November 2008 Archives, Page Two
Afghan president wishes he could down U.S. planes --If he had something like the rock attached to a piece of string, known as a chelak in Dari, used to bring down kites in Afghanistan--Karzai would use it. 26 Nov 2008 Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday he would bring down U.S. planes bombing villages if he could, in a sign of growing tension between Afghanistan and its Western backers as the Taliban 'insurgency' grows in strength. As Western dissatisfaction with Karzai has grown over his failure to crack down on corruption and govern effectively, the Afghan president, facing elections next year, has hit back over the killing of dozens of civilians in foreign air strikes. In recent weeks, Karzai has repeatedly blamed the West for the worsening security in Afghanistan... and calling for the war to be taken out of Afghan villages. "We have no other choice, we have no power to stop the planes, if we could, if I could ... we would stop them and bring them down," Karzai told a news conference. [What's stopping him?]
President Karzai calls for timeline to end the war in Afghanistan 25 Nov 2008 President Hamid Karzai told a visiting United Nations Security Council delegation Tuesday the international community should set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan. It appeared to be the first time Karzai has called for such a deadline... "If there is no deadline, we have the right to find another solution for peace and security, which is negotiations," Karzai was quoted saying in a statement from his office. Karzai didn't specify when he wants the deadline set by. The United States is ramping up military and aid efforts in Afghanistan.
Afghan police: 4 dead in blast near US Embassy 27 Nov 2008 A suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of foreign troops exploded about 200 yards (meters) outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least four Afghan bystanders as people entered the compound for a Thanksgiving Day race. At least 18 others were wounded in the morning attack, said Abdullah Fahim, a health ministry spokesman.
Kabul car bombing kills at least 4 and wounds 17 27 Nov 2008 A suicide car bomber plowed into rush-hour traffic on a commercial boulevard in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least four people and wounding up to 17, the police and hospital authorities said. The bomber seemed to have been aiming at a passing convoy of NATO troops, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, but several witnesses said there were no security forces, either Afghan or foreign, in the immediate vicinity.
Canada to send attack helicopters to Afghanistan 27 Nov 2008 Canada will send eight specially modified CH-146 Griffon helicopters in the new year to southern Afghanistan to protect the CH-47 Chinook transport choppers for the 2,500 troops fighting against Taliban there, Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday.
drug lords await $770m opium bonanza 27 Nov 2008 Opium production
in Afghanistan will contribute $US500 million ($770 million) to drug
lords and the
Unchecked US attacks may reach Peshawar, officials warn 23 Nov 2008 US drone attacks may extend as deep as NWFP capital Peshawar if the political leadership does not work out a 'bipartisan policy' to tackle the 'extremely dangerous situation', government and military officials have warned. The US has carried out more than two dozen airstrikes in the Tribal Areas this year, using unmanned spy planes mainly to target 'Al Qaeda.' The warning follows a rare US attack outside the Tribal Areas targeting a suspected Al Qaeda hideout in Bannu on November 19.
How far will the U.S. go, wonder Pakistanis 21 Nov 2008 Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. Ambassador on Thursday to protest Wednesday’s missile strike, which also came in for strong condemnation by the National Assembly. The missiles fired by a suspected U.S. drone hit a house in Bannu, a district in the North-West Frontier Province, killing six people. A senior Al-Qaeda operative was said to be among the dead. Though the U.S. missile strikes in the border regions have become almost routine, this one has sent fresh shockwaves as this was the first in "settled" area of Pakistan (as opposed to the tribal belt) with a proper administrative machinery. It has raised fears that the U.S. military is getting bolder and advancing deeper into Pakistani territory, and that at this rate may start raining missiles even on cities, on grounds of "actionable" intelligence about suspected targets. Pakistanis have seriously begun to wonder how far the U.S. will go, and the National Assembly saw a chorus of protests by the opposition and a walkout by a parliamentarian representing the tribal areas.
Iraqi parliament OKs US troops for 3 more years 27 Nov 2008 The long, costly [disastrous] story of American military involvement in Iraq moved closer to an end Thursday when Iraq's parliament approved a pact that requires all troops to be out in three years, marking the first clear timetable for a U.S. exit since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
Pentagon officials say at least 18 troops have been electrocuted since 2003 -- many due to faulty wiring and improper grounding. The number could be higher than that when Afghanistan is included, say congressional sources. Sources: KBR committed serious violations 24 Nov 2008 A contractor providing services to the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan has committed serious violations of its contract, mainly by conducting inadequate inspections of electrical wiring and grounding at American bases, according to Pentagon sources. The Pentagon findings on Houston, Texas-based [terrorists] KBR stem from the widely publicized death of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a highly decorated 24-year-old Green Beret from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Maseth was electrocuted while taking a shower at his base in Baghdad.
Coast Guard locates suspected terrorist ship M V Alpha 27 Nov 2008 M V Alpha, a ship which is suspected to have carried the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, was today found 112 km from here by the Coast Guard, officials said. A CG spokesman said that searches were being carried out on board the ship but declined to elaborate. The Coast Guard had launched two aircraft, choppers and its vessels after receiving information that the ship could have carried the terrorists from Gujarat to Mumbai.
'This is shaping up to be India's 9/11' --Two Canadians shot and six are held hostage after militants attack targets throughout Mumbai 27 Nov 2008 Two Canadians have been shot and a total of six are being held hostage after militants attacked targets throughout Mumbai, killing at least 119 people. Some 315 people, including a Markham woman and Montreal man, were injured in a series of bloody attacks by bands of gunmen on 10 targets in India's financial capital last night. The targets included two five-star hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station, and a Jewish centre.
Mumbai attacks leave at least 125 dead, Pakistan accused 27 Nov 2008 Indian commandos battled into the early hours of Friday to end a multiple hostage crisis in Mumbai after suspected Pakistan-based Islamic militants killed 125 people across the city. Officials said they had almost cleared a luxury hotel where gunmen have been holed up for more than 24 hours, with major operations still underway in another hotel where many guests, including foreigners, were hunkered down or being held hostage.
Intelligence chiefs were expecting Al-Qaeda spectacular 27 Nov 2008 Western intelligence services have been expecting an 'al-Qaeda' spectacular terrorist attack in this crucial period between the end of President [sic] George Bush’s administration and the succession of Barack Obama. Signals intelligence "chatter" in recent weeks indicated that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation might be plotting an attack "to grab the headlines" before Mr Obama takes over in the White House on January 20. British security and intelligence sources said there had been increasing concern, particularly in the United States, that a "terrorist spectacular" was on the cards.
Warning Boosts Security On N.Y. and D.C. Transit 27 Nov 2008 Holiday travelers in New York and Washington yesterday faced heightened security in subway and rail stations after federal authorities warned of "uncorroborated but plausible information" received in late September about a possible al-Qaeda attack. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued the warning to state and local officials, saying that al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] may have discussed targeting New York City transit systems, DHS and New York police spokesmen said.
NY Rail Plot Details Based on 'Reliable' FBI Source --New Information in Last 48 Hours Led to Public Warning 26 Nov 2008 Uniformed police officers have flooded New York City's Penn Station, home to the Long Island Rail Road, following a warning from the FBI of a "plausible but unsubstantiated" threat of a terrorist bomb attack against the system during the holidays. Law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com the plot involved a "Madrid-like attack," a reference to the [Aznar's] synchronized bombing of the commuter rail system in Spain in March 2004 that killed 191 people.
Lieberman Contributed to GOP Senate, House Candidates 27 Nov 2008 Senator Joe LieberBush (R-Israel) supported Jeff Merkley's opponent, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). Lieberman, through his Reuniting Our Country PAC, gave Smith's reelection bid $5,000 on Oct. 10, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Lieberman's support of Smith came the same weekend he wrote an op-ed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press defending Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) for his work as chairman of an investigative subcommittee on Lieberman's homeland security committee. The same day he wrote a check to Smith, Lieberman's ROC PAC gave $5,000 to Rep. Peter King, the Long Island Republican. In radio and TV appearances the final days of the campaign, Lieberman also frequently said that a Democratic majority of 60 votes, a filibuster-proof level, would be a bad thing.
Sarah Palin in dead turkey gaffe 26 Nov 2008 Sarah Palin's attempt to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey went wrong when she staged a post-pardon press conference in front of a production line where birds were being slaughtered... Behind her, a slaughterman in plastic overalls was clearly on view stuffing turkeys headfirst into large inverted funnels, their feet kicking above as their heads dangled below. The abattoir worker was seen taking away their limp bodies once they were dead, although US television blurred out the parts it said were "too gory". The footage was described on NBC News as another gaffe by the hunting-mad Mrs Palin, who was apparently told by her television interviewer what was going on behind her, and replied: "No worries."
Food Prices Will Rise, Causing Export Bans, Riots: Chart of Day 25 Nov 2008 Food prices will rise next year, prompting a revival of protectionism from food-growing nations and risking a renewed bout of rioting, according to Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich. "Agricultural commodities will outperform the broad commodity indices in 2009," Hitzfeld wrote in a research note this week. "If key crop-producing countries then impose export bans again and speculators drive up prices via physical stockpiling and futures contracts, new food unrest is even conceivable in the second half of 2009."
Government bailout hits $8.5 trillion By Kathleen Pender 26 Nov 2008 The federal government committed an additional $800 billion to two new loan programs on Tuesday, bringing its cumulative commitment to financial rescue initiatives to a staggering $8.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg News. That sum represents almost 60 percent of the nation's estimated gross domestic product.
Cisco plans 4-day shutdown to cut costs 25 Nov 2008 Cisco Systems Inc. will close most of its U.S. and Canadian offices for 4 days over the holidays as part of a plan to cut $1 billion in costs in the current fiscal year, the company said Tuesday.
For stores, the holiday season may already be over 27 Nov 2008 The holiday shopping season begins Friday with a blitz of early morning specials. For some merchants, though, it's practically over already. Piles of jewelry, clothing and electric drills are bypassing store shelves and heading straight to liquidators by the caseload as stores try to save as much cash as they can.
FDA Hid Names of Melamine Contaminated Infant Formula Products from the Public By Mike Adams 27 Nov 2008 When the FDA discovered melamine in U.S. infant formula products, it made a conscious decision to withhold that information from the public. Instead, it called a teleconference with the infant formula manufacturers to warn them about its findings! The truth about the melamine only became public after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, demanding the test results from the FDA.
Al-CIAduh bailing out the bailout: New York warns of possible al Qaeda attack 26 Nov 2008 U.S. authorities have warned of a possible 'al Qaeda' threat to transit systems in and around New York City, a Homeland Security official said on Wednesday. New York police said they were increasing security in response to the warning but said this was "in an abundance of caution." "The New York City Police Department is aware of an unsubstantiated report indicating that al Qaeda terrorists discussed targeting mass transit in New York City and the vicinity," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told Reuters. [Is Bush preparing a second 9/11-style attack, so that he can invoke martial law and destroy what's left of the US before January 20? --LRP]
New York Alert Based on Possible Al-Qaeda Planning 26 Nov 2008 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint warning to state and local officials yesterday about a possible al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot to attack the New York subways, a DHS spokeswoman said. The alert was based on "plausible but uncorroborated information" from late September that al-Qaeda was considering the action against the largest U.S. subway system, said Laura Keehner, the department’s spokeswoman.
L.A. tightens security after New York's terrorism alert 26 Nov 2008 The report of a threat of terrorist violence against the New York transit system has prompted Los Angeles officials to increase security. Details from City News Service: Local mass transit routes will be under extra security through the holidays, especially after a report of a possible Al Qaeda terrorist threat to New York City’s transit systems, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Reporter: Mumbai put into lockdown as attacks continues --Eyewitnesses saw gunmen round up hotel guests, demand British, U.S. passports --Hotel guests told to stay in rooms, sitting in darkness, CNN's Andrew Stevens says 26 Nov 2008 The city of Indian city Mumbai exploded into chaos early Thursday morning as gunmen launched a series of attacks across south the country's commercial capital, killing scores of people and taking hostages in two luxury hotels frequented by Westerners.
Scores killed in Mumbai rampage --87 dead, 185 wounded, police spokesman says --Five-star Taj Mahal Hotel on fire; Military reportedly enters second hotel 26 Nov 2008 In a brazen series of coordinated attacks, gunmen struck 10 sites Wednesday night across India's financial hub, killing scores of people and taking hostages in two luxury hotels frequented by Westerners, officials said. Mumbai police spokesman Satish Katsa put the death toll at 87 and another 185 wounded, with nine of the attackers killed. More than six hours after the attacks, fighting was still reported in the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Hotel Oberoi and Colaba Market, site of a number of restaurants, he said.
Massacre in Mumbai --'Put your hands up if you are British,' gunmen tell terrified travellers 27 Nov 2008 India's financial capital, Mumbai, was rocked by a series of gun attacks and blasts last night that targeted luxury hotels and restaurants – and especially British and American visitors.
US could OK Afghan "surge" before Obama takes office 25 Nov 2008 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates could approve plans for a major build-up of U.S. forces in Afghanistan before President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20, officials say. Faced with an intensifying Taliban 'insurgency,' U.S. military planners are working to identify a prospective force of more than 20,000 combat and support troops requested by commanders in Afghanistan. Some estimates have called for a U.S. force as large as 30,000 troops, officials say, similar in size to the 2007 surge of U.S. forces in Iraq.
'Israel may attack Iran via Turkey' 27 Nov 2008 If Israel were to attack Iran's alleged nuclear weapons facilities, its bomber aircraft would most likely fly through Turkish air space, a prominent neo-conservative U.S. columnist has said. "The Israelis would not attack over Iraq. The way to go is through Turkey," Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist who writes for the Washington Post and some other publications, said on the political panel "Inside Washington" on WJLA TV [Sunday] in Washington DC.
US has never advised Israel against Iran strike: Olmert 25 Nov 2008 The United States has not pressured Israel to rule out military action in order to halt Iran's nuclear program, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday after talks with President [sic] George W. Bush. The outgoing prime minister, who ends his visit to Washington, said he had "spoke at length with Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the president on Iran. There is a basic, deep understanding about the Iranian threat and the need to act in order to remove threat," he told reporters.
deciding to ask Mr. Gates to stay, Mr. Obama put aside concerns that
he would send a jarring signal after a political campaign in which he
made opposition to the war his signature issue in the early days.'
Plans to Retain Gates at Defense Department
26 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama has decided to keep Defense
Secretary Robert M. Gates in his post, a show of
Iraqi Parliament postpones vote on security pact 26 Nov 2008 Parliament has delayed by at least 24 hours a vote on a security agreement with the United States as some members worked to finalize a political-reform package that would constrain the power of the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and would be voted on at the same time.
Sunni might withhold support for US pact 25 Nov 2008 A leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament hinted he might withhold support for a proposed pact that would allow American troops to stay in Iraq through 2011, making it difficult for the Shiite-led government to win the big victory it needs in Wednesday's vote.
US: Mass grave with 23 bodies found in Iraq 26 Nov 2008 The U.S. military says a mass grave containing 23 bodies has been found in Iraq. The military says the bodies were found Wednesday in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. It says the bodies in the grave appear to have been dead for 1 1/2 years.
Military: Two U.S. troops killed by unknown gunmen in N Iraq 26 Nov 2008 Two U.S. soldiers distributing 'humanitarian aid' were shot dead by unknown gunmen in northern Iraq on Tuesday, the U.S. military said in a statement. The killed included a marine and a soldier, the statement said, adding that two other marines and three Iraqi civilians were also wounded in the attack.
Group urges for a better way to kill dogs in Iraq 26 Nov 2008 An animal rights group is urging Iraqi authorities to better ways to eliminate stray dogs after 200 of them were killed in Baghdad this week by poisoned meat and rifles. Humane Society International wants to work with Baghdad officials because their methods to curb the stray dog population are "neither humane nor have been found to provide long-term solutions to the overpopulation program," the group said in a letter dated Wednesday.
Candidate for top intelligence post withdraws name 25 Nov 2008 A former senior U.S. intelligence official Tuesday withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the new Obama administration amid protests from liberal groups linking him to the Bush regime's "enhanced interrogation" and secret transfers of terrorism suspects to nations that torture prisoners and political opponents.
State justice confirms he yelled "Tyrant!" at Mukasey before AG collapsed 25 Nov 2008 Richard Sanders, a justice on the Washington State Supreme Court, has never been one to shy from controversy or blunt language. And last week, as he sat at a Federalist Society dinner and listened to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Sanders reached his tipping point. After listening to Mukasey defend the Bush regime's counterterrorism policies -- its detainment practices at Guantánamo Bay, its interpretation of the Geneva Conventions' reach -- Sanders stood and shouted "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!" [Well-said!]
Police hire private spies to snoop online 26 Nov 2008 The internet communications and websites of anti-war campaigners, environmentalists, animal rights activists and other protest groups are being secretly monitored by state and federal agencies. A Melbourne private intelligence firm specialising in "open-source intelligence" has been engaged by Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and the federal Attorney-General's Department to monitor and report on the protest movements' use of the internet.
Jacqui Smith's Taser plan suffers blow after Met Police Authority's rejection 25 Nov 2008 The authority overseeing Britain’s largest police force warned that a government decision to allow Taser stun guns to be used by non-specialist firearms officers threatened to cause "fear" among the public. Jacqui Smith’s announcement that 10,000 of the weapons are to be supplied to 43 forces in England and Wales suffered an immediate blow when the Metropolitan Police Authority said it had no intention sanctioning their wider deployment in London.
Cape Cod harbor master charged with being fake fed 26 Nov 2008 A part-time assistant harbor master on Cape Cod has been charged by federal authorities with pretending to be an armed federal agent so he could bypass airport security. Stephen Grant of Rockland was freed on $50,000 unsecured bond following his initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston. Grant was flying from Boston to San Diego on Jan. 1, 2007, when he approached an American Airlines ticket counter at Logan International Airport and flashed a badge he carries as a part-time assistant harbor master in Chatham, according to federal prosecutors.
Russian analyst predicts decline and breakup of U.S. 24 Nov 2008 A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts. Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: "In 2006 a secret agreement was reached between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. on a common Amero currency as a new monetary unit. This could signal preparations to replace the dollar. The one-hundred dollar bills that have flooded the world could be simply frozen. Under the pretext, let's say, that terrorists are forging them and they need to be checked."
As mortgages went bad, executives cashed out --While Irvine subprime lender New Century was failing, key executives continually changed their stock trading plans and often sold within days of colleagues' trades, a Times investigation shows. 26 Nov 2008 The subprime lending industry was starting to buckle under the weight of bad loans in November 2006, when executives at Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. held a conference call to release their latest earnings. Loan volume was down and defaults were up, the earnings report showed, and in recent weeks at least five stock analysts had downgraded the company's shares. Moreover, four executives had sold nearly $20 million in stock in the last four months, six times as much as they had sold over the previous 12 months.
Government backs off drilling near national parks 25 Nov 2008 Drilling leases on and near the border of Utah's scenic national parks have been pulled from an auction block. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced its decision late Tuesday after negotiations with National Park Service officials who objected to noise, lights and air pollution near Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park, all in Utah.
FDA Scientists Revolt Against Corrupt Food and Drug Administration Officials 24 Nov 2008 A group of scientists working in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health division has revolted against the corrupt managers of its own department, accusing them of committing crimes by claiming, "There is extensive documentary evidence that managers at CDRH have corrupted and interfered with the scientific review of medical devices."
President-elect: 'You can call me Barack' 26 Nov 2008 On the eve of Thanksgiving, the president-elect and his wife and young daughters turned up at a food bank on Chicago's South side. Ten-year-old Malia Obama and 7-year-old Sasha Obama joined their parents in shaking hands and dishing out holiday wishes to hundreds who had lined up for hours at the food bank. The family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy at St. Columbanus Catholc Church, where boxes of potatoes, oranges, fresh bread, peanut butter, canned goods, oatmeal, spaghetti and coffee also were passed around. The president-elect, dressed in a leather jacket, black scarf and khakis, called out "Happy Thanksgiving" and invited everyone to be casual: "You can call me Barack."
On Thanksgiving Eve, Obama Family Hands Out Food to the Needy 2Nov 2008 On Thanksgiving Eve, President-elect Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and his daughters Malia and Sasha, all bundled up in winter coats and hats, dished out chickens to the needy at a Chicago church, leaving some overcome with emotion.
For economy's sake, Pelosi needs to push for impeachment now By Rochelle Riley 25 Nov 2008 Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s ineffectiveness became clear the day she became Speaker of the House and immediately announced that there would be no impeachment proceedings against President [sic] George W. Bush or Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney... If Congress isn't careful, the president who already has issued 171 pardons could also pardon every appointee and employee he has ever had – and their dogs. And then Americans will never find out what happened to our country over the past eight years.
Franken loses absentee ballot appeal 26 Nov 2008 The Minnesota state Canvassing Board today rejected Democrat Al Franken's request to count absentee ballots his campaign says were wrongly rejected by poll judges. Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's team had argued that the board lacks the power to include those ballots in the recount.
Pilots fly doomed dogs to better life 25 Nov 2008 Pilots are donating their time, planes and fuel to transport dozens of dogs a month from overcrowded shelters where they face almost certain death to rescue groups and shelters several states away that are committed to finding them homes. The mission-of-mercy relocations are flown by general aviation pilots who have signed on with the recently formed Pilots N Paws, a Web-based message board where pilots can access information about animals in need.
In Iraq, Former Enemies on the US Payroll By Bobby Ghosh 24 Nov 2008 The last time I met Saif Abdallah, in the winter of 2006, he was proud to have helped kill dozens, possibly hundreds of American soldiers. Then 28, he was a geeky electronics engineer who made trigger devices for roadside bombs known as IEDs -- the No. 1 cause of U.S. troop casualties. I remember the relish he took in listing his clients, most of them Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, whom he saw as fellow patriots trying to drive out the American occupier. He had also devised triggers for al-Qaeda. "They pay me," he said then with a shrug. "Anybody who wants to kill American soldiers, if they pay me, I work for them." Guess who pays him now? The American taxpayer. He's now a Son of Iraq (SOI), one of nearly 100,000 Sunnis recruited by the U.S. military to fight al-Qaeda.
US intelligence 'kept files on Tony Blair's private life', claims ex-US navy operator 24 Nov 2008 US intelligence officials kept a file on former prime minister Tony Blair's "private life", a former US navy communications operator claimed today. David Murfee Faulk, who worked at a listening post in Fort Gordon, Georgia, told ABCNews.com he saw the file on Blair in 2006.
Whistleblower: U.S. Snooped on Tony Blair, Iraqi President --Former Intercept Operator Tells ABC News He Saw Blair File, Heard "Pillow Talk" of Iraqi Leader 24 Nov 2008 A former communications intercept operator says U.S. intelligence snooped on the private lives of two of America's most important allies in 'fighting' al Qaeda: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iraq's first interim president, Ghazi al-Yawer. David Murfee Faulk told ABCNews.com he saw and read a file on Blair's "private life" and heard "pillow talk" phone calls of al-Yawer when he worked as an Army Arab linguist assigned to a secret NSA facility at Fort Gordon, Georgia, between 2003 and 2007.
20 killed in two bombings in Baghdad 25 Nov 2008 A female suicide bomber Monday killed seven people waiting to enter the capital's U.S.-guarded Green Zone, and another bomb killed at least 13 people when it destroyed a minibus carrying Trade Ministry employees, Iraqi authorities said.
Pakistan to receive billions in IMF money 25 Nov 2008 Pakistan will get a US$7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, after winning approval to use the money in the 'fight against' Islamist terrorism. The IMF has said Pakistan will receive a first installment of US$3.1 billion immediately.
Musharraf had no say in US strikes inside Pakistan 25 Nov 2008 Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that his government had found that no evidence that former president Pervez Musharraf permitted the US to launch strikes inside Pakistan. The prime minister said that according to the record of the General Headquarters and the Foreign Office, the former president had not allowed the US to conduct strikes inside the country. [Yup, now we know why he's the "former" president.]
Pervasive corruption fuels deep anger in Afghanistan --Many long for harsh but clean rule of Taliban 25 Nov 2008 Increasingly, corruption is driving a wedge between the government and the Afghan people, who are growing more and more resentful of their leaders, experts say. And that poses an enormous challenge for President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.- and NATO-led forces intensifying their efforts to defeat a Taliban-led 'insurgency.' Corruption is turning more people toward the Taliban [over Bush and his opium/gas pipeline puppets], which is seen as clean in comparison.
Marine killed in Afghanistan bomb blast 25 Nov 2008 A British soldier was killed in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The soldier, a member of the Royal Marines, was on patrol near Kajaki, a region of Helmand Province, when his vehicle was hit in a roadside explosion, the ministry said.
Russian Fleet Arrives in Venezuela Ahead of Visit From Medvedev 25 Nov 2008 Russian naval ships arrived in Venezuela today in preparation for a visit from President Dmitry Medvedev, the first trip by a Russian president to the country. The four Russian warships will conduct exercises in the Caribbean with the Venezuelan navy. The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko was docked at a port near Caracas this morning, with Russian soldiers in white uniforms disembarking, images broadcast by state [as opposed to corporate] television showed.
Russia president, warships to Venezuela to counter US 23 Nov 2008 Warships, nuclear power, arms sales and perhaps cooperation on oil prices -- Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev is in Venezuela this week. The U.S. government dismisses the importance of Medvedev's visit on Wednesday to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the deployment of several Russian warships for joint military exercises with Venezuelan forces in the Caribbean.
in the Red Sea: Saudi points towards Israel --Columnists fear that
a plan is underway for 'internationalization' of security in the Red
By Habib Trabelsi 25 Nov 2008 Not only do columnists and analysts openly
accuse Israel of sponsoring acts of piracy that multiply off Somali
waters, but they also do not hide their fears of an internationalization
of security in the Red Sea, where Israel plays a decisive role. "What
is happening in the Horn of Africa is not a simple case of piracy...'
wrote Tuesday (November 25) Nawaf Al-Meshal Sabhan in the Saudi daily
Al-Iqtissadia. "Who has got an interest in such an internationalization?"
..."Who has got an interest in putting pressure on Egypt, by diverting
cargo ships of Suez Canal and by making Egypt lose daily income of over
$15 million?" the analysts asks again. "Who is behind acts
of piracy?" Was the headline of the daily Al-Riyadh’s editorialist
Dr. Hashem Abdou Hashem. "These repeated acts of piracy are premeditated.
They are sponsored by a State or organization,
in any case by a party seeking to create tension, concern and instability
in the Red Sea in order to achieve strategic interests,"
he wrote. [Cui bono? Blackwater
gunboats will protect ships --The McArthur arrives in the Gulf
of Aden at the end of the year. It is to be joined by three or four
similar vessels over next year to form the company's private navy.
Nov 2008 The American security company Blackwater is planning to cash
in on the rising
threat of piracy on the high seas by launching a flotilla of gunboats
for hire by the shipping companies. The firm, which gained international
notoriety when its
Iran claims Israel spy ring broken --Latest group arrested had confessed to having been trained in Israel to carry out assassinations and bombings 25 Nov 2008 Iran's revolutionary guards ratcheted up the war of nerves with Israel yesterday by claiming to have broken a spy network run by Mossad, the Israeli espionage agency. The guards' commander-in-chief, Muhammad Ali Jafari, said they had arrested Israeli-trained agents and seized hi-tech communications equipment.
Jordan's king calls for int'l efforts to lift Gaza blockade 24 Nov 2008 Jordan's king Abdullah II on Sunday urged international community to move quickly to lift the blockade Israel has imposed to the Gaza Strip and facilitate entry of humanitarian aids in the area. The king told a meeting of EU ambassadors to Jordan that Israel' s continue blockade creates a "humanitarian catastrophe" with destructive impact on Palestinians.
Islamic charity, leaders guilty in US terror case 24 Nov 2008 A federal jury in Dallas on Monday found an Islamic charity and five men linked to it guilty on all charges in a lengthy case linked to the funneling of over $12 million to the Palestinian group Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. [And, some people consider the United States -- under Bush/Cheney -- a terrorist organization.]
'Under the direction of this White House, the Department of Labor has increasingly attempted to move work performed by Federal employees to private contractors' and, in so doing, hurt workers' morale and 'grossly overstated savings.' GAO: Labor Dept. Misled Congress 25 Nov 2008 The Labor Department gave Congress inaccurate and unreliable numbers that understated the expense of contracting out its employees' work to private firms, according to a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday. The department's decisions in allowing contractors to compete for bureaucrats' work -- known as "competitive sourcing" -- also demoralized workers, according to most of the 60 agency employees interviewed by the GAO.
Obama Advisers Signal Tax Cuts May Stay 24 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama has signaled that he will pursue a far more ambitious plan of spending and tax cuts than anything he outlined on the campaign trail. A member of the Obama economic advisory team, William M. Daley, acknowledged that because of the gravity of the situation, Mr. Obama was leaning toward letting a Bush tax cut for the wealthy expire on schedule in 2011 rather than repealing it sooner.
Obama Goes After Farm Subsidies 25 Nov 2008 In a speech just concluded announcing two more economy appointees -- CBO chief Peter Orszag to the Office of Management and Budget and Robert Nabors (House Approp. Comm.) to be his deputy -- President-elect Obama gave an example of one piece of wasteful government spending: farm subsidies. Obama cited a GAO report out yesterday that said from 2003 to 2006, "millionaire farmers" got $49 million in farm subsidies despite earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff in annual income. "If it's true," Obama said, "it's a prime example of waste."
Wealthy continue to get farm subsidies, GAO finds 24 Nov 2008 Millionaire farmers continue to pluck crop subsidies they don't deserve, federal investigators say. At least 2,702 farmers nationwide received subsidies between 2003 and 2006 even through they were making more than the $2.5 million gross income cutoff. The unwarranted payments totaled $49 million and exposed enduring Agriculture Department management problems, investigators concluded.
Citi, AIG Won't Drop Big Sports Sponsorships --Critics Slam Bailed-Out Firms' Pricey Deals for Naming Rights, Logo Placement 24 Nov 2008 AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support, ABC News has found.
Builders Make Plea for Federal Aid --Critics Warn That Propping Up Housing Demand Will Only Prolong Market's Woes 24 Nov 2008 The builders' lobby is ramping up its sales pitch for a $250 billion stimulus package called "Fix Housing First," arguing that financial markets won't recover until home prices stop falling. They are calling for a generous tax credit for home purchases and a federal subsidy that would lower a homeowner's mortgage rate.
FDIC adds 54 more banks to its 'problem list' 25 Nov 2008 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the list of banks it considers to be in trouble shot up nearly 50 percent to 171 during the third quarter -- yet another sign of escalating troubles among the institutions controlling Americans' deposits. In the second quarter, 117 FDIC-insured institutions were on the list. Now, at 171, the number of institutions on the FDIC's "problem list" is at its highest level since late 1995.
Fed Pledges Top $7.4 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit 24 Nov 2008 The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago. The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $2.8 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Economy's tumble even worse than expected in 3Q 25 Nov 2008 The economy took a tumble in the summer that was worse than first thought as American consumers throttled back their spending by the most in 28 years, further proof the country is almost certainly in the throes of a painful recession. The updated reading on the economy's performance, released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, showed the gross domestic product shrank at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter.
Federal deficit could hit $1 trillion this year 25 Nov 2008 Budget hawks were aghast when the federal deficit hit a record $455 billion in fiscal 2008, more than double the previous year. That figure could double again in 2009, to $1 trillion, but even balanced budget advocates are saying that may be the price we have to pay to revive the failing economy.
Conrad Black asks George Bush for pardon 24 Nov 2008 Conrad Black is serving a six-and-a-half-year jail term for fraud and obstruction of justice in Coleman, Florida, and has asked the President [sic] to free him as one of his last acts before he leaves office in January. Justice Department spokesman Laura Sweeney said the application had been received by the Office of Pardon Attorney in Washington. 'It's currently under consideration,' she said.
Bush pardons wildlife law violators 24 Nov 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement, The Associated Press learned Monday. Among those on the latest pardon list: Leslie Owen Collier, convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Milton Kirk Cordes, convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.
Albuquerque police want ad: We need snitches --'Make some extra cash! Drug use and criminal record OK' 22 Nov 2008 The Albuquerque Police Department has turned to the want ads for snitches. An ad this week in the alternative newspaper The Alibi asks "people who hang out with crooks" to do part-time work for the police. It reads in part: "Make some extra cash! Drug use and criminal record OK."
CNN Ordered to Rehire 110 Workers Fired for Belonging to a Union By James Parks 24 Nov 2008 This report likely won’t be on CNN’s "Headline News," but after five years, former workers at CNN have finally gained justice. In a decision made public today, an administrative law judge [Arthur Amchan] ordered the network to rehire 110 workers who were fired because they were union members. CNN also was ordered to recognize the workers’ unions, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA) locals 31 and 11.
Bush pleased with Iraq war outcome 23 Nov 2008 US President [sic] George W Bush believes the Iraq war has been successful and is "very pleased" with what is happening there, he said in a pre-recorded interview broadcast on a Japanese television network on Sunday. "I think the decision to remove Saddam Hussein was right," Bush told the Sunday Project program of the private Asahi network. [CIA asset] Saddam was an enemy of the United States and a lot of people thought he had weapons of mass destruction, Bush said, adding "remarkable" progress had been made in Iraq since the late dictator was toppled in 2003. [See: Iraqi protesters burn George Bush effigy 21 Nov 2008 After the effigy was dragged to the ground, protesters began jumping on it, even stamping out flames that erupted after someone set it afire. Yup, "remarkable!"]
Iraq PM says U.S. troops will leave if no pact 24 Nov 2008 Iraq will not seek to extend the U.N. mandate of U.S. troops and they will pull out immediately if Iraqi parliament fails to approve a pact allowing them to stay until 2011, Iraq's prime minister said on Sunday.
US: Financial woes no excuse in funding Afghan war 22 Nov 2008 Even in a global financial crisis, the world cannot afford to skimp on its obligations [i.e., ensuring the gas pipeline/opium trade routes remain free and clear] to Afghanistan, which wants to double the size of its army but will never be able to pay for it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.
U.S. eyes "surge" of over 20,000 for Afghanistan 22 Nov 2008 The Pentagon is considering a plan to send more than 20,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next 12 to 18 months to help safeguard 'elections' and quell rising Taliban violence, officials said on Friday. U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he and top commanders had discussed sending five brigades to Afghanistan, including four brigades of combat ground forces as well as an aviation brigade, which a defence official said would consist mainly of support troops.
Canada reiterates plan to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011 21 Nov 2008 Canada will proceed with its plan to end military mission in Afghanistan in 2011, even if United States President-elect Barack Obama appeals to it to stay, Defense Minister Peter MacKay reiterated Friday.
Kurdish rebels claim pipeline explosion 23 Nov 2008 Separatist Kurdish rebels are reported to have claimed responsibility for an explosion at an oil pipeline linking Iraq with southern Turkey. A news agency with close links to the rebels carried a statement by the Kurdistan Workers' Party saying that the explosion was an act of sabotage.
Ya'alon quoted suggesting Israel should mull killing Ahmadinejad 23 Nov 2008 Israel should consider assassinating Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon reportedly told an Australian newspaper. "We have to consider killing him," Ya'alon told the Sydney Morning Herald. "All options must be considered." Ya'alon's aide denied Sunday that the former chief of staff had made those statements to the Australian paper.
Australia Will Drop Security Controls on Ex-Guantanamo Inmate 20 Nov 2008 Australia won't seek to renew a curfew and other security controls on former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks when they expire next month, police said. The so-called control order on Hicks, who spent more than five years in Guantanamo Bay for training at al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] camps in Afghanistan, expires Dec. 21.
Protesters Call for Closing of Ga. Terrorist Training Camp 23 Nov 2008 Demonstrators renewed their call Sunday to shutter a school on a Georgia Army base for Latin American military and government officials and say they're optimistic the new president or a more sympathetic Congress will act within the next year. School of Americas Watch protests each November outside Fort Benning to mark the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. A United Nations panel concluded that some of the killers had attended the School of Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Police to get 10,000 Taser guns --£8m will be made available to all 43 police forces in England and Wales to buy new 50,000-volt weapons 23 Nov 2008 Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, is to arm police with 10,000 Taser stun guns in an escalation of the government's fight 'against' violent crime. Smith will unveil plans tomorrow that will enable all 30,000 front-line response officers to be trained in firing the electric guns at knife-wielding thugs and other violent suspects.
Government still losing at least a computer a week --Don't care, won't care By John Oates 21 Nov 2008 A year and a day after losing child benefit records for every family in the UK and promising to reform data handling, the British government is still losing a laptop every single week. Figures collated from Parliamentary answers reveal the government has lost 53 laptops since 20 November 2007 when Alistair Darling told the House of Commons that unencrypted discs containing the entire child benefit database had been lost.
Rich countries, corporations launch great land grab to seize food supply --States and companies target developing nations 22 Nov 2008 Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies. The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of "neo-colonialism", with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.
Bank regulator played advocate not enforcer --Office of Thrift Supervision Let Lenders Grow Out of Control, Then Fail 23 Nov 2008 When Countrywide Financial felt pressured by federal agencies charged with overseeing it, executives at the giant mortgage lender simply switched regulators in the spring of 2007. The benefits were clear: Countrywide's new regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision, promised more flexible oversight of issues related to the bank's mortgage lending. OTS adopted an aggressively deregulatory stance toward the mortgage lenders it regulated. In 2004, the year that risky loans called option adjustable-rate mortgages took off, then-OTS director James Gilleran lauded the banks for their role in providing home loans.
U.S. rescues Citi with $20 bln capital, guarantees 24 Nov 2008 The U.S. government has bailed out Citigroup Inc, agreeing to shoulder most of the potential losses on $306 billion of high risk assets and inject $20 billion of new capital, in its biggest rescue of a bank yet. The government's $20 billion of new capital comes on top of $25 billion it had put into the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, and it will receive preferred shares with an 8 percent dividend in return.
General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations --Money to Come from U.S. Rescue Program 18 Nov 2008 General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker. According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the U.S. government and will be used to "complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012."
Jaguar in secret plea for £1bn government loan 23 Nov 2008 Jaguar Land Rover is in secret talks with the government for a £1 billion loan, just nine months after Tata, the Indian conglomerate, bought the luxury-car marque. The request demonstrates the sharp downturn in the global car market, which has already pushed a handful of the big car manufacturers to the edge of bankruptcy.
AP: Govt pays millions for unapproved drugs 23 Nov 2008 Taxpayers have shelled out at least $200 million since 2004 for medications that have never been reviewed by the government for safety and effectiveness but are still covered under Medicaid, an Associated Press analysis of federal data has found. Millions of private patients are taking such drugs, as well. The availability of unapproved prescription drugs to the public may create a dangerous false sense of security. Dozens of deaths have been linked to them.
Gag me with a chainsaw! Obama may delay tax-cut rollback for wealthy 23 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama may consider delaying a campaign promise - to roll back tax cuts on high-income Americans - as part of his economic recovery strategy, two aides said on Sunday.
Republican says Obama "off to a good start"
21 Nov 2008 A top Republican [Senate leader Mitch McConnell] said on
Friday that Democratic U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is "off to
a good start" and indicated he was pleased to see President [sic] George
W. Bush get ready to leave. Obama, who inherits
Obama aide promotes job plan, warns automakers 21 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama signaled Sunday he will move urgently and aggressively to rescue the plunging economy, demanding swift passage by Congress of a massive two-year spending and tax-cutting recovery program. "We're out with the dithering, we're in with a bang," a top Obama aide said.
Obama Names White House Communications Staff 23 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama continued building his White House staff yesterday, naming his Senate and campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs as press secretary and filling two other key slots on his communications team. Obama also announced that Ellen Moran, executive director of Emily's List will be White House communications director.
Summers to Be Top White House Economic Adviser at NEC 22 Nov 2008 ABC News has learned that President-elect Obama has decided to name former Treasury Secretary [misogynist] Larry Summers the director of the National Economic Council, essentially the president's senior economic adviser.
Hearings on Cheney, others halted 21 Nov 2008 Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra brought a hearing to a halt on Friday when he asked that Judge J. Manuel Bañales recuse himself from presiding over the arraignments of several high-profile public officials. Guerra filed a motion that Bañales recuse himself from the hearings, because he questioned how the judge handled the indictments and whether the state would receive a fair trial. The motion remained pending.
New lobbyist implicated in Abramoff investigation 21 Nov 2008 A former GOP lobbyist with ties to Jack Abramoff may be moving toward a plea agreement with the Justice Department in its wide-ranging corruption investigation, documents showed Friday. James F. Hirni will be charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to papers filed by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court. A Hirni spokesman, Scott Sobel, said he is cooperating with the Justice Department.
NYC Churches Ordered Not to Shelter Homeless 22 Nov 2008 City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people. With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week -- or not at all. Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.
Slow progress on ocean protection 20 Nov 2008 Less than 1% of the world's oceans have been given protected status, according to a major survey. Governments have committed to a target of protecting 10% by 2012, which the authors of the new report say there is no chance of meeting.
Iraqi protesters burn George Bush effigy --The crowd of thousands, gathered where a Saddam Hussein statue once stood, protests plans to keep American troops in Iraq through 2011. 21 Nov 2008 At the same spot where U.S. forces helped Iraqis topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003, protesters today tore down an effigy of President [sic] Bush and set it afire in a protest over plans to keep American troops in Iraq through 2011. Demonstrators began arriving at central Baghdad's Firdos Square just after sunrise, some having walked hours across the capital. After the effigy was dragged to the ground, protesters began jumping on it, even stamping out flames that erupted after someone set it afire.
Thousands demonstrate against continuing U.S. presence in Iraq 21 Nov 2008 Thousands of noisy demonstrators filled Baghdad's renowned Firdous Square to protest a new military pact between Iraq and the United States which is being debated in parliament. Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who called for the protest, is demanding that the Iraqi parliament reject the pact, which is set to take effect in January.
'US missile strike' hits Pakistan [again] 22 Nov 2008 At least five people have been killed in a suspected US missile strike on a tribal district in north-west Pakistan, security officials have said. The strike comes two days after Taleban rebels in the area warned of reprisals if such attacks continued. There is widespread anger in Pakistan at the increasing use of missile strikes along the Afghan border.
Gates Backs Buildup of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan --Estimate Is 20,000-Plus In the Next 18 Months 22 Nov 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that he supports a fresh troop buildup in Afghanistan -- officially estimated at more than 20,000 U.S. troops in the next 12 to 18 months -- to fight a growing 'insurgency' and to safeguard the 2009 Afghan 'elections.'
in Iraq could face charges in earlier incidents 20 Nov 2008
Private security contractors operating in Iraq could face Iraqi prosecution
for acts committed when they supposedly had immunity from Iraqi law,
U.S. officials said Thursday. A new U.S.-Iraq security agreement doesn't
specifically prevent Iraqi officials from bringing criminal charges
retroactively in cases such as the September 2007 shooting deaths of
17 Iraqi civilians by
US mil: American soldier dies in Iraq 21 Nov 2008 The U.S. military says an American soldier has died of non-combat-related [?] causes in Iraq. A statement says Multi-National Division - Center soldier died Thursday but gives no other details.
Saudi Arabia to Join NATO Naval Mission; Pirates Boost Defenses 21 Nov 2008 Saudi Arabia said it will join a fleet of NATO warships on an anti-piracy mission, as hijackers bolstered defenses around an oil-laden Saudi tanker captured off the East African coast.
US Military to proceed with execution 21 Nov 2008 The US military will execute a former Army cook on December 10th due to his guilt in murder and rape incidents. The man, former North Carolina soldier Ronald A. Gray, will die in what will be the US military's first execution in nearly 50 years.
AP lifts ban on military photos 21 Nov 2008 The Associated Press on Friday lifted its suspension on the use of photos provided by the U.S. military after the Pentagon assured the news cooperative that it would avoid distributing altered images to the news media. The AP also has strengthened its internal procedures for ensuring the integrity of photos from outside sources.
Plans solidify for new B-52 squadron at Minot 21 Nov 2008 The Air Force confirmed it wants to locate its fifth B-52H Stratofortress squadron at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Air Combat Command officials announced Friday. The target date for standing up the unit is late 2009 or early 2010. North Dakota’s congressional delegation, briefed on the plan prior to Friday’s announcement, said the squadron would have 10 planes, raising the number of combat-ready B-52Hs at Minot to 22.
AF mum on result of no-notice nuke inspection 20 Nov 2008 The 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., completed its first no-notice nuclear surety inspection Nov. 17, but Air Force officials would not say if the wing passed. It is the first no-notice inspection the wing has completed since Strategic Air Command was disbanded, according to Air Combat Command officials. In August 2007, Barksdale airmen discovered a B-52 on their runway that had flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., mistakenly [!] loaded with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles -- the first of two incidents that led to a period of heavily scrutiny of the Air Force’s nuclear enterprise.
Regulators fired, disciplined for taking gifts from oil firms 21 Nov 2008 Two employees of the Interior Department have been fired and eight others disciplined in a scandal over the acceptance of meals, junkets, gifts and, in some cases, illicit sex and drugs from the oil companies that they regulated, a knowledgeable person said Friday. Randall Luthi, the director of the department's Minerals Management Service, announced Friday that he'd meted out discipline ranging from a letter of reprimand to dismissal, but gave no details.
New Twist in Appeal of Ex-Alabama Governor 22 Nov 2008 New accusations have emerged during the appeal of the bribery conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama that could buttress Democrats’ claims that the case against him was politically tainted, even as he prepares to argue against his conviction in a federal appeals court in Atlanta early next month. The accusations, from a Justice Department employee, suggest that the Republican United States attorney whose office prosecuted Mr. Siegelman remained substantially involved in the case, long after she insisted that she had removed herself from it because of her partisan connections.
Texas hearing on Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales indictment turns chaotic --Prosecutor assails 'special treatment for high-profile defendants' 21 Nov 2008 A county prosecutor who brought indictments against Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others pounded his fist and shouted at the judge Friday about special treatment for high-profile defendants as a routine motions hearing descended into chaos. Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, who is accusing the public officials of culpability in the alleged abuse of prisoners in a federal detention center, asked Presiding Judge Manuel Banales to recuse himself
Judge removes Guerra as prosecutor for 5 of 9 criminal cases involving Cheney, Gonzales --Texas Rangers to escort Guerra to court Friday morning after having been found in Mexico 20 Nov 2008 After being AWOL from the job [?!?] and violating sections of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct - Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel "Johnny Guerra" has been replaced in five of the nine criminal cases he convinced a grand jury to file against Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney Mervyn Mosbacker, state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., District Judges Migdalia Lopez and Janet Leal, former Willacy D.A. Gustavo "Gus" Garza, and District Clerk Gilbert Lozano, along with GEO Corp., and former warden David Forrest. Presiding District Judge J.Manuel Banales has appointed Asst. Cameron County to Alfredo Padilla to handle the cases for Mosbacker, Lopez, Leal, Garza, and Lozano due to Guerra being absent from court... The Texas Rangers will likely wait for Guerra to cross the international bridge near Reynosa or catch him driving on U.S. 77 southbound from Houston, either tonight or early tomorrow. He will then be taken into protective custody and escorted to court in Raymondville tomorrow morning.
NYPD wants more terror wiretaps 21 Nov 2008 The New York Police Department is battling the U.S. Justice Department, seeking more aggressive wiretapping of terrorism suspects. Under federal law, New York's large counterterrorism unit must request wiretapping authorization through the FBI and Justice Department. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has asked the federal agencies to expedite his department's requests to no avail, The New York Times reported Thursday.
New York Police Fight With U.S. on Surveillance 20 Nov 2008 An effort by the New York Police Department to get broader latitude to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects has run into sharp resistance from the Justice Department in a bitter struggle that has left the police commissioner and the attorney general accusing each other of putting the public at risk. The Police Department, with the largest municipal counterterrorism operation in the country, wants the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to loosen their approach to the federal law that governs electronic surveillance. But federal officials have refused to relax the standards, and have said requests submitted by the department could actually jeopardize surveillance efforts by casting doubt on their legality.
Clinton Is Said to Accept Secretary of State Position 22 Nov 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat to become secretary of state in the Obama administration, confidants of Mrs. Clinton said Friday. Her selection is still to be formalized and will not be announced until after Thanksgiving.
Dow jumps nearly 500 points on report of Geithner nomination 22 Nov 2008 The misery gripping the stock market lifted at least briefly Friday as share prices surged on word that President-elect Barack Obama had settled on a nominee for Treasury secretary. After hovering near the break-even point for much of the trading session, stocks soared in the last hour on reports that Timothy F. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, would become Obama's top economic official.
Geithner Is Said to Be Obama's Pick for U.S. Treasury Secretary 22 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama picked Timothy Geithner, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to be his Treasury secretary, with Lawrence Summers getting a senior White House role, a Democratic aide said. Summers, former President Bill Clinton’s last Treasury chief, would be positioned to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as Fed chairman in 2010.
Palin Conducts TV Interview While Turkey is Slaughtered --Alaska governor officially pardons a turkey for Thanksgiving, then conducts TV interview at farm while another is seen being butchered in the background 21 Nov 2008 Alaska Governor [sociopath] Sarah Palin officially pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving at a farm in Wasilla, Alaska on Thursday, then conducted a television interview as another bird was clearly seen being slaughtered in the background.
Poll: GOP image goes from bad to worse 20 Nov 2008 The Republican Party has hit a new low. Just 34 percent of Americans in a Gallup Poll released Thursday say they have a favorable view of the party, down 40 percent from a month ago, before the election. What’s worse: 61 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party.
Mukasey Returns to Work After 'Fainting Spell' 22 Nov 2008 Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey walked out of George Washington University Hospital yesterday afternoon and reported directly to work, brushing off his collapse a night earlier at the lectern of a conservative legal [the Federalist Society] event.
Mega barf alert! U.S. government may rescue Citigroup 22 Nov 2008 The U.S. government may step in to rescue Citigroup Inc. after a crisis in confidence erased half the bank’s stock-market value in three days, according to investors and analysts. Citigroup’s $2 trillion of assets dwarfs companies such as American International Group Inc. that got support from the U.S. government this year. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may favor a rescue to avoid the chaotic aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September.
GM hits lowest price since Depression 20 Nov 2008 Shares of General Motors Corp. plummeted to a low not seen since the days of the Great Depression as hope that the automakers could receive a financial bailout from Congress before the Thanksgiving holiday continued to fade. In morning trading, GM shares tumbled $1.07, or 38%, to $1.72, after slipping to $1.70 earlier in the session.
Strange 'Cheney' case takes a strange twist 20 Nov 2008 Lawyers for Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were bewildered Wednesday when the prosecutor in a slew of indictments against them [Willacy County prosecutor Juan Angel Guerra] failed to appear in court. "At the very least, I expected the district attorney to be here," Manuel Bañales said, asking Guerra's office manager, "Do you know where he is?"
South Texas indictments of Cheney, Gonzales move forward --Prosecutor who won indictments, lame duck Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, was a no-show in court and *is missing* --Judge ordered Texas Rangers to go to his house and check on his well-being 19 Nov 2008 Texas judge has set a Friday arraignment for Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a state senator and others named in indictments accusing them of responsibility for prisoner abuse in a South Texas federal detention center. Presiding Judge Manuel Banales said Wednesday he will allow them to waive arraignment or have their attorneys present rather than appear in person at the hearing. Banales also said he would issue summonses rather than warrants for the indicted since all have served in some public capacity. That would allow them to avoid arrest and the need to post bond.
Arraignment set for Cheney, Gonzales in Texas 19 Nov 2008 A Texas judge has set a Friday arraignment for Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others named in indictments accusing them of responsibility for prisoner abuse in a federal detention center. Cheney, Gonzales and the others will not be arrested, and do not need to appear in person at the arraignment, Presiding Judge Manuel Banales said.
US seeks 300 billion dlrs from Gulf states: report 20 Nov 2008 The United States has asked four oil-rich Gulf states for close to 300 billion dollars to help it curb the global financial meltdown, Kuwait's daily Al-Seyassah reported Thursday. Quoting "highly informed" sources, the daily said Washington has asked Saudi Arabia for 120 billion dollars, the United Arab Emirates for 70 billion dollars, Qatar for 60 billion dollars and was seeking 40 billion dollars from Kuwait.
US to pull out troops if Iraq does not sign security deal 19 Nov 2008 The US will withdraw its troops from Iraq if the security pact between the two governments is not signed, a senior US official said Wednesday."The United States will withdraw its forces from Iraq and refuse to approve an extension of the UN Security Council mandate if the treaty is not signed," David Satterfield, senior advisor to the US secretary of state and the country’s Iraq coordinator, told the Al-Sabah newspaper.
US-Iraq security pact may be in violation, Congress is told 20 Nov 2008 Passage of the US-Iraq security pact under the terms both countries' leaders have advocated could violate the constitutions of both countries, specialists told a congressional subcommittee yesterday. American constitutional law scholar Oona Hathaway said she believes the Constitution requires Congress to also approve the agreement. The Bush regime has labeled the pact a "status of forces agreement," which can be implemented without congressional approval.
US missile attack on Pakistani soil 'intolerable', says Gilani 20 Nov 2008 Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today condemned the US missile attacks targeting militants on its soil by unmanned drones, saying such acts are "intolerable". Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, was today summoned by the Foreign Ministry here and told such attacks violate Pakistan's sovereignty and should be stopped immediately. "We condemn such actions. These attacks are intolerable. They are counterproductive. They are increasing our difficulties," Gilani told the National Assembly after members raised the issue of Bannu attack.
Defense contractor charged in Afghan murder --New Orleans man allegedly shot, killed civilian who was handcuffed 20 Nov 2008 A defense contractor who provided personal security to Afghan and Iraqi leaders has been charged with killing an Afghan civilian. Documents filed in federal court in Virginia allege Don M. Ayala of New Orleans helped subdue and arrest civilian Abdul Salam after he tossed a container of flammable liquid at a fellow contractor.
Iraq-U.S. Accord Wipes Out Contractor Immunity 20 Nov 2008 U.S. government contractors in Iraq are balking at a new agreement that eliminates their immunity from local laws, saying thousands of Americans would be subject to a legal system that still fails international standards. "This agreement throws the DoD contractors under the bus,'' [<g>] said Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group that represents 57 firms that provide services including security, development and military support. Pretrial detention and incarceration in [US-occupied] Iraq are "way below'' global standards, he said.
Bush and Olmert to meet over Iran's nuclear ambitions 21 Nov 2008 President [sic] Bush is to hold White House talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday after publication of a nuclear watchdog’s report this week showing that Iran may have stockpiled enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb.
Iranian 'Blogfather' Hossein Derakhshan is arrested on charge of spying for Israel 20 Nov 2008 A prominent Iranian blogger, nicknamed the Blogfather for spawning Iran’s spectacular blogging revolution, has been arrested in Tehran and accused of spying for Israel. Hossein Derakhshan, who was last based in London after spending several years in Canada, returned to live in his homeland a few weeks ago.
Israel lauds Saudi peace plan before King Abdullah 12 Nov 2008 Israeli President Shimon Peres seized the rare opportunity of being in the same hall as Saudi King Abdullah on Wednesday to praise a Saudi peace initiative that he said had brought hope to the Middle East.
Beau Biden Heads to Iraq 19 Nov 2008 Beau Biden, son of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, departed the United States Wednesday morning en route to Iraq, Delaware National Guard spokesman Nathan Bright told ABC News.
Judge Orders Five Detainees Freed From Guantánamo 21 Nov 2008 In the first hearing on the government’s justification for holding prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a federal judge ruled Thursday that five Algerian men were held unlawfully for nearly seven years and ordered their release. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he had provided support to the terrorist group Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. The case was an important test of the Bush administration’s detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with high-level and hardened terrorists.
Former Guantánamo Bay inmate David Hicks breaks silence over US detention camp 20 Nov 2008 The only Guantánamo Bay inmate to be convicted of terrorism offences has broken his silence, calling on police to relax stringent controls over his freedom since his release from jail. Australian David Hicks said a court-imposed order imposing a midnight-to-dawn curfew, restrictions on his travel and a requirement to report to police twice a week was hindering his return to normality. Hicks also has to submit to fingerprint testing and is barred from possessing any explosives or firearms or any materials related to weapons, combat skills or military tactics.
Mega barf alert! Gates seen more likely to stay as Pentagon chief 20 Nov 2008 What Robert Gates once called "inconceivable to me" -- his remaining as defense secretary beyond Inauguration Day -- is looking a bit more conceivable to the rest of Washington. The 65-year-old former spymaster has turned publicly mum on the circumstances under which he would stay, even briefly, after President-elect Barack Obama takes office.
US rejects offer of missile trade-off 14 Nov 2008 The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has rejected a Russian suggestion that both countries scrap their plans to place defensive missiles in eastern Europe. The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said yesterday that Moscow was willing to reconsider deploying Iskander missiles in its westernmost region of Kaliningrad if Washington did not place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic. Mr Gates said that the proposal was not acceptable to the United States.
EHC selects KBR to complete pre-FEED study for polyethylene units 20 Nov 2008 KBR has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Egypt Hydrocarbon Corporation to complete a pre-front end engineering design study for two polyethylene units at its proposed petrochemical complex. The complex will be located 25km from Suez, Egypt, near the Red Sea. [See: The Hidden Enemy --Iraq plant coordinator: KBR knew sodium dichromate was at the plant. 17 Nov 2008.]
Bush Spy Revelations Anticipated When Obama Is Sworn In --Privacy Advocates Expect Whistleblowers to Share Warrantless Wiretap Info After Inauguration Day By Ryan Singel 11 Nov 2008 When Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20, Americans... might finally learn the full extent of George W. Bush's warrantless domestic wiretapping. Since The New York Times first revealed in 2005 that the NSA was eavesdropping on citizens' overseas phone calls and e-mail, few additional details about the massive "Terrorist Surveillance Program" have emerged. That's because the Bush administration has stonewalled, misled and denied documents to Congress, and subpoenaed the phone records of the investigative reporters.
CNN Reports on President [sic] Bush - Where's the Love? Posted by SwimmingPolarBear 19 Nov 2008 CNN's Rick Sanchez Reports on Bush being ignored at G20 Summit... (Video)
Obama win prompts wave of hate crimes 17 Nov 2008 Barack Obama’s election as America’s first black president has unleashed a wave of hate crimes across the nation, according to police and monitoring organisations. Cross burnings, black figures hung from nooses, and schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama" are just some of the incidents that have been documented by police from California to Maine.
Waxman Defeats Dingell for Control of Energy Panel 20 Nov 2008 Representative Henry Waxman, an advocate for pollution controls, won the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ousting auto-industry ally John Dingell of Michigan. "The champion of the environment has replaced the champion of the automotive industry," said Daniel Becker, an environmental lawyer and director of the Safe Climate Campaign.
Arizonan will head Homeland Security 19 Nov 2008 Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) has been chosen to serve as secretary of the vast and troubled Department of Homeland Security for President-elect Obama, Democratic officials said. Napolitano is a border governor who will now be responsible for immigration policy and border security, which are part of Homeland Security’s myriad functions.
Paulson Behind Bailout Martial Law Threat --Inhofe says Treasury Secretary made dire warnings in conference call on September 19th By Paul Joseph Watson 20 Nov 2008 Senator James Inhofe has revealed that Henry Paulson was behind the threats of martial law and a new great depression prior to the passage of the bailout bill, having made such warnings during a conference call on September 19th, around two weeks before the legislation was eventually approved by both the Senate and Congress... Speaking on Tulsa Oklahoma’s 1170 KFAQ, when asked who was behind threats of martial law and civil unrest if the bailout bill failed, Senator James Inhofe named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the source.
Auto Execs Fly Corporate Jets to D.C., Tin Cups in Hand By Dana Milbank 20 Nov 2008 There are 24 daily nonstop flights from Detroit to the Washington area. Richard Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Robert Nardelli probably should have taken one of them. Instead, the chief executives of the Big Three automakers opted to fly their company jets to the capital for their hearings this week before the Senate and House -- an ill-timed display of corporate excess for a trio of executives begging for an additional $25 billion from the public trough this week. "There's a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands," Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) advised the pampered executives at a hearing yesterday.
Democratic leaders demand business plan before auto aid vote 20 Nov 2008 Congress kicked the auto industry’s request for a $25-billion loan back to Detroit today, demanding more information by Dec. 2 about how the companies would use the money to survive before considering any bill... Democratic leaders said no bill could pass either chamber today, given what they called a lackluster explanation of the industry’s needs by chief executives this week. "Until we see the plan…we cannot show them the money," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Stocks tumble for second day; Treasurys surge --Stocks plunge anew as hopes for immediate auto industry loans fade; financials, energy tumble 20 Nov 2008 Stocks plunged for a second straight day Thursday, falling to levels not seen in at least five years, as financial and energy stocks tumbled while demand for the safety of government debt spiked. Wall Street saw the most intense selling late in the session after hopes faded that lawmakers would quickly assemble an aid package for U.S. automakers, and as the Standard & Poor's 500 index broke through lows established in 2002.
Fannie, Freddie Suspend Foreclosures Through Jan. 9 20 Nov 2008 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance companies seized by the U.S. government, will suspend foreclosures and evictions over the holidays. The six-week halt will begin Nov. 26, a day before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and last through Jan. 9, the companies said in separate statements today. The hiatus is designed to give servicers more time to implement a streamlined loan modification program for struggling borrowers.
Dems look to stop endangered species rule changes 20 Nov 2008 With the Bush regime on the verge of relaxing regulations protecting endangered species, Democratic leaders are looking at ways to overturn any last-minute rule changes. The Bush administration has until Friday to publish new rules in order for them to take effect before President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in. Otherwise, Obama can undo them with the stroke of a pen.
gunboats will protect ships --The McArthur arrives in the Gulf of
Aden at the end of the year. It is to be joined by three or four similar
vessels over next year to form the company's private
Nov 2008 The American security company Blackwater is planning to cash
in on the rising threat of piracy on the high seas by launching a flotilla
of gunboats for hire by the shipping companies. The firm, which gained
international notoriety when its
Mystery surrounds CIA Somalia trip 19 Nov 2008 Operatives from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have entered the Somali breakaway region of Puntland under a cloud of suspicion. The CIA agents arrived in the town of Bossaso on Wednesday and are holding meetings with Puntland's high-ranking officials, a Press TV correspondent reported. An international advocacy group blasted Washington in its recent report, saying US air strikes in the Horn of Africa country had caused devastation for aid workers on the ground.
Iraq war illegal, former U.K. lawyer says 18 Nov 2008 Justification used by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to support the U.S.-led of invasion of Iraq in 2003 was flawed, Iranian state media said Tuesday. Baron Thomas Henry Bingham, former head of the judicial branch of the House of Lords, told the British Institute of International and Comparative Law that lawmakers had not provided sufficient evidence to the former premier to justify the invasion of Iraq, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday.
Skepticism about pact on US troops in Iraq 19 Nov 2008 Passage of the proposed US-Iraq security pact could violate the constitutions of both countries, specialists told a congressional panel today. They instead pressed for an extension of the United Nations mandate authorizing US troops in Iraq, which expires Dec. 31. American constitutional law scholar Oona Hathaway said she believes that the Constitution requires Congress to also approve the agreement. The Bush regime has labeled the pact a status of forces agreement, which can be implemented without congressional approval.
Iraqi parliament's debate on US pact disrupted 19 Nov 2008 Lawmakers loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday disrupted a parliamentary debate ahead of a Nov. 24 vote on a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would keep American troops in Iraq for three more years. Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani adjourned the session until Thursday after Sadrist lawmaker Ahmed al-Massoudi aggressively approached a lawmaker from the ruling coalition who was reading aloud the text of the agreement.
'Rather than accepting responsibility, the Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) Corporation is seeking in an aggressive way to escape accountability for its actions.' The Hidden Enemy --Iraq plant coordinator: KBR knew sodium dichromate was at the plant. 17 Nov 2008 Ed Blacke was the Health, Safety and Environmental Coordinator at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant near Basra, Iraq. Blacke arrived in June of 2003 and remained through the middle of August 2003. His Houston-based company, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) was contracted to rebuild the facility after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam's government... Ed Blacke claims KBR knew sodium dichromate was at the plant. He says KBR was negligent by not giving the Indiana National Guard soldiers protective gear.
'This is clearly illegal because our government can't contract away the Constitution by enlisting the aid of other governments that do not adhere to the Constitution's requirements.' Did U.S. push detention of American without charges? 17 Nov 2008 An American Muslim subjected to several years of intense FBI scrutiny and questioning about links to terrorism has been held without charges, access to a lawyer or contact with his family for nearly three months by the security services of the United Arab Emirates. The case of Naji Hamdan, coupled with FBI interrogations of an American citizen secretly detained without charges in East Africa, raises the question of whether the Bush regime has asked other nations to hold Americans suspected of terrorism links whom U.S. officials lack the evidence to charge.
War court convenes with bin Laden's cook --An Afghan accused of spying on U.S. troops was to be arraigned later in the day. 19 Nov 2008 A Sudanese captive accused of being Osama bin Laden's cook and bodyguard sat side by side with a human rights attorney from his homeland Wednesday as a team of U.S. lawyers argued for dismissal of his war crimes case. The hearing for Ibrahim Qosi was the first since the election of President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to close this offshore detention center and wants accused terrorists to be tried in traditional courts -- not special military tribunals at this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
'Sealing Afghan border impossible' 19 Nov 2008 Pakistan's army chief meets with NATO commanders in Brussels to discuss the 'war on terror' along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. During the Wednesday meeting General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged NATO to engage with Pashtuns tribes near Afghanistan rather than sealing the border to stop incursions by pro-Taliban militants. "Because of the nature of the border, geography, history and culture, there is no force that can physically block that border," Kayani said.
seeks $7.6bn in IMF
CLG exclusive: Re-killed Ayman al-Zawahiri is back in 'audio message,' taunting Obama --The elusive, whack-a-mole al-Qaeda #2 is back again (from the dead)! By Lori Price 19 Nov 2008 Ayman al-Zawahiri criticized U.S. President-elect Barack Obama in an 'audio message' posted on the Internet, calling him dishonorable and a servant of whites, the Associated Press reported. The second-in-command of Islamic militant network al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] has called on Muslims to harm "criminal" America. You just can't keep a good terrorist down (or dead) for long, especially when Bush needs a terror attack/martial law before January 20.
Taxpayers will pay for Gonzales' private attorney 18 Nov 2008 The Justice Department has agreed to pay for a private lawyer to defend former Attorney General [torturer] Alberto Gonzales against allegations that he encouraged officials to inject partisan politics into the department's hiring and firing practices. Gonzales' attorney recently revealed in court papers that the Justice Department had approved his request to pay private attorney's fees arising from the federal lawsuit.
Kerry expected to get top foreign affairs panel post 19 Nov 2008 Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) is widely expected to be named the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position that will give him enormous influence over international relations.
US House panel backs Waxman as energy chairman 19 Nov 2008 Rep. Henry Waxman of California narrowly won a preliminary contest on Wednesday to replace Rep. John Dingell of Michigan as chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. On a secret-ballot vote of 25-22, the House Democratic Steering Committee recommended that Waxman head the energy panel in the new Congress set to convene in January.
Tom Daschle accepts Obama offer to lead Health and Human Services 19 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama has asked former Sen. Tom Daschle to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services, and the South Dakota Democrat has accepted the offer. Daschle, if confirmed, would head the agency that will handle the new administration's signature initiative to expand health insurance coverage, a Democrat familiar with the process said.
Ted Stevens loses Alaska senate race --The loss vindicates Republican senators who yesterday delayed a decision on whether to punish Stevens for his felony conviction. 19 Nov 2008 Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has lost his bid for an eighth term. AP called the race yesterday, which was Stevens' 85th birthday. He was bested by Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Just days before the election, Stevens was convicted of lying on senate financial disclosure forms, concealing more than $250,000 in home renovations and gifts from an oil services company. Yesterday senate Republicans chose not to censure Stevens or expel him, opting instead to wait until the final vote tally.
credits Obama after Dems let him keep post 18 Nov 2008 Democrat-turned-
Satire: Lieberman Operation Successful: Lips Removed From Bush's Buttocks By R J Shulman 19 Nov 2008 In a painful sixteen hour operation performed at Bethesda Medical Center, a team of doctors has successfully separated Senator Joe Lieberman’s lips from the posterior of President [sic] George W. Bush. "It was touch and go for a while," said Dr. Siddhartha Gupta. "We didn’t know if we were going to lose a lip or a buttock, but it all worked out." The doctors had a brief scare when it appeared they had lost the President’s right cheek. (Satire)
Dow falls below 8,000, S&P at 5-year low 19 Nov 2008 Wall Street hit levels not seen since 2003 on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging below the 8,000 mark amid a dour economic outlook from the Federal Reserve and worries over the fate of Detroit's three automakers.
Last-minute Bush abortion ruling causes furor 18 Nov 2008 A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that enforces job-discrimination laws. The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their "religious beliefs or moral convictions." Three officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including its legal counsel, whom President [sic] George W. Bush appointed, said the proposal would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting job discrimination based on religion.
State Supreme Court to hear challenges to Prop. 8 19 Nov 2008 The state Supreme Court plunged back into the same-sex marriage wars today, agreeing to decide the legality of a ballot measure that repealed the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed in California. At the urging of both sponsors and opponents of Proposition 8, the justices voted 6-1 to grant review of lawsuits challenging the Nov. 4 initiative, with Justice Joyce Kennard dissenting.
8 = HATE By AntiGayBlacklist 19 Nov 2008 The following individuals or organizations (according to ElectionTrack.com) have donated money to the California Proposition 8 campaign which seeks to ban same sex marriages. Please do not patronize them. 8 = HATE.
Apocalypse now: the end of Earth brought forward 19 Nov 2008 A new study published by The Open Atmospheric Science Journal says the concentration of CO2 in the planet’s atmosphere has reached the point at which irreversible changes to climate start. Even if the concentration of carbon dioxide is lowered from its current level in record time, the catastrophic effects will still occur. The scientists give us about 30 years till the end of the planet to which humans are adapted.
EPA Moves to Ease Air Rules for Parks --Regional Administrators Decry Decision 19 Nov 2008 The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing. Documents obtained by The Washington Post show that the administration's push to weaken Clean Air Act protections for "Class 1 areas" nationwide has sparked fierce resistance from senior agency officials.
Pesticides More Dangerous Than Thought 13 Nov 2008 U.S. scientists studying 10 of the world's most popular approved pesticides say, when combined, the chemicals caused 99 percent mortality in tadpoles. University of Pittsburgh researchers said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved pesticides, when mixed together, can decimate amphibian populations even if the concentration of the individual chemicals is within limits considered safe.
Manitoba mourns the loss of Debby, world's oldest polar bear; dead at 41 18 Nov 2008 She came to Canada as a Russian orphan in the midst of the Cold War and quickly became a beloved icon for generations of Manitobans. After earning worldwide recognition as the oldest of her kind, Debby the polar bear died peacefully on Monday at the ripe old age of 41. Her keepers and admirers laid flowers by her empty enclosure at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo Tuesday as they tearfully remembered the majestic, gentle bear.
Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales indicted in S. Texas --Charges related to alleged abuse of prisoners in federal detention centers 18 Nov 2008 A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers. The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies. Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.
Grand jury indicts Cheney, former AG 18 Nov 2008 Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been named in a South Texas grand jury indictment on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners being detained in Willacy County federal detention centers, The Associated Press said. Willacy County is located in South Texas and includes the cities of Lyford, Raymondville and San Perlita.
Afghan article says US Bin-Ladin hunt phoney --Text of article, "Bin-Ladin on the run? The rumour which was fact", by Afghan independent secular daily newspaper Hasht-e Sobh, on 29 September 2008 --Posted by Juan Cole 17 Nov 2008 The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Persian Afghan press alleging that French troops were at one point close to capturing Usamah Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, but that American forces stopped them from doing so. It says that a forthcoming French documentary containing interviews with the French soldiers provides proof for the allegation. The argument is that the Bush administration needed Bin Ladin to be at large in order to justify its military expansionism. (Description of Source: Kabul Hasht-e-Sobh in Dari Kabul Hasht-e Sobh in Dari)
AP Decries Army Photoshopping 17 Nov 2008 Late Friday night, the Associated Press published an article discussing the digitally altered photos of Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody that had been issued to the media by the Defense Department. The article announced that the AP will no longer use Defense-issued photographs.
Army manipulated general's photo 15 Nov 2008 The Associated Press on Friday suspended the use of photos provided by the Defense Department after the Army distributed a digitally altered photo of the U.S. military's first female four-star general. The image of Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody is the second Army-provided photo the AP has eliminated from its service in the last two months. The AP said that adjusting photos and other imagery, even for aesthetic reasons, damages the credibility of the information distributed by the military to news organizations and the public. "For us, there's a zero-tolerance policy of adding or subtracting actual content from an image," said Santiago Lyon, the AP's director of photography.
'Burrowing' Bush ensures his corpora-terrorist trolls and environmental terrorists remain in place: Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees --Political Positions Shifted to Career Civil Service Jobs 18 Nov 2008 Just weeks before [mercifully] leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies -- including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions -- into senior civil service posts. The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called "burrowing" by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs.
Top judge: US and UK acted as 'vigilantes' in Iraq invasion --Former senior law lord condemns 'serious violation of international law' 18 Nov 2008 One of Britain's most authoritative judicial figures last night delivered a blistering attack on the invasion of Iraq, describing it as a serious violation of international law, and accusing Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante". Lord Bingham, in his first major speech since retiring as the senior law lord, rejected the then attorney general's defence of the 2003 invasion as fundamentally flawed.
Mullen: U.S. Would Need More Than 2 Years for Iraq Withdrawal 17 Nov 2008 The U.S. military would require two to three [!?!] years to remove its roughly 150,000 troops and equipment from Iraq safely, and the timing of that withdrawal should be based on security conditions on the ground, the nation's top military officer said today.
Premier of Iraq Is Quietly Firing Fraud Monitors 18 Nov 2008 The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is systematically dismissing Iraqi oversight officials, who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration [Yeah, right!] The dismissals, which were confirmed by senior Iraqi and American government officials on Sunday and Monday, have come as estimates of official Iraqi corruption have soared. One Iraqi former chief investigator recently testified before Congress that $13 billion in 'reconstruction' funds from the United States had been lost to fraud, embezzlement, theft and waste by Iraqi government officials [and Bush's corpora-terrorist trolls].
Military judge in 9/11 case replaced 17 Nov 2008 A new military judge has been named to the 'trial' of accused September 11 mastermined Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Pentagon official said Monday. Colonel Stephen Henley was tapped to replace Colonel Ralph Kohlmann, who will retire in April, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The American Civil Liberties Union called the timing of the move "highly suspect and disturbing," noting that it came a day after president-elect Barack Obama pledged in an interview with CBS Television to shut down Guantanamo. "We cannot allow the Bush administration to sabotage president-elect Obama's plans by ramming through these cases in its last days," said Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director.
man could face charges in Blackwater case 14 Nov 2008 Federal
prosecutors in Seattle are awaiting word from the Department of Justice
to decide whether to indict a former Blackwater USA
Top US military officer: Taliban gains upper hand 18 Nov 2008 The top U.S. military officer says the Taliban is doing well right now, and it's no surprise that the militants would reject settlement talks with the Afghan government. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Associated Press in an interview that the Taliban feels confident enough in its success to, as he put it, negotiate from a position of strength.
AFRICOM Begins Field Operations 13 Nov 2008 The U.S. Defense Department divides the world up into different "commands." We hear a lot about Central Command because it has responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The newest part of the system is Africa Command, often referred to as AFRICOM. Previously, U.S. military operations in Africa were divided between three different command offices. The new AFRICOM designation has also been controversial.
Official: Terrorism, water shortages likely 18 Nov 2008 The number of terrorist attacks will likely decline by 2025 but they will be more deadly, a top U.S. intelligence officer predicted Tuesday, citing projections from a report on global trends to be made public this week. Global climate change will continue, and current efforts to control it [?] will not bear fruit until around 2030, Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence, said. Significant water and possibly food shortages could result.
Bremerton Ferry Run Resumes Following Threat 18 Nov 2008 The Bremerton - Seattle ferry run has resumed after it was canceled and a ferry returned to the Bremerton terminal after a "terrorist threat" was received, the Washington State Patrol said. The WSP said someone who overheard a conversation reported it to authorities as a terrorist threat against a state ferry, forcing that ferry to return to its terminal at Bremerton.
U.S. Loses Ruling on Hatfill 18 Nov 2008 A federal judge ordered the Justice Department yesterday to release documents that explain why investigators suspected Steven J. Hatfill in the 2001 anthrax mailings. Hatfill has since been exonerated. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered the Justice Department to make public affidavits and related records used to persuade judges to allow federal agents to search Hatfill's property. He also ruled that the government must disclose similar records involving Hatfill's girlfriend.
Japanese government rushing through terror bill 18 Nov 2008 The Japanese government is deciding whether to extend parliament's current session, in an effort to renew an anti-terrorism bill. The current parliamentary session is set to expire November 30th.
TSA's 'behavior detection' draws scrutiny in light of few arrests --Critics say the number of arrests is small and indicates the program is flawed. 18 Nov 2008 Fewer than 1% of airline passengers singled out at airports for suspicious behavior are arrested, Transportation Security Administration figures show, raising complaints that too many innocent people are stopped. A TSA program launched in early 2006 that looks for terrorists using a controversial surveillance method has led to more than 160,000 people in airports receiving scrutiny, such as a pat-down search or a brief interview. That has resulted in 1,266 arrests, often on charges of carrying drugs or fake IDs, the TSA said. The TSA program trains screeners to become "behavior detection officers" who patrol terminals and checkpoints looking for travelers who act oddly or appear to answer questions suspiciously.
KBR's Convenient Contract --KBR is awarded a $75 million U.S. Army Corps contract to provide emergency power to Western states --days before a wildfire sweeps California, 'threatening the power of the city of Los Angeles.' By Lori Price 16 Nov 2008 Now, that's what I call a coincidence!
Clinton-Era Figure a Top Contender For AG --Sources Say Obama Wants Ex-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to Lead DOJ 18 Nov 2008 Washington lawyer Eric Holder has emerged as the top contender for the Attorney General post in Barack Obama's administration, and key Senate staff members are fielding questions about how a potential Holder confirmation hearing could play out, ABC News has learned. Holder would be the first African-American Attorney General if nominated by Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Hillary Clinton to accept Obama's offer of secretary of state job --President-elect Barack Obama reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration 17 Nov 2008 Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned. Since being elected senator for New York, Clinton has specialised in foreign affairs and defence.
Ex-CIA Officials Tied to Rendition Program and Faulty Iraq Intel Tapped to Head Obama's Intelligence Transition Team (Democracy Now!) 17 Nov 2008 John Brennan and Jami Miscik, both former intelligence officials under George Tenet, are leading Barack Obama’s review of intelligence agencies and helping make recommendations to the new administration. Brennan has supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition, and Miscik was involved with the politicized intelligence alleging weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the war on Iraq.
Let Lieberman Keep Senate Chairmanship
19 Nov 2008 Senator Joseph I. LieberBush, the Democrat-turned-
Alaska's Stevens trails as Senate count nears end 18 Nov 2008 U.S. Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, convicted last month on corruption charges, trails his Democratic challenger by 2,374 votes as the vote count for the state's U.S. Senate race nears its end, state election officials said on Tuesday.
Judge delays trial of accused Palin e-mail 'hacker' --Lawyer for David Kernell asks court to bar references to 'hacking' and 'hacker' 17 Nov 2008 The Tennessee college student [David Kernell] indicted a month ago for allegedly breaking into the e-mail account of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will face trial next May, not next month as originally scheduled, according to recent court documents. Initially, the trial was to begin Dec. 16 for Kernell, who faces a single count of illegally accessing Palin's Yahoo Mail e-mail account.
Lawmakers, Treasury lock horns on foreclosures 18 Nov 2008 Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and members of Congress clashed on Tuesday over the best use for the $700-billion financial bailout fund, with lawmakers demanding money to stem a national wave of mortgage foreclosures.
U.S. auto execs plead for Congress to fund bailout 18 Nov 2008 U.S. auto executives took their case for a $25 billion industry bailout to Congress on Tuesday, warning that the industry was teetering on the brink of disaster as they work to overcome political opposition.
British MPs pass climate change bill 19 Nov 2008 British politicians have given final approval to a bill committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 - the first country to have such a legally binding framework on climate change.
World's oldest polar bear dies in Winnipeg zoo at 42 17 Nov 2008 The oldest polar bear in the world is dead at 42. Officials with the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg announced in a statement Monday evening that Debby the polar bear was euthanized earlier in the day, "surrounded by her caring zookeepers and veterinarians."
Patrick Christie's art to help bashed flamingo 17 Nov 2008 The bashing of a flamingo [dubbed Greater] at Adelaide Zoo has prompted artist Patrick Christie to auction a piece of work to raise money for the bird's care. The male greater flamingo, which is blind in one eye and believed by zoo staff to be about 78 years old, was bashed last month and left with concussion and head and beak injuries. Zookeepers last week said the bird had yet to regain its appetite and was quieter and sleepier than normal.
Dozen juveniles held at Guantanamo Bay --Pentagon revises upward number of children imprisoned at Guantanamo 16 Nov 2008 The number of juveniles held at Guantanamo Bay was revised upwards by US military officials. Twelve juvenile prisoners have been held at the US camp on Cuba, up from eight reported in May to a United Nations committee on child rights, the Pentagon said.
Obama 'will close Guantanamo Bay' 17 Nov 2008 In his first major interview since polling day, President-elect Barack Obama said last night that upon taking office he would close Guantanamo Bay and ban torture by the American military.
'This agreement hands Iraq over (to the US) on a golden platter and for an indefinite period.' Iraq's cabinet agrees deal for US troops to remain for three more years 16 Nov 2008 Iraq's cabinet today approved a security pact with the United States that will allow American forces to stay in Iraq for three years after their UN mandate expires at the end of this year. Followers of Iraq's Shia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, have objected to the pact. "This agreement hands Iraq over (to the US) on a golden platter and for an indefinite period," said Ahmed al-Massoudi, spokesman for the 30-seat Sadrist bloc in parliament.
Iraqi cabinet approves accord setting U.S. troop withdrawal 16 Nov 2008 Iraq's cabinet on Sunday approved a security pact that sets a timetable for the nearly complete withdrawal of American forces within three years, but the agreement faces an uncertain outlook in Iraq's parliament. Followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr, meanwhile, view the agreement as an affirmation of the American occupation and oppose it outright.
Pakistan closes NATO's supply line into Afghanistan 16 Nov 2008 Pakistan has closed the Torkham border crossing in the Khyber tribal agency resulting in temporary suspension of NATO's primary supply line into Afghanistan. The closure has suspended movement of fuel tankers and food trucks to NATO and US-led forces in Afghanistan for security reasons, media reports said here today. [What a shame!]
British Army soldier killed by road bomb in Afghanistan 16 Nov 2008 A British Army soldier has been killed by a road bomb in southern Afghanistan. The Gurkha soldier was taking part in a routine road patrol in Musa Qala, Helmand province, when the vehicle in which he was travelling struck an improvised explosive device (IED).
Toxic Chemicals Blamed for Gulf War Illness 17 Nov 2008 Gulf War illness, dismissed by some as a psychosomatic disorder, is a very real illness that affects at least 25 percent of the 700,000 U.S. veterans who took part in the 1991 Gulf War. It's likely cause was exposure to toxic chemicals that included pesticides that were often overused during the war, as well as a [deadly] drug given to U.S. troops to protect them from nerve gas, a frequent weapon of choice of [supplied by the US to] former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Panel finds widespread Gulf War illness 16 Nov 2008 At least one in four U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffers from a multi-symptom illness caused by exposure to toxic chemicals during the conflict, a congressionally mandated report being released Monday found. For much of the past 17 years, government officials have maintained that these veterans -- more than 175,000 out of about 697,000 deployed -- are merely suffering the effects of wartime stress, even as more have come forward recently with severe ailments.
Why Obama Will Continue Star Wars 16 Nov 2008 Missile-defense skeptics yearning for a fresh look at the wisdom of pumping $10 billion annually into missile defense aren't going to get it from Barack Obama when he moves into the Oval Office. Even in a Democratic-run Pentagon the push for missile defense is going to continue. If Obama keeps Defense Secretary Robert Gates on, as some advisers are arguing he should, that would come as no surprise. [Uh, where's the 'change we can believe in?']
Confirmed: Air Force Flunks Nuke Inspection By Noah Shachtman 13 Nov 2008 It's confirmed: The atomic missile team at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana "failed its nuclear surety inspection" earlier this week, Air Force Times is reporting. Inspectors found problems that 341st Missile Wing’s "weapons storage area and its personnel reliability program, which monitors who can work with nuclear weapons."
'That loophole lets a known terrorist who is on a government watch list board a plane without needing a fake ID. All that's needed is a home computer, a printer and a little skill at HTML.' Chertoff: We're Closing that Boarding-Pass Loophole By Ryan Singel 17 Nov 2008 There’s a hole in airline security big enough to get Osama bin Laden himself onto a domestic flight, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff acknowledges, but that’s no reason to ditch watch lists or ID checks at the airport, he says. Chertoff told Threat Level in an interview last week that the government was aware of, and patching, the so-called boarding-pass loophole, which just came back into the public eye after a recent Atlantic magazine story where a reporter got though security using a fake boarding pass.
Auditors go easy on contractors --Department officials overruled auditors who objected to nearly $1 billion in payments to KBR, the Houston-based contractor that supplies U.S. troops with food and housing. 09 Nov 2008 Instead of seeing red, Pentagon audit managers saw business as usual after being told that a major military contractor failed to open all its books for review. At a meeting of Defense Contract Audit Agency staff in California last May, auditor Acacia Rodriguez used a 24-page PowerPoint briefing to describe how she and her co-workers struggled with the Bechtel Group's "chronic failure" to provide the financial records required to prove tax dollars were being spent properly. "Mtn View, we have a problem!!!" said one of Rodriguez's briefing charts, a shorthand reference to the audit agency's branch office in Mountain View, outside San Francisco.
Grand jury investigating another House GOP contract 15 Nov 2008 A state grand jury is investigating a second computer services contract by the House Republican caucus, trying to determine if a multimillion-dollar database was used illegally for political purposes. Investigators from the office of Attorney General Tom Corbett have questioned House employees about a contract with GCR & Associates, a computer consulting firm with offices in New Orleans and Birmingham, Ala., sources said. The company received $9 million in state business from 2002 to this year for computer programming that provided detailed information on registered voters, their patterns and analyses.
Rather's Lawsuit Shows Role of G.O.P. in Inquiry --Bush's media whores at CBS used used Republican operatives to vet the names of potential members of a panel that had been billed as independent 17 Nov 2008 When Dan Rather filed suit against CBS 14 months ago -- claiming, among other things, that his former employer had commissioned a politically biased investigation into his work on a "60 Minutes" segment about President [sic] Bush’s National Guard service -- the network predicted the quick and favorable dismissal of the case... But Mr. Rather has unearthed evidence that would seem to support his assertion that CBS intended its investigation, at least in part, to quell Republican criticism of the network. Internal CBS memorandums turned over to his lawyers show that network executives used Republican operatives to vet the names of potential members of a panel that had been billed as independent and charged with investigating the "60 Minutes" segment.
2 DemocRATs to Submit Compromise on Lieberman 18 Nov 2008 A pair of Senate Democrats will offer a compromise plan today to sanction Sen. Joseph I. LIEberman (R-Israel) for his support of the Republican presidential ticket but allow him to keep a key committee chairmanship and remain in the party caucus. Senators and aides said yesterday that Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and Ken Salazar (Colo.) will present a plan at a caucus meeting that would strip Lieberman of a low-profile subcommittee chairmanship, possibly one on global warming. But LieberBush would retain the gavel of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
McCain backer LIEberman may keep committee chair 17 Nov 2008 Sen. Joe LieberBush appears increasingly likely to hold onto his prized chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee as he meets Tuesday with Democratic colleagues unhappy over his vocal support for GOP nominee John McCain during this year's presidential campaign.
Gag me with a chainsaw *and* mega barf alert: Obama, McCain pledge to work together 17 Nov 2008 U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and vanquished rival John McCain met for the first time since the Nov. 4 election on Monday, pledging to work together to face the financial crisis and other national challenges. "We're going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country," Obama said before the two began their closed-door meeting, adding that he wanted to offer his thanks to McInsane for "outstanding service" already rendered to the United States.
Rahm Emanuel apologizes for father's disparaging remarks about Arabs 14 Nov 2008 Rahm Emanuel U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel apologized to an Arab-American group on Thursday for comments disparaging Arabs made by his father.
Dershowitz: I helped keep Carter silent 13 Nov 2008 Why didn't Jimmy Carter speak from the podium at the Democratic National Convention? Alan Dershowitz said he had something to do with it. In an interview with Shalom TV, the Harvard Law School professor says he "pushed" Barack Obama "very hard to make that decision," Dershowitz said in an interview with Shalom TV. "Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter. And that was an embarrassment for Jimmy Carter and a show of disrespect."
Satire: Obama Victory Starts Hot New Trend: Palling Around With Terrorists By R J Shulman 17 Nov 2008 The decisive victory of Barack Obama in the presidential election has made a once taboo topic the talk of the town, associating with a terrorist. "Everybody wants to have their picture taken with a terrorist," said Sandy Holsteder of US Magazine, "William Ayers has so many invites, he will never have to buy lunch or dinner again." (Satire)
Priest: No communion for Obama supporters --Priest says it's because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion 13 Nov 2008 South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil." The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote. [And, parishioners are putting their sanity at risk, listening to this Reichwing nutjobs.]
Several presidents of private colleges earn more than $1 million 17 Nov 2008 A dozen presidents of private colleges earned more than $1 million in compensation during the 2006-07 year, including Northwestern University chief Henry Bienen, who was the second-highest paid college executive in the nation. The annual survey of presidential pay released Monday by The Chronicle of Higher Education found that 89 private college presidents took home more than $500,000 in annual compensation, more than double those who did five years earlier.
Henry Paulson abandons plan to purchase bad mortgages and will invest $700bn bailout in banks 13 Nov 2008 Henry Paulson announced a $700 billion U-turn on Wednesday when he said that Washington would no longer be using taxpayer money to buy distressed assets from troubled banks. The Treasury Secretary's change of heart marks a dramatic shift, given that the primary purpose of the $700 billion bailout fund, approved in Washington only in September, had been to purchase mortgage-backed securities from troubled lenders.
Inhofe: Cancel the 'blank check' --Senator criticizes Henry Paulson for changing $700 billion bailout plan 16 Nov 2008 U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday that Congress was not told the truth about the bailout of the nation's financial system and should take back what is left of the $700 billion "blank check'' it gave the Bush administration. "It is just outrageous that the American people don't know that Congress doesn't know how much money he (Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) has given away to anyone,'' the Oklahoma Republican told the Tulsa World.
Goldman Targeted by Investor Complaints of Naked Short-Selling --Investors: Goldman is acting against its clients by trying to profit at their expense. 17 Nov 2008 Investors in the $591 billion high- yield, high-risk loan market are accusing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of naked short selling to profit from record price declines. At least two fund managers complained verbally to officials of the Loan Syndications and Trading Association, saying they believe Goldman helped drive down prices by using the technique, according to people with knowledge of the objections.
Lehman's administrators paid more than the bankers 14 Nov 2008 The administrators of the UK and European arm of bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers are making better money than the bankers. PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has around 300 employees working on the Lehman administration, is being paid £4m a week, the accounting firm revealed yesterday. By contrast, the monthly wage bill for Lehman's remaining 1,100 bankers is £8m – £2m a week – though that does not include planned "small retention bonuses".
Citigroup to slash 52,000 jobs 17 Nov 2008 Citigroup revealed plans to cut 52,000 jobs by early next year in a dramatic move to restore the No. 2 U.S. bank to health [?!?] as it combats mounting debt losses and sagging economies worldwide. The cuts announced by Chief Executive Vikram Pandit on Monday will shrink Citigroup's work force by 15 percent, and are in addition to 23,000 jobs eliminated between January and September.
Our Home-Grown Melamine Problem By James E. McWilliams 17 Nov 2008 China's food supply appears to be awash in the industrial chemical melamine. Dangerous levels have been detected not only in milk and eggs, but also in chicken feed and wheat gluten, meaning that melamine is almost impossible to avoid in processed foods... For all the outrage about Chinese melamine, what American consumers and government agencies have studiously failed to scrutinize is how much melamine has pervaded our own food system.
Major international drill based at D-M to involve U.S. Army, Air Force, foreign troops --Some practice runs are classified by DoD; few details are being released 15 Nov 2008 Personnel from around the globe will converge at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from Dec. 1 to Dec. 12 for the largest rescue exercise of its kind. The effort, dubbed Angel Thunder 08, will involve the U.S. Army and Air Force, troops from Germany, Chile, Colombia and observers from Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Pakistan. Several non-military U.S. agencies such as the State and Justice departments, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, also will take part in the drills, which aim to smooth interaction between military branches, allied nations and civilian agencies.
George W Bush could pardon spies involved in torture 15 Nov 2008 George W Bush is considering issuing pardons for US spies embroiled in allegations of torture just before he leaves the White House. Senior intelligence officers are lobbying the outgoing president [sic] to look after the men and women who could face charges for following his orders in the war on [of] terrorism.
FBI informant testifies suspect refused to plan attack 13 Nov 2008 The FBI informant who infiltrated a band of alleged South Jersey terrorists complained in September 2006 that one suspect "was gonna have a problem with me" because he kept refusing to plan, train or arrange meetings to discuss an attack. The comment by the informant, Mahmoud Omar, was recounted for jurors this morning in Camden, where five Muslim immigrants are being tried on charges of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers. [Remind me again: Why are the five Muslim immigrants on trial?]
Iraq Cabinet to vote on U.S. security deal --Pact would keep U.S. forces in the country for another three years 15 Nov 2008 Iraq's Cabinet will vote Sunday on a security pact with Washington that would keep U.S. forces in the country for another three years.
Maliki tells Bush he now backs new U.S. troop deal 14 Nov 2008 After months of tough negotiations and multiple revisions, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has decided to back the controversial U.S.-Iraq security agreement that calls for the complete withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2011, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Friday.
Iraq car bombs kill 10 15 Nov 2008 At least 10 people were killed and scores more injured in a series of bomb attacks across Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi police said. A car bomb in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar killed seven people and wounded more than three dozen when it exploded near an auto dealership, police said.
Calls for more helicopters as Afghanistan and Iraq toll hits 300 16 Nov 2008 The Ministry of Defence faces fresh calls to provide more helicopters in Afghanistan as it investigates how two marine commandos died while patrolling in one of the British Army's best new road vehicles. The deaths of Neil Dunstan and Robert McKibben in a bomb blast on Wednesday afternoon brought the numbers of British personnel who have died during the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to 300.
Britons against troop surge in Afghanistan 14 Nov 2008 A new opinion poll in the UK has highlighted the political challenge Gordon Brown would face if he agrees to send more troops to Afghanistan next year, with 68 per cent of Britons saying the UK should withdraw within 12 months.
Over 2,700 foreigners arrested for suspected militant links so far 16 Nov 2008 Law enforcing agencies have so far arrested more than 2,700 foreigners for their suspected links with Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] or other militant organisations in Pakistan or Afghanistan. In an interview Friday with Daily Times, World Prisoners Relief Commission of Pakistan chairman Javed Ibrahim Paracha said that hundreds of foreigners were arrested in Pakistan for their suspected links with Al-Qaeda and under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act.
Iran detains 10 spies near Pakistan border 15 Nov 2008 Iran detained 10 spies carrying $500,000 in cash who had entered the Islamic Republic illegally from neighbouring Pakistan, state television said on Saturday. Modern espionage cameras and maps of sensitive regions in Iran were found when the group was detained in Iran's south-eastern Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Pakistan, the report said.
More Allegations of Misconduct in Alabama Governor Case 14 Nov 2008 Next month in Atlanta, a federal court will hear the high-profile appeal of former Alabama governor Don E. Siegelman, whose conviction on corruption charges in 2006 became one of the most publicly debated cases to emerge from eight years of controversy at the Bush Justice Department. Now new documents highlight alleged misconduct by the Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney and other prosecutors in the case, including what appears to be extensive and unusual contact between the prosecution and the jury. The documents, obtained by TIME, include internal prosecution e-mails given to the Justice Department and Congress by a whistle-blower during the past 18 months. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which investigated the Siegelman case as part of a broader inquiry into alleged political interference in the hiring and firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush Justice Department, last week sent an eight-page letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey citing the new material.
Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes --Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony. 15 Nov 2008 Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars. From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack... There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.
Gregory Craig to be White House counsel 15 Nov 2008 Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer who quarterbacked President Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense, has been chosen White House counsel by President-elect Barack Obama, according to Democratic officials.
Obama First President to Record Weekly Radio Address On Video 15 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama spent Friday recording the weekly Democratic radio address on video. His transition team said he will continue to do so when he officially moves into the White House, becoming the first president to have video recordings of the radio address.
Northeast lawmakers want Lieberman ousted as chair 14 Nov 2008 Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's chances of holding onto his committee chairmanship suffered a blow Friday when two key New England Democratic senators came out against him. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and his Vermont colleague, Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Democrat-turned-independent Lieberman [R-Israel] doesn't deserve to keep his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairmanship because of his campaign attacks on President-elect Barack Obama.
Stevens falls further back in Alaska Senate count 14 Nov 2008 Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a stalwart of Alaska politics who was convicted of felony charges last month, fell further behind his Democratic rival Friday, and most remaining ballots come from parts of the state that have favored the challenger. Mark Begich, the two-term mayor of Anchorage, increased his lead from 814 votes to 1,022 as state election workers counted 17,100 ballots.
George W Bush's dog bites two people 15 Nov 2008 With his master's party in disarray after defeat by the Democrats, Barney the terrier is forging an unlikely new role as the fiercest Republican attack dog in the White House. President [sic] George W Bush's personal pet is facing the prospect of leaving the Oval Office in disgrace after biting not one, but two people during the administration's final weeks. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a canine whose boss has not always enjoyed the most sympathetic media profile, the black-haired Scottish terrier's victims have been a television journalist and a PR woman.
Summit a 'first step' in crisis, Bush says [Bush leaving office would actually be the first step] 15 Nov 2008 The leaders of the world's industrial powers have concluded a hasty summit on a global economic crisis with a commitment to strengthen regulation of financial markets, bolster international funds and avert any new trade barriers in the face of a spreading worldwide recession.
Chrysler leaders get millions --Automaker defends payouts amid looming bailout talks 13 Nov 2008 As Detroit's crumbling auto industry asks Congress for a bailout, Chrysler is in the awkward position of paying about $30 million in retention bonuses to keep top executives while the company cuts thousands of jobs. Documents obtained by the Free Press show that at least six Chrysler executives are due to receive bonuses of more than $1 million apiece to stay through August 2009, the two-year anniversary mark of when private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought an 80.1% stake in Chrysler.
GM Collapse at $200 Billion May Exceed Bailout Plan 14 Nov 2008 General Motors Corp., seeking a federal bailout as its cash dwindles, would cost the government as much as $200 billion should the biggest U.S. automaker be forced to liquidate, a forecasting firm estimated.
110 US banks have asked for $170B from bailout 15 Nov 2008 At least 110 banks have requested more than $170 billion from the Treasury Department's rescue fund, and many more are expected to have submitted applications before Friday's deadline. The requests would come from the $250 billion the Treasury set aside from the $700 billion fund to purchase stock in banks.
Employers Offer Workers Fewer Health Care Plans 15 Nov 2008 It’s the annual "open enrollment" season in corporate America, when employees choose their medical plans for the coming year. But this time, even if they are fortunate enough to have a job at a company that still offers health benefits, many workers are finding that the buffet of options has been trimmed to a very short menu.
Tens of thousands across America protest marriage ban --Gay marriage supporters rally across United States 15 Nov 2008 Thousands of gay marriage advocates held boisterous rallies Saturday across the United States and abroad in a coordinated protest of California's vote this month to ban same-sex marriage.
Prop. 8 opponents rally across California to protest gay-marriage ban 15 Nov 2008 Gay-rights advocates gathered across the state by the thousands today to protest California's passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. In Los Angeles, protesters clustered shoulder to shoulder near City Hall before setting off on a downtown march, chanting and carrying rainbow flags and signs bearing messages such as "No More Mr. Nice Gay" and "No on Hate."
Barack Obama is warned to beware of a 'huge threat' from al-Qaeda --Security officials fear a 'spectacular' attack during the transition period 15 Nov 2008 Barack Obama is being given ominous advice from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to brace himself for an early assault from terrorists. General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, this week acknowledged that there were dangers during a presidential transition when new officials were coming in and getting accustomed to the challenges. But he added that no "real or artificial spike" in intercepted transmissions from terror suspects had been detected. President [sic] Bush has repeatedly described the acute vulnerability of the US during a transition.
British travellers could be banned from flying to America 13 Nov 2008 Under the new scheme, tourists will be advised to apply online for approval for travel from the US Department of Homeland Security at least three days before they leave. Anyone denied permission will be barred when they attempt to check in at the airport. Known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), it was introduced in a soft launch in August but will be compulsory from January 12.
Crimes by air marshals raise questions about hiring --Michael McGowan used his position as an air marshal to lure a young boy to his hotel room, where he showed him child porn, took pictures of him naked and sexually abused him. 13 Nov 2008 Since 9/11, more than three dozen federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct, an investigation by ProPublica, a non-profit journalism organization, has found. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.
Two U.S. soldiers die in Iraq 14 Nov 2008 Two American soldiers died in separate non-combat related incidents in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Friday. A soldier died as a result of non-combat related cause at around midday on Thursday in western Iraq, a military statement said. Another soldier died early in the same day in non-combat related incident in Baghdad, the military said in a separate statement.
Muslim Scholars hail deaths of U.S. troops --US soldiers violated personal privacy of Iraqi girl in public 13 Nov 2008 The influential Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq praised the actions of an Iraqi soldier who turned his weapon on American soldiers, killing at least two. An Iraqi soldier on patrol with U.S. forces in the northern province of Ninawa opened fire on his American counterparts Wednesday following an altercation in Mosul... The Sunni AMSI issued a statement on its Web site Thursday praising the "heroic" deed by the Iraqi soldier, which the group identified as Barzan Muhammad Abdullah. AMSI said the American soldiers had violated the personal privacy of an Iraqi girl in public, prompting Abdullah to fire all of his ammunition at the U.S. troops.
New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food --Ex-employees Tell ABC News the Firm Used Dog Food Sacks to Smuggle Unauthorized Weapons to Iraq 14 Nov 2008 A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned. "The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.
drafted in Blackwater shooting
14 Nov 2008 Federal prosecutors have drafted an indictment against six
British troops out of Iraq by end of 2009: Iraqi official 14 Nov 2008 All British troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year and a controversial Iraq-US security pact is likely to be approved by Baghdad this weekend, Iraq's national security adviser said Friday. Anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, meanwhile, announced the activation of a new militia against the American "occupier," and urged Muslim countries to join in protests against the proposed security accord.
Afghanistan war: '2,000 more British troops next year' 14 Nov 2008 Up to 2,000 more British troops are likely to be sent to fight in Afghanistan next year, it has been reported. The Government is considering sending extra reinforcements in order to meet an anticipated request from Barack Obama, the US president-elect, after he takes office in January, according to the BBC.
Taliban will 'never' negotiate with West: spokesman 13 Nov 2008 The Taliban will never enter into peace negotiations with any Afghan or Western authorities while foreign forces still remain in Afghanistan, and will continue to fight for the country's "freedom," a spokesman told CBC's As It Happens on Thursday.
C.I.A. Chief Says Qaeda Is Extending Its Reach 14 Nov 2008 Even as Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] strengthens its hub in the Pakistani mountains, its leaders are building closer ties to regional militant groups in order to launch attacks in Africa and Europe and on the Arabian Peninsula, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday. The director, Michael V. Hayden, identified North Africa and Somalia as places where Qaeda leaders were using partnerships to establish new bases.
journalist shot in Pakistan --Third attack on a foreigner in 3 days;
suspected U.S. missile attack kills 12 14 Nov 2008 A Japanese journalist
was shot Friday in the frontier city of Peshawar -- the third attack
on a foreigner there in three days, and missiles apparently fired by
U.S. unmanned aircraft near the Afghan border killed at least 12 people,
U.S. missile attack kills at least 12 in Pakistan 14 Nov 2008 U.S. drones fired missiles into a Pakistani tribal region on Friday, killing 12 people, including five foreigners. Pakistani officials said the attack targeted a house in a remote village on the border between North and South Waziristan.
Air Force finds nuclear deficiencies at Mont. base 12 Nov 2008 Air Force officials said Wednesday that a recent nuclear inspection found deficiencies in a unit responsible for 150 ICBMs in Montana, but added that there was no threat to public safety. [!?!] The inspection of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, near Great Falls, evaluated the unit's readiness to execute nuclear operations and found "deficiencies in several areas", according to an Air Force statement.
Obama has more threats than other presidents-elect 14 Nov 2008 Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before. The Secret Service would not comment or provide the number of cases they are investigating. But since the Nov. 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect, said officials aware of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue of a president's security is so sensitive.
Remarks against Obama probed --Durham police conducting internal investigation 13 Nov 2008 Derogatory remarks toward President-elect Barack Obama made on a social networking Web site are now the subject of an internal police investigation. A police department employee claims the statements were made on the MySpace pages of two Durham officers.
Obama Met With Clinton to Discuss Possible Role 14 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama met late Thursday in Chicago with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss what role she might play in his administration, advisers to both Democrats said on Friday. Neither side disclosed details of the conversation, and it was unclear how seriously Mr. Obama was considering bringing Mrs. Clinton, his onetime rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, into his cabinet.
Barack Obama may tap Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State 14 Nov 2008 A secret meeting between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton yesterday has set rumors swirling that the president-elect might tap his former rival to be his secretary of State. The pair met Thursday afternoon at Obama's office in downtown Chicago, Times staff writers confirm. Neither politician has spoken publicly about the meeting, but unidentified aides have told media outlets like CNN that Obama offered Clinton the role.
Gag me with a chainsaw! Obama, McCain to meet Monday to talk cooperation 14 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama will meet with his former rival, Republican Sen. John McCain, on Monday to talk about ways they can work together, an Obama spokeswoman said on Friday.
GOP governors unhappy with Palin press conference 13 Nov 2008 Some Republican governors tell CNN they were not particularly happy with the way the Republican Governors Association press conference was executed Thursday, saying that they agreed to go as a show of GOP governors’ unity -- but they ended up feeling like silent Palin supporters, since it was clearly a press conference called for her. The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity. One called it awkward: "I'm sure you could see it on some of our faces." Another Republican governor eyeing a presidential run in 2012 told CNN the event was "odd" and "weird," and said it "unfortunately sent a message that she was the de facto leader of the party."
Boxer aide accused of distributing child porn 14 Nov 2008 An aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has been charged in federal court in Virginia with receiving and distributing child pornography. Jeff Rosato of Arlington, Va., was arrested Friday on a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia. Boxer's office fired him the same day.
U.S. begins pursuing drilling off Virginia coast 13 Nov 2008 Months after President [sic] George W. Bush and Congress lifted bans on offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, the federal government moved Thursday to pursue oil and natural gas exploration off the coast of Virginia. The environmental work is the first step in [insanely] opening 2.9 million acres of waters to a lease sale scheduled for 2011.
FDIC, U.S. Treasury clash on anti-foreclosure plan 14 Nov 2008 A top U.S. banking regulator unveiled a plan on Friday to prevent about 1.5 million foreclosures, breaking ranks with the Bush regime by demanding bailout funds be diverted from banks to consumers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the plan would modify millions of delinquent mortgages and the government would reward participating lenders by sharing the cost of defaults on restructured loans.
Mayor Daley: Prepare For Mass Layoffs --CEOs Tell Mayor They Plan Huge Layoffs In November, December 13 Nov 2008 (Chicago, IL) The warning is out – Mayor Richard M. Daley says a parade of corporate chief executives have told him huge layoffs are planned around the city and will carry into next year.
Canada consents to meeting on polar bear hunting 15 Nov 2008 Canada's environment minister agreed on Friday to host a round-table meeting to address what environmentalists charge is overhunting of polar bears in the Arctic region straddling Canada and Greenland.
State of Emergency in California as Blaze Rages --Thirteen Injured and More Than 100 Homes Destroyed in Fast-Moving Fire 14 Nov 2008 California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County, Calif., as firefighters have been unable to control a wildfire that has already damaged at least 100 homes and injured 13 people.
Sen. Clinton reported considered for top U.S. diplomat 14 Nov 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton, who lost to Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, is being considered to serve as secretary of state in the Obama administration, NBC News reported on Thursday. The report cited two unnamed advisers to President-elect Obama.
Out of Office, Could Oppose Inquiries
13 Nov 2008 When a Congressional committee subpoenaed Harry S. Truman
in 1953, nearly a year after he left office, he made a startling claim:
Even though he was no longer president, the Constitution still empowered
him to block subpoenas... As Congressional Democrats prepare to move
forward with investigations of the Bush regime, they wonder whether
that claim may be invoked again. Topics of open investigations include
Blackwater likely to be fined millions in Iraq weapons case 12 Nov 2008 The State Department is preparing to slap a multi-million dollar fine on private military contractor Blackwater USA for shipping hundreds of automatic weapons to Iraq without the necessary permits. Some of the weapons are believed to have ended up on the country's black market [i.e., the 'insurgency'], department officials told McClatchy, but no criminal charges have been filed in the case.
Israeli Bombs Are Source of Uranium at Shelled Site, Syria Says 13 Nov 2008 Israeli missiles are the source of traces of uranium that diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency say were found at a suspected nuclear site in Syria, according to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. "The basis of American complaint and allegations, presented to the IAEA seven months after the Israeli raid, is that a reactor was under construction, not operating, so where did the uranium particles come from?" al-Moallem said late yesterday, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.
Construction of Negev missile defense base run by U.S. troops completed 12 Nov 2008 Pictures of an American anti-missile radar installed in southern Israel were released earlier this week, depicting a recently completed military base, which will house the first permanent U.S. force to be deployed on Israeli soil.
Suicide bomber targets US soldier and Afghan civilians 13 Nov 2008 A market bombing in Afghanistan has killed at least 20 civilians and an American soldier. The suicide bombing, against a US convoy in eastern Afghanistan, occurred when the attacker detonated an explosives-laden vehicle close to the convoy outside Jalalabad.
Most Britons want troops out of Afghanistan: poll 12 Nov 2008 More than two-thirds of Britons believe British troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan next year, according to an opinion poll released on Wednesday. Sixty-eight percent said Britain should withdraw while 24 percent said British soldiers should stay in the violence-wrecked country.
Six killed in attacks across Iraq 13 Nov 2008 Six people were killed in attacks across Iraq on Thursday, including three when a suicide car bomber targeted police in the Anbar province west of Baghdad, security officials said.
Civilian killed, 13 injured in bomb attacks in Baghdad 13 Nov 2008 A civilian was killed and 13 others were injured in two bomb explosions in central Baghdad on Thursday, an Interior Ministry source said. An explosive charge stuck in a KIA minibus carrying passengers detonated in the morning in a Baghdad highway, killing a passenger and wounding seven others aboard, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Hoax NY Times newspaper declares end of Iraq war 12 Nov 2008 A group of pranksters handed out more than 1.2 million fake New York Times newspapers mainly in New York City and Los Angeles on Wednesday with a front page story declaring "Iraq War Ends." The elaborate 14-page edition, dated July 4, 2009, is said to be the work of a group called the Yes Men.
Gates prepared to stay on, but will Obama ask him to? 13 Nov 2008 Defense Secretary [war criminal] Robert Gates, who said not long ago that it was inconceivable that he'd remain at his post under a Democratic administration, is likely to remain for a time if President-elect Barack Obama asks him to, defense officials told McClatchy.
Internet filter to block 10,000-plus "unwanted" sites 13 Nov 2008 Readers of The Courier-Mail online have blasted plans for Australia's mandatory internet filter to block as many as 10,000 websites. The websites form a blacklist of unspecified "unwanted content", Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy revealed in Federal Parliament. The 10,000 blacklisted websites would be blocked in addition to 1300 websites identified by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
10,000 websites to be blocked in filter test 13 Nov 2008 Australia's mandatory internet filter is being primed to block 10,000 websites as part of a blacklist of unspecified "unwanted content". Some 1300 websites have already been identified by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Exit polls: Clinton would have beaten McCain by wider margin 12 Nov 2008 As voters left the polls on Election Day, many were asked how they would have voted if the election match-up were between Hillary Clinton and John McCain rather than Barack Obama and McCain. 52 percent said they would have backed the former Democratic candidate; 41 percent would have voted for McCain, wider than Obama’s 7-point margin over McCain.
Obama resigns Senate seat effective Sunday 13 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama said on Thursday he would resign his U.S. Senate seat effective Sunday, which means he will not participate in next week's post-election session that could address the ailing economy and struggling auto industry.
Cheney meets Biden at VP residence --Biden and wife, Jill, join Cheneys at Naval Observatory 13 Nov 2008 The high-profile White House meeting this week between outgoing [sic] and incoming presidents was followed Thursday night by a much lower-key get-together hosted by Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden.
Biden picks former Gore aide as chief of staff 13 Nov 2008 Vice President-elect Joe Biden has picked former Al Gore aide Ron Klain to be his chief of staff, a Democratic official said on Thursday. Klain is the latest ex-Clinton administration official selected for a high-profile job in the coming Barack Obama presidency.
Democrat takes 800-vote lead in Alaska U.S. Senate race 13 Nov 2008 Mark Begich made a dramatic comeback Wednesday to overtake incumbent Ted Stevens for the lead in Alaska's U.S. Senate race. Begich, who was 'losing' after election night, now leads Stevens by 814 votes -- 132,196 to 131,382 -- with the state still to count roughly 40,000 more ballots over the next week.
Dow sees 911-point swing to close on third-biggest point gain on record 13 Nov 2008 U.S. stocks raced higher Thursday as a downtrodden market in one crazed session nearly recouped three days of stiff losses, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tallying its third-biggest point gain after wild swings in both directions.
Illegal tax scheme gives $140 billion to biggest US banks By Bill Van Auken 13 Nov 2008 An extra-legal measure quietly enacted by the Treasury Department in the shadow of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package will hand the country's biggest banks another $140 billion windfall, the Washington Post reported this week. In a five-sentence memo issued on September 30, on the eve of the first House vote on the bailout bill, the Treasury Department unilaterally overturned a two-decade-old tax law passed by Congress.
Jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 7-year high 13 Nov 2008 The number of newly laid-off individuals seeking unemployment benefits has jumped to a level not seen since just after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as companies cut more jobs in the face of a slowing economy. The Labor Department on Thursday reported that jobless claims last week increased by 32,000 to a 'seasonally adjusted' 516,000.
Bush Warns Against 'Too Much' Government in Markets 13 Nov 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush today urged leaders of the world's biggest economies not to abandon free- market [predatory] capitalism as they seek an escape from the financial crisis, calling it the "best system" for delivering growth.
Whitehead sees slump worse than Depression 13 Nov 2008 The economy faces a slump deeper than the Great Depression and a growing deficit threatens the credit of the United States itself, former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, said at the Reuters Global Finance Summit on Wednesday.
Brown clouds dim Asia, threaten world's food --U.N.: Pollution haze could lead to extreme weather, harm farming 13 Nov 2008 Thick brown clouds of soot, particles and chemicals stretching from the Persian Gulf to Asia threaten health and food supplies in the world, the U.N. reported Thursday, citing what it called the newest threat to the global environment.
Visiting photographer documents the plight of the polar bear 13 Nov 2008 He traveled to the ends of the Earth to photograph polar bears, fearing that one day, the only place he would be able to see the Arctic creatures would be in a zoo. Wildlife and nature photographer Steven Kazlowski spent the majority of eight years in the Alaskan Arctic, capturing images of polar bears. He will discuss his experiences on the ice -- and the resulting book, "The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World" -- tonight at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History.
Youths accused of bashing Adelaide Zoo flamingo run from court 13 Nov 2008 Two teenagers have sprinted from an Adelaide court after appearing for the first time over the bashing of a flamingo at Adelaide Zoo last month. The youths, both 17, were charged along with two other men aged 18 and 19 after the attack that prompted outrage across the state. AdelaideNow was inundated with emails after the attack on the male greater flamingo, which is blind in one eye and believed by zoo staff to be about 78 years old.
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