operatives from "engaging in conduct that even comes close" to department guidelines.

Bagram base 'another Gunatanamo', says ACLU 13 Aug 2009 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has voiced concern over the Pentagon and CIA's refusal to provide information about prisoners at Bagram airbase. The ACLU said in a statement that it was seeking the names and the nationalities of about 600 detainees currently held at Bagram, just north of Kabul. Additionally, the civil rights organization said it wants to know how many detainees there are, where they are detained and other essential facts.

Ex-Afghan president escapes Taliban ambush 13 Aug 2009 Amid rising 'insurgency' in Afghanistan, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani has survived a Taliban attack in the troubled north of the war-ravaged country. Taliban insurgents attacked Rabbani's convoy with grenades and rocket-propelled Thursday in Kunduz Province. Sources said three fighters died in a clash with bodyguards and police during the exchange of fire.

Children die after playing with roadside bomb 13 Aug 2009 Separate roadside blasts in southern Afghanistan have killed 14 civilians, including three children. The Taliban have already been blamed for planting one of the bombs which exploded in Gereshk district of Helmand province when it was hit by a van carrying eleven of the victims.

Three British soldiers killed by explosion in Afghanistan --Death toll of UK troops in the country reaches 199 --Defence secretary advises against 'defeatist' attitude 13 Aug 2009 Three British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan today, taking the death toll of UK troops in the country to 199. The servicemen, two from 2nd Battalion The Rifles and the third from 40 Regiment Royal Artillery, were hit by an explosion while on a foot patrol near Sangin in Helmand province.

2 Americans, 3 Brits killed in Afghanistan 13 Aug 2009 Attacks on Western troops continue in Afghanistan with another three British and two US soldiers killed in the ongoing anti-insurgency operations. Three British soldiers were killed in an explosion in the southern province of Helmand on Thursday, bringing to 199 the UK's death toll in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in late 2001. Two US soldiers were also killed -- one in an explosion and the other in a direct fire attack -- in the south of the country on Wednesday and on Thursday.

Bomb Wounds 2 Journalists in Afghanistan 13 Aug 2009 The Associated Press reported Wednesday that two of its journalists embedded with the United States military in the south had been wounded in a roadside bombing. The A.P. said a photographer, Emilio Morenatti, and an A.P. Television News videographer, Andi Jatmiko, were traveling with the American military north of the town of Spinbaldak when their vehicle was struck by the bomb on Tuesday. The attack also wounded two American soldiers, The A.P. said.

Double Suicide Bombing in Northern Iraq Claims at Least 21 13 Aug 2009 Two suicide bombers killed at least 21 people in a cafe in northern Iraq on Thursday, Iraqi officials said. The double bombing occurred about 5 p.m. in the Ayoub coffee house in Sinjar, a town about 240 miles northwest of Baghdad. At least 30 people were wounded.

Israeli troops accused of white-flag murders 13 Aug 2009 A human rights organisation has called on Israel to investigate claims that 11 Palestinians waving white flags were killed during the Gaza conflict in January. Human Rights Watch says it has statements and evidence suggesting Israeli troops shot dead civilians, including five women and four children, who were carrying white flags. In each case it says victims were with other unarmed civilians and waving flags to show their non-combatant status.

US death squads are little bees! Pakistani Muslim clerics slain in Somalia 13 Aug 2009 Masked gunmen stormed a mosque Wednesday in western Somalia, killing at least five Pakistani Muslim clerics. Authorities tried to find out who carried out the execution-style murders [c'mon], and why. The victims belonged to the Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan's foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told The Associated Press in Islamabad. Tablighi Jamaat is believed to be apolitical and nonviolent. Some of its members travel the world, preaching to fellow Muslims.

DNA reveals surprise Indonesian hotel bomber 12 Aug 2009 Police in Indonesia have disclosed that a flower seller, Ibrohim Muharram, smuggled in the explosives used in the bombings of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on July 17th; killing seven people and wounding more than 50 others. The flower merchant went missing after the twin suicide attacks.

Curfew imposed after Honduras protests 12 Aug 2009 Honduras' interim illegitimate government reinstated a nighttime curfew for the capital after thousands of anti-coup protesters marched into Tegucigalpa to demand the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The government said it reinstated the curfew after protesters burned a bus and an outlet of an American fast food chain. 'Information' Minister Rene Zepeda said the curfew would be in effect from 10pm to 5am, and would apply only to the capital.

Coups we can believe in: Obama tacitly backs military's takeover of Honduran democracy By Mark Weisbrot 13 Aug 2009 President Obama is making a big mistake in coddling the dictatorship in Honduras, and putting his administration at odds with the rest of the hemisphere... President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown by the military on June 28. Most of Latin America saw this as a threat to democracy in the hemisphere, immediately condemned the coup, and strongly supported Zelaya's return. The Organization of American States as well as the General Assembly of the United Nations called for Zelaya's "immediate and unconditional" return. But the Obama administration has issued a series of conflicting statements, and last week the U.S. State Department sent a letter to Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana that appeared to blame Zelaya himself for the coup.

Airlines Set to Get More Data From Passengers --Government Says Extra Information Will Prevent Watch-List Mismatches 13 Aug 2009 U.S. airlines on Saturday will begin asking travelers to provide their birth date and sex for the first time under a new aviation security requirement, federal officials said Wednesday. The change comes as the Department of Homeland Security takes over responsibility for checking airline passenger names against government watch lists. The additional personal information, which airlines will forward to the Transportation Security Administration, is expected to cut down on cases of mistaken identity, in which people with names similar to those on terrorist watch lists are erroneously barred or delayed from flights.

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma 13 Aug 2009 A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week. The memo, which according to a knowledgeable health care lobbyist was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations, lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return. It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

LA sports arena hosts health clinic of last resort 13 Aug 2009 Inside an aging sports arena, where rows of dental chairs and a hospital smell have replaced the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball court, thousands of Americans are seeking free healthcare. Hundreds were turned away just on Tuesday, the first day of a weeklong clinic run by the nonprofit Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corp as part of its mission to provide free health, dental and eye care in needy spots around the world. It marks the first time in RAM's 25 years that it has gone to a major U.S. metropolitan area.

Insurance Lobby Reduces Unemployment By Hiring Thugs For Town Hall Meetings By R J Shulman 13 Aug 2009 Those angry voices shouting slogans against health care reform at town hall meetings come from a group that is actually grateful: Thanks to the insurance lobby, they have recently left the ranks of the unemployed. UnitedHealthcare, CIGNA Health Insurance, and the Republican National Committee have hired an estimated 5,500 unemployed thugs, bullies, and emotionally challenged people to swarm town hall meetings to shout down any intelligent discussion on the issues. (Satire)

White House Proposes Higher Fees on Big Financial Firms 14 Aug 2009 The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its broad overhaul of financial regulation by proposing to hike the fees big financial firms pay for federal oversight while easing the burden for smaller ones, officials said. The new two-tiered, pay-for-regulation approach is intended to partly cover the costs of more vigorous bank regulation and a new consumer financial protection agency.

BART strike set for Monday 13 Aug 2009 Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local 1555 President Jesse Hunt says trains will run through the end of the day Sunday, but a strike will start Monday morning. Hunt says ATU will not work under imposed terms and conditions.

Foreclosures rise 7 percent in July from June 13 Jul 2009 The number of U.S. households on the verge of losing their homes rose 7 percent from June to July, as the escalating foreclosure crisis continued to outpace government efforts to limit the damage. Foreclosure filings were up 32 percent from the same month last year, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. More than 360,000 households, or one in every 355 homes, received a foreclosure-related notice, such as a notice of default or trustee's sale.

Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast' 13 Aug 2009 One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC. A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year. Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise. The work by British scientists appears in Geophysical Research Letters.

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U.S., NATO deaths from Afghan bombs up sixfold --A record 62,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan. 12 Aug 2009 U.S. and NATO deaths from roadside and suicide bomb blasts in Afghanistan soared sixfold in July compared with the same month last year, as militants detonated the highest number of bombs of the eight-year war, figures released yesterday showed. Three U.S. Marines and a Polish soldier were killed in the latest attacks, setting August on course to surpass the record 75 deaths of U.S. and NATO troops from all causes in July. . [See: 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.]

AP journalists wounded in Afghanistan --Photographer Emilio Morenatti loses a foot after bomb attack 12 Aug 2009 Two Associated Press journalists wounded in a bomb blast while on assignment with the U.S. military in southern Afghanistan were evacuated to a medical centre in Dubai today after being treated at a military hospital. The Army said that two U.S. soldiers were also wounded in the bombing of a light armoured vehicle called a Stryker near the Pakistani border. Photographer Emilio Morenatti and AP Television News videographer Andi Jatmiko were travelling on Tuesday with a unit of the 5th Stryker Brigade when their vehicle ran over a bomb planted in the open desert terrain, the military said.

Canadian withdrawal from Afghanistan loss to NATO: expert 13 Aug 2009 A U.S. expert sees Canada's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011 to be a great loss to NATO's mission there, Canadian media reports said Wednesday. The Canadian departure would seriously undermine NATO's war as it is not about a small number of troops but a big issue as the loss of experience and credibility with local Afghans, according to Anthony Cordesman, a U.S. counter-insurgency expert, who served as a special adviser to the alliance's new ground commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

US soldiers largest swine flu-infected group in Iraq 12 Aug 2009 US soldiers in Iraq have become the largest group in the country to be infected with the deadly A/H1N1 virus, which is rapidly spreading in Asian countries. Iraqi health officials reported on Wednesday that some 67 American soldiers have been diagnosed with swine flu, adding that 23 Iraqis and six other foreigners have tested positive for the deadly virus. [They were likely vaccinated with it. Notice how disease outbreaks and pandemics usually begin at US military bases and Army medical research facilities?]

Baghdad bombings kill at least 8 12 Aug 2009 Several bombs exploded nearly simultaneously Tuesday in a mainly Shiite area of Baghdad, killing at least eight people. An explosives-laden car parked near a market entrance and two other nearby bombs detonated within minutes of one another about 8:40 p.m. in the Amin Thaniya neighborhood in east Baghdad, killing at least eight civilians and wounding 22, police and hospital officials said.

Five killed in Iraq attacks 12 Aug 2009 Five people were killed, including four police officers, and eight wounded in separate attacks in Iraq's tense northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul on Wednesday, police said. Three bomb disposal agents were killed and three hurt as they attempted to defuse a car bomb at around 5:00 pm (1400 GMT), police Major Salam Zinganah told AFP.

Interrogation Inc.: A Window Into C.I.A.'s Embrace of Secret Jails 13 Aug 2009 In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency’s main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world’s most threatening alleged terrorists. Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty, was known inside the agency as a cigar-waving, bourbon-drinking operator, someone who could get a cargo plane flying anywhere in the world or quickly obtain weapons, food, money -- whatever the C.I.A. needed... Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees prisoners, according to former intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter.

Feds to tour Michigan prison where Gitmo detainees could go 12 Aug 2009 Federal officials will travel to Standish, Michigan, on Thursday to tour a state prison that could be used to house terror suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.S. government officials said Wednesday. Among those who will check out the facility, the officials said, will be representatives from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons.

Bayh seeks more Guard toxin review --KBR may have caused hundreds of U.S. troops to be exposed to dangerous levels of toxin 12 Aug 2009 Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and four other Democratic senators are asking the Pentagon’s inspector general to review the Army’s response to the potential exposure of Indiana National Guardsmen to a deadly chemical in Iraq. The senators said they think that the conduct of the Army and by the military contractor [terrorists] KBR may have caused hundreds of U.S. troops to be exposed to dangerous levels of the cancer-causing sodium dichromate.

KBR Secures Engineering Services Contract for Saudi Arabia's Yanbu Export Refinery Project 12 Aug 2009 The American engineering, construction and service company KBR Incorporated (Houston, Texas) has been awarded a contract by the state-owned Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia) and ConocoPhillips (Houston) to supply detailed engineering and procurement services for the Yanbu export refinery project.

Lockerbie bomber could be freed from prison next week --Many British families believe Megrahi is innocent. 13 Aug 2009 Preparations are under way to free the Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing from prison next week, after doctors said his terminal prostate cancer was in its final stages. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, sentenced to a minimum life term of 25 years in 2001 for killing 270 people in the bombing, is expected to be released on compassionate grounds in time to return home for the start of the festival of Ramadan next week.

Secure Flight begins phasing in Aug. 15 --Secure Flight requires that airlines get your birthdate and gender so you can be prescreened against a government watch list. 12 Aug 2009 A change, which is rolling out airline-by-airline but which officially begins to phase in this weekend on Aug. 15, will require that you hand over to the federal government more personal data than ever before in order to reserve a seat on a domestic flight. The overhauled Transportation Security Administration program is required by law, but many consumers haven't heard much about it. A new TSA program called "Secure Flight" transfers the responsibility of pre-screening passengers from the airlines to the TSA.

State to offer 2 types of licenses for renewals 12 Aug 2009 Those who choose not to seek the federally-compliant ID will not be able to board an airplane or enter certain federal buildings beginning in 2016, when the federal government will begin enforcing the new standards. The state will issue two forms of the driver's license or ID -- one labeled federally compliant and one labeled non-federally compliant. Those seeking a new Indiana license -- such as first-time drivers and new residents who have moved here from another state -- will have to obtain the federally-compliant ID or license.

DNA database has 300 children added a day 11 Aug 2009 More than 300 children a day are being put on to the DNA database fuelling fresh fears over the growth of the "Big Brother" state. Almost 1.1 million youngsters aged between ten and 17 have had their profiles recorded by the police since 2000, with a large proportion aged under 15, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. And around one in six are likely to have never been convicted of any crime.

One third of all children in jails are 'wrongly imprisoned' 13 Aug 2009 More than a third of children sent to prison last year were wrongly jailed, a report into child custody rates says. The study by Barnardo's found that the Government had breached its own guidance on child custody by allowing so many 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds to be imprisoned for a non-serious offences.

Study: Militancy on the rise in US 12 Aug 2009 An institutional inquiry into militia growth in the United States points to mounting activities on the part of armed groups amidst economic and state problems. A new report published by the non-profit US legal firm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), identifies the ailing economy and a 'moderate' Democrat president of African descent as the root causes for the increasing dissent which has led to the mushrooming sprout of armed bands and hate crimes across the country.

Swine flu may have peaked, experts say 13 Aug 2009 An expected second wave of pandemic influenza which was expected to strike Britain later this year may turn out to be less dangerous than previously thought, according to some of the world's leading flu experts. Scientists are having second thoughts about whether they were right to expect a more lethal form of H1N1 swine flu virus to emerge this autumn following a re-evaluation of previous influenza pandemics.

Health agency adopts rules to increase flu vaccinations 12 Aug 2009 (MA) State public health authorities today adopted emergency measures designed to boost flu vaccination rates among healthcare workers and to allow dentists, pharmacists, and paramedics to administer influenza shots. The state Public Health Council, an appointed board of doctors, consumer advocates, and policy specialists, voted unanimously to require hospitals and clinics to provide flu vaccine to all their workers and certain volunteers. Infectious disease specialists have long recommended that medical employees be vaccinated, but studies have shown that barely half of workers wind up being inoculated against the viral illness. Even with the emergency action taken today, medical employees could still decline to be vaccinated. [Right, they're not stupid. They don't want a mega-dose of mercury, squalene, Polysorbate 80 and insect eggs. See: 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; Baxter Vaccine 'Oddities' 17 Jul 2009.]

Drug to combat swine flu leaves '1,000 patients in suffering' --Officials insist Tamiflu is safe as reports of side effects continue to rise 12 Aug 2009 Health officials yesterday defended the Government's policy of giving the antiviral drug Tamiflu to everyone claiming to be suffering from the symptoms of swine flu despite more than 400 reports of adverse drug reactions since the start of the outbreak. Critics of the policy of widespread distribution of Tamiflu have also warned that people who fail to complete the course of treatment may be fuelling the evolution of drug-resistant forms of the type of H1N1 influenza A virus behind the swine flu pandemic. [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.]

Leaked Email: CNBC Went to Tea Partiers Looking for Angry Protests 12 Aug 2009 CNBC approached Tea Party activists, looking for angry protest events that would make good television, according to a leaked email from a Tea Party discussion group. And one Teabagger responded by flagging an upcoming event that, he said, "should be a riot ... literally." Yesterday, Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin sent an email, obtained by TPMmuckraker, to a Tea Party google group. Martin told the group: "We have a media request for an event this week that will have lots of energy and lots of anger. This is for CNBC."

Swastika painted at Georgia congressman's office --Congressman, who is black, said he has received mail in recent days that used N-word references to him 11 Aug 2009 A swastika was found Tuesday painted on a sign outside the office of Rep. David Scott, a Georgia Democrat. Scott's staff arrived at his Smyrna, Ga., office Tuesday morning to find the Nazi graffiti emblazoned on a sign bearing the lawmaker's name. The vandalism occurred roughly a week after Scott was involved in a contentious argument over health care at a community meeting.

CLG: Guns OK Outside Obama Town Hall; Kerry Pins Brought Arrest At Bush Rally By Lori Price 12 Aug 2009 Bush's Waffen-SS arrested (and strip-searched) people with Kerry-Edwards buttons pinned to their T-shirts and paper protest signs at his at his GOP-only appearances. But, when a Reichwinger attends a New Hampshire town hall meeting with a gun -- merely yards from President Obama -- the protester not only gets to remain at the meeting but also gets to be a guest on MSNBC's 'Hardball.'

Video: Arrest Yesterday at McCaskill Healthcare By Chad Garrison 12 Aug 2009 As you can see from the [Peter Glickert] video, the woman arrested yesterday at Senator Claire McCaskill's healthcare forum was kicked out of the event after a fellow attendee took it upon himself to confiscate her property. As Glickert observes on his blog, the television news only showed the woman being escorted out by police -- leaving viewers to assume that her actions, alone, prompted her arrest.

Sen. Grassley: Govt. Would 'Decide When to Pull the Plug On Grandma' 12 Aug 2009 Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) continued the thoroughly debunked right wing euthanasia/death panel meme today, telling a town hall crowd, "You have every right to fear....a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on Grandma..." Grassley is the latest republican to jump on the euthanasia bandwagon. Today, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said Sarah Palin's "death panel" comment was "perfectly appropriate" given the "life-and-death decisions" the government would make under a health care reform bill.

Steele: Palin's Talk of a "Death Panel" Is "Perfectly Appropriate" 12 Aug 2009 RNC Chairman Michael Steele just appeared on the Neil Cavuto show, where he endorsed Sarah Palin's accusation that President Obama will set up "death panels" to decide who is worthy or not of medical care.

Wall St. approves as Fed keeps rates near 0% 12 Aug 2009 The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to keep a key interest rate near zero, saying the economy is stabilizing and inflation is under control. The announcement by the Fed's Open Market Committee was widely expected but was still welcomed on Wall Street: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 120 points, or 1.3%, to 9362. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "did what everyone [!?!] hoped he would," says Mike Holland of Holland & Co.

Gay-Marriage Bid Is Delayed 12 Aug 2009 California's leading gay-rights group said Wednesday it would wait until 2012 to put a measure on the state ballot to legalize same-sex marriage -- much later than many advocates expected and a sign the national push for gay marriage could stretch for years despite recent victories in some states. Equality California, the group that organized an unsuccessful effort to block California's Proposition 8 last year banning gay marriage in the state, said it planned to wait three years because it would take that long to change enough minds to win at the polls.

Ontario polar bears officially threatened species 12 Aug 2009 Polar bear populations in Ontario's north are on the decline, turning cautious concern for the animal's survival into planned action. The Ontario government is changing the classification of the polar bear population from special concern to threatened species to ensure a greater protection of the bears.

Indianapolis Zoo's polar bear dies 12 Aug 2009 One of the world's oldest polar bears is dead at the age of 34. Indianapolis Zoo officials say the bear named Tahtsa died Wednesday after years of declining health. Veterinarians decided to euthanize her when she could no longer stand.

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