October 2009 Archives, Page Two
my God. US
to Give $125 Million to Upgrade Pakistan's Power Sector 29 Oct
2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seeking to bolster
UN rights investigator warns US drone attacks may violate international law 28 Oct 2009 UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston said Tuesday that the use of unmanned warplanes by the US to carry out attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan may be illegal. Alston criticized the US policy in a report to the UN General Assembly's human rights committee and then elaborated at a press conference.
Brother of Afghan president reportedly on CIA payroll 28 Oct 2009 The New York Times has reported that the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been taking regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency. The Times, quoting current and former US intelligence officials, said Ahmed Wali Karzai had been paid for different services including the putting together of a CIA directed Afghan paramilitary force.
Brother of Afghan President Is on C.I.A. Payroll, Officials Say 28 Oct 2009 Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials. The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, and those financial ties and the agency's close working relationship with him raise significant questions about America's war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House.
Gunmen storm UN guest house in Kabul, 12 dead 28 Oct 2009 Taliban militants wearing suicide vests and police uniforms stormed a guest house used by U.N. staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people -- including six U.N. staff. It was the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month's presidential runoff 'election.' A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the early morning assaults, which also included rocket attacks at the presidential palace and the city's main luxury hotel.
October deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan 27 Oct 2009 October has been the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001, Pentagon officials said on Tuesday. The death of eight troops in bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday pushed the October death toll to 53, topping the previous high of 51 deaths in August, officials said.
Afghan bombs kill eight US troops 27 Oct 2009 Eight US soldiers have been killed in bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan, say Nato-led forces. An Afghan civilian was also killed in what were called "multiple complex IED attacks" - or improvised bombs. The deaths make October the deadliest month for American forces in the eight-year war in Afghanistan.
Car bomb kills 90 in Pakistan as Hillary Clinton visits 28 Oct 2009 A car bomb ripped through a crowded market killing 90 people in Pakistan's city of Peshawar on Wednesday, just hours after Washington's top diplomat arrived pledging a fresh start in sometimes strained relations. Wednesday's bomb, the latest urban attack since [Blackwater arrived] the army launched a major assault on rural Taliban strongholds two weeks ago, was the deadliest since 2007 when around 140 died.
Pakistani journalist claims life under threat following U.S agency expose 27 Oct 2009 A Pakistani journalist claims to have been receiving life threats from a U.S agency for critically writing against the Obama administration and for reporting its secret operations in the country. Fears of being harassed has him to use a pseudo name, S.F.A. Shah, who now fears for his life after breaking the story of the presence of Blackwater (now Xe Worldwide) in Peshawar along with Creative Associates International Inc (CAII). He had published names of the investigation and operational heads of the agency and had unmasked the nexus of BW, FBI and CIA. He had also investigated the activities of the US Consulate in Peshawar... The Nation reports. Now a report has revealed how he was hounded out of his home and was later approached by the CIA.
UN rights rapporteur: Guantanamo detainees should be tried or released 27 Oct 2009 UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin said Monday that all Guantanamo Bay detainees should be brought before US federal courts for trial by the January 22 deadline for closure set by US President Barack Obama. Scheinin said that the detainees should not be held indefinitely and that if they cannot be brought to the US for trial then they should be released.
detainees sue UK to make evidence public 28 Oct 2009 Seven former
Guantanamo Bay detainees asked the High Court in London on Tuesday to
reject a government request to use secret sessions to hear allegations
that Britain was complicit in their torture overseas. Britain's government
and intelligence agencies want parts of a claim for damages filed by
Obama reaffirms Guantanamo pledge 27 Oct 2009 President Barack Obama has declared that he is "serious" about shutting Guantanamo Bay amid speculation that a January deadline for its closure may be pushed back. At a fundraising event in Miami, the President reiterated his pledge to move all detainees off the controversial Cuban base. He made no mention of when the process would be complete, stoking speculation that the planned closure is behind schedule.
Court's flu plan raises due-process concern --'Precautionary' quarantines delaying arraignments 28 Oct 2009 Defense attorneys in the desert are crying foul at a plan to contain the spread of H1N1 virus or any other flu-like illnesses, saying that it could violate an inmate's constitutional right to a speedy trial. Riverside County Jail officials developed the protocol, which includes inmate quarantines, in an effort to curb the chances of an outbreak of flu-like viruses in the county's jails. Los Angeles County man Anthony Raymond Magdaleno,18, was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday... But Magdaleno did not appear in court for the second time in two days because he is one of several inmates quarantined at the Riverside County Jail in Indio in a precautionary action attributed to a flu-like virus, jail officials said.
Hearing in DHS supermarket slaying postponed again for jail flu quarantine 27 Oct 2009 Arraignment for a Los Angeles County man accused of gunning down a man in front of a Desert Hot Springs supermarket was delayed today for a second day in a row because of a flu quarantine at the Indio Jail. The hearing was rescheduled for Wednesday for 18-year-old Anthony Raymond Magdaleno, who faces a murder charge... His arraignment has been delayed three times because of the quarantine. Riverside County jails have been quarantining inmates with flu-like symptoms in attempt to keep the H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu from spreading through the population, said Capt. Raymond Gregory, who oversees jails in Indio and Blythe.
Pig plague could crash interwebs, say US feds --DHS bandwidth rationing? 28 Oct 2009 A severe outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic could overwhelm internet providers' capacity, according to a report submitted Monday, which called on Department of Homeland Security officials to develop contingency plans to avert such a crisis. "Concerns exist that a more severe pandemic outbreak than 2009's could cause large numbers of people staying home to increase their internet use and overwhelm internet providers' network capacities," according to the report, which was prepared by the US Government Accountability Office... The authors said the DHS, which is responsible for making sure critical networks remain operational during emergencies, needs to consider ways to mitigate the threat and held out the rationing of customer bandwidth or the blocking of websites as possibilities. ...Networks used by security exchanges would most likely survive because they generally bypass the public internet.
swine flu vaccine guinea pigs: prisoners.
to Give Prisoners H1N1 Vaccine Before General Public
28 Oct 2009 Texas prison officials say thousands of high-risk convicts
may be vaccinated against the swine flu ahead of the general public
as soon as next week. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman
Michelle Lyons and state health officials say more than 45,000 convicts
are being considered for the vaccine. They've been targeted by a U.S.
Centers for Disease
Massachusetts Prisoners With 'Health Risks' to Get H1N1 Shots Before General Public 15 Oct 2009 Massachusetts health officials have decided to give swine flu vaccinations to prisoners with high health risks before the general population. Prison officials warn that inmates could quickly spread the flu if not inoculated -- particularly those in high-risk groups, such as AIDS patients or the aged. Department of Public Health spokeswoman Jennifer Manley told the Boston Herald that vaccines will go to correctional facilities the second week of November for prison health care workers and high risk prisoners. [Gee, can these Nazis get any more blatant with their medical experiments?]
U.S. may end up discarding unused H1N1 vaccine [Why not just toss the sh*t now to save time?] 27 Oct 2009 The U.S. government may end up throwing away unused doses of swine flu vaccine if people cannot get it soon enough, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said 22.4 million doses were now available to states, which can get them a day after they order them. "It's quite likely that too little vaccine is one of the things that's making people more interested in getting vaccinated, frankly," Frieden told reporters.
Women Wary of Swine Flu Shot --Survey Shows Most Pregnant Women
and Moms of Young Kids Won't Get Vaccinated 27 Oct 2009 A new survey
shows only about one in four pregnant women and mothers of young children
plan to get the H1N1 flu vaccine this year, despite
Swine flu doctors tell footballers to stop spitting 28 Oct 2009 It is one of the most common complaints from spectators of the beautiful game. And yesterday, footballers were warned that spitting during games is not only unattractive, but could increase the risk of spreading swine flu. The warning comes as players at two Premier League clubs in England were struck down by the virus, prompting fears that it could spread to other teams and players.
Experts discount 'accident' theory in Harvard pathology lab coffee poisoning 26 Oct 2009 A leading toxicologist believes the chances are slim that six lab workers at Harvard University Medical School were poisoned by accident. "An accident? Sodium azide is a poison," said David M. Benjamin, a toxicologist and Chestnut Hill-based clinical pharmacologist. "Absolutely not." The Herald reported yesterday that six scientists and students at the New Research Building in Boston’s Longwood Medical area were mysteriously poisoned after drinking from a communal, single-serve coffee machine on the eighth floor near their pathology lab on Aug. 26.
Two Chicago men accused of plotting terror attacks in Denmark --U.S. citizen allegedly conspired with high-ranking operatives overseas, using code words to conceal plot called the "Mickey Mouse Project." 27 Oct 2009 Federal authorities have arrested and charged two Chicago area men in connection with an alleged terrorist plot focused on targets in Denmark after a newspaper there published cartoons that enraged the Muslim community. Prosecutors in Chicago and the District said that the men posed "no imminent danger" and noted that David Coleman Headley and Tahawar Hussain Rana have been in U.S. custody for several days while they conducted further "investigative activity."
Greyhound bus passengers get screened, pat down in special TSA operation --Everyone who walked into the terminal went through a metal detector like those at airports, and baggage was screened for explosives. 22 Oct 2009 The TSA's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIRP) teams stage periodic operations at bus and train stations, ports and other transportation centers. There was no specific threat to the bus station on John Young Parkway south of Colonial Drive. On Thursday, 50 officials from agencies including TSA, Orlando police, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection patted down passengers. Behavior and explosives experts and dogs trained to sniff out bombs and drugs also were used.
Anti-terrorism exercise held at CBBT 27 Oct 2009 Eight federal and local law enforcement agencies put on a show of force at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) Tuesday. Random traffic stops were conducted at the north and south toll gates. The security check is part of the Transportation Security Agency's (TSA) Viper Program. It's a effort to deter terrorist activity and protect our bridges and tunnels.
Ex-A.I.G. Chief Is Back, Luring Talent From Rescued Firm 27 Oct 2009 Maurice R. Greenberg, who built the American International Group into an insurance behemoth with an impenetrable maze of on- and offshore companies, is at it again. Even as he has been lambasting the government for its handling of A.I.G. after its near collapse, Mr. Greenberg has been quietly building up a family of insurance companies that could compete with A.I.G. To fill the ranks of his venture, C.V. Starr & Company, he has been hiring some people he once employed. Now, Mr. Greenberg may have received some unintended assistance from the United States Treasury. Just last week, the Treasury severely limited pay at A.I.G. and other companies that were bailed out by taxpayers. That may hasten the exodus of A.I.G.’s talent, sending more refugees into Mr. Greenberg’s arms, since C. V. Starr is free to pay whatever it wants. [AIG --they're like the monsters in the 'Aliens' movie. People kept feeding them so they could grow bigger and then absorb their hosts. --LRP]
New York Fed's Secret Choice to Pay for Swaps Hits Taxpayers 27 Oct 2009 By Sept. 16, 2008, AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, was running out of cash, and the U.S. government stepped in with a rescue plan. The government’s commitment to AIG through credit facilities and investments would eventually add up to $182.3 billion... After less than a week of private negotiations with the banks, the New York Fed instructed AIG to pay them par, or 100 cents on the dollar. The content of its deliberations has never been made public. Bloomberg News has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking copies of the term sheets related to AIG’s counterparty payments, along with e-mails and the logs of phone calls and meetings... The request is pending. The Federal Reserve has been reluctant to publish information on its efforts to stabilize the financial system since the crisis began. The Fed has loaned more than $2 trillion, yet it refuses to name the recipients of the loans, or cite the amount they borrowed, saying that doing so may set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders.
Lieberman says to back GOP filibuster against Democrats on health care 27 Oct 2009 Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-Israel) said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care reform bill. LieberBush said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program -- even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as Reid has said the Senate bill will.
Poll: support growing for public option 27 Oct 2009 Public support for a public option in health care appears to be growing, according to a new poll. The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that 48 percent support a government-run plan to compete with private insurers and 42 percent oppose it -- the strongest support ever in the survey. Last month, opinion was basically divided with 46 percent in favor and 48 percent against.
Landfill sites may be used to dump radioactive waste --Government poised to allow nuclear power generators to put atomic waste in ordinary sites to cut cost [!] of decommissioning old reactors 19 Oct 2009 The [criminally insane] government is poised to allow nuclear power generators to use ordinary landfill sites for dumping "hundreds of thousands of tons" of waste in an attempt to reduce the £73bn cost of decommissioning old reactors. The move has triggered a swath of applications around the country from big corporations trying to cash in on this potential new business, but infuriated local councils and campaign groups.
Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California 28 Oct 2009 These are heady times for advocates of legalized marijuana in California -- and only in small part because of the newly relaxed approach of the federal government toward medical marijuana. State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Wednesday on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the drug -- in what would be the first such law in the United States. Tax officials estimate the legislation could bring the struggling state about $1.4 billion a year, and though the bill’s fate in the Legislature is uncertain, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has indicated he would be open to a "robust debate" on the issue.
In pandemic, Internet providers might need govt authorization to block popular websites --'The DHS is responsible for ensuring that critical telecommunications infrastructure is protected.' 26 Oct 2009 Securities exchanges have a sound network back-up if a severe pandemic keeps people home and clogging the Internet [!?!] but the Homeland Security Department has done little planning, Congressional investigators said on Monday... Blocking Websites: Private Internet providers might need government authorization to block popular websites, it [GAO report] said, or to reduce residential transmission speeds to make way for commerce. The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, a group of private-sector firms and financial trade associations, has been working to ensure that trading could continue if big exchanges had to close because of the risk of disease transmission.
Guantánamo torture: UK wants claims of complicity to be heard in secret --The government also wants its evidence kept secret from defence lawyers. 26 Oct 2009 The government wants allegations that it was complicit in the torture by the US of Britons held as terrorism suspects to be heard in secret. In documents seen by the Guardian, lawyers for the government argue it must be allowed to present evidence to the high court with the public excluded, otherwise Britain's relations with other countries and its national security could be damaged. The government also wants its evidence kept secret from defence lawyers. Lawyers for seven men who are now all back in the UK after the US released them without charge will tomorrow go to the high court in London to fight the government's attempt, which they say is designed to cover the embarrassment of ministers and the security services.
Cost of Afghanistan project soars, benefits exaggerated 25 Oct 2009 Flipping a switch on one of Afghanistan's long-awaited electrical power plants in August, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry urged Afghans to think of U.S. taxpayers' support when they turn their lights on at night. To some U.S. experts, however, the project is the latest example of exaggerated political expectations and wasted American taxpayers' dollars in the effort to 'rebuild' Afghanistan. Plagued by delays and rising costs, the project reveals how the U.S. government continues to ignore the hard lessons of Iraq, critics say, where contractors received billions of dollars with little oversight and inspectors have found rampant waste, fraud and abuse. [The Obusha AfPak Money Pit: Unlike the 'public option,' Congress doesn't ask if funding the Taleban to blow up contractors' bridges will add to the US deficit By Lori Price 18 Oct 2009 WHY are US taxpayers funding infrastructure programs in *Afghanistan* instead of in the US? See: Military Seeks $1.3 Billion For Construction Projects in Afghanistan 18 Oct 2009.]
Afghan police open fire at demonstration 26 Oct 2009 Afghan police Monday opened fire and turned a water cannon on demonstrators angry about allegations that Western troops torched a Koran, wounding at least three people, officials and witnesses said. Clashes erupted as police tried to prevent around 300 students, from marching on parliament, the city's criminal investigation police chief, Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, told AFP.
Sixteen Americans dead as helicopters crash in Afghan raids --The loss of life on Monday was the highest in a single day for US forces since 2005. 27 Oct 2009 Sixteen Americans died in a series of helicopter crashes and Taleban attacks across Afghanistan in one of the bloodiest days since the 2001 invasion. Ten people were killed and at least 26 wounded when a Chinook helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan yesterday during a pre-dawn battle with 'insurgents.' In Helmand province, in the south of the country, four soldiers were killed and two seriously wounded when two helicopters collided in mid-air, officials said. Two more soldiers died in separate incidents.
U.S. official resigns over Afghan war --Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting 27 Oct 2009 When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan. A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed. But last month... Hoh became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.
Kerry says McChrystal's troop request 'reaches too far, too fast' --Senator wants to see Afghan institutions make progress first 27 Oct 2009 Sen. John F. Kerry declared Monday that he opposes sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan unless the government and military there improve their performance, and said the top American military commander in the country is moving "too far, too fast" in recommending an increase of more than 40,000 troops.
U.S. Tested Afghan Options in Secret War Game 26 Oct 2009 The top Pentagon military officer conducted a secret war game this month to evaluate the two primary troop deployment options being considered by the Obama administration in a broad review of the war in Afghanistan, Fox News confirmed Monday. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen led the exercises to examine the outcome of two possible scenarios: The first requires sending 44,000 more troops into the country to conduct a full-scale counterinsurgency effort... The second calls for inserting far fewer soldiers and Marines -- 10,000 to 15,000 -- as part of an approach that the military reportedly has dubbed "counterterrorism plus."
Karzai Challenger Calls for 'Dramatic Increase' in Troops in Afghanistan 25 Oct 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai's top challenger called for a "dramatic increase" in troops to ensure security in his country, suggesting a failure to send in reinforcements could put Afghanistan "at risk" of falling to insurgents. "The need for more troops is there in order to reverse the situation," Abdullah Abdullah, who is expected to face off against Karzai in a runoff election in two weeks, told "Fox News Sunday." [Oh. That explains why the US is forcing Afghanistan to re-do its 'election.' They'll keep having 'elections' until this nutjob 'wins.']
Death toll nears 160 in Baghdad attacks --Ministry bombings threaten to disrupt government operations 27 Oct 2009 Iraqi officials on Monday began assessing the scope of the damage from two devastating bombings carried out Sunday that are expected to cripple key government agencies for months, as the death toll climbed to nearly 160. The attacks targeted the Justice Ministry, the Baghdad Provincial Council and the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works.
Defense firms in probe received $30M in stimulus money 26 Oct 2009 The Department of Defense has awarded nearly $30 million in stimulus contracts to six companies while they were under federal criminal investigation on suspicion of fraud. The companies claimed to be small, minority-owned businesses, giving them preference in bidding for government contracts, Air Force documents allege. But government investigators found they were part of a larger minority-owned firm and not eligible for small-business contracts.
Israel 'cuts Palestinian water' 27 Oct 2009 Israel is denying Palestinians access to even the basic minimum of clean, safe water, Amnesty International says. In a report, the human rights group says Israeli water restrictions discriminate against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. It says that in Gaza, Israel's blockade has brought the water and sewage system to "crisis point".
Israel to UN: We'll continue to gather intelligence in Lebanon 26 Oct 2009 The United Nations has asked Israel for clarifications on "listening devices" that the Lebanese authorities claim were revealed near the village of Hula in southern Lebanon last week. The request was made following an official Lebanese petition to the UN. Israel informed the UN that collecting intelligence in southern Lebanon will continue as long as the government in Beirut is not in full control of its territory.
Lockerbie: eight other 'high-level' suspects 26 Oct 2009 Eight suspects who may have been involved in the Lockerbie bombing have never been investigated because the Libyan government refused to co-operate with Scottish police, The Scotsman has learned. The individuals emerged as possible "high-level" suspects as part of the original inquiry into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 following the atrocity in December 1988. Now The Scotsman can reveal that the eight were never ruled out of the investigation because Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi refused to release them for questioning.
Minot Air Force Base resident suffered "self-inflicted" gunshot wound 26 Oct 2009 (ND) A 21-year-old man was injured after he shot himself in the chest Monday morning, according to the Jamestown Police Department. Police said the man, a resident of Minot Air Force Base, suffered a "self-inflicted" gun shot wound in the upper left chest in the room he rented on the second floor of the Comfort Inn in Jamestown. Police were dispatched at 3:22 a.m., said Police Chief Dave Donegan. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities'.]
Spotter cards: What they look like and how they work --'Spotter cards' issued by police to identify potential troublemakers 25 Oct 2009 These so-called "spotter cards" are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations. The photographs are drawn from police intelligence files. The Met said: "This is an appropriate tactic used by police to help them identify people at specific events … who may instigate offences or disorder."
Police in £9m scheme to log 'domestic extremists' --Thousands of activists monitored on network of overlapping databases 25 Oct 2009 Police are gathering the personal details of thousands of activists who attend political meetings and protests, and storing their data on a network of nationwide intelligence databases. The hidden apparatus has been constructed to monitor "domestic extremists", the Guardian can reveal in the first of a three-day series into the policing of protests. Detailed information about the political activities of campaigners is being stored on a number of overlapping IT systems, even if they have not committed a crime. Senior officers say domestic extremism, a term coined by police that has no legal basis, can include activists suspected of minor public order offences such as peaceful direct action and civil disobedience.
How police rebranded lawful protest as 'domestic extremism' --Forces gather details of single-issue protesters --Activists claim monitoring has echoes of the cold war 25 Oct 2009 About 600 climate change campaigners had gathered outside the Drax power station in North Yorkshire... It was the type of demonstration which has been going on for decades in Britain. But the police appear to have had another, completely different view of the 2006 protest. After the demonstration, the first in what has become an annual gathering known as Climate Camp, North Yorkshire police conducted a review along with government officials. Internal papers obtained by the Guardian show they called it "the first time domestic extremism took place against national infrastructure in the county". The term "domestic extremism" is now common currency within the police. It is a phrase which shapes how forces seek to control demonstrations.
Pandemic Seen Slowing Internet Traffic --Net Capacity Could be Tested by Temporary Telework 26 Oct 2009 In the event of a severe pandemic, the Internet might not be able to accommodate increased traffic caused by the increased number of people working from home, the Government Accountability Office said Monday in a report issued. The report, entitled 'Influenza Pandemic: Key Securities Market Participants Are Making Progress, but Agencies Could Do More to Address Potential Internet,' comes just days after President Obama declared a national emergency because of the spreading H1N1 flu and focuses on the financial services industry, though the impact could be broader to include a wide number of industries.
Be afraid. Be very afraid: US OKs Emergency Use of Experimental Antiviral For H1N1 Flu --The emergency-use authorization allows use of the drug without prior FDA approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing the use of an experimental antiviral drug to treat severe cases of H1N1 or swine flu. The drug, peramivir, is currently being developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is undergoing testing required for regular FDA approval. The FDA issued a so-called emergency use authorization late Friday [when the US usually dumps its bad news, when *no one* is paying attention] that allows doctors to use peramivir, which is delivered intravenously, in certain hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 influenza.
City to Start Vaccinations for Swine Flu in Schools 27 Oct 2009 Despite nationwide shortfalls [Yeah, right!] in the supply of swine flu vaccine, New York City’s health commissioner said on Monday that the city was going ahead with the first stage of its plan to vaccinate schoolchildren. School nurses will begin giving free vaccinations on Wednesday at 125 small public elementary schools, all with fewer than 400 students, said the commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley.
Canadians wary of swine flu vaccine 26 Oct 2009 Most Canadians are skeptical of the swine flu threat and of the vaccine to 'fight' it, a survey suggested on Monday as the country's largest-ever vaccination program in Canada got underway. Fifty-one percent of 1,000 Canadians surveyed by polling firm Strategic Counsel for the daily Globe and Mail newspaper said they would not get vaccinated against the A(H1N1) flu virus, while 49 percent said they wanted a flu shot.
Senate healthcare bill to include public option, Reid says --The majority leader says states would be allowed to opt out of the government-sponsored insurance plan. 26 Oct 2009 Fueling the push for a new government insurance plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that his chamber's healthcare bill would include a compromise that would create a nationwide public option but give states the right to opt out. "The public option is not a silver bullet, [but] I believe it's an important way to ensure competition and to level the playing field for patients with the insurance industry," Reid said.
Storm threat to New Orleans out of our control, says general --Flooding can't be stopped, says chief of city defences --Half of Louisiana will be under water by 2100 25 Oct 2009 New Orleans can no longer be protected from hurricane storm surges, according to the US army general in charge of the city's defences. General Robert Van Antwerp, chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers, said his team was in "persistent conflict" with the Mississippi river. "If you ask can I protect the city, the answer is no. Can I reduce the risk? Yes. We can develop better early warning systems, better evacuation plans, better levees to hold back most of the water, but we cannot stop levees being overtopped and the city flooded." He declined to say whether this meant the city should be abandoned altogether and relocated inland. "That is outside my brief," he said.
Feds designate polar bear habitat in Alaska 23 Oct 2009 The Obama administration said Thursday it is designating more than 200,000 square miles in Alaska and off its coast as "critical habitat" for polar bears, an action that could add restrictions to future offshore drilling for oil and gas. Federal law prohibits agencies from taking actions that may adversely affect critical habitat and interfere with polar bear recovery.
Worst Case: Choosing Who Survives in a Flu Epidemic --Initially, hospitals would apply triage rules to residents of mental institutions, nursing homes, prisons and facilities for the "handicapped." If an epidemic worsened, the rules would apply to the general population. 25 Oct 2009 New York’s governor has declared a state of emergency and hospitals are following the state’s pandemic ventilator allocation plan -- actual guidelines drafted in 2007 that are now being revisited... Initially, [Utah] hospitals would apply triage rules to residents of mental institutions, nursing homes, prisons and facilities for the "handicapped." If an epidemic worsened, the rules would apply to the general population. A version of these concepts was outlined in a post-9/11 medical journal article that suggested ways to handle victims of a large-scale bioterrorist event. [There's billions to spend to keep the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan going for benefit of US contractors and mercenaries --but no money for ventilators? Gee, I guess there really are 'death panels.' The summary above is from the New York Times. They are finally covering what the CLG covered for years, when the Bush regime was stealthily implementing pandemic plans under the cover of holiday weekends and the H1N1 flu virus was still a twinkle in Baxter's eye (even as they were applying for numerous vaccine patents for a pandemic that had not yet occurred). --Lori Price]
'There will be the sound of gunfire and blasts -- all part of Urban Shield, one of the biggest domestic terrorism drills in the country.' Heavily armed law enforcement teams will scatter across the Bay Area this weekend --Twenty-seven crack teams will compete in the Urban Shield exercise 23 Oct 2009 Armed officers in full battle gear will be scattered throughout the Bay Area this weekend, rescuing hostages, fighting bank robbers and quelling terrorism at the Oakland Airport, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, the NASA Ames Research Center and 22 other high profile sites. There will be the sound of gunfire and blasts -- all part of Urban Shield, one of the biggest domestic terrorism drills in the country. The $1 million, two-day event begins Saturday and will test the training of 27 crack teams from throughout the state, elsewhere in the country and the world. For the first time in the three-year history of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department-sponsored exercise, there will be a foreign team of officers taking part and international observers. An eight-member team representing the French National Police's Research, Assistance, Intervention, and Dissuasion unit will compete.
25 teams practice emergency response --Elite tactical teams from across Bay Area in Urban Shield training exercise 23 Oct 2009 (CA) It is the largest tactical exercise in the nation. Twenty-five local teams, including one from Boston and one from France, will deploy across the Bay Area on Saturday to train in 25 different scenarios from sniper attacks to hostage situations. "We make them as realistic as possible. They'll have a hijack situation and that scenario will take place at the Oakland Airport on an airplane," says Alameda County Sgt. J.D. Nelson.
Protesters burn Obama's effigy in front of Afghan parliament 25 Oct 2009 Hundreds of Kabul university students who came to streets on Sunday to condemn the alleged desecration of Muslim holy book Quran set on fire the effigy of President Barack Obama in front of parliament and called for halt of what they termed arbitrary operations. "The protesters besides burning the effigy of President Obama and chanting slogans 'Death to America' called on the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to halt arbitrary operations in Afghan villages," a protester Matiullah Karimi told Xinhua.
Solider who refuses to return to Afghanistan leads thousands on anti-war march in London 25 Oct 2009 A serving soldier yesterday accused politicians of abusing the trust of the army and serving soldiers. Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who is facing a court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan, made his comments before an anti-war demonstration in central London. Lance Corporal Glenton is leading former colleagues, military families and anti-war protesters in the march, calling for British troops to be brought home.
Morale dips for American marines in Afghanistan --In a remote part of Helmand troops are dismayed by the ambivalence of locals and a sense that the Taliban can outlast them 25 Oct 2009 Third Platoon, Charlie Company of the 2nd Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, came last July to Khan Neshin, as far south as Nato soldiers have reached in Afghanistan. It was part of a summer offensive by more than 4,500 troops of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which has joined British and other forces trying to turn the war in Helmand. Although they have read the manuals on counterinsurgency and heard generals speak about how to defeat the Taliban, the reality has been bloody, painful and frustrating.
UN chief strongly condemns car bombing attacks in Baghdad 26 Oct 2009 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday strongly condemned double car bombing attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, in which hundreds were killed and wounded. Ban, in a statement issued here by his spokesperson, said he "is shocked and deeply saddened at the news of today's double car bombing attacks near the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and the Baghdad Provincial Governorate Building in central Baghdad, in which hundreds were killed and wounded."
Baghdad Suicide Car Bombs Kill More Than 150, Wound Hundreds 26 Oct 2009 Twin suicide car bombs targeting government buildings in central Baghdad killed more than 150 people and wounded hundreds in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years, the state-run Iraqi news agency said. The explosions went off at 10:30 a.m. local time yesterday outside the headquarters of the Baghdad provincial administration and the Ministry of Justice, about 500 meters apart, the Iraqi National Agency said, citing unidentified officials.
Iran warns foreign elements 'behind' terror attack 25 Oct 2009 After more than 40 people, including senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps were killed in a terrorist attack in southeastern Iran, one of the country's senior army officials talks of the involvement of the US, UK, an Arab country and an eastern neighbor in the deadly bombing. "The recent terrorist activities in Sistan-Baluchestan were conducted with the help of the Americans, the British, an Arab country and one of our eastern neighbors. We are well aware of such matters and necessary counter-measures will definitely be taken in response to such acts," Deputy Head of Iran's armed forces headquarters, Brigadier-General Seyyed Massoud Jazayeri, said.
Scottish police to launch new inquiry into Lockerbie --Review of forensic evidence provides 'several lines' of investigation into [CIA] 1988 bombing of airliner 25 Oct 2009 Scottish police have launched a new investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, saying they are reviewing forensic evidence and have "several potential lines of inquiry". Heading the investigation is Detective Chief Inspector Michael Dalgleish, a member of the original team which brought the case against Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man to be convicted of the bombing. [So, heading the 'investigation' is the detective from the original 'investigation?']
UN inspectors visit once-secret Iranian site 25 Oct 2009 U.N. inspectors entered a once-secret uranium enrichment facility with bunker-like construction and heavy military protection that raised Western suspicions about the extent and intent of Iran's nuclear program. The visit Sunday by the four-member International Atomic Energy Agency team, reported by state media, was the first independent look inside the planned nuclear fuel lab, a former ammunition dump burrowed into the treeless hills south of Tehran and only publicly disclosed last month.
Lithuanian President Announces Investigation into CIA Secret Prison --Investigation a result of ABC News.com report on CIA 'Black Site' in Lithuanian Capitol 21 Oct 2009 The president of Lithuania called for an official investigation Tuesday into an ABC News.com exclusive report in August that the CIA housed a secret prison for al Qaeda suspects in Lithuania for more than a year beginning in 2004. "If this is true," President Dalia Grybauskaite said, "Lithuania has to clean up, accept responsibility, apologize, and promise that it will never happen again." At a press conference with the Council of Europe Human Rights Commission, Grybauskaite announced the investigation after it was clear a previous attempt by the Lithuanian Parliament was insufficient, according to a Council of Europe official.
Lithuanian leader suspects her country hosted CIA jail 21 Oct 2009 Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said Tuesday she had "indirect suspicions" that the Baltic state hosted a secret CIA prison for terror suspects, as a senior European official called for a beefed-up probe. "I do not have a clear answer. I was in Brussels when it could have been happening. I have indirect suspicions. Not only I, but also the international community," Grybauskaite told reporters.
Palestinian leadership urges Israel to stop "provocative" acts in Jerusalem 25 Oct 2009 The Palestinian leadership on Sunday urged the Israeli government to stop "provocative" acts against the Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. "Jerusalem is a red line that can not be overstepped and we warn of dangerous consequences that only cause tension in the region," Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.
Israeli police enter Aqsa compound 25 Oct 2009 Israeli police have entered al-Aqsa mosque compound, clashing with Muslim worshippers and arresting Palestinian protesters. Al Jazeera has learnt that the clashes erupted on Sunday after Israeli police tried to storm the compound in occupied Jerusalem's Old City. At least 10 people were injured and another 15 detained, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem said.
US freezes assets of North Korean bank, official 23 Oct 2009 The Treasury Department has frozen the assets of a North Korean bank and one of its executives for being involved in the sale of ballistic missiles and other weapons technology. The department said Friday that the move prohibits U.S. entities from dealing with the Amroggang Development Bank and Kim Tong Myong, the president of North Korea's Tanchon Commercial Bank.
Germany to send back US nuclear weapons 25 Oct 2009 Incoming German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Berlin will seek the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons based in Germany in support of Washington's fervor for a world free of nuclear arms. "We will take President Obama at his word and enter talks with our allies so that the last of the nuclear weapons still stationed in Germany, relics of the Cold War, can finally be removed," Deutsche Welle (DW) network quoted Westerwelle as saying.
Revealed: English Nazis plot to bring terror to streets of Scotland --Organisers admitted previous marches were attended by fascist thugs from Combat 18 25 Oct 2009 A mob of English racists and neo-Nazis planning to invade Scotland can be exposed by the Sunday Mail today. The far-right trouble makers are planning to march in Glasgow under the banner of the Scottish Defence League near the country's biggest Mosque. Despite portraying themselves as Scots, the right-wingers - including senior BNP activists - will travel to Scotland from Birmingham, Luton, London and Carlisle. The ragbag army of football hooligans, far-right activists and racist thugs want a confrontation with Scots Muslims.
Armed F-16s 'Prepared' to Shoot Down Errant Northwest Flight --Air Traffic Controllers Feared Plane Had Been Hijacked, But Fighters Never Took Off 23 Oct 2009 Armed F-16s from the Wisconsin Air National Guard were on the runway and could have shot down the errant Northwest flight if the order had come, officials said today. "As a force of last resort, NORAD is always prepared to do whatever is necessary," NORAD spokesperson Mike Kucharek told ABCNews.com. Air traffic controllers feared Northwest Flight 188, from San Diego to Minneapolis, might have been hijacked after its pilots failed to respond to radio transmissions for more than an hour. NORAD ordered at least two planes scrambled at the guard facility in Madison, Wisconsin. [Right, NORAD's always prepared to shoot down an 'errant plane,' except on 9/11 when Cheney gave the order for NORAD to stand down.]
New swine flu ads to urge Canadians to roll up their sleeves for the shot 25 Oct 2009 A sweeping ad campaign is planned over the next few weeks to prod reluctant Canadians to get the swine-flu shot, The Canadian Press has learned. The new [propaganda] campaign comes as officials try to persuade a wary public to roll up their sleeves for the H1N1 vaccine - though the ads won't be ready when most provinces begin their vaccination campaigns Monday.
Doctors lack interest in giving H1N1 vaccine 22 Oct 2009 With the flu shot now approved, provincial officials and doctors’ associations scrambled this week to water down regulations that would have forced physicians to sign a "pre-qualification agreement" before they could dole out the vaccine. Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, president of the Ottawa Academy of Medicine, said that at a town hall of about 100 doctors in her city this week, barely a third indicated interest in offering the H1N1 vaccine. Many were upset by requirements they felt were "too onerous" to allow them to give the shot in their offices, Fullerton said. The rules, initially sent out in August, would have required family doctors to complete extra paperwork reporting weekly on numbers vaccinated, ages, gender, target groups, First Nations patients, vaccine "wasted," adverse reactions and other data... In addition, "we were told that we would have to sign something called a pre-qualification agreement, which is almost like a contract, to administer the vaccine," said Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Suzanne Strasberg.
First Daughters Not Vaccinated Against H1N1 --President Obama's school age daughters have not been vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the vaccine is not available to them based on their risk. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children ages 6 months through 18 years of age receive a vaccination against the H1N1 flu virus. [Right, Obama's not going to harm his own children.]
say Obama will get any flu resources he needs --President Obama
declared a national emergency Friday 25 Oct 2009 A Republican and
a Democratic senator pledged their support Sunday if President Barack
Obama asks for further resources to
LA officials to unveil $437M police headquarters 24 Oct 2009 The Los Angeles Police Department is officially being handed the keys to its new headquarters. Local officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and outgoing police Chief William Bratton are scheduled to open the gleaming 10-story, $437 million downtown structure Saturday morning.
Investor With Madoff Is Found Dead in His Pool 26 Oct 2009 Jeffry Picower, a prominent philanthropist and one of the largest investors in the vast Ponzi scheme run by Bernard L. Madoff, was found dead in the pool at his Palm Beach, Fla., home on Sunday afternoon. His death was confirmed by the Palm Beach Police Department, which said it had received an emergency call at 12:09 p.m. from Mr. Picower’s wife, Barbara. She said that she had found her husband at the bottom of the pool.
Oil spill response a 'continued failure' --Oil rig has been leaking oil into Timor Sea for more than nine weeks 25 Oct 2009 The Federal Opposition has accused the Government of being complacent about an oil spill off Western Australia's north coast. An oil rig, operated by PTTEP Australasia, has been leaking oil into the Timor Sea for more than nine weeks. A fourth attempt to intercept the leak has been delayed numerous times and is now planned for Tuesday. The Opposition's spokesman for environment Greg Hunt says the Federal Government needs to bring in international experts to deal with the situation.
Despite spill, oil licences granted 24 Oct 2009 The company responsible for one of the biggest oil spills in Australian history was yesterday given access to more Australian oilfields, after winning support from the Rudd Government. As its workers began their fourth attempt at fixing the Montara oil leak off the Kimberley coast, Thai company PTTEP yesterday took control of five new exploration licences and several oilfields in Australian waters. Despite growing concerns about the impact of the two-month oil leak, the $11 million purchase of new oil assets was supported by Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.
President Obama declares H1N1 flu a national emergency --Declaration signed Friday night allows waiver of some federal regulations 24 Oct 2009 President Obama Saturday declared the H1N1 flu a national emergency, clearing the way for legal waivers to allow hospitals and doctors offices to 'better handle' a surge of new patients. The proclamation will grant Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius the power to authorize the waivers as individual medical facilities request them, officials said. If granted a waiver, hospitals would be freed from some regulations that guide their behavior during normal day-to-day operations.
Blackwater has arms warehouse in Islamabad --Blackwater has implanted sensitive instruments at Sihala to monitor activities of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Kahuta, as well as to keep an eye on the nuclear assets of Pakistan. 22 Oct 2009 Private US security firm Blackwater has a warehouse located in the industrial area of Islamabad that is reportedly involved in illegal arms trading. The warehouse, Kestral Logistics, is working as the subcontractor of Xe Worldwide or Blackwater, The Nation reports. According to sources, the company has arms deals with Blackwater and is importing heavy arms and ammunition for the US company for its ongoing illicit operations in Pakistan. [Wow. Blackwater 'keeping an eye on' the nuclear assets of Pakistan. I think we'd all prefer al-Qaeda watching them.]
US rejects media allegations over 'arms warehouse' 24 Oct 2009 The US embassy rejected on Friday that a warehouse in Islamabad -- in the possession of a private American security contractor [Blackwater] -- was being used to store heavy arms and ammunition for the US company. "Kestral Logistics is a private logistics company that handles the import of equipment and supplies provided by the US to the government of Pakistan. All of the equipment and supplies are imported at the request of the Pakistan government, which also certifies the shipments," said the embassy in a statement. [See: Blackwater involved in Bhutto and Hariri hits: former Pakistani army chief 14 Sep 2009 Pakistan’s former chief of army staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg (ret.), has said the U.S. private security company Blackwater was directly involved in the assassinations of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. See: Blackwater running covert recruitment drive in Pak through its website 16 Sep 2009 The controversial US private security company, Blackwater, is reportedly running a covert recruitment drive through its website in Pakistan. See: Blackwater Recruiting Agents Fluent In Urdu and Punjabi For Pakistan --Report suggests Pakistani envoy in Washington issued 360 visas to Americans in one month without consulting Islamabad By Ahmed Quraishi 15 Sep 2009.]
Bomb hits outside suspected Pakistani nuclear-weapons site 23 Oct 2009 A suicide bomber attacked a suspected nuclear-weapons site Friday in Pakistan, raising fears about the security of the nuclear arsenal, while two other terrorist blasts made it another bloody day... Increasingly daring and sophisticated attacks by terrorists allied with al Qaida on some of Pakistan’s most sensitive and best-protected installations have led to warnings that extremists could damage a nuclear facility or seize nuclear material.
'His remarks have raised alarming questions about the US involvement in the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Iran.' Iran finds new evidence on deadly blast 24 Oct 2009 After a series of intensive investigations into the deadly bomb blast in southeastern Iran, new revelations show that the culprit was trained and equipped in Pakistan. "Based on our latest findings, the perpetrator [of the bombing] had received specialized terrorist training in Pakistan," Jalal Sayyah, Deputy Chief for security affairs in the Sistan-Baluchestan Province, said early Saturday. "Fully-trained with bombs and explosives, he was then sent to Iran to carry out this tragic incident," he said, referring to a bomb blast that killed more than 40 people on Sunday in the borderline region of Pishin. Sayyah said the findings were confirmed following the confession of a number of detainees, who were arrested for having links with the Jundallah group... Abdulhamid Rigi, the apprehended brother of the Jundallah point-man, told Press TV in a recent interview that Abdulmalek had held several "confidential" meetings with FBI and CIA agents in Karachi and Islamabad. He added that during one of the meetings, two female US agents had offered weapons, safe bases in Afghanistan and professional trainers and had attempted to recruit volunteers. Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field officer, revealed Saturday that Washington had formed relations with the Jundallah group, while aware of its terrorist nature.
Ex-CIA agent confirms US ties with Jundullah 24 Oct 2009 A former Central Intelligence Agency officer has confirmed US relations with the terrorist group Jundullah, despite the CIA knowing that the group has close links with the al-Qaeda. "American intelligence has also had contact with Jundullah. But that contact, as Iran almost certainly knows, was confined to intelligence-gathering on the country," Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field officer wrote on the Time.com, IRNA reported early on Saturday. "I've been told that the Bush Administration at one point considered Jundullah as a piece in a covert-action campaign against Iran, but the idea was quickly dropped because Jundullah was judged uncontrollable and too close to al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. There was no way to be certain that Jundullah would not throw the bombs we paid for back at us," said the former CIA agent who is a columnist in the weekly, and very probably an advisor in the Middle East.
Ministers Endorse Wider Afghan Effort 24 Oct 2009 Defense ministers
from NATO on Friday endorsed the ambitious counterinsurgency strategy
for Afghanistan proposed by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, giving new impetus
to his recommendation to pour more troops into the eight-year-old war.
General McChrystal’s review calls for adopting a full-scale counterinsurgency
strategy that would protect
Gates: NATO sending more troops to Afghanistan 23 Oct 2009 U.S. 'Defense' Secretary Robert Gates says NATO allies are moving toward sending more troops and civilian aid to Afghanistan. Gates said Friday he was "heartened" by allies' commitment to the 8-year-old war, even as the Obama administration mulls whether to order tens of thousands more U.S. troops to the fight.
Four Afghan civilians killed by US military 24 Oct 2009 American forces in Afghanistan have opened fire on a vehicle killing four civilian aboard, including a woman and two children. The incident happened in southern Kandahar city on Saturday when a US military convoy opened fire on the vehicle, which was passing, Shah Agha, a Kandahar police official told Reuters.
Protesters demand pullout from Afghanistan 24 Oct 2009 Protesters marched through London on Saturday to demand a British military withdrawal from Afghanistan -- among them a serving soldier facing court martial for refusing a second tour of duty there. Police said "around 5,000" people took part in the demonstration from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, while a spokesman for organisers Stop The War Coalition put the figure at 10,000.
Britons believe 'Afghan war is failing' --An overwhelming 84 per cent believe British troops are currently losing the war in Afghanistan, as thousands march on London urging an end to the conflict. 24 Oct 2009 Almost half of the UK public believe that military victory in Afghanistan is impossible and significant majorities think British troops are not winning the war and should be withdrawn either immediately or within the next year, according to a poll published today. Just 6 per cent of those taking part in today's poll said that British troops were winning the war, compared with 36 per cent who said they were not winning yet but eventual victory was possible, and 48 per cent who said that victory was not possible.
US should seek refund for shoddy Iraq embassy: audit 23 Oct 2009 The United States should seek a refund of up to 132 million dollars from the Kuwaiti company that built the massive US embassy in Iraq, which has "multiple significant" flaws, an audit recommends. The State Department's Inspector General panned the work done by First Kuwaiti Trading and Contracting, which received five contracts worth 470 million dollars for the project. The study, available on the State Department's website on Friday, documents "multiple significant construction deficiencies" and recommends the United States seek some of its money back from the firm.
Iraq election row could impact US pullout-official 21 Oct 2009 President Barack Obama's timetable for drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Iraq next year could be changed if the country's January election is postponed, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday. Any delay in withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq could make it harder for the U.S. military to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan to counter a resurgent Taliban, as proposed by the top U.S. and NATO commander there.
Iraqi court seeks arrest of Sunni MP 24 Oct 2009 A local criminal court in Iraq's Diyala province issued an arrest warrant for a Sunni member of parliament on suspicion of financing and inciting sectarian violence, a security official in the northeastern province said Saturday. The security official said the warrants for parliamentarian Tayseer al-Mashhadani and her husband, Hashim al-Hiyali, were issued on Thursday.
Musicians demand end to music torture on Guantánamo detainees 23 Oct 2009 A coalition of musicians including Pearl Jam and R. E. M. backed a formal demand yesterday to be told if their songs had been used to torture detainees in Guantánamo Bay and Iraq. There have been many allegations by former prisoners that they were blasted with excruciatingly loud music for months on end -- a tactic that is banned under the UN Convention Against Torture but not yet from the US Army Field Manual. The musicians spoke out as a freedom of information request was lodged by the US campaign group No More Guantánamos, a legal move backed by the British human rights group Reprieve, which has been campaigning against "music torture" for more than a year.
Report: Israel and Iran met over nuclear crisis 22 Oct 2009 It may sound impossible, but according to reports Thursday morning, Israeli and Iranian nuclear officials met in Cairo last month to discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis. That according to a member of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission who said the meeting was arranged by Australia. She refused to give any details of the talks between the two bitter enemies.
US lawmakers to toughen anti-Iran sanctions 23 Oct 2009 Aiming to apply pressure on Iran over its nuclear work [while ignoring its own and Israel's], US lawmakers have unveiled a new legislation that seeks to impose sanctions on non-US companies trading with Iran. The new legislation, revealed on Thursday, is aimed at preventing major global telecommunications giants from doing business with Iran. It deprives the giants of lucrative US government contracts if they do sign a deal with Iran.
Goldstone wants U.S. to outline its concerns 24 Oct 2009 The judge who headed the UN investigation in to the Gaza War has challenged the United States to explain its opposition to the investigation’s findings. Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, who is Jewish, was appointed to head the inquiry into alleged war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza War in December 2009 and January this year.
Arizona May Put State Prisons, With Death Row Inmates, In Private Hands --The state also wants to privatize prisoners' medical care. 24 Oct 2009 In a first in the criminal justice world, Arizona's death row inmates could become the responsibility of a private company. State officials will soon seek bids from private companies for 9 of the state’s 10 prison complexes that house roughly 40,000 inmates, including the 127 here on death row. While executions would still be performed by the state, officials said, the Department of Corrections would relinquish all other day-to-day operations to the private operator and pay a per-diem fee for each prisoner.
Woman dies after receiving swine flu jab --Manufacturer threatens to sue media for claims vaccine could be ineffective or dangerous 20 Oct 2009 (Hungary) A 64-year-old woman died last week just two days after receiving an inoculation against the new A(H1N1) influenza virus dubbed swine flu. The state medical service ÁNTSZ ordered an autopsy to establish whether there was any link between the vaccine and the death of the patient, who suffered from chronic, but mild, heart disease. The previous week, the manufacturer of Hungary’s A(H1N1) vaccine, Omninvest, had threatened to sue media for "scaremongering" by suggesting the vaccine could be ineffective or dangerous. [It's ineffective *and* dangerous. Sue me, maggots!]
Companies reap the swine flu windfall 23 Oct 2009 Healthcare companies are reaping the benefits of a global swine flu pandemic, brightening what might otherwise have been a dismal third quarter and bringing new focus on the market for vaccines. Large European pharmaceutical companies are reporting windfall sales from flu drugs and H1N1 vaccines.
Baxter sees multiyear opportunity in H1N1 vaccines 15 Oct 2009 Baxter International Inc, best known for its drug pumps and products for blood disorders and kidney disease, said it sees a lucrative new revenue source in vaccines and a multiyear opportunity in H1N1 swine flu vaccines. The hospital products maker said it expects to recognize $30 million to $40 million of revenue from H1N1 vaccines in the fourth quarter. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]
Flu Vaccine Requirement for Health Workers Is Lifted 23 Oct 2009 (NY) The Paterson administration backed away on Thursday evening from a health regulation that would have compelled hundreds of thousands of health care workers and hospital volunteers to be vaccinated for seasonal and swine flu. Claudia Hutton, a spokeswoman for the State Health Department, said in an interview Thursday night that the regulation had been suspended because of a 'shortage' of H1N1 vaccine.
tops 1,000 swine flu deaths, millions of cases: official
23 Oct 2009 The United States has seen "many millions of cases" of swine
flu and more than 1,000 deaths since the H1N1 outbreak began six months
ago, a top health official said Friday. "We have seen, since the beginning
of the pandemic in April and May, more than 1,000 deaths from pandemic
influenza and more than 20,000 hospitalizations in this country," Thomas
Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease
FBI looks at bribery allegations against Alaska Rep. Young 22 Oct 2009 An Alaska businessman admitted to giving gifts to Republican Rep. Don Young, the state's long-serving sole congressman, in a confession made public this week as part of an ongoing federal investigation into political corruption in the state. The confession, signed in 2007 by Bill Allen, the former chief of Veco, an Alaska oil services company, was released as part of Allen's upcoming sentencing on charges that he bribed state lawmakers.
Ex-FBI director Freeh granted Italian citizenship 24 Oct 2009 Louis Freeh, the former head of the FBI, is now an Italian citizen. Officials at the Italian Embassy in Washington say Freeh was made a citizen at a ceremony Friday. An announcement on the embassy's Web site says Freeh was granted citizenship based on his close work with Italian authorities in fighting organized crime.
US bankers cash in despite phony pay restraint By Patrick Martin 24 Oct 2009 The executive pay regulations announced Thursday by the Obama administration’s "pay czar" and the Federal Reserve represent a cynical attempt to placate public outrage over Wall Street bonuses while allowing the financial speculators to continue awarding themselves multi-million-dollar compensation packages. According to the report issued by the Treasury Department’s special master for compensation, Kenneth Feinberg, at least 66 of the 138 bank and corporation executives under his jurisdiction will receive government-approved compensation packages totaling more than $1 million a year.
3 AIG execs get bonus OK from pay czar --Pay czar Kenneth Feinberg gave a special exception to three AIG executives but strips away bonuses from many others. 23 Oct 2009 In the end, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg's hardest case was AIG. The troubled insurer lobbied hard to let three of its executives keep their bonuses. AIG told Feinberg that three executives, who were entitled to large retention payments, were particularly critical to the company's long-term financial success and should be able to keep their bonuses.
Bank failures hit 106 for year; many more are weak --Bank failures hit 106 for the year; many more are weak and could be shuttered 24 Oct 2009 It's a big number that only tells part of the story. The number of banks that have failed so far this year topped 100 on Friday -- hitting 106 by the end of the day -- the most in nearly two decades... Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively -- partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find.
closings hit 101 for year; most since 1992 23 Oct 2009 Bank
closings for the year have surpassed 100 as regulators shut down small
banks in Florida and Georgia. Financial institutions nationwide have
collapsed under the weight of soured real estate loans and the
Arguing pilots fly 150 miles past runway --Conversation about airline policy meant Northwest Airlines pilots 'lost situational awareness' says flight safety board 23 Oct 2009 ...When the pilots of Northwest Airlines flight 188 became distracted it had more serious consequences as they overflew their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles. "They were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness," the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) explained. When the pilots got their "situational awareness" back they turned the Airbus A320 around and landed it safely on Wednesday evening.
Breathing Room for the Bear (The New York Times) 24 Oct 2009 The Obama administration’s proposed designation of 200,000 square miles of Alaskan waters and sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear is not just encouraging news for the bear. It signals a more sympathetic attitude toward endangered species, and is further evidence that the secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, will take a more measured approach than the Bush administration to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.
Depressed polar bear enjoys new country home 22 Oct 2009 A depressed polar bear in Scotland has a new lease on life. A wildlife park has taken in the sad bear and the bear is enjoying her new digs. For the past 25 years, Mercedes has been in an at Inverness-shire Zoo about half the size of a football pitch. She arrived in Scotland having been saved from death in Canada... For years animal rights campaigners have claimed she shows signs of distress, she's sometimes seen weaving her head from side to side.
Secret files reveal covert network run by nuclear police --Industry-funded force uses moles and surveillance --Strategic aims include tackling 'public disquiet' 20 Oct 2009 The nuclear industry funds the special armed police force which guards its installations across the UK, and secret documents, seen by the Guardian, show the 750-strong force is authorised to carry out covert intelligence operations against anti-nuclear protesters, one of its main targets. The nuclear industry will pay £57m this year to finance the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). The funding comes from the companies which run 17 nuclear plants, including Dounreay in Caithness, Sellafield in Cumbria and Dungeness in Kent. Around a third is paid by the private consortium managing Sellafield, which is largely owned by American and French firms.
Troop use After Ala. Shootings Illegal --The report from the Department of Army Inspector General found the use of military personnel in Samson violated the Posse Comitatus Act. 20 Oct 2009 An Army investigation found that Soldiers should not have been sent to man traffic stops in a small Alabama town after 11 people were killed in March during a shooting spree. An Army report released to The Associated Press on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request said the decision to dispatch military police to Samson from nearby Fort Rucker broke the law. But an Army spokesman said no charges have been filed following the Aug. 10 report. The names of those involved were redacted from the report. The report said troops were dispatched after the Geneva County Sheriff's Office and Samson Police requested assistance from Fort Rucker to relieve law enforcement at traffic check points around the crime scene area. The military also guarded bodies at a makeshift morgue.
Court Rules FBI Can Continue to Silence National Security Letter Recipient --Internet Service Provider Still Can't Speak About Secret FBI Demand For Records Issued More Than Five Years Ago 20 Oct 2009 A federal court today ruled that the government can continue to enforce a five-year-old gag order on an Internet service provider (ISP) that the FBI served with a national security letter (NSL) many years ago. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the ISP. Under a Patriot Act provision, the FBI can use NSLs to demand personal records about innocent customers from ISPs, financial institutions and credit companies without prior judicial approval, and then bar NSL recipients from disclosing anything about the record demand.
accuses Obama of 'libel' against CIA interrogators 22 Oct 2009
Maintaining his stature as one of the most forceful defenders of the
Bush Administration's defense policies former Vice President [sic] Dick
Cheney accused President Obama of committing "libel" against
Cheney: Stop 'dithering' over Afghanistan --Former Vice President Dick Cheney says Obama must do 'what it takes to win' in Afghanistan 21 Oct 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney on Wednesday night accused the White House of dithering over the strategy for the war in Afghanistan and urged President Barack Obama to "do what it takes to win." "Make no mistake. Signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries," Cheney said while accepting an award from a conservative national security group, the Center for Security Policy. [WHY is anyone LISTENING to this unindicted war criminal?]
Pickens says U.S. firms 'entitled' to Iraqi oil 22 Oct 2009 Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. energy companies are "entitled" to some of Iraq's crude because of the large number of American troops that lost their lives fighting in the country and the U.S. taxpayer money spent in Iraq. Boone, speaking to the newly formed Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, complained that the Iraqi government has awarded contracts to foreign companies, particularly Chinese firms, to develop Iraq's vast reserves while American companies have mostly been shut out. "They're opening them (oil fields) up to other companies all over the world ... We're entitled to it," Pickens said of Iraq's oil.
Minister's comments spark debate Australia's Afghanistan presence 22 Oct 2009 A flurry of speculation about Australia's intentions in Afghanistan has been played down by Canberra, after comments by defence minister John Faulkner were headlined as signalling plans for an early pullout. Senator Faulkner's remarks that he'd like Australia to fulfill its commitments in Afghanistan in as short a time as possible are being scrutinised closely, particularly as pullout dates for key allies loom, and NATO countries resist doing more.
NATO generals visit Afghanistan, behind a wall of security 21 Oct 2009 There was blanket security for a visit last week of the alliance’s top Brussels generals -- an unannounced visit by NATO’s Military Committee, comprising Brussels-based military representatives of the 28 NATO states, and generals from other ISAF countries. They were clad in full body armour at all times during the trip, spent in Kabul and the provinces, except when they were in their heavily guarded hotel or in secure briefing rooms. They travelled at all times in convoys of armoured vehicles, protected by Humvees with turrets manned, in armed helicopters, or by fixed-wing aircraft... As an extra security measure, journalists in the delegation were required to keep the visit secret until it ended. The embargo was lifted only after the generals were back inside the fortress-like Kabul military airport protected by acres of blast walls, Hesco bags and barbed wire, and hundreds of ISAF soldiers.
NATO aircraft crashes in N Afghanistan 22 Oct 2009 A NATO-led forces aircraft crashed on mountain in Baghlan province north of Afghanistan, local police said Thursday. "An aircraft of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) crashed on a mountain in Bajgah valley of Khinjan district Thursday afternoon," police chief of Khinjan district Mohammad Asif Qazizada told Xinhua.
Ohio Marine killed in Afghanistan 21 Oct 2009 An Ohio Marine has been killed by a roadside bomb while on combat foot patrol in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says 22-year-old Lance Cpl. David R. Baker of Painesville northeast of Cleveland died Tuesday. He was wounded while on patrol in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
Police: 14 al-Qaida suspects arrested in Iraq 22 Oct 2009 Iraqi security forces arrested 14 suspected al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] members in western and northern Iraq, including three who were formerly detained by U.S. troops in the country, local police officials said Thursday. Six men arrested in Fallujah were wanted for allegedly planning attacks in and around the city, which is located 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, said the city's police chief, Col. Mahmoud al-Isawi.
tosses lawsuits against Blackwater, now Xe 21 Oct 2009 A federal
judge on Wednesday tossed out a series of lawsuits filed by alleged
Iraqi victims of the
Goldstone dares US on Gaza report 22 Oct 2009 Richard Goldstone, the jurist who authored a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, has challenged the US to justify its claims that his findings are flawed and biased. Goldstone told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he had not heard from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, about the flaws Washington claims to have identified in the report.
'U.S. to stand by Israel in the fight against Goldstone report' 22 Oct 2009 President Peres on Wednesday harshly condemned the Goldstone report and told the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice that, "It is outrageous that a respected institution like the United Nations provides a platform to spread lies and stories about Israel." [!?!] The Goldstone report accuses Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian militants of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during their Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict in the Gaza Strip.
US, Israel to launch largest war game 21 Oct 2009 Israel and the United States plan to begin their largest-ever joint war exercise on Wednesday to simulate possible missile attacks on Israel. The Juniper Cobra air defense drill will involve some 1,000 troops from the US European Command and the same number of Israeli soldiers, the Israeli army said in a Tuesday statement.
Israel refuses to comment on receiving US classified information 20 Oct 2009 The arrest of US scientist Stewart David Nozette on espionage charges has rendered Israel silent. Israeli officials have declined to comment on the arrest of Mr Nozette, who has been accused in the US of passing classified information to agents he believed were working for the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.
FBI arrests US scientist for spying for Israel 21 Oct 2009 US officials say they have arrested an American citizen who has been charged with spying for the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad. Steward Nozette was taken into custody after it was revealed that he intended to sell sensitive United States information to Israel, according to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Iran Agrees to Draft of Deal on Exporting Nuclear Fuel 22 Oct 2009 The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that Iranian negotiators had agreed to a draft of a deal to ship much of Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel to Russia, but cautioned that it would still have to be approved by Friday in Tehran and Washington. The draft, which came after three days of talks here, adds important details to an agreement in principle made on Oct. 1, after a preliminary round of negotiations. If approved, the deal would commit Iran to temporarily exporting 75 percent of its known stockpile of low-grade nuclear fuel to Russia for additional enrichment.
North Korea 'more lethal' than ever, says US 21 Oct 2009 North Korea's nuclear program and its proliferation of nuclear know-how gravely imperil the global stability, says Robert Gates warning that the US does not accept a nuclear-capable Pyongyang. The US defense secretary, addressing a gathering of US and South Korean soldiers in Seoul on Wednesday, warned that Pyongyang with its nuclear arsenal poses threats "even more lethal and destabilizing" than before.
U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade 14 Oct 2009 The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto. The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President [sic] George W. Bush's administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better.
Kimberly-Clark Profits From Swine Flu 22 Oct 2009 Swine flu is the economic gift that keeps on giving. In today's iteration of that phenomenon, face masks to guard against swine flu helped boost Kimberly-Clark's third-quarter profit 41%. Coupled with cost cuts, higher prices and lower commodity and energy costs, Kimberly-Clark raised its full-year forecast. During the quarter, the maker of Kleenex tissues earned $582 million, or $1.40 a share, compared with $413 million, or 99 cents, in the year-ago period.
Forget the rush on that H1N1 swine flu vaccine; 62% of Americans have no intention of getting it anyway 22 Oct 2009 This morning comes word from a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that almost four parents out of 10 do not believe the vaccine is safe and have no intention of allowing their children to receive it. More than 60% of adults say they have no intention of getting the vaccine either.
POLL: Swine Flu Vaccine, Parents Doubt Safety --ABC News-Washington Post Poll: 30 Percent Not Confident Vaccine Is Safe 22 Oct 2009 Nearly four in 10 parents do not plan to have their children get the swine flu vaccine this year, with doubts about its safety overwhelmingly cited as the chief reason, underscoring safety concerns as potentially a major impediment to vaccination efforts. Other results in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll buttress the point: Three in 10 adults are not confident the vaccine is safe (including one in three parents)... Views of the vaccine's safety a stronger factor than the perceived risk of getting the flu itself.
Farrakhan suspicious of H1N1 vaccine 21 Oct 2009 Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan told an audience in Memphis he believes the H1N1 flu vaccine was developed to kill people, a witness said. Farrakhan spoke for nearly three hours Sunday at a gathering to observe the religious group's Holy Day of Atonement, which also marked the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported, citing a source who attended the speech.
US lawmaker in 'seclusion' with swine flu 21 Oct 2009 Republican Representative Greg Walden announced Tuesday he "likely" had swine flu, in the first known instance of a US lawmaker thought to have contracted the A(H1N1) virus. "Just diagnosed with likely H1N1. Ugh. Off to seclusion for awhile," Walden, whose home state is Oregon, said on the micro-blogging site Twitter in a message his office confirmed was authentic.
Mass. Man Arrested in Terrorism Case 22 Oct 2009 A man living in suburban Boston was arrested on Wednesday on federal terrorism charges of conspiring to attack people at a shopping mall in the United States and two members of the executive branch of the federal government. The man, Tarek Mehanna, 27, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The conspiracy occurred from 2001 to 2008, said the acting United States attorney, Michael K. Loucks, at a news conference here Wednesday. Mr. Loucks said Mr. Mehanna had conspired with others and had "multiple conversations" to carry out attacks in and outside of the United States.
Prosecutors: Terror plotters discussed shopping mall assaults 21 Oct 2009 A 27-year-old Sudbury man allegedly plotted terrorist assaults on shopping malls in which he and his fellow conspirators would use automatic weapons to mow down civilians, federal authorities said today as they announced his arrest. Desiring to take "some kind of action in furtherance of jihad," Tarek Mehanna and his conspirators allegedly had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in malls, including discussions of the logistics of the mall attacks, assaulting from different entrances, obtaining the automatic weapons, and possible attacks on emergency responders, acting US Attorney Michael Loucks said this morning.
Bernard Kerik pushed President George W. Bush for executive clemency in 2008 22 Oct 2009 In the waning days of the Bush regime, Bernard Kerik made a bid for executive clemency after he was indicted on corruption charges, new court papers reveal. That surprise attempt was part of Kerik's long, desperate campaign to rebut criminal charges by all means... This campaign emerged in 217 pages of material federal prosecutors released yesterday as Kerik spent his first full day in Westchester County Jail for ignoring Judge Stephen Robinson's warning not to tamper with the jury pool in his upcoming trial.
Ex-NY police chief Kerik in jail 22 Oct 2009 Former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik has had his bail revoked before the start of a corruption trial. Mr Kerik, who was police commissioner at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was free on $500,000 (£303,000) bail. A judge sent him to prison for passing on secret pre-trial documents, saying Mr Kerik must not "influence witnesses or prospective jurors".
Sen. Alexander accuses Obama of building an 'enemies list' 21 Oct 2009 Sen. Lamar Alexander, the No. 3 leader of the Republicans in the Senate, on Wednesday accused the Obama administration of creating "an enemies list," comparing the recent criticism by the White House of the Chamber of Commerce, the Fox News Channel and other political opponents to the behavior of the Nixon administration. "This behavior is typical of street brawls and political campaign consultants," Alexander said in a speech Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.
U.S. to Order Steep Pay Cuts at Firms That Got Most Aid 22 Oct 2009 Responding to the furor over executive pay at companies bailed out with taxpayer money, the Obama administration will order the firms that received the most aid to slash compensation to their highest-paid employees, an official involved in the decision said on Wednesday. The plan, for the 25 top earners at seven companies that received exceptional help, will on average cut total compensation this year by about 50 percent. The companies are Citigroup, Bank of America, American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers.
Public must learn to 'tolerate the inequality' of bonuses, says Goldman Sachs vice-chairman --Goldman Sachs is currently on track to pay the biggest ever bonuses to its 31,700 employees after raking in profits at a rate of $35m (£21m) a day. 21 Oct 2009 One of the City's leading figures has suggested that inequality created by bankers' huge salaries is a price worth paying for greater prosperity. In remarks that will fuel the row around excessive pay, Lord Griffiths, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said banks should not be ashamed of rewarding their staff. Speaking to an audience at St Paul's Cathedral in London about morality in the marketplace last night, Griffiths said the British public should "tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all". [Tolerate *this.*]
Snowe Says She Won't Back Any Immediate Public Option 22 Oct 2009 Senator Olympia Snowe said she won’t support the immediate creation of any government-run insurance program and raised the possibility that legislation overhauling the health system won’t be completed this year. "A public option at the forefront really does put the government in a disproportionate position with respect to the industry," Snowe, the only Republican so far to vote for health-care legislation, said on "Political Capital With Al Hunt," which airs this weekend. ['With respect to the industry?' The *industry,* aka death panel, needs to be eradicated from the face of the earth.]
White House Clears Habitat Protections for Polar Bear 22 Oct 2009 The White House yesterday completed its review of proposed habitat protections for the polar bear, clearing the Interior Department to introduce the regulations. The White House Office of Management and Budget determined the rule was not economically significant or a "major rule," putting it on a potentially faster track for completion. OMB sent the rule back to the Interior Department yesterday, two weeks after receiving the proposal -- a relatively quick turnaround for the agency. [Thank you, President Obama!]
Senate OKs disease research biolab money in Homeland Security bill --Research will be done on deadly diseases at National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility 20 Oct 2009 The Senate approved $32 million Tuesday for a planned foot-and-mouth disease research lab in Kansas, while ordering more study on the lab's safety. The money and required safety studies are part the $44.1 billion Homeland Security spending bill the Senate passed on a 79-19 vote. The Homeland Security Department has been eager to move forward with its plans for the 520,000-square-foot lab to replace the aging lab on Plum Island, N.Y. [where bioterrorists created Lyme disease. Odd, there's no money for single-payer healthcare --but there's millions to spend trying to get a(nother) pandemic started so pharmaterrorists can be paid to make vaccines to use against the outbreaks that they create. Sound familiar? --LRP]
Plum Island Animal Disease Center 20 Oct 2009 The Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) is a United States federal research facility dedicated to the study of animal diseases. It is part of the DHS Directorate for Science and Technology. Plum Island's freezers also contain samples of polio and diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans. In 1991, the center's freezers were threatened following a power outage caused by a hurricane... As a diagnostic facility, PIADC scientists study more than 40 foreign animal diseases and several domestic diseases, including hog cholera and African swine fever. Lab 257, a book by Michael C. Carroll, Ph.D., has alleged a connection between Plum Island Animal Disease Center the outbreaks of three infectious diseases: West Nile virus in 1999, Lyme disease in 1975, and Dutch duck plague in 1967.
Pentagon gives 3,500 Iowa troops orders to Afghanistan --Mobilization for fall of 2010 is projected to be largest single call-up of an Iowa National Guard unit since World War II 20 Oct 2009 About 3,500 Iowa National Guard soldiers from 31 communities are scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan later next year for a deployment that will touch families, employers and many other people statewide, military officials said today. The entire 2nd Brigade of the 34th Infantry Division has been alerted for a mobilization in the fall of 2010 in what is projected to be the largest single call-up of an Iowa National Guard unit since World War II, said Brig. Gen. Tim Orr, the Iowa National Guard’s adjutant general.
Fort Lewis soldier dies in Afghanistan By Hal Bernton 20 Oct 2009 Fighting in the Arghandab Valley of southern Afghanistan has claimed the life of another Fort Lewis soldier, Spc. Michael Dahl, 23, from Moreno, California. Dahl's vehicle was struck by a bomb. He died on Oct. 17 from wounds suffered in the attack.
Hamid Karzai agrees to take part in Afghan presidential run-off 20 Oct 2009 President Karzai today bowed to international pressure and agreed to take part in a run-off vote in the Afghan presidential 'election.' Mr Karzai accepted the findings of the country's electoral authorities that widespread fraud had invalidated the results of the first round of voting that awarded him an outright victory with 55 per cent of the vote. Instead the Afghan President will go head-to-head with his main challenger, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the former Foreign Minister, in a second round of 'voting,' which the electoral authorities said would take place on November 7.
U.S. decision can't wait for Afghan legitimacy: Gates 20 Oct 2009 The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said. Gates, speaking to reporters on board a plane traveling to Tokyo, described the situation in Afghanistan as an evolutionary process that would not improve dramatically overnight, regardless of what course is taken following the country's flawed August 'election.' [Is the Pentagon pushing for a coup d'etat in the US?]
Former Bush-era State Dept. program manager charged 21 Oct 2009 A former State Department program manager in Iraq has been charged with accepting tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks in exchange for steering contracts to Iraqi construction firms, according to court documents. It appeared to be the first time a State Department employee had been charged in federal court in connection with fraud in the multibillion-dollar U.S. reconstruction 'effort' in Iraq, according to officials familiar with that work. The criminal complaint, unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in western Texas, charged Richard Lopez Razo with illegal receipt of kickbacks and bribes and with wire fraud. He was arrested Friday in Sterling and later released on his own recognizance, court documents said. From 2005 to July 2008, Razo worked in Iraq as a logistics specialist for three U.S. companies, according to the complaint.
Iraq lawmakers warn next govt may alter oil deals 19 Oct 2009 International oil companies signing deals with Iraq are taking a big risk as the next government, to be elected in January, may revise or cancel those contracts, senior lawmakers said on Monday. The warnings from lawmakers and uncertainty about who will win the Jan. 16 election mean that firms striking a spree of deals, which could rock the balance of power among oil states, are unlikely to invest heavily before the vote, analysts said. [Maybe the (real) insurgents will deep-six any oil rigs in Iraq, and US corporaterrorists will be forced to crawl back under the rocks from whence they came.]
Five killed in Iraq violence 20 Oct 2009 Two bombings in Iraq on Tuesday killed five people, including four policemen, and wounded 16 others, police said. In the worst attack, four people, including three policemen, were killed and 12 injured by a car bomb near the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, just west of Baghdad. Two policemen were among the wounded.
US Republicans side with Halliburton/KBR against gang-raped woman --American woman gang-raped by fellow US contactors in Iraq wins rights despite Republican opposition. 20 Oct 2009 A federal appeals court has ruled a woman who says she was gang-raped by co-workers of the war contractor KBR can pursue her case in open court. The three-judge panel rejected KBR’s attempt to have the case handled in private arbitration instead of a courtroom... This year, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment that would deny defense contracts to companies that ask employees to sign away the right to sue. It passed, but the amendment received 30 nay votes, all from Republicans.
Israel backs 'carte blanche' to kill 20 Oct 2009 The Israeli war minister advocates operational latitude for its army amid mounting condemnation of the Zionist regime's massacre of the Palestinians. "We must give the IDF (Israeli army) the full backing to have the freedom of action," Ehud Barak said on Tuesday, AFP reports.
Congress Approves Trying Guantanamo Terror Suspects in U.S. 20 Oct 2009 Congress approved holding trials in the U.S. for terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba as part of a homeland-security measure. The Senate backed the $42.8 billion legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal 2010 by a vote of 79- 19. The House approved the bill on Oct. 15.
Obama praises Joint Terrorism Task Force during trip to New York City 20 Oct 2009 A somber President Obama came to New York Tuesday to hail the Joint Terrorism Task Force as a model of cooperation and to tell it's courageous agents: I got your back. "You're showing us what focused and integrated counter-terrorism work really looks like," Obama told task force members, which includes the FBI, the NYPD and some 44 other public 'safety' agencies.
U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets By Noah Shachtman 20 Oct 2009 America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates -- even check out your book reviews on Amazon. In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using "open source intelligence" -- information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the [media] flood.
County Boards of Health Have Powers to Institute Quarantines --The board can "summon sufficient guard for the enforcement of their orders in the premises." 20 Oct 2009 County boards of health have the power to implement a quarantine. The Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health recently was reminded of its quarantine powers, now that the swine, or H1N1, flu is here. According to West Virginia Code 16-3-2, refusing to obey a quarantine order can result in a misdemeanor charge and fines of up to $200. A quarantine can be implemented to prevent the introduction of a disease into a community or prevent the spread of a disease. The board can confine an infected person or person liable to spread infection to their residence. If they do not have a home in the county, a place will be provided for them. If necessary, the board can "summon sufficient guard for the enforcement of their orders in the premises." [Um, I think we'll *pass* on the 'places' (aka KBR camps) FEMA wants to 'provide' for us. See: KBR awarded Homeland Security contract worth up to $385M 24 Jan 2006 KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co. , said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options... The contract provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities... or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said.]
'The state declared an emergency in order to get this drug through.' Legal Challenge to H1N1 Vaccine Expands 17 Oct 2009 A group that's challenging a state requirement that all health care workers in New York get vaccinated for swine flu said Thursday that it's seeking a federal injunction to halt nationwide distribution of the vaccine. "We are arguing this is a new drug and it must go through the proper testing for safety and efficacy,'' said attorney Jim Turner, who wants to stop other states from following New York's lead in mandating vaccinations.
7 of 10 MI voters don't plan swine flu shot 19 Oct 2009 About
two-thirds of Michigan voters aren't planning to get the swine flu vaccine
or are unsure, and a majority of parents gave the same responses about
vaccinating their children, according to a poll released Monday. The
results from the survey by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA concern state health
officials as they work to spread the
Glaxo seasonal flu vaccine approved for children 19 Oct 2009 GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Monday the Food and Drug Administration approved the seasonal flu vaccine Fluarix for children. The drug had already been approved for adults. It is now also approved for children between the ages of 3 years and 17 years old.
School to Shut Down After Major Flu Outbreak --900 Students At St. Charles East Call In Sick 20 Oct 2009 (IL) A suburban high school is shutting down after more than 900 students were out sick with flu-like symptoms on Tuesday, school officials said.St. Charles East High School will be closed, starting Wednesday and won't re-open until Monday at the earliest. More than 700 students called in sick on Monday. The school enrolls about 2,100 kids, meaning about 40 percent of the student body stayed home from class today.
July 4 swine flu outbreak shows pattern of virus --Tamiflu did not help any of the previously healthy young people get better any quicker. 20 Oct 2009 More than 100 new cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy got infected with swine flu at a July 4 barbecue and fireworks display but quick isolation measures got it under control within two weeks, researchers reported on Tuesday. The outbreak provided a unique opportunity to study the virus closely and Dr. Catherine Takacs Witkop and colleagues say they discovered some surprising things.
H1N1 flu strain found in Canadian turkey flock 20 Oct 2009 Turkeys in the Canadian province of Ontario have become infected with the H1N1 flu virus, but no birds or eggs from the farm entered the food supply, provincial government officials said on Tuesday. The infection poses minimal risk to human health, Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said in a news conference in Toronto.
Harper: I "hunt" Democrats By Glenn Thrush 20 Oct 2009 Another dopey gun reference from a Republican using shooting Democrats as a metaphor, courtesy POLITICO's Anne Shroeder Mullins, who sat down with Republican Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper. Anne: What in the world does the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus do? Harper: We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition. Hilarious. Especially in a state with a long, ugly history of political assassinations -- Medgar Evers, Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman.
House moves closer to healthcare public option 20 Oct 2009 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives moved closer on Tuesday to agreeing on a broad healthcare reform plan that would include the most liberal version of a government-run public insurance option. House members leaving an evening meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a "robust" public option was gaining support, buoyed by preliminary estimates from budget analysts putting the cost of a bill with the option at less than President Barack Obama's $900 billion target.
Bankers set to pocket £6bn as bonuses soar by 50% 21 Oct 2009 City financiers will together pocket New Year bonuses of more than £6 billion - 50 per cent more than a year ago - as the rest of the country faces growing unemployment and public-service cutbacks, according to research published today. Seven-figure pay-outs will be among the bonuses awarded to many of the top financiers of the major banks and financial institutions this Christmas, following months of bumper profits.
Watchdog: Bailout Has Helped Wall St., But Infuriated Main St. --TARP Has Not Stopped Rising Unemployment and Home Foreclosures 21 Oct 2009 More than a year after its implementation, the $700 billion bailout program has proven to be a mixed bag of successes and failures, helping Wall Street but infuriating Main Street, a government watchdog says in a new report. In his new quarterly report to Congress released today, watchdog Neil Barofsky says the controversial bailout has helped lead to "significant signs of improvement in the stability of the financial system," but it has not yet stopped rising unemployment and home foreclosures. [We're not infuriated enough, though. That's the problem.]
As unemployment and poverty rise: Obama turns to the financial elite for campaign cash By Bill Van Auken 21 Oct 2009 Under conditions of growing unemployment and deepening social misery for working people throughout the US, President Barack Obama flew into New York City Tuesday to raise millions of dollars in campaign donations from America’s financial elite. He was expected to clear at least $3 million, largely from a Manhattan bash with an entry fee of $30,400 per couple--the maximum contribution allowed by law. According to the Los Angeles Times, four of the seven co-chairs of the event and about a third of the guests come from the big banks and Wall Street.
Latest bank fee is for paying off credit card on time every month 20 Oct 2009 Starting next year, Bank of America will charge a small number of customers an annual fee, ranging from $29 to $99. The bank has characterized the fee as experimental. But card holders who have never carried a balance or paid late fees could be among those affected. Citigroup, meanwhile, has started charging annual fees to card holders who don't put more than a specific amount on their cards, typically $2,400 a year.
Obama's EPA cracks down, orders more tests for BP refinery --In last months of Bush's regime, agency approved project to upgrade and expand northwest Indiana BP site, one of the largest polluters in the Chicago area 20 Oct 2009 The Obama administration is cracking down on BP as the oil company overhauls its massive refinery in northwest Indiana, one of the largest sources of air pollution in the Chicago area. In response to a petition from environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday ordered Indiana regulators to revamp a new operating permit for the Midwest's biggest refinery. The groups, along with elected officials in Illinois, contend Indiana had allowed the oil giant to avoid stringent requirements under the federal Clean Air Act.
FAA investigating 'balloon boy' incident 20 Oct 2009 The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation into last week's "balloon boy" incident to determine if the experimental balloon's launch violated agency regulations. Richard and Mayumi Heene of Fort Collins, Colo., already face the possibility of criminal charges for the release of an experimental balloon from their backyard... The FAA will investigate how it was informed of the balloon launch, how it responded to the incident and whether the launch violated FAA regulations that prohibit the release of large unmanned balloons that could interfere with other aircraft near airports, spokeswoman Laura Brown said.
US, UK behind attack on Guards, claims Iran 19 Oct 2009 Iran's armed forces yesterday accused the United States and Britain of involvement in a suicide attack which killed five elite Revolutionary Guard leaders, the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency reported. The military headquarters blamed the bombing on "terrorists" backed by "the Great Satan America and its ally Britain". A statement added: "Not in the distant future we [Iran] will take revenge," Fars said.
Iran vows revenge after claiming bomb attack was carried out by Britain --A bomb attack on Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard that killed over 40 people including top generals was carried out by terrorists trained by America and Britain in nearby Pakistan, a senior commander said on Monday. 19 Oct 2009 "The terrorists were trained in the neighbouring country by the Americans and British," General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Guard's ground forces, told state television. "The enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran are unable to tolerate the unity in the country." Gen Pakpour, whose deputy Gen Nour Ali Shoushtari was the most senior officer killed in the attack, said there would be retribution. [See: Blackwater running covert recruitment drive in Pak through its website 16 Sep 2009 and Blackwater Recruiting Agents Fluent In Urdu and Punjabi For Pakistan --Report suggests Pakistani envoy in Washington issued 360 visas to Americans in one month without consulting Islamabad By Ahmed Quraishi 15 Sep 2009.]
UN: Israel planted spy devices in Lebanon 19 Oct 2009 A UN investigation into explosions in southern Lebanon says that Israel detonated spy devices it planted on Lebanese after their discovery by Hezbollah resistance movement. The two explosions over weekend occurred after Lebanon's Hezbollah discovered cables used for spying in the al-Abbad area near an Israeli border post. "Preliminary indications are that these explosions were caused by explosive charges contained in unattended underground sensors which were placed in this area by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) apparently during the 2006 war," UNIFIL said in a statement.
U.S. Scientist Arrested for Allegedly Attempting to Pass Secrets to Israel --A Former NASA Scientist Is Caught in a Sting Operation for Alleged Espionage FBI agents arrested a scientist who worked for NASA and other agencies Monday afternoon in a sting operation after he allegedly attempted to sell top secret satellite information to agents he thought were Israeli spies. Stewart Nozette was arrested shortly after 4:00 p.m. at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington by counterespionage agents from the FBI's Washington field office after he believed he was meeting with agents from the Mossad to pass information to them in exchange for money, the Justice Department said.
Obama 'beginning' war in Afghanistan from 'scratch' 19 Oct 2009 An adviser to US president Barack Obama says Washington is "beginning" from "scratch" the war in Afghanistan, which he says the Bush administration had set "adrift." White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on Sunday that former US president [sic] George W. Bush had failed to ask key questions regarding the war in Afghanistan.
Military Seeks $1.3 Billion For Construction Projects in Afghanistan 18 Oct 2009 While the Obama administration weighs whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. military is spending billions of dollars on construction projects to ensure the country's infrastructure can support American and coalition personnel in 2010 and years beyond. The military has already spent roughly $2.7 billion on construction over the past three fiscal years. Now, if its request is approved as part of the fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill, it would spend another $1.3 billion on more than 100 projects at 40 sites across the country, according to a Senate report on the legislation. ["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.]
United States admits tackling Italians over payments to the Taleban 17 Oct 2009 The US Government acknowledged for the first time yesterday that payment of protection money to the Taleban by Italian forces in Afghanistan was discussed by American officials and their Italian counterparts last year. A senior US official confirmed, two days after The Times reported that Italian authorities had paid the bribes, that "the issue [of payments] was raised with the Italians". [I wonder if US payments to the Taleban should just be incorporated into the next stimulus package? After all, funding the Taleban 'stimulates' the need for Obusha's war to continue. --LRP]
Petraeus arrives as Pakistani troops battle 10,000 Taliban 18 Oct 2009 The Pakistani military says its forces have killed some 60 Taliban fighters during a large-scale offensive in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border... Meanwhile, General David Petraeus, chief of the US Central Command, has arrived in Pakistan on an emergency visit. Talks with Pakistan's military leaders will centre on the Pakistani military’s offensive against the Taliban along the Afghan border.
Hamid Karzai faces another ballot after 1m votes ruled out 20 Oct 2009 President Karzai was under intense pressure last night to accept a deal with his main opponent or a second round of voting in Afghanistan’s disputed election after UN-backed observers declared more than a million first-round votes invalid. Sources at the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) confirmed that its two-month inquiry had found "clear and convincing evidence of fraud", reducing Mr Karzai’s share of the vote from 55 to 48 per cent -- and requiring a run-off ballot under Afghan law.
Karzai: Foreigners manipulating Afghan vote recount 19 Oct 2009 The Presidential campaign of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused foreigners of manipulating recount process, saying new results would not be acceptable. Karzai campaign spokesman Waheed Omar said on Sunday the recount process is being politically manipulated by outsiders. Campaign officials criticized the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) that is re-tallying the numbers.
2 Texas Guard soldiers killed in Afghanistan 18 Oct 2009 The Department of Defense says two Texas National Guard soldiers are dead from a roadside bomb attack on their vehicle in Afghanistan. The military says the attack happened Friday.
BP Wins Huge Oil License in Iraq --Iraqi officials also reopened talks with Royal Dutch Shell about licences connected to an oil field in Kirkuk 19 Oct 2009 Iraq's cabinet has approved a deal with BP to develop the huge Rumaila oil field in the country's first international energy deal since the American-led invasion in 2003. The agreement, which was brokered in June during the first round of tendering for licences to exploit Iraq's enormous and largely untapped hydrocarbon resources [the *real* reason for the us invasion], should also send "a strong signal" to other energy groups that the Iraqi regime is keen to secure deals. Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, the deputy director of Iraq's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, was speaking in Istanbul, where Iraqi officials are meeting oil companies ahead of a second tender of oil-field contracts due in December. [How come the 'real' insurgents didn't attended *this* meeting? Seems like that's where they should have made their stand.]
8 killed, 29 wounded in Baghdad bombings 18 Oct 2009 At least eight people have been killed and 29 others wounded in two separate bombings in Baghdad's mainly Sunni Adhamiya district, police say. In the first blast, five people were killed and 15 others wounded when a bomb in a parked car was detonated. In the second blast, after a bomb on a motorcycle detonated, three people were killed and 14 others wounded.
'Insurgents' Destroy 2 Bridges In Anbar 18 Oct 2009 'Insurgents' [Xe?] detonated a truck loaded with five tons of explosives Saturday on a bridge here that links western Iraq to Jordan and Syria, pulverizing part of the overpass and paralyzing traffic for hours. Another, smaller bridge was also destroyed in Fallujah, where a roadside bomb struck an Iraqi military patrol on the highway, killing four soldiers and wounding 14 others, said Sulaiman al-Dulaimi, a spokesman for the Fallujah General Hospital.
Xe is a busy little bee: Iraq's anti-corruption journalist attacked 18 Oct 2009 An Iraqi journalist called for protection after being "brutally" attacked for her efforts in fighting corruption while refusing to confirm rumors about the culprits and ruling out the possibility of leaving the country. Zahraa al-Moussawi published several online articles about corruption in the Iraqi government and received many threats before she was beaten up in a Baghdad street, she said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV. "I was attacked in the Arasat district in the center of Iraq," she said. "A group of armed men got off a four-wheel drive and started beating me up brutally."
Gulf-trotting Tony Blair cashes in on his war contacts 18 Oct 2009 Tony Blair has been cashing in on his contacts from the Iraq conflict and his role as Middle East peace envoy for a private business venture expected to earn him more than £5m a year. The former prime minister has sold his political and economic expertise to two countries, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, via his fledgling private consultancy. He also represents the investment bank JP Morgan in the region.
MI6 'halted bid to arrest bin Laden' --According to Shayler, MI6 passed £100,000 to the al-Qaeda plotters. [Gotta love that. I wonder how much the CIA and Carlyle Group was into him for?] 10 Nov 2002 The Observer has been restrained from printing details of the allegations during the course of the trial of David Shayler, who was last week sentenced to six months in prison for disclosing documents obtained during his time as an MI5 officer. He was not allowed to argue that he made the revelations in the public interest. During his closing speech last week, Shayler repeated claims that he was gagged from talking about 'a crime so heinous' that he had no choice but to go to the press with his story. The 'crime' was the alleged MI6 involvement in the plot to assassinate Gadaffi, hatched in late 1995.
Prosecutor tallies 27,000 Colombians 'disappeared' 19 Oct 2009 A senior prosecutor says more than 27,000 people have been forcibly disappeared in Colombia since the late 1980s - at least 75 percent by illegal far-right militias. It's the first official number on the subject and is based chiefly on recent confessions of demobilized militia fighters and relatives of those missing and presumed killed. Prosecutor Luis Gonzalez told local media on Monday that investigators continue to compile data and it's not clear how many bodies have been recovered of the 27,384 listed as missing.
U.S. Navy pushes green fleet 19 Oct 2009 U.S. Navy officials laid out a series of initiatives intended to change the way the force uses energy, including the increased use of renewable resources. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus unveiled a series of measures at an energy forum in Virginia. The measures include a shift toward long-term energy savings, the increased use of hybrid and electric vehicles and the creation of a so-called Green Strike Group composed of nuclear- and biofuel-powered vessels.
Department of Homeland Security Expands Controversial 287(g) Program Empowering Local Police to Enforce Immigration Laws (Democracy Now!) 19 Oct 2009 The Department of Homeland Security said Friday it plans to enter into new agreements with sixty-seven state and local law enforcement agencies. These agreements expand the existing 287(g) program, which delegates some federal immigration enforcement authority to certain state and local agencies. The 287(g) program has come under intense criticism in recent months, with over 500 organizations, including the ACLU and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, calling on the government to end the program.
GTPD adds SWAT team --Funding provided for development of SWAT team, procurement of more vehicles and equipment for use by GTPD 15 Oct 2009 The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) will add an eight man SWAT team to its force in the coming months. The team’s formation is the culmination of over three years of work by the administration to increase emergency preparedness and 'safety' on campus. In order to fund the development of the force, GTPD received an expanded budget from the Institute and additional grants from other sources.
'The plan calls for different rules for some populations.' Florida hospitals to implement 'death panels' in pandemic --The state has not yet publicized the guidelines or solicited input from the general public. 18 Oct 2009 Florida health officials are drawing up guidelines that recommend barring patients with incurable cancer, end-stage multiple sclerosis and other conditions from being admitted to hospitals if the state is overwhelmed by flu cases. The plan, which would guide Florida hospitals on how to ration scarce medical care during a severe flu outbreak, also calls for doctors to remove patients with poor prognoses from ventilators to treat those who have better chances of surviving. That decision would be made by the hospital... While it says those decisions are not to be made based on patients' perceived social worth or role, the plan calls for different rules for some populations.
Parent takes school to task over H1N1 warning letter 18 Oct 2009 A letter sent home with Vancouver schoolchildren warning about the prevalence of the H1N1 virus among students has one father questioning why parents are getting what he said could be misleading information. On Wednesday, schools sent parents a letter from the board of education addressing the prevalence of the HINI virus in several Vancouver schools... The bulletin went on to remind parents that by Nov. 1, a vaccine will be made available for all children.
First shipment of A/H1N1 flu vaccine available in Canadian provinces [No one wants the sh*t, so watch the government make the vaccine mandatory.] 20 Oct 2009 The first shipment of two million doses of A/H1N1 flu vaccine has arrived in Canada's provinces and territories while clinical trials have started, health officials announced on Monday. Vaccination is expected to start in mid-November and the approval process is well underway, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said at a press conference in Ottawa.
Poll: 75% of Finns Don't Want the Swine Flu Vaccine 18 Oct 2009 In Finland, at least three media outlets have held polls asking the Finnish people if they are going to get the swine flu vaccine. The first online poll was held by MTV3; 61% said they do not want the swine flu vaccine. In the Helsingin Sanomat gallup, 75%, answered "No". A third poll, held at the end of September, by Ilta-Sanomat rendered the same percentage as the Helsingin Sanomat gallup, 75% will not be taking the vaccine.
Poll: Most Americans support public option 19 Oct 2009 A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows [?!?] and wins clear majority support from the public. Sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.
Families face nuclear tax on power bills 19 Oct 2009 Government officials have drawn up secret plans to tax electricity consumers to subsidise the construction of the UK's first new [deadly] nuclear reactors for more than 20 years, the Guardian has learned. The planned levy on household bills would add £44 to an annual electricity bill of £500 and contradicts repeated promises by ministers that the nuclear industry would no longer benefit from public subsidies.
Sarah Palin Goes Down Cheap on Amazon: Just $9 for "Going Rogue," A $29.00 Book. WTF? By Mark Karlin 19 Oct 2009 Not many new books get a 69% discount before they are even released. In fact, BuzzFlash -- which sells progressive books -- has never seen such a slashed price for a book before it came out like the $9.00 Amazon.com is charging for "Going Rogue." Yes, Palin and "Going Rogue" -- not released until November 17 -- are going down cheap, at a price usually reserved for what are called "remainder" books, the surplus stock of a book that is dramatically discounted. [You can cut the words 'on Amazon,' and you'll still be right.]
PM warns of climate 'catastrophe' 19 Oct 2009 The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister has warned. Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse".
Polar bear protection soon 17 Oct 2009 With global warming shrinking Arctic sea ice that polar bears depend upon for survival, the United States is seeking to remove another major threat: international trade in the bears' fur and other parts. In a proposal filed this week, the Interior Department asked other countries to support a ban on the commercial trade of polar bears and to strictly regulate trophy hunting. The request, if approved, would give the bear the most stringent protection afforded under an international convention to protect endangered species.
Do the right thing on polar bears By Joseph C. Leone 19 Oct 2009 (Toronto) Congratulations to the United States for doing what our own government doesn't have the courage to do -- protect our polar bears. Aboriginal groups want to defend their "key industry." This consists of selling their bear "tags" to rich American hunters for outrageous sums, up to $30,000, so they can kill a polar bear with a high powered rifle. Ottawa is asked by a Nunavut group to help defend the slaughter of this endangered species... Message to Ottawa: do the right thing and join the other 175 countries that have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, that would outlaw all commercial trade in polar bears.
Sheriff: Balloon boy hoax may have conspirators 19 Oct 2009 The lawyer for the man accused of perpetrating the balloon boy hoax to promote a reality show said Monday that he expects authorities to bring charges against his client in the coming days as investigators analyze e-mails that show Richard Heene and an associate discussing the stunt months ago.
Baghdad, USA: Chicago police officers accused of forcing kneeling suspect to pose for photo during G-20 summit 16 Oct 2009 The Chicago Police Department is investigating several of its officers accused of forcing a college student they arrested during last month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh to pose for a group photo with them. The department, which has been dogged by embarrassing allegations of misconduct in recent years, began investigating the Pittsburgh claims after video of the alleged incident was posted on YouTube. The video apparently shows about 15 police officers in riot gear posing for a photo with a man they detained kneeling in front of them.
Chicago police conduct at G-20 summit in Pittsburgh under investigation --Video shows officers forcing suspect to pose with them 16 Oct 2009 Chicago police are investigating a video of officers who allegedly forced a college student to pose with them after his arrest during last month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh... Pittsburgh attorney Cris Hoel, who represents Kyle Kramer, said the student was arrested Sept. 25 and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. Hoel said Chicago police officers motioned for his client to get into the photo. "He strenuously objected to being in the photograph," Hoel said. Kramer found being forced to kneel "demeaning," he said.
judge upholds censoring CIA prisoner testimony
16 Oct 2009 A federal court upheld Friday the US government's decision
to censor statements made by Guantanamo Bay detainees about their treatment
at Central Intelligence Agency-run prisons. The American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU), a human rights group, had argued that the government should
declassify redacted information contained in statements that
Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent --Data on politics, sexual activity and religion gathered by government 16 Oct 2009 The government programme aimed at preventing Muslims from being lured into violent extremism is being used to gather intelligence about innocent people who are not suspected of involvement in terrorism, the Guardian has learned. The information the authorities are trying to find out includes political and religious views, information on mental health, sexual activity and associates, and other sensitive information, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Other documents reveal that the intelligence and information can be stored until the people concerned reach the age of 100.
$400 per gallon gas to drive debate over cost of war in Afghanistan --Analysts: Fully burdened cost of fuel might be $1,000 per gallon 15 Oct 2009 The Pentagon pays an average of $400 to put a gallon of fuel into a combat vehicle or aircraft in Afghanistan. The statistic is likely to play into the escalating debate in Congress over the cost of a war that entered its ninth year last week. Pentagon officials have told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee a gallon of fuel costs the military about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate.
4 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan 17 Oct 2009 Two American soldiers were instantly killed and two others died of their wounds after their patrol vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, military officials said Friday. The explosion took place on Thursday... said Lt. j.g. Tommy Groves, a Navy spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan.
'Low-risk' Afghan plan calls for troops U.S. may not have 15 Oct 2009 The U.S. military can send only about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in the next three months without putting excessive strains on the Army and Marine Corps, but the top Afghanistan commander has said he needs more than twice that number to have the best chance of success, military and administration officials told McClatchy. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal has said that even if it sent 30,000 additional troops, the U.S. would risk failure in Afghanistan under the current strategy.
Suicide bomber kills 15, injures 95 in north Iraq mosque 17 Oct 2009 A suicide bomber who hid among the Sunni congregation in a northern Iraqi mosque sprayed gunfire at worshippers on Friday and then blew himself up, killing at least 15 people, including the prayer leader, officials said. The [Xe?] bomber first shot the prayer leader before turning his AK-47 rifle on worshippers.
Former KBR worker pleads guilty to sex crime 16 Oct 2009 A former employee of military contractor KBR Inc pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at an airbase [Camp Al Asad] in Iraq, federal prosecutors said on Friday. David Charles Breda Jr. pleaded guilty to one count in a criminal information before U.S. District Judge Gray Miller in federal court in Houston. He faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Israel vents fury at ally Turkey over 'barbaric' TV drama 17 Oct 2009 Israel's increasingly troubled relations with its main ally in the Muslim world took a turn yesterday when it formally protested to Turkey over the "incitement" generated by a television series featuring fictional scenes of barbaric acts by Israeli soldiers. The airing of the series, on Turkish state television, coincides with tensions triggered by a decision last week by Ankara to exclude Israel – which it has severely criticised over last winter's war in Gaza – from a planned Nato air exercise.
Israel condemns Human Rights Council decision 17 Oct 2009 Israel has reacted strongly to the decision by the UN Human Rights Council which has approved the Goldstone Report. The controversial report has charged that Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War.
Human Rights Council endorses Goldstone report 17 Oct 2009 The Human Rights Council on Friday strongly condemned a host of Israeli measures in the occupied Palestinian territory and called on both sides to implement the recommendations of a United Nations commission that found evidence that Israel and the Palestinians committed serious war crimes in the three-week Gaza war nine months ago.
Coups we can believe in: Obama Administration Willing to Accept Honduran Coup The U.S., the Organization of American States (OAS) and every other nation in the world have condemned the June 28 military coup as antidemocratic -- and they've warned the installed President, Roberto Micheletti, that they won't recognize the results of Honduras' long-planned Nov. 29 presidential 'election' if Zelaya isn't reinstated beforehand. But there are growing signs that the U.S. may be willing to abandon that condition. A number of well-placed sources in Honduras and the U.S. tell TIME that officials in the State Department and the U.S.'s OAS delegation have informed them that the Obama Administration is mulling ways to legitimize the 'election' should talks fail to restore Zelaya in time.
CSS Globa wins contract to protect Somali government from terrorism,
pirates 15 Oct 2009 (MI) A Grand Rapids-based security firm
is taking on a job few would envy: Protect the transitional government
of Somalia, a failed state and breeding ground for terrorism and international
piracy. According to the Somali government, CSS Global Inc. has been
contracted to provide security consulting services and training for
government forces. CSS Global, an affiliate of Ada-based CSS
Alliance, has furnished
Binyam Mohamed: Judges overrule attempt to suppress torture evidence --High court orders publication of US report, saying British foreign secretary's actions were harmful to the rule of law 16 Oct 2009 David Miliband, the foreign secretary, acted in a way that was harmful to the rule of law by suppressing evidence about what the government knew of the illegal treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who was held in a secret prison in Pakistan, the high court has ruled. In a devastating judgment, two senior judges roundly dismissed the foreign secretary's claims that disclosing the evidence would harm national security and threaten the UK's vital intelligence-sharing arrangements with the US.
Judge Halts Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Health Care Workers 16 Oct 2009 A judge on Friday morning halted enforcement of a New York State directive requiring that all health care workers be vaccinated for the seasonal flu and swine flu. The temporary restraining order by the judge, Thomas J. McNamara, an acting justice of the State Supreme Court in Albany, comes amid a growing debate about the [squalene-laden, mercury-filled, Polysorbate 80-laced] flu vaccine.
A third of nurses will refuse to have the swine flu jab 18 Oct 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. Last night a Government scientist condemned the results saying nurses who do not have the jab are putting patients at risk.
Cape teens: HPV vaccine made them sick --Study: GardaKILL has resulted in more adverse reactions - such as stroke, blood clots, cardiac arrest, seizures, fainting and lupus - than occur after Menactra vaccinations against meningitis. 15 Oct 2009 It's been months since dancer and former gymnast Nicole Goodman of Pocasset has been able to do a forward jazz slide or a kick ball change move. The 18-year-old fell ill weeks after receiving her third Gardasil shot, and she blames the vaccine for the human papillomavirus for putting her in a wheelchair... By this summer, there were more than 15,000 reports of Gardasil vaccine reactions, including more than 3,000 injuries and 48 deaths, says Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccination watchdog group.
FOX News: 'Balloon Boy' Hid to Escape Speeches by Obama By R J Shulman 17 Oct 2009 Fox News seems to have asked and answered their own question: Did six-year-old Falcon Heene, better known as the 'balloon boy,' hide in his attic to escape being forced to watch a Barack Obama speech? Yes, indeed, Fox says. Fox host Neil Cavuto reported that "ever since Obama was allowed to brainwash school children with his talk to them, little Falcon became terrified he would be forced to watch a presidential speech." (Satire)
Sheriff says criminal charges will be filed in saga of boy who was believed to be in balloon 17 Oct 2009 A sheriff said Saturday that his office will file criminal charges in the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon. After the boy's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met with sheriff's officials for much of the afternoon, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden didn't say who would be charged or what the charges would be, but he did say the parents spoke to investigators voluntarily and weren't under arrest.
Del. soon to require new ID standards --Driver's license process will change 16 Oct 2009 Those getting a Delaware driver’s license will soon face increased security measures. The federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which came in response to the 9/11 Commission's findings that 18 of the 19 'hijackers' had obtained driver’s licenses, requires states to revamp their licenses and licensing procedures to meet federal standards. The law was condemned by many states as a costly unfunded mandate -- it would cost them an estimated $4 billion to implement it -- and 24 states have refused to comply or passed laws limiting their participation. [See: Hijack 'suspects' alive and well (BBC News) 23 Sep 2001 Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well. The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt. Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Centre on 11 September.]
Debunking the Islamic Trail: False Flag Attacks in Argentina: 1992 and 1994 By James Fetzer, Adrian Salbuchi 13 Oct 2009 Coinciding with Thierry Meyssan’s earlier conclusions and with those of other Argentinian investigators, economist and globalization expert Adrian Salbuchi chronicles the events that shook Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, contouring their unmistakable false-flag profile with an Israeli footprint and connecting them to a wider pattern of similar "terrorist attacks".
Judge: CIA misled Kennedy panel 17 Oct 2009 A U.S. judge says the CIA probably misled the Assassination Records Review Board's 1990s investigation into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Federal Judge John Tunheim, who served in 1994 and 1995 as the chairman of the congressionally created board, told The New York Times evidence unearthed by a lawsuit indicates the agency wasn't forthcoming about the role of its liaison to the board, the late CIA agent George Joannides. "I think we were probably misled by the agency," Tunheim said, referring to since-revealed records that dealt with Joannides' role within the agency.
Feds sign up locals to help enforce immigration 17 Oct 3009 The Obama administration has signed up 55 state and local law enforcement agencies to help enforce immigration laws, including an Arizona county sheriff under investigation for racial profiling, the Homeland Security Department announced Friday. Another 12 agreements have been approved and are awaiting local or state approval. The administration had previously suspended the program, which critics say was mismanaged and allowed racial profiling and discrimination. [Oh, by all means, then - let's bring it back!]
am the elected sheriff. I don't take orders from the federal government.'
launches crime sweep in northwest Valley 16 Oct 2009 An Arizona
sheriff known for
Summers: Banks Must Accept Gov't Regulation 17 Oct 2009 A top White House official called on financial institutions to accept new rules in order to help the economic system avoid future ''devastating consequences for workers, consumers and taxpayers.'' ''Financial institutions that have benefited from government support can, should, and must use this moment to think about what they can do for their country -- by accepting the necessary regulation to protect the American people,'' White House chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers said Friday at a conference sponsored by The Economist magazine.
Bill Shields Most Banks From Review 16 Oct 2009 Bowng to political pressure from community bankers, the House Financial Services Committee approved an exemption on Thursday for more than 98 percent of the nation’s banks from oversight by a new agency created to protect consumers from abusive or deceptive credit cards, mortgages and other loans. The carve-out in legislation overhauling the regulatory system would prevent the new consumer financial protection agency from conducting annual examinations of the lending practices at more than 8,000 of the nation's 8,200 banks, leaving only the largest banks and other lenders subject to the agency’s examiners.
Calif. bank becomes 99th in US to be shut in 2009 17 Oct 2009 Regulators shut San Joaquin Bank in California on Friday, marking the 99th failure this year of a federally insured bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of San Joaquin Bank, based in Bakersfield, Calif. It had $775 million in assets and $631 million in deposits as of Sept. 29. The FDIC said the bank's deposits will be assumed by Citizens Business Bank, based in Ontario, Calif.
Bailed out insurance giant AIG plans $198 million in new bonuses By Andre Damon 17 Oct 2009 American International Group, which has received nearly $200 billion in bailout funds from the federal government, is slated to pay 400 employees in its financial products division another $198 million, according to a report published Wednesday by the Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
25th suicide at France Telecom 15 Oct 2009 A France Telecom employee committed suicide on Thursday, becoming the 25th staff member to kill himself over the past 20 months, a company official said. The 48-year-old engineer hung himself in his Brittany home... The latest death brought to 25 the number of employees who have taken their lives since February last year at France Telecom, a former state monoply that has been under major restructuring. Many of the employees have left notes blaming management decisions or stress at work. [Instead of hanging themselves, they should have hanged management. --LRP]
Mega barf alert! Obama praises George H.W. Bush at A&M 17 Oct 2009 President Barack Obama offered a powerful homage Friday to George H.W. Bush at a forum on public service, crediting his GOP predecessor with inspiring legions of Americans to improve their communities. He called Bush's words, works and entire life an inspiration - an example of the "extraordinary ripple effect" one person can have.
George H.W. Bush: Olbermann And Maddow Are "Sick Puppies" 16 Oct 2009 Former President George H.W. Bush feels that the tone of the national discourse lacks civility. "I don't like it," Bush told CBS. "The cables (TV) have a lot to do with it." Bush said he believes Obama was "entitled to civil treatment" when it comes to his critics... Singling out MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, Bush said, "the way they treat my son and anyone who's opposed to their point of view is just horrible." Maddow and Olbermann, he added, are "sick puppies."
Wildlife Groups Commend the United States for Seeking to Halt Polar Bear Trade 16 Oct 2009 The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International and Defenders of Wildlife today commended the United States for submitting a proposal to next year's meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to stop the international trade in polar bears. The meeting is set for March 13-25 in Doha, Qatar.
French troops were killed after Italy hushed up 'bribes' to Taleban 15 Oct 2009 When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified... What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials. [Yes, it was a big surprise, as most of the Taleban's funding comes from the US. See: 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... the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy. See: 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.]
Censorship we can believe in: Photos of Military Deaths in Afghanistan Banned 15 Oct 2009 The U.S. military in eastern Afghanistan recently changed its media embed rules to ban pictures of troops killed in the war. "Media will not be allowed to photograph or record video of U.S. personnel killed in action," says a ground rules document issued Sept. 15 by Regional Command East at Bagram Air Field. This language is new... Pictures of American military deaths are rare, but until now they have not been officially banned during either of the ongoing wars. The new language was added in early September, according to a military spokesperson, Master Sgt. Tom Clementson of Regional Command East Public Affairs.
'It's not going to be built until there is a single Afghan government.' Is an Oil Pipeline Behind the War in Afghanistan? By Bill Sardi 14 Oct 2001 On February 12, 1998, John J. Maresca, vice president, international relations for UNOCAL oil company, testified before the US House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations. Maresca provided information to Congress on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and how they might shape US foreign policy. UNOCAL's problem? As Maresca said: "How to get the region's vast energy resources to the markets." Routes for a pipeline were proposed that would transport oil on a 42-inch pipe southward thru Afghanistan for 1040 miles to the Pakistan coast... Maresca told Congress then that: "It's not going to be built until there is a single Afghan government. That's the simple answer."
Afghanistan prepares for second election 16 Oct 2009 Afghanistan is likely to hold a runoff election after a first round 'vote' marred by allegations of irregularities, the country's ambassador to the United States said. Said Tayeb Jawad became the first close aide to President Hamid Karzai to state publicly that Afghanistan was preparing for a second round, although he said he had no direct knowledge from election authorities.
Deadly bomb shakes Pakistani city 16 Oct 2009 Eleven people have died and 15 have been injured by a bomb in Peshawar in north-western Pakistan, police say. A suicide bomber attacked a police investigation bureau in the Swati Pathak area, which is close to the Pakistani army garrison. Security has been tightened across Pakistan after a series of attacks in Lahore and the north-west on Thursday .
Gun and bomb attacks kill 39 people in Pakistan --Extremist groups working together, say analysts 15 Oct 2009 Pakistan was reeling tonight from a spree of [US-funded] militant violence that plunged its cultural capital into chaos and demonstrated the bloody resolve of Taliban extremists vowing to overthrow the state. Teams of gunmen, several disguised as police officers and wearing suicide vests, attacked three police facilities across Lahore, leaving 28 people dead, 19 of them police. Two of the targets, a police headquarters and a police training centre, had already been attacked in the past 18 months. Violence also rocked North-West Frontier province, where a suicide bomber in Kohat destroyed a police station, killing 11 people, and a smaller bomb in Peshawar wounded five.
2 killed, 12 injured in Iraq's violence 15 Oct 2009 Two people were killed and 12 others injured in bomb attacks in Iraq's Baghdad and Diyala province on Thursday, police source said. A roadside bomb went off near an Iraqi Army patrol in northern Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiyah, killing a civilian and wounding three people, including two soldiers, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
MI5 chief defends links with foreign agencies accused of torture --MI5 had a duty to work with overseas agencies to counter 'imminent' al-Qaida threat, says Jonathan Evans 16 Oct 2009 The head of MI5 broke cover last night to defend the service's foreign intelligence links with countries accused of torturing detainees, saying British lives had been saved as a direct result. Speaking for the first time about charges of MI5 complicity in abuse, the director-general, Jonathan Evans, said Britain needed overseas help in the years following the 9/11 attacks in the United States because its knowledge and understanding of al-Qaida was inadequate at that time. Had Britain not done so, al-Qaida might have hit again "imminently", he said at a private event at Bristol University to mark MI5's centenary.
US House backs Guantanamo prisoner transfer 15 Oct 2009 The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to allow foreign terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay prison into the United States to face trial. The 307 to 114 vote removes one of many roadblocks the Obama administration faces as it tries to empty the internationally condemned prison by January. The measure, included in a $42.8 billion bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, must be passed by the Senate before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.
Israel favours sanctions over force against Iran 15 Oct 2009 Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, has thrown his country's weight behind President Barack Obama's drive to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions through "sanctions and diplomacy" rather than force. The Nobel laureate, who was prime minister three times, toned down Israel's belligerent rhetoric towards Tehran. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Peres downplayed the chances of a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and insisted that Israel did "not want to see blood".
US Congress sends Obama Iran sanctions bill 15 Oct 2009 The US Congress has sent President Barack Obama a legislation that bars companies selling fuel to Iran from winning deals with the US government. The measure was included in the Department of Energy's 2010 spending bill, which cleared the Senate in an 80-17 vote, two weeks after the House of Representatives approved the measure, AFP reported.
Halliburton rape case spurs new rule --US defence companies to be barred from government contracts if they block employees' access to courts 15 Oct 2009 US defence firms are to be barred from lucrative government contracts if they refuse to allow employees access to the courts, after a woman working for a Halliburton subsidiary in Iraq was prevented from taking legal action over an alleged gang rape by fellow workers. Al Franken, the Senate's newest member, has won an amendment to the defence appropriations bill prompted by the case of Jamie Leigh Jones. She alleges that she was drugged and raped by seven American contractors in Baghdad in 2005.
U.S. air force sacks commander for nuke mismanagement 16 Oct 2009 The U.S. Air Force said on Thursday that it had sacked a commander for mismanagement of nuclear missiles under his charge. A news release from U.S. Air Force Space Command said Colonel Christopher Ayres was relieved of duty as the 91st Missile Wing Commander due to "a loss of confidence in his ability to command." The 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota is in charge of 150 Minuteman III nuclear missiles, sunk in hardened silos.
Sydney terror suspects convicted 16 Oct 2009 Five men have been found guilty in Sydney, Australia, of conspiring to commit terrorist attacks. A jury deliberated for 23 days before convicting them on charges including possessing chemicals for explosives and instructions to make bombs. The maximum sentence for the offences is life in prison.
'None of the vaccines against H1N1 have been properly tested.' Lawsuit seeks to halt US swine flu vaccination campaign 15 Oct 2009 New York medical workers took legal action Thursday to halt a massive swine flu inoculation program being rolled out across the United States, claiming the vaccines have not been properly tested. Lawyers for the group filed a temporary restraining order in a Washington federal court against government medical regulators they claim rushed H1N1 vaccines to the public without adequately testing their safety and efficacy.
Top insurer tells 1,000 GPs not to give swine flu vaccine 14 Oct 2009 An insurance company has warned 1,000 GPs not to administer the swine flu vaccine. The HSE plans to enlist family doctors to give the swine flu vaccine to patients with pre-existing medical conditions. But an insurance company which covers around 1,000 of the 2,200 to 2,500 GPs in the country advised them not to sign up for the work because of legal indemnity issues.
Swine flu prompts order: Stay home when sick 15 Oct 2009 (AZ) Swine flu fears may lead to new rules at the office -- in fact, employees who show up sick could actually be fired. Pima County is at the forefront with new rules. Employees who come to work sick will be ordered to go home. If they refuse, they face penalties "up to and including termination."
Swine flu less deadly than seasonal flu: Experts 14 Oct 2009 The swine flu virus has caused much alarm and panic amongst people, but it is not nearly as harmful as the common flu virus that strikes every winter season, say medical experts. According to scientists who are studying this [lab-generated] hybrid form of influenza, it is not nearly as fatal as some of the older pandemics.
MDR's Word of the Day 16 Oct 2009 "Democrisy." n. the hypocritical espousal and declaration of democratic ideals and values, usually for political gain. Var. Democrite. n. one who practices democrisy. --Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D.
Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds 14 Oct 2009 Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms. The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford.
Goldman Sachs breaks record with $16.7bn bonus pot --Firm's employees will get average sum of £323,000 --Payouts come one year after bank took bailout cash 15 Oct 2009 Golden days are here again for elite investment banks. Goldman Sachs is gearing up to pay its biggest ever bonuses to its 31,700 employees after raking in profits at a rate of $35m (£21.5m) a day, in the clearest signal yet that the Square Mile and Wall Street are returning to their old ways of money-making prosperity. Barring a sudden slump in business in the final months of the year, Goldman's bankers, including 5,500 staff at its London office on Fleet Street, can look forward to an average year-end payout of more than $700,000 (£430,000) each, which would be the highest figure in the firm's 140-year history.
Lloyds asks taxpayers for another £5bn --Part-nationalised banking group seeks £25bn extra capital so it can escape toxic asset insurance scheme 15 Oct 2009 Alistair Darling is ready to hand over up to £5bn of taxpayers' money to the part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group in order to shore up its finances. Lloyds, 43% owned by the taxpayer, is seeking £25bn of extra capital so it can escape the multibillion-pound cost of the government's toxic asset insurance scheme.
Nah, it's not a GOP network By Michael Tomasky 15 Oct 2009 Yesterday on Fox - the business channel not the news channel, but not much difference - anchor Neil Cavuto wondered aloud, after noting the Dow's vault over 10,000, whether we were now seeing "the Bush recovery." Cavuto, to be fair, asked whether that wasn't "a bit of a stretch," but his guest, a man named Jim LaCamp, said (I'm sure purely coincidentally!) that it wasn't really a stretch at all... Hey, why not the Reagan recovery?
Heads up! Agriterrorists to control every stage of food production and delivery. Look for phony food shortages to arise: ADM Acquires Five Oceangoing Vessels 15 Oct 2009 Archer Daniels Midland Company today announced that it has acquired five oceangoing dry-bulk commodity vessels, ranging in length between 179 and 225 meters (587 and 738 feet). The five carriers - one Handy, one Handymax, a Supermax and two Panamax vessels - provide cargo-carrying capacity between 36,000 tons and 67,000 tons and will transport all types of grain, grain products and bulk commodities to and from ports in Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the world.
Artic Sea Ice Disappearing, Polar Bears Face Extinction 16 Oct 2009 Researchers predict that within 20 years ice cover will be completely gone during the warmer months. A report was complied by the UK-based Catlin Arctic Survey and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that indicates the Arctic Ocean will be "largely ice free" during summer within a decade. As the Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears face extinction.
'Israel will attack Iran after December' 15 Oct 2009 Israel is planning to carry out military attacks in Iran after December, a French magazine reported Thursday overnight. According to a report in Le canard enchainé quoted by Israel Radio, Jerusalem has already ordered from a French food manufacturer high-quality combat rations for soldiers serving in elite units and also asked reservists of these units staying abroad to return to Israel. [See also: Ultimate bunker buster: U.S military speed plans for 13-ton bomb... but deny Iran nuclear standoff is the reason 13 Oct 2009.]
Iraq says 85,000 violently killed 14 Oct 2009 Just over 85,000 Iraqis were killed in Iraq between 2004 and 2008, according to the first estimate from the Iraqi government since the war began. The figure is based on death certificates issued by the ministry of health and included 15,000 unidentified bodies... Past reports have used a number of different methods to produce estimates ranging from more than 100,000 to well over half a million deaths since 2003.
11 people killed in Iraq explosions 15 Oct 2009 At least 11 people have been killed and 44 others injured in a series of blasts and violence-related incidents in Iraq, security sources say. "Two explosive devices went off in al-Abbas Street and another near al-Dahhan market. All three blasts took place near Imam al-Abbas and al-Hussein's shrines in central Karbala," police and government officials said on Wednesday. The blasts left four people killed and 38 others wounded in the southern city of Karbala, the sources added.
Blocks Public From Blackwater Hearings 14 Oct 2009 A federal
judge Wednesday blocked the public from attending a critical set of
pretrial hearings in the prosecution of five U.S. security contractors
accused of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in a 2007 shooting. The
hearings, which are expected to last through Friday of next week, will
examine whether the government improperly used immunized statements
by the Blackwater Worldwide
'Iran, Iraq to share intelligence to combat crimes' 14 Oct 2009 Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says that Iran and Iraq will share intelligence to fight organized crime. "Sharing intelligence with Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government in order to serve mutual interests and to fight organized crimes has been put on Iran's agenda," Fars news agency quoted Mohammad-Najjar as saying.
US drone attack kills 4 in Pakistan 15 Oct 2009 At least four people have been killed in a new US drone attack targeting a house in northwestern Pakistan, a security official says. An unnamed security official was quoted by AFP on Wednesday as saying that the pre-dawn strike targeted the house of an Afghan refugee in Dandey Darpa Khel in the North Waziristan region near the Afghan border.
MDR's Word of the Day 15 Oct 2009 "Hannanity." n. a right-wing inanity repeated ad nauseam such that those unaccustomed to thought mistake it for such. Used in a sentence: "If we must endure the hannanities of Fox News any longer, we will surely die, especially for lack of health care." --Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D.
Missile commander ousted at Minot Air Force Base 14 Oct 2009 The missile wing commander at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was relieved of his command Wednesday after a series of missteps at the unit, including two crashes of vehicles carrying missile parts in just more than a year. Col. Christopher Ayres' was not ousted for any misconduct or wrongdoing, but the Air Force said it had lost confidence in his ability to command the base's 91st Missile Wing given recent incidents. [And the Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' keep on coming:]
Three ballistic missile crew members fell asleep holding launch codes in July 2008 and were discharged a year later.
Also in July 2008, a vehicle carrying a rocket booster for an unarmed Minuteman III ballistic missile overturned while being transported from the base to a launch facility in northwestern North Dakota. The military estimated it spent about $5.6 million to recover the rocket from a ditch.
In August 2009, a semitrailer carrying rocket engine parts from the base overturned when the driver became distracted by an insect that flew in a window and landed on the driver's back, the military said.
A court-martial also is pending for a Minot officer accused of stealing a missile launch control device, allegedly because he wanted a souvenir.
Minot Air Force Base's 5th Bomb Wing was recertified in the handling of nuclear weapons last year after months of retraining in the wake of a 2007 mix-up in which a bomber 'mistakenly' flew to Louisiana armed with nuclear missiles [aka Cheney's botched 'let's nuke Chicago and blame al-Q' false flag.]
Base commander Col. Bruce Emig was ousted following B-52's flight to Barksdale Air Force Base and replaced by Col. Joel Westa.
My personal favorite Minot 'oddity:' 'The investigation doesn't list what kind of bug it was.' Military says 'large insect' distracted Minot AFB nuclear driver --Shipment also contained two 14-gallon tanks of liquid rocket fuel 09 Oct 2009 A truck driver who lost control of a semi-trailer carrying missile parts from North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was distracted by a "large insect" that flew in a window and landed on the driver's back, the military said in a report released Friday.
Gordon Brown to send more British troops to Afghanistan --Prime minister to tell House of Commons of extra deployment despite public opposition to conflict 14 Oct 2009 Gordon Brown will announce in parliament today that he has agreed to send 500 more soldiers to Afghanistan, straight after reading out a grim roll call of the 37 troops who were killed in the conflict while MPs were on their summer recess. The prime minister will make a Commons statement on the state of the conflict following a difficult summer marked by rising casualties, concerns over the conduct of the Afghan presidential elections, and uncertainty over Barack Obama's plans.
Obama to avoid the rabble on S.F. visit 14 Oct 2009 The White House's fear of protests from Code Pink and other left-wingers has put the brakes on President Obama making any public appearances during his visit to San Francisco this week. Obama is scheduled to parachute into Liberalville on Thursday afternoon and pick up a cool $2 million for the Democratic Party at a fundraiser at the St. Francis Hotel - then spend the night, before checking out early the next morning and heading to Houston for a community service forum hosted by former President George H.W. Bush. [Anti-war protest avoidance and George H.W. Bush visitations we can believe in! Obama is acting EXACTLY as Bush did. Flying into town under cover, picking up huge checks, avoiding anti-war protests, then meeting with Daddy Bush. --MDR Next, the 'First Amendment Zones' will rise up from the ashes. --LRP]
AP sources: Al-Qaida's Afghan head contacted Zazi 14 Oct 2009 Intelligence officials say the terrorist operative who contacted an Afghan immigrant accused of plotting a New York attack was the head of Afghanistan's al-Qaida operations. The U.S. officials say Mustafa Abu al-Yazid used an intermediary [his CIA handler?] to contact the 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi, of Colorado, as he hatched a plot to attack New York's mass transit system.
United Arab Emirates: Court Convicts American 13 Oct 2009 The Supreme Court convicted an American citizen on Monday of terrorism-related charges after claims that torture had been used to extract a confession. The court sentenced the American, Naji Hamdan,to 18 months in prison, but he should be freed soon because the sentence counts time served and he was detained last year. Mr. Hamdan faced charges of supporting terrorism, working with terrorist organizations and being a member of a terrorist group.
Judge to hear arguments on mandatory flu shots 14 Oct 2009 (NY) Health care workers who are challenging a directive by New York state’s health commissioner requiring them to get swine flu shots will get their day in court next week -- but in the meantime, the commissioner’s order remains in effect. That was the outcome of a hearing on the issue today in Manhattan in a lawsuit brought by a nurse from LaGrange, Suzanne Field, according to Field’s attorney, Patricia Finn.
could use controversial adjuvants in swine flu vaccine
--CDC acknowledges 'emergency' provision to use adjuvants, if pandemic
13 Oct 2009 The World
The tents keep sick people away from other emergency room patients and relieve the cramped conditions in the emergency room halls and waiting room. Swine flu claims sixth life; hospital sets up triage tents 14 Oct 2009 (CA) Kern County has lost a sixth resident to the "swine flu." A local hospital has pitched tents to triage the growing number of patients showing up in its emergency department with coughs and fevers... Hospital Director of Emergency Services Jennifer Cook said the emergency department is handling between 210 and 230 patients. Overwhelmed by the numbers, the hospital on Wednesday moved its triage and treatment functions for flu patients into tents in the doctor's parking lot.
Goldman Sachs ponders $1bn charity donation --Goldman Sachs is considering donating in excess of $1bn (£627m) to charity in an attempt to quell the growing furore over the likely size of its 2009 bonus pot. 14 Oct 2009 The investment bank, which is set to report its results for the three months to September on Thursday, is understood to be giving serious thought to some form of large philanthropic donation. [By] the end of the year, Goldman's total compensation pot is expected to be a record $22bn, delivering average pay and bonuses of more than $700,000 per employee, higher even than the average $661,000 paid out in 2007 – its last record year. [Yeah, there's just not enough 'growing furore.' We need more 'growing furore,' which then needs to spill over.]
Less than half of AIG bonuses returned --Audit says more than half still out 15 Oct 2009 American International Group Inc. employees have returned less than half of the $45 million in bonuses they promised to repay in a good-will gesture after the company received tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer aid, according to the Treasury Department's independent watchdog. A public outcry erupted in March when news broke that AIG paid out at least $165 million in executive bonus pay - after being awarded $180 billion in taxpayer loans and incentives to keep the company from collapsing.
The people vs Wall Street --Bear Stearns bankers on trial in first criminal case of the credit crunch 15 Oct 2009 Amidst the economic wreckage, after 7 million job losses and approaching 2 million home foreclosures in the US alone, with businesses and consumers around the world still struggling to get finance after the long credit crunch, Wall Street is finally on trial. A little piece of Wall Street, at least. In the first major case against bankers at the heart of the financial meltdown, a jury of 12 mainly working-class New Yorkers will decide the fate of the two Bear Stearns managers whose hedge funds imploded in 2007, signalling the start of the crisis.
U.S. Stocks Rally as Dow Hits 10,000 for First Time in Year 14 Oct 2009 U.S. stocks rallied, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 10,000 for the first time in a year, on better-than-estimated earnings at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Intel Corp. Oil climbed, while the Dollar Index slid to the lowest level since August 2008 and Treasuries fell. [The Dow is doing great -- thanks to the Wall Street bailouts -- everyone else is burned though, right?]
Colorado minimum wage to drop as living costs fall 13 Oct 2009 Colorado will become the first state to reduce its minimum wage because of a falling cost of living. The state Department of Labor and Employment ordered the wage down to $7.24 from $7.28. That's lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, so most minimum wage workers would lose only 3 cents an hour.
Obama Seeks $250 Check for Retirees and Veterans 15 Oct 2009 President Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to authorize a second $250 stimulus check to be sent early next year to an estimated 57 million Social Security recipients, veterans and people with disabilities. In effect, the payment would be in lieu of a cost-of-living increase for Social Security beneficiaries next year.
End to insurers' antitrust exemption proposed --Schumer calls for revocation to be put in health-care bill on floor 14 Oct 2009 Virtual monopolies that health insurers have enjoyed in a multitude of markets face possible breakup under a proposal made Wednesday that calls for revoking the carriers' exemption from antitrust laws. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the exemption granted to insurers under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 should be repealed in light of repeated concerns that individual insurers often have a stranglehold in major markets. The act granted exemptions to such entities as Major League Baseball and the railroads.
Schwarzenegger approval slumps to all-time low 13 Oct 2009 California Governor [Enron troll] Arnold Schwarzenegger's popularity has slumped to an all-time low after a budget crisis that has left the state near bankruptcy, a new poll showed Tuesday. The Field Poll showed the former Hollywood action hero turned Republican politician's approval rating had dipped below 30 percent for the first time in his six-year reign, plunging to 27 percent from 33 percent in April.
Sources: Limbaugh dropped from group seeking to purchase Rams 14 Oct 2009 If conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh ever had much of a chance to be a minority owner in a successful bid to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams, it is now over, two league sources have confirmed to SI.com. In a statement released Wednesday evening by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts -- who is heading the group that hopes to buy the Rams -- he announced Limbaugh's official exit from the bid.
Ireland Bans Genetically Modified Crops 13 Oct 2009 The Irish Government will ban the cultivation of all GM crops and introduce a voluntary GM-free label for food - including meat, poultry, eggs, fish, crustaceans, and dairy produce made without the use of GM animal feed. The policy was adopted as part of the Renewed Programme for Government agreed between the two coalition partners, the centre-right Fianna Faíl and the Green Party, after the latter voted to support it on Saturday.
Where to Go to Sow Protest? DEA Grass --Activists Dig Into Symbolism in Effort to Legalize Hemp 14 Oct 2009 You want to dig a garden, you need a shovel. You want to dig a guerrilla garden of illegal hemp on the front lawn of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and get arrested for the cameras, you need a symbol. Shortly before they all were happily handcuffed Tuesday, the farmers took one look at what the activists had brought to dig with, and just shook their heads. The symbolic shovels were shiny, chrome-plated affairs, the kind for turning the earth in a Washington photo op, stamped with slogans: "Reefer Madness Will Be Buried."
Arctic ice cap to disappear in summer in years: study 15 Oct 2009 The Arctic ice cap will disappear during the summer within a decade, according to findings released Wednesday by a polar research team. The Catlin Arctic Survey team, led by explorer Pen Hadow, trekked through the northern part of the Beaufort Sea in the North Pole for 73 days earlier this year.
Arctic sea ice 'gone in decade' 14 Oct 2009 The Arctic Ocean will be an "open sea" almost entirely free from ice within a decade, newly-released data has indicated. Ice cover during the summer months will have entirely disappeared within 20 years, but most of the decrease will happen before 2020.
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