November 2009 Archives, Page Two
holiday weekend bad news PentaPost leak: Troop
deployment to begin shortly after Obama's war strategy speech
Sat., 28 Nov 2009 3:56 PM [LOL!]
Days after President Obama outlines his new war 'strategy' in a speech
Tuesday, as many as 9,000 Marines will begin deploying to southern Afghanistan
to renew an assault on a Taliban stronghold that stalled earlier this
year amid a troop shortage and political pressure from the Afghan government,
senior U.S. officials said. The extra Marines -- the first to move
into the country as part of Obama's escalation of
sites we can believe in:
Secret Prison Still Operating On Bagram Air Base --While two of
the prisoners were captured before the Obama administration took office,
one was captured in June of this year.
29 Nov 2009 An American military detention camp in Afghanistan is still
secretly holding inmates for sometimes weeks at a time and without access
to the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to human
rights researchers and former detainees held at the site on the Bagram
Air Base. The site, known to
Canada bill clears way to sue foreign torturers 26 Nov 2009 An opposition lawmaker unveiled Thursday proposed legislation that would allow victims of torture to sue the perpetrators, including foreign states and officials, in Canadian courts. "Our present legislation criminalizes torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide -- the most heinous acts known to humankind," said opposition Liberal MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler. "But Canadian law does not allow a civil remedy for the victims of such horrific acts. This legislation will: address the evil of such international crimes; target the impunity of those states and officials that perpetrate these crimes; remove the state immunity that operates to shield the perpetrators of such crimes; and finally allow Canadian victims to secure justice."
'Gatherings that may disturb the public order must not take place.' Denmark approves new police powers ahead of Copenhagen --Controversial legislation gives police sweeping powers of 'pre-emptive' arrest and extends custodial sentences for acts of civil disobedience 27 Nov 2009 The Danish parliament today passed legislation which will give police sweeping powers of "pre-emptive" arrest and extend custodial sentences for acts of civil disobedience. The "deeply worrying" law comes ahead of the UN climate talks which start on 7 December and are expected to attract thousands of activists from next week. Under the new powers, Danish police will be able to detain people for up to 12 hours whom they suspect might break the law in the near future. Protesters could also be jailed for 40 days under the hurriedly drafted legislation dubbed by activists as the "turmoil and riot" law. The Danish ministry of justice said that the new powers of "pre-emptive" detention would increase from 6 to 12 hours and apply to international activists... The Danish police also separately issued a statement in August applying new rules and regulations for protests at the climate conference, warning that "gatherings that may disturb the public order must not take place".
Wisconsin health officers can order guards be put on infectious people --Douglas County joins others in state with isolation and quarantine policy 27 Nov 2009 Wisconsin counties have a little-known policy that allows forced isolation or quarantine of people using armed law enforcement and deputized civilians. This is to help health officials in a worst-case scenario to contain outbreaks... The policy includes isolating people infected or even suspected of being infected with a contagious disease such as tuberculosis or in a flu pandemic. Douglas County Health Officer Deb Clasen says every county health officer in the state can now order that guards be put on infectious people. Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden says this is a tool that may be needed at flu vaccination clinics as well.
'U.S. Forces--Iraq' 'Multi-National' to drop from U.S. unit names in Iraq 28 Nov 2009 One of the last vestiges of the "coalition of the willing" [bribed] in Iraq will soon be retired. As part of a consolidation of its command structure ahead of next year’s planned troop reductions, the U.S. military will drop the "Multi-National" name from its unit designations starting in January. Under the plan, the top two levels of the U.S. command, known as Multi-National Forces--Iraq and Multi-National Corps--Iraq, will be merged and renamed U.S. Forces--Iraq. The U.S. command that oversees training of Iraqi forces will also fall into the new command.
Iraq War was legal but not 'legitimate' 28 Nov 2009 The Iraq War was legal but not "legitimate" for a democratic country, Britain's former UN ambassador said yesterday. Sir Jeremy Greenstock told the Iraq inquiry that the 2003 invasion did not have the backing of the UN or the majority of British people, "so there was a failure to establish legitimacy". He said he believed the US and the UK could establish legality under UN resolutions if Iraq was shown to have breached disarmament rules. But a "final" verdict was never likely to be made. [Right, just as the 9/11 terror attacks were carried out by Bush, to establish the legitimacy of his p_Residency. --LRP]
US lamestream media *finally* reports Chilcot inquiry: UK diplomat: US was 'hell bent' on Iraq invasion 27 Nov 2009 The United States was "hell bent" on a 2003 military invasion of Iraq and actively undermined efforts by Britain to win international authorization for the war, a former British diplomat told an inquiry Friday. Jeremy Greenstock, British ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, said that President [sic] George W. Bush had no real interest in attempts to agree on a U.N. resolution to provide explicit backing for the conflict. The ex-diplomat, who served as Britain's envoy in Iraq after the invasion, said serious preparations for the war had begun in early 2002 and took on an unstoppable momentum.
Gordon Brown announces timetable for Helmand handover to Afghan control 28 Nov 2009 The countdown to handing back Helmand province to Afghan control began yesterday when Gordon Brown announced a detailed exit timetable. In a surprise move, the Prime Minister said two key districts of Helmand, where more than 200 British troops have been killed, could be handed back by the end of next year. Mr Brown will also formally commit to sending 500 more troops this week taking Britain's military presence in the country to 9,500.
Governor of Afghanistan's Kandahar survives bomb 27 Nov 2009 The governor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province survived a bomb strike on his motorcade while heading to prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday, a spokesman said. The bomb shattered a window of the car that Governor Tooryalai Wesa was travelling in, but he was unhurt, spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said.
Three bodies recovered from Afghan helicopter crash 27 Nov 2009 A US Air Force rescue team Friday recovered the bodies of three crew from the wreck of a helicopter that crashed in remote mountains in eastern Afghanistan. The three were believed to be Ukrainians reported missing after their helicopter disappeared in bad weather late Monday, US Air Force rescue team members said. The missing aircraft was operated by Supreme Global Services Solutions, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Israeli agents operating at international airports 28 Nov 2009 Israeli spies have been found to be posing as airport security guards at international terminals, subjecting unsuspecting travellers to illegal interrogations and strip searches. A television network covering southern Africa recently aired a report, after an extensive undercover investigation, that revealed an elaborate Israeli secret service operation being carried out at Johannesburg International Airport.
Germany, UK warn Iran to accept West offer 28 Nov 2009 In what appears to be a last-ditch effort to force Tehran into accepting an IAEA draft proposal on fuel supply, Germany and Britain warn that world patience is running out with Iran. One day after World powers threw their weight behind a draft resolution condemning Iran's nuclear program, German Foreign Minister Guido Wersterwelle said that although time is pressing, the West "still has its hand extended" for the Tehran government.
US, Israel welcome IAEA resolution against Iran 27 Nov 2009 The US and Israel welcome a decision by the UN nuclear watchdog to censure Iran over the construction of its Fordo enrichment plant. "Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a stern warning to Tehran.
Bomb suspected as Russian train crash kills 39 28 Nov 2009 At least 39 people were killed and nearly 100 injured when a Russian express train came off the rails late last night in what the head of the national railway company said could have been a bomb attack. The Nevsky Express, carrying 661 passengers from Moscow to St Petersburg, was derailed at 9:34 p.m. (1834 GMT) near the village of Uglovka about 200 miles north of Moscow.
Homeland Suckyourity: Cuban migrants went undetected for hours at Turkey Point --More than 30 Cubans were dropped off close to the 'heavily guarded' [Yup, in quotes] Turkey Point nuclear power plant and remained undetected until they called for help hours later. 28 Nov 2009 More than 30 Cubans, dropped off by a smugglers' speedboat, spent up to eight hours on the off-limits grounds of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant on Thanksgiving Day, then called the plant's nuclear control room to say they were by the cooling canals. The utility, which boasts of tight security in the area, did not address why its security personnel apparently did not become aware of the Cubans' presence on Turkey Point for up to eight hours.
White House gatecrashers got all the way to the president 29 Nov 2009 Michelle and Barack Obama’s first state dinner at the White House will be remembered for its gatecrashers. The White House has been forced to admit that Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginian couple auditioning for a television reality show, not only brazenly walked through layers of security to attend the event but actually met the president. A photograph released by the White House showed Michaele shaking hands with a beaming Obama as her husband looked on. It prompted an abject apology from the secret service.
Secret Service apologizes for ticketless couple's access --Questions linger over checkpoint breakdowns at White House dinner 28 Nov 2009 The White House said late Friday that Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginia couple auditioning for a Bravo reality show, not only got past layers of experienced, executive-branch security but also shook the president's hand in the Blue Room of the White House during the Obamas' first state dinner... The security breach has caused hand-wringing inside the White House, bewilderment among Tuesday night's guests -- and late on Friday, prompted an apology from the Secret Service.
Anti-WTO protesters smash windows, burn cars in Geneva 28 Nov 2009 Anti-capitalism protesters smashed the windows of banks, shops and cafes in central Geneva and set cars on fire on Saturday during a demonstration against the World Trade Organisation. A Reuters reporter at the scene said some demonstrators were breaking the windows of every building they passed and setting off fireworks in the main shopping street.
Computer hacker Gary McKinnon to be extradited to US --Alan Johnson quashes last-ditch attempt to halt extradition 26 Nov 2009 Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, is at serious risk of suicide, relatives said today, after the home secretary rejected a last-ditch attempt to prevent his extradition to the US. In a letter today Alan Johnson ordered McKinnon's removal to the US on charges of breaching US military and Nasa computers, despite claims by his lawyers that extradition would make the 43-year-old's death "virtually certain".
U.S. journalist grilled at Canada border crossing --Officials demanded to know what she would say publicly about 2010 Olympics 26 Nov 2009 U.S. journalist Amy Goodman said she was stopped at a Canadian border crossing south of Vancouver on Wednesday and questioned for 90 minutes by authorities concerned she was coming to Canada to speak against the Olympics. Goodman says Canadian Border Services Agency officials ultimately allowed her to enter Canada but returned her passport with a document demanding she leave the country within 48 hours.
Police accused of preventing suspects accessing lawyers 27 Nov 2009 Defendants are being denied a fair trial because police pressure deters them from being represented by a lawyer after their arrest, a survey reveals today. Solicitors questioned by the National Audit Office (NAO) say they believe that the reason half of all suspects do not use their free services is a direct result of the action - or inaction - of the police.
FDA OKs Novartis Vaccine Against Seasonal Flu In Fast Review 27 Nov 2009 The Food and Drug Administration approved a new Novartis AG flu vaccine, Agriflu, in an accelerated process Friday. The vaccine to prevent disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and B is for people age 18 and older. It does not prevent the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. The Swiss drug maker... on Tuesday opened a vaccine-manufacturing plant in North Carolina designed to make [deadly] flu vaccines without relying on decades-old technology that employs millions of chicken eggs to grow viruses. [See: New US vaccine production techniques: Genetically modified insect cells, E. coli, caterpillar ovaries 24 Nov 2009 Spurred by $487 million in federal funding, a sprawling new vaccine factory is opening in North Carolina Tuesday that will produce shots using dog cells instead of chicken eggs.]
Bacterial Disease Linked to H1N1 Flu Worries CDC 25 Nov 2009 The CDC is warning about a "worrisome" rise in the incidence of pneumococcal disease associated with the [lab-generated] pandemic H1N1 flu. "We're seeing increases in serious pneumococcal infections around the country," Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a briefing today.
The right reform for the Fed By Ben Bernanke 29 Nov 2009 Our [The Fed] financial statements are public and audited by an outside accounting firm; we publish our balance sheet weekly; and we provide monthly reports with extensive information on all the temporary lending facilities developed during the crisis. Congress, through the Government Accountability Office, can and does audit all parts of our operations except for the monetary policy deliberations and actions covered by the 1978 exemption. The general repeal of that exemption would serve only to increase the perceived influence of Congress on monetary policy decisions, which would undermine the confidence the public and the markets have in the Fed to act in the long-term economic interest of the nation. [Resign *now.*]
Bloomberg Spent $102 Million to Win 3rd Term 28 Nov 2009 To eke out an election victory over the city’s low-key comptroller, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune -- or about $174 per vote -- according to data released Friday, making his bid for a third term the most expensive campaign in the city’s history. Mr. Bloomberg, the wealthiest man in New York City, shattered his own records: He poured $85 million into his campaign in 2005 (or $112 per vote) and $74 million into his first bid for office in 2001 ($99 per vote).
Signed In Blood: 2002 Blair-Bush Texas meeting sealed Iraq fate 27 Nov 2009 Saddam Hussein's fate as Iraqi leader was sealed at a secret meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush in 2002, it was claimed yesterday. The former Prime Minister allegedly "signed in blood" Britain's support for an attack on Baghdad when he got together with the US president [sic] at his Texas ranch. And Mr Blair deliberately linked Saddam to al-Qaeda in a bid to strengthen the case to topple Saddam, despite there being no evidence, the Iraq War inquiry heard. Former British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer told the hearing the PM suddenly appeared to agree to the case for a regime change in Iraq after his Bush meeting. Talking about the meeting with Mr Bush, Sir Christopher said: "To this day I am not entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch."
'Scrabbling for the smoking gun' Chilcot inquiry: Tony Blair decided on Iraq war a year before invasion - envoy 26 Nov 2009 Tony Blair's government decided up to a year before the Iraq invasion that it was "a complete waste of time" to resist the US drive to oust Saddam Hussein, opting instead to offer advice on how it should be done, the former British ambassador to Washington said today. Sir Christopher Meyer, testifying to the Chilcot inquiry into Britain's role in the war, made it clear that once the Bush administration decided to take military action, the Blair government never considered opting out or opposing it... British officials were left "scrabbling for the smoking gun" - evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction - as preparations continued... The message from Downing Street was that the 11 September attacks and the subsequent US determination to oust Saddam were established facts, "and it was a complete waste of time ... if we were going to work with the Americans, to come to them and bang away about regime change and say: 'We can't support it'."
Iraq: The inquiry cover-up that will keep us in the dark 26 Nov 2009 Gordon Brown was accused of strangling the inquiry into the Iraq war at birth yesterday by refusing to let it make public sensitive documents that shed light on the conflict. A previously undisclosed agreement between Sir John Chilcot's inquiry and the Government gives Whitehall the final say on what information the investigation can release into the public domain. Mr Brown, who initially wanted the inquiry held in private, was forced to climb down earlier this year after an outcry and promised that most of its sessions would be heard in public. He said information would be withheld only when it would compromise national security. However, a protocol agreed by the inquiry and the Government includes nine wide-ranging reasons under which Whitehall departments can refuse to publish documents disclosed to the investigation.
6 family members killed in Iraq 25 Nov 2009 [Blackwater] Assailants broke into a house and killed six family members before dawn Wednesday in an area north of Baghdad that was 'once a stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq,' Iraqi officials said. The dead included a couple and two daughters, and two brothers of the husband, according to a police officer in Tarmiyah, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the capital. The throats of two women were slit, while the other four people were shot execution-style; two of the couple's other children were not harmed.
Former top official 'can't say' if Afghans tortured 26 Nov 2009 There is "no evidence" Canadian detainees transferred to Afghan jails were tortured, but Canada didn’t monitor them during 2006 and part of 2007 and reports of prison abuse were common, a senior diplomat told a committee of MPs Thursday. Under intense questioning by opposition MPs, David Mulroney said he couldn’t guarantee that no detainee transferred by Canadians had been mistreated. Nor could he say with complete certainty that an Afghan prisoner who described to Canadian diplomats how he had been tortured, whipped with cables and shocked with electricity, had not been handed over by Canadians to Afghan authorities. "I can’t say whether he was or wasn’t," Mulroney said.
Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan: Germany's Top Soldier Resigns over Air Strike Accusations 26 Nov 2009 Germany's highest-ranking soldier has resigned over allegations that the Defense Ministry did not come clean about civilians killed in a recent air strike [war crime] in Afghanistan. Former Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung is also under pressure to resign. Germany's highest ranking soldier has resigned in response to allegations that the German Defense Ministry concealed information about civilian casualties sustained during an air strike in Afghanistan. Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday morning that Bundeswehr Inspector General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, the highest-ranking officer in Germany's armed forces, had asked to be relieved of his official duties. Guttenberg said that Peter Wichert, a state secretary in the Defense Ministry, would also resign.
Contractor helicopter missing in Afghanistan 25 Nov 2009 A helicopter belonging to an international military contractor has disappeared in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. The Supreme Global Service Solutions helicopter has been missing since late Tuesday, said NATO spokesman Maj. Steven Coll. Supreme provides food and logistics services to military bases across Afghanistan.
Leader: Occupiers, root of terrorism 26 Nov 2009 In a message to the pilgrims of the holy mosque in Mecca, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution warns of forces that are sponsoring terrorism in the region. "Occupiers... organize and mastermind violent sectarian terrorism among regional nations," Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in his message. "The Middle East and North Africa were once colonized and humiliated for more than a century by the Western governments of Britain and France and subsequently by America; their natural reserves were plundered, their free spirit was trodden upon and their nations were taken hostage," the Leader added.
The US 'is supporting dictatorship.' [It usually does.] Zelaya slams US over supporting coup regime 26 Nov 2009 Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya has slammed the US for supporting Sunday's presidential elections, saying that the US is supporting a coup-perpetrating regime. "The United States is not just supporting the elections but it is supporting the de facto regime, it is supporting the dictatorship, it is supporting the coup-perpetrating regime," Zelaya said in a telephone interview published on Thursday by the Brazilian website UOL.
Washington endorses gunpoint election in Honduras By Bill Van Auken 27 Nov 2009 The Obama administration has declared its support for elections being held this Sunday in Honduras, under conditions in which the regime that came to power in a coup last June has refused to cede power and is preparing intense repression against those who oppose it. The action has placed Washington at odds with virtually all of Latin America, whose governments have refused to recognize the elections as legitimate.
Arroyo's ally to be charged over massacre 27 Nov 2009 Andal Ampatuan Jnr, the member of a powerful pro-government clan suspected of involvement in the massacre of 57 people in an election caravan in the southern Philippines earlier this week, will be charged with murder today, the Philippines' chief prosecutor said yesterday. Mr Ampatuan turned himself in amid mounting pressure on 'President' Gloria Arroyo to crack down on lawlessness and warlords.
Ousted Minot AFB commander Westa to retire 25 Nov 2009 Col. Joel Westa, the former 5th Bomb Wing commander fired Oct. 30, retired Monday rather than accept an assignment to Global Strike Command. Westa was chosen to turn around the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., after airmen from the wing mistakenly loaded six nuclear warheads aboard a B-52 two years ago. Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, 8th Air Force commander, arrived unannounced to Minot and fired Westa after the wing failed its second nuclear inspection under Westa’s command.
Canada, U.S. to audit air-attack preparedness 25 Nov 2009 Canada and the U.S. will review their air defence capabilities to make sure the right amount of planes and crews are in place to protect North American cities from terrorist attacks. The review by the North American Aerospace Defence Command, the joint U.S.-Canadian alliance, is expected by next spring. Norad will look at the various threats, including the possibility that terrorists could hijack aircraft and fly those into critical infrastructure, such as a power plant or communications centres.
CBC News: The Unofficial Story (Documentary) 27 Nov 2009 On September 11, 2001 the world watched in shock and disbelief as planes flew in to New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, and Americans realized they were under attack. But by whom? What really happened? In The Unofficial Story, the fifth estate’s Bob McKeown introduces us to people who believe the real force behind the attacks was not Osama Bin Laden, but the U.S. government itself... You’ll meet Richard Gage, an American architect, explains how the WTC twin towers and the lesser known 'Tower #7' could only have crumbled as they did due to explosive charges placed inside the buildings.
ABA Backs Federal Court Trials of Alleged 9/11 Plotters 25 Nov 2009 The president of the American Bar Association sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. today praising the decision to pursue federal court prosecutions of five Guantanamo detainees with [very] alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks. The Nov. 25 letter, signed by ABA President Carolyn Lamm, comes after Holder became the target of criticism from conservative politicians for his decision to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others in New York.
Egads! Confidential 9/11 Pager Messages Disclosed By Declan McCullagh 25 Nov 2009 As the World Trade Center and Pentagon were ablaze on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Secret Service's presidential protective detail was informed that a "Korean airliner has been hijacked" en route to San Francisco, prompting already-skittish agents to worry about another wave of terrorist attacks... This unusual glimpse into the events of 9/11 comes from messages sent to alphanumeric pagers that were anonymously published on the Internet on Wednesday. The pager transcripts, which total about 573,000 lines and 6.4 million words, include numeric and text messages also sent to private sector and unclassified military pagers.
'The concept has evolved to include a broader 'all crimes, all hazards' approach.' Vegas fusion center fights terrorism, street crime 26 Nov 2009 When a tip arrived about a threat of violence at a southern Nevada high school football game, a Clark County School District police officer helped plan a response. When a Colorado man was arrested on terrorism charges, a Department of Homeland Security analyst probed whether he had Las Vegas ties. Though the two cases are very different, the officials who worked them were in the same cubicle-filled room at the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Center. Open for more than two years, the Las Vegas "fusion" center is battling terrorism and street crime.
hopes to build U.S. cell-based vaccine manufacturing plant --Facility
would be used to make flu, pandemic
Swine flu linked to serious respiratory disease 26 Nov 2009 Federal officials said Wednesday that they have noticed "a worrisome spike in serious pneumococcal disease" linked to pandemic H1N1 influenza. Health authorities normally see an increase in such infections associated with seasonal flu, but this year the rate is substantially higher than normal and striking younger people rather than the elderly, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Sharp increase in swine flu deaths in France 26 Nov 2009 The number of deaths in mainland France from the H1N1 swine flu virus jumped in the last week, according to official data Thursday. The toll rose to 68 deaths as of November 22, with 22 new deaths last week. Six of the 68 victims had no underlying health problems, the country's health monitoring institute said.
Dubai in deep water as ripples from debt crisis spread 27 Nov 2009 Fears of a dangerous new phase in the economic crisis swept around the globe yesterday as traders responded to the shock announcement that a debt-laden Dubai state corporation was unable to meet its interest bill. Shares plunged, weak currencies were battered and more than £14 billion was wiped from the value of British banks on fears that they would be left nursing new losses.
IMF warns second bailout would 'threaten democracy' 23 Nov 2009 The public will not bail out the financial services sector for a second time if another global crisis blows up in four or five years time, the managing-director of the International Monetary Fund warned this morning. Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the CBI annual conference of business leaders that another huge call on public finances by the financial services sector would not be tolerated by the "man in the street" and could even threaten democracy.
Bush advisers on White House visit list [Visitors? I think they're tenants.] 25 Nov 2009 The White House released a new batch of visitor log records Wednesday, disclosing an additional 1,615 visits to the executive mansion. The list includes some surprising names, including a slew of corporate chieftains and even a couple of high-ranking former Republican officials. The White House, which spent much of the year developing and pushing for reforms in Wall Street regulation, welcomed several high-profile Wall Street and corporate figures, the new records show.
Because China did *such* a terrific job with the drywall, powdered milk and pet food: China State Construction nets $100m US subway deal 24 Nov 2009 China State Construction Engineering Corp, the largest contractor in China, has bagged a subway ventilation project worth about $100 million in New York's Manhattan area, marking the construction giant's third order in the United States' infrastructure space this year. The contract was given to China Construction American Co, a subsidiary, the Wall Street Journal quoted a source as saying. "The new project, along with the $410-million Hamilton Bridge project and a $1.7-billion entertainment project it won earlier this year, signals China State Construction's ambition to tap the American construction market," said Li Zhirui, an industry analyst at First Capital Securities. [Thanks, Bloomberg!]
Dealing with the bank was 'like dealing with organized crime.' [It usually is.] Judge blasts bad bank, erases 525G debt 25 Nov 2009 A Long Island couple is home free after an outraged judge gave them an amazing Thanksgiving present -- canceling their debt to ruthless bankers trying to toss them out on the street. Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner wiped out $525,000 in mortgage payments demanded by a California bank, blasting its "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive" acts. The bombshell decision leaves Diane Yano-Horoski and her husband, Greg Horoski, owing absolutely no money on their ranch house in East Patchogue. Spinner pulled no punches as he smacked down the bankers at OneWest -- who took an $814.2 million federal bailout but have a record of coldbloodedly foreclosing on any homeowner owing money... The bank is involved in a similar case in California, where it's trying to foreclose on an 89-year-old woman, despite two court orders telling it to stop.
State dinner crashers spur White House security probe 27 Nov 2009 The Secret Service has launched a "comprehensive investigation" of its security measures after two aspiring reality-TV stars [Michaele and Tareq Salahi] crashed President Barack Obama's state dinner at the White House this week. An administration official said the gate-crashing incident was apparently a breakdown in Secret Service screening and not the work of the White House social office.
Couple slips though security to crash state dinner 25 Nov 2009 Crashing a state dinner at the White House apparently takes a security breakdown as well as some kind of nerve. The Secret Service is looking into its own security procedures after determining that a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, managed to slip into Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House even though they were not on the guest list, agency spokesman Ed Donovan said.
Obama grants 'Courage' a pardon 25 Nov 2009 It was a festive atmosphere on the White House North Portico on Wednesday morning for the president's annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Dozens of press joined dozens of guests and White House staffers to witness President Obama pardon a 45-pound turkey dubbed Courage, from Goldsboro, NC. [Obama seems to have pardoned the biggest turkeys on earth - the Bush cabal - so Courage should certainly get a pass.]
Obama 'promises' greenhouse gas cut 26 Nov 2009 US President Barack Obama seeks to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions by a 'low' 17 percent before 2020, ahead of a climate summit in Denmark. Obama's pledge to cut CO2 levels comes in advance of the December climate change convention in Copenhagen, meant to decrease human's contribution to 'catastrophic' air pollution.
Hacked climate emails called a "smear campaign" 25 Nov 2009 Three leading scientists who on Tuesday released a report documenting the accelerating pace of climate change said the scandal that erupted last week over hacked emails from climate scientists is nothing more than a "smear campaign" aimed at sabotaging December climate talks in Copenhagen. "We're facing an effort by special interests who are trying to confuse the public," said Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a lead author of the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
Australia to kill 6,000 camels 26 Nov 2009 Australian authorities [sociopaths] plan to corral about 6,000 wild camels with helicopters and gun them down after they overran a small Outback town in search of water, trampling fences, smashing tanks and contaminating supplies. The Northern Territory government announced its plan Wednesday for Docker River, a town of 350 residents where thirsty camels have been arriving daily for weeks because of drought conditions in the region.
Two NATO commanders wore Nazi regalia in Afghanistan 25 Nov 2009 It has just been discovered that two commanders of the Czech military working under NATO command used Nazi symbols on their helmets during their deployment in Afghanistan. The story was made public after Czech police serving in Afghanistan reported the case, the Russia Today website reported on Tuesday. According to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, the soldiers, identified as Hynek Matonoha and Jan Cermak, wore the symbols of the 9th SS panzer division Hohenstaufen and the SS Dirlewanger brigade respectively, which were probably the most infamous SS combat units of World War II.
Iraq inquiry: Britain rejected regime change as illegal in 2001 --British officials discussed toppling Saddam Hussein in 2001 but rejected a policy of "regime change" as illegal under international law, the Iraq war inquiry has heard. 24 Nov 2009 On its opening day of public hearings, Sir John Chilcot’s public inquiry into the invasion heard that British diplomats heard the "drumbeat" of war emanating from Washington even before the September 11 terrorist attacks. The inquiry into the war opened yesterday with a promise from Sir John, a former Whitehall mandarin, to "get to the heart of what happened" and "not shy away" from criticising anyone who made mistakes.
Iraq inquiry: Bush administration 'discussing regime change two years before invasion' --Elements of the new US administration of President [sic] George Bush were already discussing ''regime change'' in Iraq two years before the invasion of 2003, the official inquiry into the war has been told. 24 Nov 2009 Sir Peter Ricketts, who was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 2001, said there was concern in both London and Washington that the strategy of ''containment'' of Saddam Hussein was ''failing''. Giving evidence at the first public hearings of the inquiry, he said a review of the Iraq policy was already under way in Whitehall in anticipation of the arrival of the new Bush administration. He said that, in discussions with Secretary of State Colin Powell, it appeared the Americans were ''thinking very much on the same lines''.
'UK complicity is clear.' 'Cruel, illegal, immoral': Human Rights Watch condemns UK's role in torture --Pressure for inquiry grows as torturers themselves allege British complicity 24 Nov 2009 The attorney general was under intense pressure tonight to order a wider series of police investigations into British complicity in torture after one of the world's leading human rights organisations said there was clear evidence of the UK government's involvement in the torture of its own citizens. After an investigation spanning more than a year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) today condemned Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects detained in Pakistan as cruel, counter-productive and in clear breach of international law.
'Operation Iraqi Freedom:' Iraq: TV commentator who criticized government is shot 24 Nov 2009 Baghdad is buzzing about the shooting Monday night of a prominent TV commentator who regularly criticized the government on his show "Without Fences" on the privately owned Al-Diyar TV station. Imad Abadi was shot in the head and neck by [Blackwater?] gunmen using a pistol equipped with a silencer at about 8 p.m. as he rode in his car in the Salhiya neighborhood not far from Baghdad's Green Zone. He managed to keep driving to an Iraqi checkpoint, and doctors today said his chances of recovery are good.
Iraq parliamentary election 'not possible in January' 24 Nov 2009 Iraq will not be able to hold parliamentary elections before the end of January as required by the country's constitution, electoral officials say. The head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, Faraj al-Haidari, said the possibility was now "over". The vote is seen as a prerequisite to the US meeting its goal of pulling out combat troops by August next year, and withdrawing fully by 2011.
Judge denies Halliburton's request to leave Iraq case 24 Nov 2009 A Houston judge ruled Tuesday that Halliburton must remain as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging it and its former subsidiary KBR knowingly sent civilian truck convoys into dangerous conditions the day six drivers were killed in 2004 in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Gray Miller found that Halliburton should remain in the case because plaintiffs have "numerous evidentiary examples of Halliburton's involvement in the allegations giving rise to this litigation."
Obama plans to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan 24 Nov 2009 President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he's called "a war of necessity" in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy. Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.
Fort Carson soldier killed in Afghanistan 24 Nov 2009 A Fort Carson soldier was killed in Afghanistan after insurgents attacked his unit, the Department of Defense said Tuesday. Spc. Jason A. McLeod, 22, of Crystal Lake, Ill., was killed Monday in a mortar attack west of Pashmul. He was assigned to the 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Afghan War: Realities on the Ground By Josh Mitteldorf 24 Nov 2009 Back in the 1980s When the Soviet Union had troops in Afghanistan, the US government was secretly funding the guerrillas who undermined the occupation. These people were passionate Muslims, opposed to intoxicants including poppy production that was the region's most lucrative export. They called themselves Taliban. Now that the Taliban is our enemy, we support them less directly... Lori Price, writing for Citizens for Legitimate Government charges that most of this money ends up in the hands of the Taliban. And reducing the poppy production increases profit margins for the CIA, which buys drugs for distribution back home.
Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan By Jeremy Scahill 23 Nov 2009 At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.
Toll rises in Philippines massacre --Lead suspect is local mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., political ally of unelected dictator (and Bush ally) Gloria Arroyo 25 Nov 2009 Police investigating the massacre of a group of journalists and politicians in the southern Philippines have found another six bodies, taking the total death toll from the attack to at least 52. The bodies were dug out of a shallow pit on Wednesday, close to the scene in southern Maguindanao province where another 46 victims were found following what is believed to be the Philippines' worst politically-linked massacre.
9/11 tragedy pager intercepts (WikiLeaks) 25 Nov 2009 From 3AM on Wednesday November 25, 2009, until 3AM the following day (US East Coast time), WikiLeaks is releasing over half a million US national text pager intercepts. The intercepts cover a 24 hour period surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington... Messages in the archive range from Pentagon and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults to their operators as the World Trade Center collapsed.
Pentagon Probe Leaders Visit Fort Hood to Begin Investigation 24 Nov 2009 Leaders of a Pentagon-appointed task force charged with investigating what factors led to the Fort Hood massacre Nov. 5 and recommending policies to prevent future attacks began their review today, saying their job is not "to point fingers." Togo West, former Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Veterans Affairs during the Clinton administration, and former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vernon Clark, are leading the review board. They arrived at the Fort Hood base today to begin what will be a 45-day investigation.
British police under fire over terrorism arrests 24 Nov 2009 The British government's terrorism watchdog on Tuesday criticised counter-terrorism police who arrested and then released without charge 12 men seized in April raids to foil a suspected al Qaeda plot. Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Greater Manchester Police should have sought comprehensive advice from Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers about the operation in advance.
Easter shopping plot 'part of international terror network' 25 Nov 2009 A group of Pakistani students suspected of planning a terrorist attack on Easter shoppers was believed to be linked to 'al-Qaeda' and suspected of being part of a "very significant international plot", an independent report has found. Counter terrorism police had "no realistic alternative" but to arrest at least some of the suspected members of the group according to Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. However, he criticised the police for failing to consult properly with prosecutors over the raids in Manchester and Liverpool which resulted in 12 arrests but no criminal charges.
U.S.-Canada to share refugees' biometric info 24 Nov 2009 Seeking to enhance its efforts to crack down on fraudulent refugee claims, the Harper government on Tuesday announced it has struck a deal to share fingerprint information on asylum seekers with the United States. Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan made the announcement following a bilateral summit here with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Under the protocol, the U.S. will join a biometric data-sharing initiative Canada had already launched last summer with the United Kingdom and Australia.
Canada's doctors told to stop using swine flu vaccine 24 Nov 2009 GlaxoSmithKline has advised doctors in Canada to stop using a batch of its swine flu vaccine, amid reports of severe side-effects in some patients. The batch of some 170,000 doses was put on hold because of the reported higher than usual number of patients having anaphylactic reactions. This may include breathing problems, raised heart rate and skin rashes.
GlaxoSmithKline advises Canadian doctors to stop using swine flu vaccines 25 Nov 2009 GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Tuesday that they have notified Canadian doctors to discontinue using a batch of 170,000 swine flu vaccines following six reports of serious allergic reactions among recipients. It was not immediately clear how many doses had been administered, although Tim Vail, the spokesman for Canada’s health minister, said the majority had been.
27 cases of adverse reaction to H1N1 vaccine reported 24 Nov 2009 (Singapore) The Health Sciences Authority said on Tuesday that 27 cases of adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of the H1N1 vaccine have been reported so far. But "these reactions are non-serious anticipated side effects such as fever, rashes, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting", said an HSA spokesperson.
NJ suspends seasonal flu shot requirement for kids 24 Nov 2009 New Jersey is suspending its requirement that children attending child care or preschool facilities get a seasonal flu shot. Health Commissioner Heather Howard said Tuesday that the step was necessary because there's a shortage [?] of the seasonal flu vaccine.
Census worker in Kentucky killed self, officials conclude --Autopsy report is pending 24 Nov 2009 A U.S. Census worker found dead in a secluded Clay County cemetery killed himself but tried to make the death look like a homicide, authorities have concluded. Bill Sparkman, 51, of London, might have tried to cover the manner of his death to preserve payments under life-insurance polices that he had taken out. The policies wouldn’t pay off if Sparkman committed suicide, state police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said.
Once again: Obama and the jobs crisis By Patrick Martin 24 Nov 2009 The Obama administration has flatly rejected appeals for the federal government to take any direct action to create jobs and alleviate the mounting toll of unemployment in the United States. Obama reiterated this position in his Saturday radio/Internet address... "In order to keep growing, we need to spend less, save more, and get our federal deficit under control," Obama said. "It is important that we do not make any ill-considered decisions--even with the best of intentions--particularly at a time when our resources are so limited," he concluded. "Limited resources" were not a consideration when it came to bailing out Wall Street. The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve made available trillions to the financial institutions. But when it comes to the working class, Obama has repeatedly demanded austerity measures.
pimps self, ghostwritten 'Mantra of Whine' at Fort Bragg: Sarah
Palin's book tour hits NC's Fort Bragg 24 Nov 2009 Sarah Palin
brought her book-signing tour to North Carolina's Fort Bragg on Monday
as thousands greeted the former Republican vice presidential candidate
in a campaign-like gathering that
Rove: Shift of Blame to Dems Almost Complete --'This is surely some of my best work since I was able to convince millions of Americans that George W. Bush should be in the White House rather than the nut house.' By R J Shulman 24 Nov 2009 Karl Rove announced today on Fox News that the Republican strategy to shift the blame for all of America's woes from anything the Republicans may have caused to Obama and the Democrats is a complete success. Rove has been the mastermind of a new movement called the Shift of Blamers -- or SOBs -- who have replaced birthers, deathers, Tenthers, and teabaggers as the most successful anti-Obama group thus far. The SOBs are made up of prominent Republicans, Fox News, FreedomWorks, and the vast majority of talk radio. (Satire)
Judge orders New Haven to promote 14 white firefighters 24 Nov 2009 (CT) After a five year legal battle, 14 New Haven firefighters will receive their promotions. A U.S. District Court judge Tuesday ordered the city to promote 14 white firefighters, based on a Supreme Court decision. Twenty firefighters passed a promotional exam in 2004, but the city discarded the results because too few minorities scored high. The firefighters won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to force the test results to stand.
The day ends in 'y,' so it's time for another AfPak bl*w job. US to give $38.7 million to 27 Afghan provinces to reduce poppy cultivation --A report published last month in The New York Times identified the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai as a CIA operative and a major opium dealer. He was also reported to have close ties with the Taliban. 24 Nov 2009 The US government has made a commitment to provide financial aid to Afghan provinces that have reduced or eliminated the production of opium. The United States signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday according to which it agreed to give $38.7 million to 27 Afghan provinces that eliminated or significantly reduced poppy production in the world's biggest supplier country, AFP reported. According to the MOU, the money will be handed over to Afghanistan's counter-narcotics ministry [Flush twice. It's a log way to the Afghan counter-narcotics Ministry.], which will disperse the cash to the 27 different provinces to finance development or alternative crops. [LOL. Am I the only one to observe that the US pays to *cultivate* Afghan opium poppies, while simultaneously paying to *reduce* them? Oh, but we can't get single-payer health care or the public option --too expensive. --LRP]
Obomba poised for special Thanksgiving holiday 'bad news' dump: Afghanistan decision to come within days, White House says 26 Nov 2009 President Obama will announce within days whether he will send more troops to Afghanistan, the White House said after he met with his national security team Monday night. "After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision and he will announce that decision within days," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. [Right, Monday night, but the PentaPost leak will take place on Thanksgiving. --LRP]
Top Democrat warns Afghanistan will bankrupt domestic programs, threatens war surtax if Obama sends more troops 23 Nov 2009 David Obey came to Congress in 1969, a young Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, opposed to the Vietnam War and mindful of the funding it was draining from Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. Thirty years later, he is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and adamant that Afghanistan is a similar quagmire that could bankrupt President Obama's domestic agenda. "There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan," House Appropriations Chairman David Obey told ABC News. "If they ask for an increased troop commitment in Afghanistan, I am going to ask them to pay for it." Comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam, Obey said that both were long-standing civil wars and that, in each case, the United States found itself with an unreliable partner on the ground.
Bomb in water truck kills 3 in Afghanistan 24 Nov 2009 A remote-controlled bomb hidden in a water truck exploded in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing three people including two children, the Interior Ministry said. Another two children and one man were wounded in the attack in the eastern province of Khost, it said. Wazir Pacha, a spokesman for the provincial police chief of Khost, said authorities were investigating what the target might have been.
4 US soldiers killed in 24 hours in Afghanistan 23 Nov 2009 The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says that four American soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan. The military said on Monday that the soldiers were killed in separate attacks in the war-ravaged country.
Leaked documents reveal No 10 cover-up over Iraq invasion --Inquiry to hear how Blair hid true intentions for war 22 Nov 2009 Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair's government's attempts to mislead the public. They were so shocked by the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the invasion that they believe members of the British and US governments at the time could be prosecuted for war crimes by breaching the duty outlined in the Geneva convention to safeguard civilians in a conflict, the Guardian has been told.
this picture show British soldiers broke Geneva Conventions?
Public inquiry to be launched into allegations of
U.S. soldier killed in Iraq 23 Nov 2009 An American soldier was killed in action south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Monday. A Multi-National Division South (MND-S) soldier was killed on Sunday, a military statement said without providing further details.
Iraq national vote unlikely in January: official 24 Nov 2009 Iraq will be unable to hold a national 'election' in January as planned, a poll official said on Tuesday, heaping more uncertainty on a vote meant to cement democracy [?] and pave the way for a partial U.S. troop withdrawal. The general election was supposed to be held between January 18-23. "In all cases the possibility of holding the vote in January is over," said Faraj al-Haidari, head of the electoral commission.
KBR to bid for part of $3B Air Force contract 23 Nov 2009 Defense contractor [terrorists] KBR said Monday the U.S. Air Force has asked it to bid for future task orders under the Worldwide Environmental Restoration and Construction program. KBR is one of 23 companies that will compete for related contracts. The total value of the contract to be dispersed among participating contractors is $3 billion.
British man fighting extradition in KBR bribe case 20 Nov 2009 A British lawyer accused in the United States of helping a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary bribe Nigerian officials for construction projects has begun his fight against extradition in a London court. Federal prosecutors in Houston, Texas, say Jeffrey Tesler helped steer bribe money from Kellogg, Brown & Root LLC to officials of the Nigerian government to win more than $6 billion in contracts.
Day 2 of drill: Iran warns Israel against stupid mistake 23 Nov 2009 Tehran begins the second day of a sweeping aerial drill with a strong warning to Tel Aviv: Israeli warplanes 'will come tumbling down' if they step out of line. Israel routinely threatens to bomb Iran's nuclear sites, arguing that the country's enrichment activities are an existential threat to Tel Aviv, which ironically is reported to have an arsenal of 200 nuclear warheads at its disposal. The threats were repeated only last week when Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief-of-staff of Israel's armed forces, dropped heavy hints at an upcoming attack on Iran.
IDF planes attack Gaza arms depot and smuggling tunnels 24 Nov 2009 The Israel Air Force carried out three airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Monday, targeting a weapons-manufacturing facility and weapons smuggling tunnels. The IDF said that the the aerial assaults came in response to two rockets Palestinian militants fired at southern Israel from Gaza a day earlier. No one was injured by the rocket fire.
Gaza rocket hits Israel, despite Hamas moratorium on Qassams 23 Nov 2009 Militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket into southern Israel on Monday, despite a recent declaration by Hamas that militant groups in the coastal territory had reached an agreement to halt cross-border rocket fire. The rocket exploded close to a community in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, causing neither causalities nor property damage. On Saturday evening, Hamas' interior minister said the militant groups in Gaza had agreed to cease firing rockets into Israel so as to prevent retaliatory attacks.
IDF strip-searches troops at ceremony, fearing pro-settler protest 24 Nov 2009 Soldiers in the ultra-Orthodox battalion of the Nahal infantry brigade claim that they were strip-searched on Monday upon entrance to a battalion ceremony. The commanders searched the soldiers fearing they would protest settlement evacuations as soldiers from the Kfir Brigade did recently. The incident took place during a ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Scopus, attended by the Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai.
Secret files show UK courts were misled over 9/11 suspect --The Guardian has obtained classified documents produced by the FBI and anti-terrorist officials in the UK after the 9/11 attacks which shed new light on how the courts were misled. 22 Nov 2009 British prosecutors failed to disclose crucial evidence to the courts in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in a case that resulted in an innocent pilot being jailed for five months, previously unseen documents reveal. Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian living in the UK, was the first person in the world to be arrested after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington DC. Accused of being the "lead" instructor of the 9/11 hijackers, Raissi was held in Belmarsh high security prison awaiting extradition to the United States.
Atty: Fort Hood suspect may seek insanity defense 24 Nov 2009 An attorney for an Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people during an attack at Fort Hood says his client will likely plead not guilty and may pursue an insanity defense at his military trial. John Galligan, the Fort Hood-area civilian attorney for Maj. Nidal Hasan, told The Associated Press by phone Monday that the court must consider his client's mental status because the allegations against Hasan contradict his lifestyle and military career.
Death toll rises to 39 for Philippines killings 24 Nov 2009 At least 39 people are now known to have died in the southern Philippines on Monday, after more bodies were discovered in a shallow grave. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in two provinces on the island of Mindanao to allow police to search for the [Arroyo-hired] gunmen. The victims were killed as they were travelling to file nomination papers for elections next May.
12 journalists killed in Philippines massacre --Early reports said the gunmen were led by a supporter of the country's president [sic], Gloria Arroyo. 24 Nov 2009 Twelve journalists were among 24 people murdered yesterday in the Philippines in what is thought to be the greatest loss of life by news media in a single day. Several of the victims were beheaded in the massacre carried out by a huge force of [rightwing] gunmen.
'Terrorist network in S Waziristan dismantled' 24 Nov 2009 The Pakistani army claims it has succeeded in dismantling the terrorist network in South Waziristan. An army statement said on Monday that its soldiers killed 20 militants while many others were injured in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area and in the neighboring Hangu and Orakzai agencies over the previous 24 hours.
8 charged with running terror ring 24 Nov 2009 Federal authorities unsealed terrorism-related charges against eight men Monday, accusing them of recruiting at least 20 young Somali Americans from Minnesota to join an extremist Islamist insurgency in Somalia. The newly named suspects make up one of the largest alleged terrorist networks in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, analysts said.
'Police targeting people for their DNA' --Watchdog says quest for data undermines presumption of innocence 24 Nov 2009 Police forces have been arresting people simply to add them to the controversial DNA database as a result of lax rules that have developed with almost no public scrutiny, the Government's independent DNA watchdog warns today. The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) also says there is little evidence that the national DNA database, the largest of its kind in the world, is of any use in solving crimes. In its two-year report examining the database, published today, it concludes that allowing police to add anyone arrested to the DNA database damages the assumption of innocence.
New US vaccine production techniques: Genetically modified insect cells, E. coli, caterpillar ovaries 24 Nov 2009 Spurred by $487 million in federal funding, a sprawling new vaccine factory is opening in North Carolina Tuesday that will produce shots using dog cells instead of chicken eggs. A Connecticut biotech company has also applied to sell a vaccine employing a radically different approach involving a genetically engineered virus infecting insect cells... Baxter International won approval last month to sell an H1N1 vaccine in Europe that uses a decades-old line of African green monkey kidney cells, and it is working on a vaccine for the United States. Protein Sciences of Meriden, Conn., has applied to the FDA for approval to sell a vaccine made by genetically engineering flu genes into a worm virus, which then infects cells from caterpillar ovaries to produce the necessary proteins to make vaccine. VaxInnate of Cranbury, N.J., for example, produced an experimental H1N1 vaccine using genetically engineered E.coli bacteria, and Vical of San Diego just won a $1.25 million contract from the Navy to develop an H1N1 vaccine that involves injecting DNA sequences from the virus directly into people.
1918 RBD D225G in Lung Cases in Ukraine and Norway (Recombinomics) 21 Nov 2009 For the two 1918 HA variants, the South Carolina (SC) HA (with Asp190, Asp225) bound exclusively alpha2-6 receptors, while the New York (NY) variant, which differed only by one residue (Gly225), had mixed alpha2-6/alpha2-3 specificity, especially for sulfated oligosaccharides. The above description is from a paper analyzing receptor binding domain differences in sequences from the 1918 pandemic. The New York variant had D225G, the same change found in lung tissues from fatal swine H1N1 sequences in Brazil, Ukraine, and Norway. The above result clearly demonstrated a change in receptor specificity for D225G, which was present in A/New York/1/1918 and A/London/1/1919, demonstrating the same change I 1918 that has been described in 2009.
NSA helped with Windows 7 development 18 Nov 2009 The National Security Agency (NSA) worked with Microsoft on the development of Windows 7, an agency official acknowledged yesterday during testimony before Congress. "Working in partnership with Microsoft and elements of the Department of Defense, NSA leveraged our unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft's operating system security guide without constraining the user to perform their everyday tasks, whether those tasks are being performed in the public or private sector," Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, told the Senate's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security yesterday as part of a prepared statement.
Sanford Faces 37 Charges by State Ethics Board 24 Nov 2009 Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina will face formal ethics charges on 37 counts of using his office for personal financial gain, according to a list of allegations issued by the state ethics commission on Monday.
Over 100 icebergs drifting to N.Zealand: official 23 Nov 2009 More than 100, and possibly hundreds, of Antarctic icebergs are floating towards New Zealand in a rare event which has prompted a shipping warning, officials said on Monday. An Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist said the ice chunks, spotted by satellite photography, had passed the Auckland Islands and were heading towards the main South Island, about 450 kilometres (280 miles) northeast.
Hostility between British and American military leaders revealed --The deep hostility of Britain’s senior military commanders in Iraq towards their American allies has been revealed in classified Government documents leaked to the Daily Telegraph. 22 Nov 2009 In the papers, the British chief of staff in Iraq, Colonel J.K.Tanner, described his US military counterparts as "a group of Martians" [Good one! Guess who was the Top Martian --aka Commander in Thief --in 2003?] for whom "dialogue is alien," saying: "Despite our so-called 'special relationship,' I reckon we were treated no differently to the Portuguese." Col Tanner’s boss, the top British commander in the country, Major General Andrew Stewart, told how he spent "a significant amount of my time" "evading" and "refusing" orders from his US superiors.
Iraq report: Secret papers reveal blunders and concealment --The "appalling" errors that contributed to Britain's failure in Iraq are disclosed in the most detailed and damning set of leaks to emerge on the conflict. 21 Nov 2009 On the eve of the Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the 2003 invasion and its aftermath, The Sunday Telegraph has obtained hundreds of pages of secret Government reports on "lessons learnt" which shed new light on "significant shortcomings" at all levels. They include full transcripts of extraordinarily frank classified interviews in which British Army commanders vent their frustration and anger with ministers and Whitehall officials.
The Iraq war files 22 Nov 2009 The reports disclose that: Tony Blair, the former prime minister, misled MPs and the public throughout 2002 when he claimed that Britain’s objective was "disarmament, not regime change" and that there had been no planning for military action. In fact, British military planning for a full invasion and regime change began in February 2002.
US 'helps build anti-Taliban militias' in Afghanistan 22 Nov 2009 The United States has begun helping a number of anti-Taliban militias [death squads] in several parts of Afghanistan in hopes for a large-scale tribal rebellion against the radical Islamic movement, The New York Times reported late Saturday. The newspaper said US and Afghan officials were planning to spur the growth of similar armed groups across the Taliban heartland in the southern and eastern parts of the country. The officials say they are hoping the plan, called the Community Defense Initiative, will bring together thousands of gunmen to protect their neighborhoods from Taliban 'insurgents,' the report said. ['Community Defense Initiative.' Gee, it even *sounds* like something straight out of Nazi Germany or Joe Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee. --LRP]
Tories work to undermine diplomat who blew whistle on torture 20 Nov 2009 The Harper government is training its guns on a diplomat whistleblower who says Canada was complicit in the torture of captured Afghan prisoners, trying to undermine Richard Colvin's credibility as pressure builds to hold a public inquiry into the matter. "There are incredible holes in the story that have to be examined," Defence Minister Peter MacKay told Parliament Thursday, even as he rejected opposition calls for a probe into Mr. Colvin's serious charges that Canada's soldiers handed over Afghan prisoners with the knowledge they'd likely be tortured by local interrogators. [The 'incredible holes that have to be examined' are those in Harper's head.]
Torture case ruling backed 20 Nov 2009 Two judges reiterated yesterday that information relating to the alleged torture of a British citizen should be published. The High Court ruled last month, in its fifth judgment on the case, that details relating to the interrogation of Binyam Mohamed in Pakistan in 2002 should be released. Passages in the judgment were cut after the judges heard argument on behalf of David Miliband, the foreign secretary, that disclosing the information could damage national security and intelligence-sharing with the US. In the High Court ruling yesterday, the judges said the passages should be restored because they were "central to an understanding of our judgment". The Foreign Office said it was appealing.
Army faces inquiry over 'Battle of Danny Boy' torture claims --Evidence indicating torture and mutilation allegedly includes close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds, human rights lawyers have claimed. 21 Nov 2009 Claims that British soldiers tortured and murdered up to 20 prisoners after a battle with Iraqi 'insurgents' are to be scrutinised at a public inquiry. Concern that the Army covered up the most serious accusation of war crimes that it has faced has prompted Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, to order the independent inquiry. Mr Ainsworth is due to tell MPs next week that the inquiry will centre on an incident known as the Battle of Danny Boy. It took place in May 2004 and involved soldiers from the Argyll and Southern Highlanders and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment... Iraqi families claim that some of those killed had been captured alive before being tortured and murdered by troops at Camp Abu Naji, a British base. Evidence indicating torture and mutilation allegedly includes close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds, human rights lawyers have claimed.
Britain knew CIA tortured detainee --Mr Mohamed alleges that his torture included the cutting of his genitals with a razor blade. 20 Nov 2009 Britain knew that American agents were using barbaric torture techniques on terror suspects, including British resident Binyam Mohamed, it emerged yesterday. Secret reports sent between MI5 and the CIA in 2002 reveal that the American security services were using torture practices which included waterboarding, facial slaps and stress positions. The extent of Britain's knowledge was made clear in the latest High Court judgment in the case of Binyam Mohamed, who claims Britain actively colluded in his torture while he was being unlawfully held by the Americans in Morocco seven years ago. Mr Mohamed alleges that his torture included the cutting of his genitals with a razor blade.
Inquiry into 'rape and torture' by UK troops as Iraqis' lawyer claims 32 cases are tip of the iceberg 16 Nov 2009 Fresh claims that British soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners are to be investigated by the Ministry of Defence. They include allegations of rape and torture, some by female British soldiers. But hundreds more alleged cases could remain buried for ever, the lawyer representing the Iraqi complainants said yesterday. It came as the U.S. defence secretary-blocked the publication of pictures allegedly showing abuse by American soldiers. One Iraqi complainant against British soldiers claims they based the abuse they allegedly subjected him to on photographs taken at the notorious U.S. detention centre Abu Ghraib.
U.S. soldier found guilty of abusing subordinates in Iraq 21 Nov 2009 A U.S. military court demoted and jailed a soldier for mistreating troops in Iraq, behavior discovered during the investigation of another soldier's suicide. Sgt. Jarrett Taylor of Edmond, Oklahoma, was convicted at a special court martial at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, that ended on Friday, the military said. He was found guilty of making false official statements and cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates. The soldier was reduced to the rank of private, sentenced to 180 days in confinement and ordered to forfeit $933 in pay for the next six months, the military said.
Officials: 4 dead in attacks around Iraq 22 Nov 2009 Iraqi security officials say four people have been killed in attacks in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul. They say two police officers were killed late Saturday when a bomb attached to their car exploded. Also, a member of a U.S.-backed Sunni militia that revolted against al-Qaida was shot dead Sunday by unidentified gunmen.
US military loses another GI in Iraq 22 Nov 2009 Another US soldier has been killed in Iraq. "A Multi-National Division South soldier was killed in action," according to a US Army statement issued on Sunday. The latest casualty brings the death toll for US troops in Iraq to nine for the month of November and 145 so far this year.
MoD spent £149m on tanks unfit for service 23 Nov 2009 The Ministry of Defence has been criticised for spending £149 million on an "urgent" upgrade to 900 tanks that can still only be used for training. The armoured vehicles will be used in Canada and Britain because they offer insufficient protection against mines in Afghanistan. A defence source described the procurement, at a time when equipment shortages for troops have caused public anger, as a waste of money.
Israeli jets attack Gaza, 7 Palestinians injured 22 Nov 2009 Israeli jets have carried out air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, injuring seven Palestinians. On Sunday, Palestinian medical workers and witnesses said other areas targeted by Israeli planes included a caravan in the northern Gaza Strip and smuggling tunnels in the south under the border with Egypt, the New York Times reported.
Barak: We must crush IDF refusal with an iron fist 21 Nov 2009 Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated on Saturday his pledge to crack down on Israel Defense Forces soldiers who refuse to carry out orders, saying Israel should not hesitate to act forcefully to crush the phenomenon. "A country that wishes to live must put an end to refusal by the right and left with an iron fist," said Barak in a closed meeting.
Iran to test new air defense system 22 Nov 2009 Iran is to test a new anti-aircraft defense system during a five-day aerial maneuver, the Iranian defense minister has said. The large-scale maneuver, which was launched on Sunday, is mainly aimed at developing the country's aerial defenses against any potential attack on the country's nuclear plants. "The Defense Ministry's new anti-aircraft defense system will be tested in the Aseman-e-Velayat 2 maneuver," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday.
Oil tops $78 amid fresh Iran tensions 22 Nov 2009 Oil prices rose above $78 a barrel on Monday as heightened tension between Iran and Western nations raised speculation of a potential 'supply risk,' encouraging investors to push prices higher.
Revealed: 50 oil tankers loitering off British coast as they lie in wait for fuel price hikes --A significant number are 'oil sharks' - tankers that have been cynically told to wait for crude prices to be driven up before they unload their cargo. 20 Nov 2009 More than 50 oil tankers are anchored off Britain - pieces in a game in which the only winners are market speculators. The losers are the millions of British motorists paying over the odds for their petrol and diesel. After yesterday's report in the Daily Mail on how several so-called 'oil shark' tankers were moored near the Devon coast, dozens more vessels were revealed to be loitering off-shore.
Trial Is Key Test for Other Cases Involving Terror 23 Nov 2009 ...To ensure that secrets do not leak, Judge Kaplan has imposed a protective order on all classified information, which may be reviewed by the defense lawyers only in a special "secure area," a room whose location has not been disclosed. The defense lawyers, who had to obtain security clearance, cannot disclose the information to Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani without permission of the court or the government. Any motions they write based on the material must be prepared in the special room, and nothing may be filed publicly until it is reviewed by the government.
Four charged with terror-related offences 22 Nov 2009 Police charged four men with terrorism-related offences on Sunday after an operation by counter-terrorism officers in northwest England earlier this month. Israr Hussain Malik was charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism. Three others -- Munir Ahmed Farooqi, Haris Farooqi, and Matthew Newton -- were charged with intending to help others commit acts of terrorism.
Italy Police Arrest Two Mumbai Terror Suspects 21 Nov 2009 Two Pakistanis suspected of being involved in the Mumbai terror attacks have been arrested in Italy. The two men, who are father and son, were arrested in an early morning raid in the northern city of Brescia. They are believed to have provided logistical support for the terror attacks in November last year which left 170 people dead.
Fort Hood suspect paralyzed from chest down, lawyer says --He has been receiving letters and cards, which the government has been copying before delivering. 23 Nov 2009 Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., is paralyzed from the chest down and doctors believe his paralysis will be permanent, Hasan's civilian lawyer [John P. Galligan] said Sunday. During a closed-door hearing in Hasan's hospital room on Saturday that lasted about an hour, a magistrate ruled that Hasan be confined [Brooke Army Medical Center] until his military trial, Galligan said. He has been receiving letters and cards, which the government has been copying before delivering, Galligan said. Now under pre-trial confinement, Hasan faces greater restrictions on visitors and the military can transfer him to another hospital or jail, he said.
Army refuses to identify Hasan prosecutors, chases away journalists --Judicial order further restricts Hasan 21 Nov 2009 In a court hearing from a San Antonio military hospital room Saturday, the Army obtained a judicial order that placed more restrictions on accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, and makes it easier for the military to move him from Brooke Army Medical Center pending trial, according to his lead lawyer. But where Hasan might be moved -- or when -- remained a mystery after the hearing, which lasted an hour and a half and was held in BAMC's Intensive Care Unit, where Hasan is recuperating, the lawyer, retired Army Col. John P. Galligan said. Galligan addressed reporters outside the gates of Fort Sam Houston, where BAMC is located, because the Army did not allow the media to attend the hearing and sidestepped a legal challenge from the San Antonio Express-News that sought access for journalists. Post guards chased away journalists who approached Galligan's vehicle after the hearing because half of the car was still within the outer perimeter gate. Additionally, the Army only supplied vague details of the hearing late Friday after getting inquiries from the media. It even refused to identify the prosecutors.
Monitored Hasan's E-mail Exchanges 21 Nov 2009 In the months
before the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan intensified
his communications with a Yemeni American cleric and began to discuss
surreptitious financial transfers and other steps that could translate
his thoughts into action, according to two sources briefed on a collection
of secret e-mails between the two...
To date, investigators have not unearthed evidence that Hasan sent money
to charities with strong or suspected ties to Islamist militant groups.
The FBI obtained the e-mails pursuant to court-ordered wiretaps, according
to a former intelligence official. After receiving a wiretap order,
Internet providers generally set up accounts that allow cloned copies
of e-mails to go to the government agency in real time. Stored e-mails
also may be provided with a search warrant. In this case, a first batch
of Hasan's e-mails was sent by agents in San Diego to the bureau's Washington
field office, where a terrorism task force began to assess them in December.
But months later, additional messages
'Tell the commanding general to call off all charges or there will be a re-enactment of Fort Hood.' Suspicious note and package found at Fort Benning --Fort Benning: Box of hollow-point bullets and an anonymous note threatening an incident like the one at Fort Hood left at gazebo 21 Nov 2009 A Fort Benning spokesman says Army officials are investigating whether a suspicious note and package found at the west Georgia post is a viable threat. Bob Purtiman says a soldier found the note and package Thursday morning in an outdoor gazebo. The soldier immediately told a supervisor, who called 911.
Note said Fort Hood-style shooting could happen --Witness: Increase in MP patrols on post and Kelley Hill area of Fort Benning on lockdown status for part of Friday. 22 Nov 2009 A box of hollow-point bullets and an anonymous note threatening an incident like the one at Fort Hood, Texas, were discovered Thursday at Fort Benning, Ga., sparking a criminal investigation and greater police presence, a witness told Army Times. According to a witness at the scene, a box of 20 hollow-point shells and a handwritten note were found in the motor pool area between 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry, under the 197th Infantry Training Brigade. "The note said 'tell the commanding general to call off all charges or there will be a re-enactment of Fort Hood,' " the witness told Army Times. He spoke on condition he wouldn’t be identified. After the discovery, he said, military police arrived with dogs, cordoned off a 20-foot perimeter around the box and began dusting for fingerprints and questioning people.
UK investigates spread of drug resistant swine flu 20 Nov 2009 British health officials are investigating the likely person-to-person spread of a drug-resistant strain of swine flu, the Health Protection Agency said on Friday. There have been five confirmed cases in Wales of patients infected with H1N1 resistant to oseltamivir -- the generic name of Roche AG and Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug Tamiflu, the agency said.
WHO investigating Norway swine flu mutations 20 Nov 2009 The World Health Organization said Friday it is investigating samples of variant swine flu linked to two deaths and one severe case in Norway, but that so far the significance of the mutation is unclear. Norway's Institute of Public Health announced Friday that the mutation "could possibly...cause more severe disease" because it infects tissue deeper in the airway than usual. The mutation was found in three of 70 analyzed swine flu cases, said Geir Stene-Larsen, the institute's director.
Radiation leak at Three Mile Island --Officials are checking employees who had been working in the building for possible unusual radiation exposure. 22 Nov 2009 Radiation has been detected in a reactor building at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in central Pennsylvania. About 150 employees were sent home after the radiation was detected Saturday afternoon. Exelon Nuclear spokeswoman Beth Archer says 'investigators' are searching for the cause.
Healthcare bill passes first U.S. Senate test 21 Nov 2009 A sweeping healthcare overhaul narrowly cleared its first hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Saturday, with Democrats casting 60 party-line votes to open debate on the biggest healthcare changes in decades. In the first Senate test for President Barack Obama's top domestic priority, Democrats unanimously backed a procedural motion to open debate over the opposition of 39 Republicans.
East Antarctic ice sheet may be losing mass 22 Nov 2009 The East Antarctic ice sheet has been losing mass for the last three years, according to an analysis of data from a gravity-measuring satellite mission. The scientists involved say they are "surprised" by the finding, because the giant East Antarctic sheet, unlike the west, has been thought to be stable. The US-based team reports its findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Canadian diplomat alleges troops in Afghanistan were complicit in torture --Senior diplomat formerly stationed in Kabul claims troops 'handed over for severe torture a lot of innocent people' 20 Nov 2009 The Canadian government was fending off calls for a public inquiry on torture today after allegations from one of its senior diplomats that Canada was complicit in the torture of Afghan detainees. Richard Colvin, who was second in command at Canada's Kabul embassy in 2006 and 2007, said that Afghans swept up in security sweeps by Canadian troops during that time were routinely handed over to the Afghan intelligence services. "According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured," Colvin told Canada's parliament. "For interrogators in Kandahar, it was standard operating procedure. "In other words, we detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people."
All Afghan detainees likely tortured: diplomat 18 Nov 2009 All detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured by Afghan officials and many of the prisoners were innocent, says a former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Appearing before a House of Commons committee Wednesday, Richard Colvin blasted the detainees policies of Canada and compared them with the policies of the British and the Netherlands. The detainees were captured by Canadian soldiers then handed over to the Afghan intelligence service, called the NDS. "According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured. For interrogators in Kandahar, it was a standard operating procedure," Colvin said. He said the most common forms of torture were beatings, whipping with power cables, the use of electricity, knives, open flames and rape.
Notes from Bagram prison By James Bays 18 Nov 2009 In the past, military officials have refused to go on the record about the number of prisoners at the jail. Brigadier General Mark Martin, the acting commander, was more forthcoming. He told us the prison currently houses about 700 people. Of these, "about 30" were non-Afghans, and "about 5" were juveniles... A new command has been set up, to take charge of all detainee operations in Afghanistan, including Bagram. Of course, CJTF-435 is a US operation, not part of ISAF (the NATO force). Many other NATO and ISAF nations are very uneasy about Bagram and what goes on there.
Judges 'gagged' on torture claim --Binyam: Judges attack UK secrecy over public documents 19 Nov 2009 Senior judges say the foreign secretary is stopping them releasing details of CIA interrogation techniques - even though the US has published them. The High Court says it wants to refer to previously classified documents as part of its judgement on the alleged mistreatment of Binyam Mohamed. Mr Mohamed says the US tortured him after his arrest in Pakistan in 2002. The declassified material is online - but the UK says using some of it in court would harm national security.
ABC News Report 'Not Helping' Our Image --ABC News Finds Secret
"Torture" Prison for al-Qaeda Detainees at Swank Riding Academy
19 Nov 2009 A top Lithuanian official said that a report by ABC News
that it had discovered a secret CIA prison in a former riding academy
near Vilnius was damaging to his country's reputation. "Obviously, this
is not helping Lithuania's image," Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas
told the Baltic News Service Thursday. "Therefore it is vital that we
conduct an investigation and clear any doubts." On Wednesday, ABC News
revealed the location of one of the CIA's secret "black site" prisons,
to drop shooting case against Blackwater guard Friday, 20
Nov 2009 5:35 PM The Justice Department intends to drop manslaughter
and weapons charges against one of the Blackwater Worldwide
and Inquiry Possible for Blackwater Successor --Other penalties
could result from violations of licensing requirements for the transfer
of other forms of military technology and training expertise to foreign
countries. 19 Nov 2009 The international
Woman awarded $3M in assault claim against KBR 19 Nov 2009 A woman who claimed she was raped in 2005 while working in Iraq for a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary has been awarded nearly $3 million by an arbitrator to settle her case. Tracy Barker had sued U.S. contractor KBR Inc., its former parent company Halliburton and several affiliates in May 2007, claiming she was sexually attacked by a State Department employee while working as a civilian contractor in the southern Iraqi city of Basra... Court records filed this week show Barker was awarded a judgment of $2.93 million to settle her arbitration claim against KBR.
GAO: Fraud in gov't contracts for disabled vets 19 Nov 2009 Companies fraudulently collected at least $100 million in federal contracts from a $4 billion government program designated for disabled military veterans who run small businesses, congressional investigators charge. In many cases, small business owners falsely claimed they had a service-related injury to get the federal work and were only caught when competitors protested. In other situations, the small veteran-owned businesses were legitimate but then improperly passed the work to large or foreign-based corporations.
Afghan minister accused of taking bribe --$30 Million Payment Alleged --Massive mining project awarded to Chinese firm 18 Nov 2009 The Afghan minister of mines accepted a roughly $30 million bribe to award the country's largest development project to a Chinese mining firm [China Metallurgical Group Corp.], according to a U.S. official who is familiar with military intelligence reports. The allegation, if proved true, would mark one of the most brazen examples of corruption yet disclosed in Afghanistan.
Deadly blast near Peshawar court 19 Nov 2009 At least 19 people have been killed in a suicide bomb blast outside the main gate of a court building in Peshawar. Thursday's attack was the seventh deadly explosion to hit the northwestern Pakistani city in less than two weeks. Officials said about 30 people were wounded in the attack, which occurred during rush hour when the area is normally crowded with lawyers, administrative personnel and the public. [See: Blackwater/Xe in Pakistan.]
Suspected U.S. drone kills 4 in Pakistan-officials 18 Nov 2009 A suspected U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles into a northwestern Pakistani militant stronghold on Wednesday killing four people, Pakistani security officials said. The United States has carried out more than 40 attacks with its pilotless, missile-firing aircraft in northwest Pakistan this year as its forces in neighbouring Afghanistan have faced an intensifying Taliban 'insurgency.'
Suicide bomber kills 16 in western Afghanistan 20 Nov 2009 A suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded at least 23 others Friday in a busy city square in western Afghanistan, while near Kabul a powerful former warlord narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, officials said. Lawmaker Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a former Northern Alliance leader who has been accused by Human Rights Watch of war crimes, was in a convoy with his bodyguards when a remote-controlled bomb hidden in an irrigation canal beside the road exploded in the Paghman district north of the Afghan capital, said district chief of police Abdul Razaq.
Bomber kills 13, injures 35 in Afghanistan 19 Nov 2009 Amid the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, a bomber has killed 13 people and wounded about three dozens in the country's troubled southwest. The bomber on a motorcycle detonated his explosives in a crowded area in Farah City on Friday. The death toll is expected to rise as some of the 35 injured were said to be in critical condition.
Fort Lewis soldier from Texas dies in Afghanistan 20 Nov 2009 The Defense Department says a Fort Lewis soldier was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Twenty-six-year-old Spc. Joseph M. Lewis of Terrell, Texas, was a member of the 5th Stryker brigade.
Karzai sworn in as Afghan president 19 Nov 2009 Hamid Karzai has been sworn in for a second five-year term as Afghanistan's president, pledging to tackle the "dangerous issue" of corruption. Karzai took the oath of office at the presidential palace in central Kabul on Thursday, in front of 800 guests, including 300 foreign dignitaries.
Belgian PM named as EU president 19 Nov 2009 The European Union has selected a new president to chair EU summits and represent the bloc on the world stage, as well as a new foreign policy chief. The way was cleared by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the Czech Republic. The low-key Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy, had emerged as the frontrunner for the presidency post before being confirmed in the role.
Air Defense Push Inspired by 9/11 Gets a 2nd Look 20 Nov 2009 The commander of military forces protecting North America has ordered a review of the costly air defenses intended to prevent another Sept. 11-style terrorism attack, an assessment aimed at determining whether the commitment of jet fighters, other aircraft and crews remains justified. Senior officers involved in the effort say the assessment is to gauge the likelihood that terrorists may succeed in hijacking an airliner or flying their own smaller craft into the United States or Canada.
Fort Hood shooter faces bedside hearing: lawyer 20 Nov 2009 The army psychiatrist accused of a shooting rampage at the Fort Hood military base in Texas will have his first pre-trial court hearing Saturday in his hospital room, his lawyer's office told AFP. Major Nidal Hasan, who has been charged with 13 counts of pre-meditated murder, will have a confinement hearing at the Brook Army Medical Center near San Antonio, Texas, said a representative for attorney John Galligan, who asked not to be named.
Gates orders Army inquiry after Fort Hood killings 19 Nov 2009 A review of US Army and Pentagon policies has been ordered by the defence secretary in the wake of a shooting at a military base. The review will include Pentagon medical and personnel programmes, and US military base security. Defence Secretary Robert Gates appointed a former Army secretary and an ex-Navy chief to report in 45 days. The review is in addition to others into the Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed.
Lawyer Convicted of Aiding Terrorist Is Jailed 20 Nov 2009 Defiant to the end as she embraced emotional supporters outside the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, Lynne F. Stewart, the radical lawyer known for defending unpopular clients, surrendered on Thursday evening to begin serving her 28-month sentence for assisting terrorism. "This is the day they executed Joe Hill, and his words were, 'Don’t mourn me, organize,' " Ms. Stewart said as she walked toward the courthouse, referring to the labor organizer executed on Nov. 19, 1915, after a controversial trial.
Sears Tower plot leader gets 13-year prison term 20 Nov 2009 The ringleader of a group described by prosecutors as plotting terror attacks on Chicago's Sears Tower and FBI offices in hopes of sparking an anti-government insurrection was sentenced Friday to 13 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge. Narseal Batiste, 35, who faced a maximum of 70 years in prison, was convicted in May of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida [al-CIAduh], plotting to blow up buildings and conspiracy to wage war against the U.S.
Two more jailed for Sears Tower terror plot 19 Nov 2009 A US judge on Thursday handed down prison terms of eight and nine years to two more men accused of swearing allegiance to 'Al-Qaeda' and plotting to blow up the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the United States. Patrick Abraham, who was seen as the right-hand man of the leader of the 2006 conspiracy, was jailed for nine years, while Stanley Phanor received an eight-year sentence. Like the two brothers linked to the same group and jailed for six and seven years on Wednesday, the sentences were far less than the steeper terms of up to 50 years in prison sought by prosecutors.
Govt wants speedy screening at more airports 19 Nov 2009 The Homeland Security Department wants to expand speedy screening of preapproved, low-risk air travelers arriving in the United States to most international airports in the country. For more than a year, the department has been testing this program at seven airports across the country... The voluntary program, called Global Entry, would be open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents at least 14 years old. They would have to pay a $100 fee and undergo a background check.
4 Tamiflu resistant H1N1 cases at Duke --An antiviral resistance was confirmed by the laboratory at CDC Monday night. 20 Nov 2009 (NC) Health officials announced Friday afternoon that four patients at Duke Medical Center have shown signs of an antiviral-resistance to the H1N1 influenza strain. The four patients were diagnosed with flu during October and November. Duke physicians discovered the resistant strain after some of the patients continued to test positive for the flu despite antiviral treatment.
100,000 H1N1 vaccines pulled after bad reactions 20 Nov 2009 More than 100,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine are being withdrawn across the country, after Manitoba health officials announced Thursday they'd noticed a higher-than-usual number of allergic reactions from one batch. Vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has asked several provinces to set aside the 170,000 doses from the questionable batch.
Yup, shark livers. What's in your H1N1 flu vaccine? 19 Nov 2009 One of the best examples involves a controversial ingredient present in the H1N1 vaccine: thimerosal. Thimerosal is a form of mercury used in some vaccines as a preservative... and still remains in many flu vaccines. Squalene is another controversial component of the swine-flu vaccine. It’s an oil found in animal livers and is used as an adjuvant in vaccines and also as a moisturizer in cosmetic products. It is primarily gotten from shark livers... Still other questions have been raised about polysorbate 80, another component of the H1N1 vaccine adjuvant.
FDA Panel Rejects Cell Culture Flu Vaccine, Wants More Safety Data --In 6-5 vote, panel decided it didn't have enough safety information to recommend approval of drug 19 Nov 2009 With members citing unanswered safety questions, an FDA advisory panel today narrowly rejected approval of the nation's first cell-based influenza vaccine. A small manufacturer called Protein Sciences Corp. of Meriden, Conn. sought approval for its trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine, FluBlok, for active immunization of adults ages 18 years and older against influenza virus subtypes A and type B.
Fox News Poll: Worries About Safety of Swine Flu Vaccine Persist 20 Nov 2009 A recent Fox News poll suggests that even when the H1N1 vaccine becomes more widely available, concern over its safety may prevent many at-risk Americans from getting vaccinated. Nearly equal numbers are more afraid of the side effects from the swine flu vaccine as are afraid of getting the flu itself (35 percent vaccine compared to 37 percent flu). Many Americans also feel the testing of the swine flu vaccine was done too quickly so its safety is uncertain (40 percent).
CLG exclusive: Partial Settlement in Jeane Palfrey Case By Lori Price 19 Nov 2009 Deborah Jeane Palfrey's former attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, has told Citizens For Legitimate Government that the government is giving to the Innocence Project $89,000 as Jeane had left a will giving that group money.
UC students occupy buildings to protest fee hike 20 Nov 2009 Students barricaded themselves inside buildings on University of California campuses to protest a 32 percent increase in student fees and budget cuts that have led to slashed programs and lost jobs. Demonstrators at UC Berkeley occupied Wheeler Hall on Friday and hung a sign from a window that read "32 Percent Hike, 900 layoffs," with the word "Class" crossed out in red. A group of students also rallied outside the building. Campus police said they had arrested three of the demonstrators inside. Police would not say how many protesters remained in the building. [Hopefully, lots of them!]
U.S. Mortgage Delinquencies Reach a Record High 20 Nov 2009 The economy and the stock market may be recovering from their swoon, but more homeowners than ever are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments, according to figures released Thursday. Nearly one in 10 homeowners with mortgages was at least one payment behind in the third quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its survey. That translates into about five million households.
$100 Million Health Care Vote? 19 Nov 2009 On page 432 of the
[Sen. Harry] Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid
subsidies for "certain states recovering from a major disaster."
The section... reveals that it would be states that "during the
preceding 7 fiscal years" have been declared a "major disaster
area." I [ABC News' Jonathan Karl] am told the section applies
to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate DemocRAT Mary
Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the
The Dartmouth JFK-Photo Fiasco By Jim Fetzer, Ph.D. 18 Nov 2009 Professor Hany Farid, a member of the computer science faculty at Dartmouth, in a recent article injected himself into a long-running dispute concerning the authenticity of photographs related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. These photos reportedly of the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald are collectively known as "the backyard photographs." Farid's analysis immediately raised the ire of many assassination researchers, who for years have claimed the photos are clever fakes.
Secret 'Torture' Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy
--ABC News Finds the Location of a "Black Site" for Alleged Terrorists
in Lithuania 18 Nov 2009 The CIA built one of its secret European
prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania,
a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence
official told ABC News this week. Where affluent Lithuanians once rode
show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete
structure where it could use
MI5 and MI6 given go ahead for secret hearings into abuse 18 Nov 2009 MI5 and MI6 have been given permission to hold hearings behind closed doors into their alleged complicity in the treatment of seven former detainees in Guantanamo Bay. A High Court judge ruled there was no reason in law why closed hearings should not be used in the damages case, even though it had never been used in such a case before. The judge said the "closed material" procedure entitled the defendants not to disclose matters to the claimants or their lawyers where disclosure would be contrary to the interests of national security, the international relations of the UK or in any other circumstances where it was likely to harm the public interest.
Secret evidence blow hits Guantanamo seven --Agencies such as MI5 and MI6 could rely on secret evidence in their defence 18 Nov 2009 Britain’s security services should be able to withhold evidence from claimants in civil court cases, the High Court ruled today. In a decision which could have far-reaching legal implications, Mr Justice Silber ruled that agencies such as MI5 and MI6 could rely on secret evidence in their defence, if disclosing the evidence would compromise national security.
Britain 'to stage Afghanistan surge' 18 Nov 2009 Foreign Secretary David Miliband has given the strongest indication yet that Britain's military presence in Afghanistan will significantly increase. The signal came as Slovakia yesterday said it would double its forces in the country. At the Nato Parliamentary Assembly in Edinburgh, delegates were also told by the organisation's supreme commander that the "war can be won" if the allies are willing to commit themselves.
Al Qaeda in Iraq becoming less foreign-U.S. general 18 Nov 2009 Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq is becoming more Iraqi and less dominated by foreigners as the insurgent group increasingly joins forces with Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party, the commander of U.S. forces said on Wednesday. Investigations into massive suicide bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25, in which more than 150 people died, indicated that explosives or fighters were coming across from Syria, U.S. General Ray Odierno also said.
Iraq president invites Total to work oil fields 18 Nov 2009 Iraq's President Jalal Talabani struck an optimistic note on French oil company Total's chance of winning an oil contract Wednesday, saying that figures aren't everything in winning a contract. Talabani met with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday and had a meeting with Total executives on Wednesday morning.
E-mails show KBR feared casualties before deadly attack 18 Nov 2009 KBR security personnel expected casualties the night before six civilian drivers were killed and others injured in an Iraq ambush, but went ahead with the convoy, according to e-mails presented in a Houston federal court today. "There is a ton on intel stating tomorrow will be a bad day," wrote George Seagle, KBR's director of security in the Middle East, the night before the April 9, 2004 attacks. In the e-mail presented in court he suggested KBR halt convoys for the next day.
Israeli minister plans to send troops into schools to boost conscription --Soldiers would meet teachers in bid to encourage students to join 18 Nov 2009 The Israeli education minister has unveiled plans to take teams of senior army officers to high schools across the country to help teachers "foster the motivation" of pupils to serve in combat units following a decline in conscription rates. In an announcement that infuriated liberals in a country where compulsory military service is still a fact of life, the right-wing Likud member Gideon Saar announced that about 200 meetings would be held between teams of senior army officers and teachers, with the stated intention of encouraging schools in "contributing to the society and community".
US 'dismay' at Israel over Gilo plan --Controversial settlement expansion criticised --Obama's efforts to resume negotiations undermined 18 Nov 2009 The White House yesterday expressed exasperation with Israel over a plan to build 900 new houses on the West Bank at a time when Barack Obama is trying to broker a Middle East peace agreement. Although Obama is mainly focused on a tour of south-east Asia, the White House took time out to express disappointment over approval of the new houses at Gilo, a controversial settlement on the outskirts of east Jerusalem.
Guantanamo won't close by January: Obama 18 Nov 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama has acknowledged that he will not be able to meet his pledge to close the controversial detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by January. One of Obama's first acts as president was to sign an executive order to close the facility within a year, a move he said would restore his country’s "moral high ground." But his plan ran into roadblocks... The U.S. Senate in May voted 90-6 against allowing funds requested to shut down the facility or use the funds to transfer prisoners to U.S. soil.
US Senate drops bid blocking Gitmo transfer 18 Nov 2009 The US Senate has voted against a measure aimed at preventing the Obama administration from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to US soil for trial. The measure sponsored by Republican Senator James Inhofe was defeated in a 57-43 vote on Tuesday afternoon.
Obama suggests 9/11 suspect will get death penalty 18 Nov 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama suggested on Wednesday the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks [Dick Cheney?] would be convicted and put to death, but later said he was not trying to prejudge the trial. Speaking in television interviews while traveling in Asia, Obama acknowledged he would miss his Jan. 22 deadline to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is now held, but said he believed it would be shut next year.
Republican senators, Holder clash over terrorism trials 18 Nov 2009 Republican senators confronted Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday over his decision to try the Sept. 11 terrorism suspects in civilian court. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, [insanely] expressed certainty that they'll be found guilty and executed. Holder didn't go as far as Obama did in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, though the nation's top prosecutor said he was confident that justice would be delivered to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. [As an attorney, Barack Obama should know that the President should not be expressing such sentiments, prior to a trial.]
(Satire) GOP to Take Political Advantage of Terrorist Trials --'America will see it's Republicans who want to keep them safe with our fair and balanced torture program.' By R J Shulman 18 Nov 2009 No sooner did Attorney General Eric Holder announce that five high-profile detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison were going to be brought to trial in New York than the Republicans sprang into action. "Our message to the American people is that the Muslim-infested Democrat Party brings terrorists into our country to make heroes of them. We will pound this message 24/7 on Fox, and the other networks will soon pick up on it. This is manna from heaven," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. "America will see it's Republicans who want to keep them safe with our fair and balanced torture program." (Satire)
'This is our surge.' Calif. city uses Iraq, Afghanistan combat veterans in counterinsurgency strategy --"What was strange was the look on his face was very similar to a bunch of the insurgents we'd captured" in Diyala province. 15 Nov 2009 Since February, combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been advising Salinas police on counterinsurgency strategy, bringing lessons from the battlefield to the streets in an American city. "This is our surge," said Mayor Dennis Donohue, who solicited the assistance from the elite Naval Postgraduate School, 20 miles away in Monterey. "It's a little laboratory," said retired Col. Hy Rothstein, the former Army career officer in Special Forces who heads the team of 15 faculty members and students... "The idea was, not just Salinas," Ferrari said, "but is there a national model for this?" [The implementation of a 'national model' will give rise to an *actual* insurgency. And, if you want to know how all that will turn out, watch 'The Battle of Algiers.' --LRP]
Senate to press ahead with probe into Fort Hood 18 Nov 2009 Two U.S. senators vowed on Wednesday not to interfere with a criminal probe of the Fort Hood shootings but said they must move ahead with their own hearing into the rampage. Joe Lieberman, an independent [I-Israel] who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and the panel's top Republican, Susan Collins, want to know if the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies missed warning signs.
Fort Hood suspect's contacts probed --Investigators have said e-mails between Hasan and the imam did not advocate or threaten violence. 18 Nov 2009 US Attorney General Eric Holder has said he was disturbed to learn of contacts between Fort Hood shooting suspect Nidal Hasan and a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen. Holder was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers asked him about the mass shooting at the Texas Army base, and Holder said the government is investigating Hasan's background to determine if internal warning signs were missed before the shooting.
Judge: Corps' negligence caused Katrina flooding 18 Nov 2009 A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval sided with five residents and one business who argued the Army Corps' shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. Duval awarded the plaintiffs $720,000, or about $170,000 each, but the decision could eventually make the government vulnerable to a much larger payout.
Corps' operation of MR-GO doomed homes in St. Bernard, Lower 9th Ward, judge rules 18 Nov 2009 In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' mismanagement of maintenance of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet was directly responsible for flood damage of homes in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The decision by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. could result in the federal government paying $700,000 in damages to three people and a business in those areas, but also sets the stage for judgments against the govenment for damages by as many as 100,000 other residents, businesses and local governments in those areas who filed claims with the corps after Katrina.
Many reluctant to have swine flu vaccine: poll 17 Nov 2009 Many Britons are refusing to have swine flu vaccinations because of concerns about side effects and the general perception that it is a mild illness, a newspaper for doctors reported on Wednesday. A survey of 107 general practitioners (GPs) by Pulse newspaper reported particular difficulties persuading pregnant women to have the vaccine, with one GP estimating as few as one in 20 were happy to go ahead.
Paramedics called to Sacred Hearts after swine flu vaccinations given 16 Nov 2009 (HI) A "handful" of Sacred Hearts Academy students were taken to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children after receiving swine flu shots or nasal spray at the school this morning, school principal Betty White said. Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Services Department, said city paramedics were sent to the school three different times this morning.
Powers to disconnect pirates in Digital Economy Bill 18 Nov 2009 (UK) Illegal file-sharers could have their internet connections cut off under measures included in The Digital Economy Bill. Initially the Government will try to educate [?!?] those caught downloading music or films illegally, sending them letters warning them of the consequences of their actions. If this proves insufficient, they could be prevented from going online by their intenet service provider.
pegs U.S. Senate
Bank Bonuses Surge: Goldman Sachs Executives May Earn More Than In 2006 By Daniel M. Harrison 17 Nov 2009 While many Americans will count themselves lucky to be drawing any kind of income at all this year, bonus payments will rise by 40 percent for most bankers, according to a recent survey conducted by New York-based Options Group. The survey’s results are supported by recent NYSE data which suggests that Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have set aside $112 billion in compensation for their employees this year. The exchange adds that for many bankers, compensation will exceed the amount they earned in 2007... In fact, in the case of Goldman Sachs, average salary payouts are likely to top even those in 2006, a year in which the global economy zoomed ahead.
California sets limits on energy-gulping TVs 18 Nov 2009 California regulators on Wednesday gave final approval to the nation's first mandatory energy curbs on television sets, a growing but often-overlooked power drain that accounts for 10 percent of home electric bills in the state. Supporters say the measure will save California consumers more than $8 billion over 10 years in electricity costs and enough energy to power 864,000 homes.
Nuclear scars: Tainted water runs beneath Nevada desert --Radioactive waste from Nevada Test Site has polluted aquifers 13 Nov 2009 A sea of ancient water tainted by the Cold War [US] is creeping deep under the volcanic peaks, dry lake beds and pinyon pine forests covering a vast tract of Nevada. Over 41 years, the [US] federal government detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground at the Nevada Test Site, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Each explosion deposited a toxic load of radioactivity into the ground and, in some cases, directly into aquifers. When testing ended in 1992, the Energy Department estimated that more than 300 million curies of radiation had been left behind, making the site one of the most radioactively contaminated places in the nation.
Taliban to play role in Afghan govt: UK 18 Nov 2009 Ending the war in Afghanistan would include senior Taliban commanders sitting in Afghan government, Britain’s foreign secretary said on Tuesday. David Miliband also told a meeting of Nato’s parliamentary assembly that military action must be accompanied by a political surge to restore Afghans’ faith in their corruption-scarred [US-installed] government. He said the vast majority of Taliban fighters were not committed to a global jihad and could be persuaded to stop fighting.
Army tells its soldiers to bribe the Taleban 16 Nov 2009 British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with "bags of gold", according to a new army field manual published yesterday. Army commanders should also talk to 'insurgent' leaders with "blood on their hands" in order to hasten the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. The edicts, which are contained in rewritten counter-insurgency guidelines, will be taught to all new army officers.
Pakistan Taliban: Explosions linked to Blackwater activities in the country 16 Nov 2009 Attacks that have continued across Pakistani towns and cities are being blamed on Tehreek e-Taliban, Pakistan's Taliban. However, the group has issued its first video statement denying involvement in targeting civilians and has blamed external forces for at least two recent blasts. Azam Tariq, a spokesman of the Tehreek e-Taliban, posted the video statement on YouTube on Monday... Tariq said Taliban attacks never aimed to target civilians, but that the explosions were linked to Blackwater activities in the country. Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said: "Even when those bomb blasts did happen, the Taliban denied they had anything to do it... There is a growing anger among Pakistanis. If one looks at the type of attacks that have been taking place - indiscriminate attacks - the first thing that came out, even reported by local media, was the blaming of Blackwater and other American agencies.
'Commanding officer Jorge Mendonca threatened to blow Iraqi prisoner's head off' 17 Nov 2009 The only British soldier convicted of a war crime in Iraq alleged yesterday that his former commanding officer held a gun to a prisoner’s head and threatened "to blow his face off". Former Corporal Donald Payne, of the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, was giving evidence for the first time at the public inquiry into the death of Baha Musa. Mr Musa, 26, an hotel receptionist in Basra, died after suffering 93 injuries while held in custody at a British military centre in the southern Iraqi city in September 2003. Payne claimed that all the soldiers in his unit enjoyed an "open season" of punching and kicking Mr Musa and other detainees.
Army officers threatened to kill Iraqi prisoners, former soldier claims 17 Nov 2009 A British Army Colonel threatened to shoot an Iraqi prisoner in the face, according to a former soldier who claimed British troops routinely abused and threatened detainees. Former Army corporal Donald Payne, Britain’s only convicted war criminal, said that his commanding officer, Col Jorge Mendonca cocked a pistol and threatened to shoot an Iraqi unless information was given. He also said the commander of the Queens Lancashire in Iraq in 2003, was "gung ho" and "trigger happy".
Poll: Most Say War in Afghanistan Going Badly 17 Nov 2009 More Americans than ever believe the war in Afghanistan is going badly for the United States, a new CBS News poll finds. Sixty-nine percent now say things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan, a sharp increase from the 53 percent who said so in September. Just 23 percent say things are going well, down 12 points from September. The findings reflect the most negative assessment of the war ever measured in CBS News polls.
Army suicides set to hit new high in 2009 17 Nov 2009 Suicides in the U.S. Army will hit a new high this year, a top general said on Tuesday in a disclosure likely to increase concerns about stress on U.S. forces ahead of an expected buildup in Afghanistan. The findings, released as President Barack Obama inches toward a decision to send up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, show the number of active-duty suicides so far in 2009 has already matched last year's record of 140 deaths.
Single mom refuses deployment to care for infant son 17 Nov 2009 An Army cook and single mom is confined to her base in Georgia and may face criminal charges for skipping her deployment flight to Afghanistan in order to take care of her infant son. Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, who was arrested by military police Nov. 6, claims she had no choice but to refuse deployment orders when her mother was unable to care for her 10-month-old son, Kamani.
Soldiers' mutiny raises concern in Israel 17 Nov 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced concern on Tuesday over a mutiny by pro-settler soldiers that raised fears of more rebellion in the ranks in any future land-for-peace moves with the Palestinians. "Our security and existence depend on the Israel Defense Forces," Netanyahu told reporters. "If you promote disobedience, you will bring about the downfall of the state. There is no place for disobedience."
US says air base in Japan 'stays put' 17 Nov 2009 Washington says Japan has no alternative to housing a US air base on its soil, after Tokyo signaled it could remove the outpost altogether. "The existing plan is the only feasible one and that is the view of the entire US government after 15 years of negotiation," US Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Asia-Pacific region Wallace Gregson was quoted as saying by a Japanese government official, the Reuters news agency reported.
Major Hasan Dined with 'Jihad Hobbyist' --Friend of Accused Shooter Called Himself "Extremist," Watched "Al-Qaeda" Videos 17 Nov 2009 Ever since he told a British reporter that he felt "no pity" for the victims of the Fort Hood massacre, Duane Reasoner Jr., an 18-year-old Muslim convert who frequently dined with accused shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan and attended the same mosque, has ducked the media. His parents ordered ABC News off their property over the weekend and on Monday, Reasoner again dodged ABC -- this time by using a pass to drive onto the Fort Hood Army base.
NORAD exercise planned for Washington, D.C. 13 Nov 2009 The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct a one-day exercise, Falcon Virgo 10-02, beginning at midnight Tuesday and continuing into the early morning hours on Wednesday in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Western Air Defense Sector.
Many New Yorkers Say 9 / 11 Trial A Security Risk 17 Nov 2009 Forty percent of New Yorkers believe the trial of accused 'September 11 mastermind' Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [and four accused accomplices] makes an attack on the city more likely, according to a new poll, while security experts say it is already the top target in America. A Marist College Institute for Public Opinion poll on Tuesday found 40 percent of New Yorkers say holding the trial blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the destroyed World Trade towers, increases likelihood of another attack in the city.
Police raid New York newspaper offices --Police officials refuse to discuss investigation 17 Nov 2009 The New York Police Department executed search warrants Tuesday at some offices of The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The New York Post and El Diario newspapers and at a labor union, with authorities saying they were conducting investigations into "business activity." Local media reports categorized the action as searches of the newspapers' circulation offices in connection with an investigation of the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers' Union of New York.
Lawyer in terrorism case ordered to prison 17 Nov 2009 A U.S. appeals court upheld on Tuesday a disbarred New York lawyer's conviction on charges of supporting terrorism by helping an imprisoned blind Egyptian cleric smuggle messages to militant followers, ordered her to prison and told a judge to consider a longer sentence. The three-judge panel described the 28-month prison sentence given by the trial judge to civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart following her 2005 conviction as "strikingly low" and not matching "the seriousness of her criminal conduct."
Swine flu in Ukraine: horrible mutation 17 Nov 2009 British researchers learning the culture of swine flu caused the splash of respiratory diseases in Ukraine suspect its mutation. Some symptoms seem like notorious "Spanish flu" splashed in Europe after the end of the First world war and robbed 50 million lives. One of the doctors tells that the results of autopsy of two swine flu victims have shown that their lungs have been black as coal.
Doctors say most Britons reject swine flu vaccine 17 Nov 2009 More than half of Britons being offered vaccination against pandemic H1N1 flu are turning it down because they fear side-effects or think the virus is too mild to bother, a survey of doctors showed on Wednesday. Many of the 107 family doctors polled by Britain's Pulse magazine said there was widespread resistance from patients and on average only 46 percent of those offered the vaccination agree to have it.
Mothers-to-be 'are refusing swine flu jab' over safety fears 18 Nov 2009 Millions of people are shunning the swine flu jab over fears about its safety, a survey of GPs suggests. It found that fewer than half of those offered the vaccination are taking it up - with pregnant women the most likely to say no... Doctors said that just 46 per cent were taking it. One GP said as few as one in 20 pregnant women had been vaccinated, even though studies have shown they are four times as likely to end up in hospital if they catch the virus.
B.C. see spike in severe reactions to flu shot 17 Nov 2009 As Canadian health officials assured the public that the pandemic H1N1 vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu shot, at least one province is reporting almost double the rate of severe allergic reactions. British Columbia Centre for Disease Control said it is probing why residents suffered anaphylaxis at a higher rate compared with the previous five seasonal-flu-vaccination programs, suggesting it could be because some people received H1N1 and the seasonal flu shot simultaneously.
Rare disease after flu shot prompts questions 16 Nov 2009 (WV) In early October, Catherine Angel got her seasonal flu vaccine, something she has done every flu season for as long as she can remember. By the end of the month, she couldn't walk. Angel was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Angel, who is her mid-70s, was diagnosed with the syndrome less than two weeks after getting the seasonal flu shot in Fayette County, where she lives.
Leasing water system could be a risky move for Chicago [*Duh.*] 16 Nov 2009 Mayor Richard Daley says any part of city government is up for grabs if the price is right. But if he is tempted to dangle Chicago's vast water system as his next lease deal, he might want to first consult Atlanta, which is still smarting from a botched experiment with privatizing a big-city water supply. Or the mayor could look someplace closer to home, like Bolingbrook, one of dozens of suburbs and downstate communities furious about steep rate increases imposed by a private water operator.
New York Weighs Tougher Stand on D.W.I. Cases 18 Nov 2009 New York State would make it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle and would require first-time convicted drunken drivers to buy a device that prevents them from driving their cars if they have been drinking, under a bill passed by the State Assembly on Tuesday. The measure, which would significantly toughen penalties for drunken driving, could be passed by the Senate and sent to the governor this week.
IRS Gets Secret Account Data From 14,700 Americans 17 Nov 2009 More than 14,700 Americans disclosed secret offshore bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service, ensuring billions of dollars in new tax collections and data for a crackdown on evaders, Commissioner Doug Shulman said. Shulman reported the voluntary disclosures under a leniency program today as the U.S. and Swiss governments announced the criteria used in an agreement for UBS AG to hand over data on 4,450 accounts. The IRS and U.S. prosecutors are scouring the new data to help pursue banks and advisers that foster tax evasion, Shulman said.
Analysts: US capitalism on verge of collapse [Hope springs eternal!] 17 Nov 2009 The declining state of the US economy has convinced a growing number of American analysts that the US capitalist financial system is doomed to disintegrate. Citing the works of other leading economists such as Jack Bogle and Marc Faber, Market Watch commentator Paul B. Farrell gives 20 reasons, in a recent article, why the "American capitalism has lost its soul" and will. Farrell points to Faber's Doom, Boom and Gloom Report and asserts that the economist is warning of the fall of "the entire system of capitalism."
Record numbers go hungry in the US --Government report shows 50m people unable to put food on the table at some point last year 17 Nov 2009 More than a million children regularly go to bed hungry in the US, according to a government report that shows a startling increase in the number of families struggling to put food on the table. President Barack Obama, who pledged to eradicate childhood hunger, has described as "unsettling" the agriculture department survey, which says 50 million people in the US - one in six of the population - were unable to afford to buy sufficient food to stay healthy at some point last year, in large part because of escalating unemployment or poorly paid jobs.
A record 49 million Americans faced hunger in 2008 By Barry Grey 17 Nov 2009 A yearly survey on hunger released Monday by the United States Department of Agriculture reported that a record 49.1 million Americans in 17 million households lacked dependable access to adequate food in 2008. The government reported a sharp rise both in what it calls "food insecurity" and "very low food security," i.e., outright hunger, noting that the rates recorded last year in both categories were the highest since the Agriculture Department began its annual surveys in 1995.
World on course for catastrophic 6° rise, reveal scientists --Fast-rising carbon emissions mean that worst-case predictions for climate change are coming true 18 Nov 2009 The world is now firmly on course for the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change, with average global temperatures rising by up to 6C by the end of the century, leading scientists said yesterday. Such a rise - which would be much higher nearer the poles - would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilisation.
The Polar Bear is Still One Oil Spill Away From Disaster (The Wilderness Society) 17 Nov 2009 Despite recent proposed critical habitat designation, The Obama administration's recent proposed designation of 200,000 square miles of Alaskan waters, sea ice and coastal area as critical habitat for the polar bear is encouraging news for a species already imperiled by the effects of global warming and melting Arctic ice. The Administration's decision recognizes that some of the most sensitive areas on land and in the offshore waters of America's Arctic -including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge-are key to the species' survival.
US unveils 'Guantanamo's evil twin' extended Bagram prison --'The Bagram prison resembled a concentration camp.' 16 Nov 2009 Journalists have been allowed to inspect refurbished facilities at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, the largest US military hub in the region and home to a controversial prison. Al Jazeera's correspondent James Bays, who was among those who inspected the facilities on Sunday, said Bagram, unlike its Guantanamo counterpart, was clearly not going to be shut down soon. "The new prison wing cost some $60 million [for KBR] to build ..." Bays said. "But we were not shown the detainees. Human-rights lawyers say that, while the environment for the prisoners may be changing, their legal situation is not ... not having been charged. Nor has any civilian lawyer ever been allowed inside." Omar Dighayes, a former detainee at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, said the Bagram prison resembled a concentration camp. "People were beaten, dragged, tortured in it," he told Al Jazeera.
New Evidence Jack Straw Guilty On Torture - A Smoking Gun By Ambassador Craig Murray 16 Nov 2009 Finally I have indisputable documentary evidence that the British government had a positive policy of using intelligence from torture in the War on Terror, and that the policy was personally directed by Jack Straw. Here are the minutes of the meeting at which I was told this. All references to the CIA and MI6 have been literally cut out, but the meaning is till perfectly unmistakeable particularly given the heading of the minute. And here is the absolute smoking gun of Jack Straw's involvement. Straw has been lying about this for five years. He dismissed my evidence on this to the Parliamenary Joint Committee on Human Rights as "Entirely untrue".
Obama no better than Bush, says Iranian parliament speaker 15 Nov 2009 U.S. steps to renew sanctions and seize a New York skyscraper linked to Iran show that President Barack Obama is no better than his predecessor George W. Bush, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday. Larijani's statement, which was followed by chants of "Death to America" among MPs in the legislature, was the latest from Tehran voicing disappointment in the new U.S. administration's policies toward the Islamic Republic.
Obama says al Qaeda still greatest threat to U.S. 16 Nov 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] the biggest threat to U.S. security, as his aides stepped up pressure on Afghanistan and Pakistan to cooperate with Washington's strategy [aka killer drone bombings] in the troubled region.
Danger from al Qaeda is strong as ever, warns Gordon Brown 16 Nov 2009 Gordon Brown will today warn the danger posed by al-Qaeda is as strong as ever, as he tries to rally support for the war in Afghanistan. The PM will claim the terrorist network remain the "biggest threat" to Britain's national security. As a result, he will argue, it is essential that UK forces win the battle in Afghanistan against Taliban insurgents [that the US is funding].
has given hundreds of millions to Pakistan spy agency --CIA says
gets its money's worth from ISI 15 Nov 2009 The CIA has funneled
hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan's intelligence service since
the Sept. 11 attacks, accounting for as much as one-third of the foreign
spy agency's annual budget, current and former U.S. officials say. The
Inter-Services Intelligence agency also has collected
tens of millions of dollars through a classified CIA program
that pays for the
pressures Pakistan to intensify war on militants
16 Nov 2009 The United States has warned that its new Afghan strategy
could fail unless Pakistan intensifies its fight against the militants.
US President Barack Obama has called on his Pakistani counterpart Asif-Ali
Zardari to broaden his battle against the militants, The New York Times
on Monday. Obama has also offered a range of new
UK seeking new world order by Afghan war 16 Nov 2009 Despite reports of the UK's plan for peace talks with the Taliban, Premier Gordon Brown defends Britain's military involvement in the Afghan war, saying his country must play a full role in 'changing the world'. "I believe that Britain can and must play its full part in changing the world," the British prime minister said Monday.
3 Afghan policemen killed in Kandahar 16 Nov 2009 At least three Afghan policemen have been killed and six others wounded in an attack in the southern part of the war-torn country, police officials say. Militants attacked a police checkpoint in the province of Kandahar overnight, police criminal director of Kandahar Pashton Moamand said on Monday.
Gunmen in army uniforms kill 12 Iraqi villagers 16 Nov 2009 [Blackwater?] Gunmen wearing military uniforms shot dead at least 12 men in a pre-dawn attack in a village near Baghdad on Monday, villagers and police said. The attack took place in the mainly Sunni village of Zauba, west of Baghdad.
Iraqi cleaner takes UK to court over alleged sexual harassment 16 Nov 2009 An Iraqi cleaner who claims that she was sexually harassed at the British Embassy and at the ambassador’s residence in Baghdad is taking the Government to court over its alleged failure to investigate her complaints. The case will challenge a decision by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow KBR, the American company contracted to maintain the two premises, to conduct its own investigation into the allegations, rather than carry out an independent inquiry.
Oops! Israel gaffe reveals 'Iran ship photos' were forged 16 Nov 2009 After Israel released photos it said proved that a huge shipment of weapons for Hezbollah came from Tehran, Iranian news agencies publish evidence showing that the photos are forged. Israeli naval sources recently claimed that they found a large cache of Iranian-made arms when they stormed a vessel near Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. They claimed that the ship was heading for the Hezbollah resistance movement, either in Lebanon or Syria. Iran instantly dismissed the claims, issuing a statement with which it condemned Israel's many acts of piracy in international waters.
Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims --50% of MPs in the shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel members, according to Channel 4's Dispatches 16 Nov 2009 Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today. At least half of the shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), according to a Dispatches programme being screened on Channel 4. The programme-makers describe the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".
Israel could annex more of West Bank - minister 16 Nov 2009 An Israeli cabinet minister said on Monday Israel could annex more of the West Bank if Palestinians declared statehood without concluding a peace agreement. "If the Palestinians take such a unilateral line, Israel should also consider ... passing a law to annex some of the settlements," Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Israel Radio.
FM: Israel would counter any Palestinian unilateral step 16 Nov 2009 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that any unilateral step by the Palestinians will be countered by a unilateral step from Israel. "The Americans also understand that unilateralism buries any chance for peace. They would find themselves in an uncomfortable position faced with a one-sided move," Lieberman said.
Chavez: US to use bases in Colombia for spying 16 Nov 2009 Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has renewed his criticism of the US-Colombia military pact, accusing Washington of using its bases there for spying. On Sunday, Chavez once again slammed a recently signed defense accord between Washington and Bogota, which would give the US access to military bases in Colombia.
Anti-war soldier faces 10 years in jail 17 Nov 2009 A British soldier who faces up to 10 years in jail for speaking out against the war in Afghanistan will go before a military judge this week to discover if he will remain in an army jail while he awaits trial. In an escalation of the Ministry of Defence's legal action against him, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, was arrested and charged last week with five counts of disobeying lawful commands and standing orders in relation to his public opposition to the war expressed at an anti-war rally last month. He had already been charged with desertion for refusing to return to fight in Afghanistan.
Up to 16 US soldiers committed suicide last month 15 Nov 2009 More U.S. soldiers likely committed suicide last month than were killed in the Fort Hood shootings earlier this month. The U.S. army is investigating sixteen potential suicides among active-duty soldiers in October, about twice the number reported in September, Army officials said. Of the 7 reported in September, three have been confirmed as suicides, and 4 still are under investigation [!] to determine the cause of death.
Officials: Major Hasan Sought War Crimes Prosecution of U.S. Soldiers 16 Nov 2009 Major Nidal Malik Hasan's military superiors repeatedly ignored or rebuffed his efforts to open criminal prosecutions of soldiers he claimed had confessed to war crimes during psychiatric counseling, according to investigative reports circulated among federal law enforcement officials. On Nov. 4, the day after his last attempt to raise the issue, he [allegedly] took extra target practice at Stan's shooting range in nearby Florence, Texas and then closed a safe deposit box he had at a Bank of America branch in Killeen, according to the reports... Investigators believe Hasan's frustration over the failure of the Army to pursue what he [and the whole world] regarded as criminal acts by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan may have helped to trigger the shootings.
Giuliani calls Obama soft on terrorism 16 Nov 2009 Former New York Mayor [9/11 co-conspirator] Rudolph W. Giuliani called President Obama soft on terrorism for deciding to try the acknowledged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, and said it would increase the security risk to the city. Trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in the city also would wrongfully force Americans to pay for his security, both in court and in holding while awaiting trial, said the Republican who oversaw the city's response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
U.K. Anti-Terror Police Hold 5 in Northwest, London 16 Nov 2009 U.K. police arrested five men under the Terrorism Act after raids in northwestern England and a hotel near London’s Heathrow airport. The arrests in Manchester, Bolton, Stalybridge and close to Heathrow were part of a coordinated operation that began at 4 a.m. local time today, Greater Manchester Police said in e-mailed statements today.
Five held in terror 'recruitment' probe 16 Nov 2009 Five men were arrested today as part of an investigation into the alleged recruitment of terrorists to join training camps in Afghanistan. Among those held during the series of early morning raids at addresses in Greater Manchester and a hotel near Heathrow airport was a 62-year-old Muslim preacher who was taken from his home in Bolton. Police said there was no imminent threat within Britain and that the inquiry was focusing on an overseas target.
Facebook Twitter Monitoring by US Government 2009 Posted By AfterAmericaNZ 03 Nov 2009 How safe are you when using Twitter? RT's Anastasia Churkina visited a home that was raided by the FBI, after its owner was arrested for allegedly directing huge demonstrations at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September.
Million Hit By 'Plague Worse Than Swine Flu' 15 Nov 2009 A deadly plague could sweep across Europe, doctors fear, after an outbreak of a virus in Ukraine plunged the country and its neighbours into a state of panic. A cocktail of three [Baxter] flu viruses are reported to have mutated into a single pneumonic plague, which it is believed may be far more dangerous than swine flu. The death toll has reached 189 and more than 1 million people have been infected, most of them in the nine regions of Western Ukraine. President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko has called in the World Health Organisation and a team of nine specialists are carrying out tests in Kiev and Lviv to identify the virus. President Yushchenko said: "People are dying. The epidemic is killing doctors. This is absolutely inconceivable in the 21st Century." [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009.]
Doctors learn why Ukrainians dying 13 Nov 2009 All victims of the virus in Bukovyna (22 people aged 20-40) died not from bilateral pneumonia, as was previously thought, but as a result of viral distress syndrome --i.e, the total destruction of the lungs. Cardio-pulmonary insufficiency comes and consequently cardiogenic shock develops, which causes cardiac standstill and death, said the bureau chief of the Chernivtsi regional forensic examination, doctor of science, Professor Viktor Bachynsky, UNIAN reports. "The virus, which causes death, is very aggressive, it does not strike the trachea, but immediately gets into the lungs and causes heavy swelling and solid hemorrhage. Mixed types of parainfluenza and influenza A/N1N1 lead to this state. This is a very toxic strain, which has not yet answered to the treatment of the Ministry of Health", said Viktor Bachinsky.
Experts warn of possible A/H1N1 mutation 11 Nov 2009 Medical experts are warning that the A/H1N1 flu has entered a period of high frequency and easy transmission. And with fresh cases of pigs infected by the virus in Hong Kong and Taiwan, experts say the possibility that the virus will mutate is growing. Recent monitoring has found several cases of pigs, cats and dogs infected by the human A/H1N1 flu virus.
H1N1 no deadlier than regular flu: top doctor 16 Nov 2009 Despite the recent surge in H1N1 deaths, the nation's chief public health officer says the pandemic virus appears no deadlier than regular seasonal influenza and that there could actually be substantially fewer flu deaths than normal this season. Although H1N1 is disproportionately infecting more children and otherwise healthy young adults, "the mortality rate from this (H1N1) is no worse than seasonal flu," Dr. David Butler-Jones said in an interview with Canwest News Service.
Pfizer Demands DNA from Vaccine Injured Beneficiaries 01 Nov 2009 Pfizer International, the US pharmaceutical company that carried out a meningitis trovan test in 1996 on a number of children in Kano State, has demanded a Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) report as a pre-condition for beneficiaries to draw down on the $75 million judgment money against it, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Abubakar Wali, said. Speaking at the palace of the Emir of Kano on Friday, Justice Wali said Pfizer came to Nigeria in 1996 at the peak of the outbreak of meningitis disease in Kano to offer 'assistance' on affected victims. He said, unknown to the government and people of the state, the company had come to test the drug, which resulted to deforming and killing of many children in the state.
Feds seek transit oversight 16 Nov 2009 The Obama administration will propose that the federal government regulate local transit agencies in the wake of an increase in subway and light-rail passenger injuries, a Transportation Department spokeswoman said Sunday. Jill Zuckman said the department launched an examination of transit safety after an accident in June on the District of Columbia's Metro system killed nine people and injured 80.
Federal prosecutors oppose former Gov. Siegelman's appeal to U.S. Supreme Court 14 Nov 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court does not need to hear the appeal of [Rove victim] former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL) because prosecutors adequately proved at trial that he exchanged an official act for a political donation, according to written arguments filed late Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice. Siegelman and co-defendant HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy in August asked the justices to take up their case because they believe it raises broader legal questions about how much evidence is needed to prove bribery.
Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform 16 Nov 2009 In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992... A Harvard health economist, Joseph P. Newhouse, said he found a similar pattern of unusual price increases after Congress added drug benefits to Medicare a few years ago, giving tens of millions of older Americans federally subsidized drug insurance. Just as the program was taking effect [under pharmaterrorist troll Bush] in 2006, the drug industry raised prices by the widest margin in a half-dozen years.
In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists' 15 Nov 2009 In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world's largest biotechnology companies. E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress. Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points -- 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists.
Useless is as useless does: Copenhagen climate talks: No deal, we're out of time, Obama warns 16 Nov 2009 Barack Obama acknowledged today that time had run out to secure a legally binding climate deal at the Copenhagen summit in December and threw his support behind plans to delay a formal pact until next year at the earliest. During a hastily convened meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month's meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol.
Boycott Alaskan tourism: AK Governor Declares War on Polar Bears By Adrian Chen 16 Nov 2009 Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell [R-terrorist] wants the polar bears hanging out on top of his state's oil reserves to stop being so endangered. He's suing the feds to remove their "threatened" classification and help speed up development of oil fields.
US blocks release of Iraq, Afghanistan torture photos 15 Nov 2009 US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has blocked the release of new photographs showing prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq being abused by their Americans captors. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sued for the release of 21 color photos under the Freedom of Information Act. The Obama regime filed a brief with the Supreme Court late Friday saying that Gates has invoked new powers blocking the release of the photos. Federal courts had rejected the government's arguments to block their release, so Congress gave Gates new powers to keep them private under a law signed by President Barack Obama last month. Gates' order specifically cites the 21 pictures sought by the ACLU, plus 23 additional ones cited in a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the second Circuit. However, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the order covers all photographs from investigations related to the treatment of individuals captured or detained in military operations outside the US between Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 22, 2009.
pledges to fight after photos release blocked 15 Nov 2009 The
American Civil Liberties Union says it will continue to fight for the
release of photographs of foreign
Britain's Abu Ghraib: Did Britain collude with US in abuse [and torture] of Iraqis? 14 Nov 2009 Claims that British soldiers recreated the torture conditions of Abu Ghraib to commit the sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi civilians are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence. In one case, British soldiers are accused of piling bodies of Iraqi prisoners on top of each other and subjecting them to electric shocks, an echo of the abuse at the notorious US detention centre at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. One claimants says he was raped by two British soldiers, and others say they were stripped naked, abused and photographed... "They made him strip naked and started messing with his penis and taking photos. On one occasion I refused to pick a fight, then a soldier kicked me hard on my back, which made me fall on the floor. He started hitting me with a baton on my knees. Then he used an electric baton on different parts of my body."
Ministry of Defense investigating fresh Iraq abuse claims 14 Nov 2009 Some 33 allegations of abuse involving British soldiers who served in Iraq are being investigated, the Ministry of Defense said today. The rape, torture and physical assault allegations come in the wake of the British withdrawal from Iraq. One claimant says he was raped by two British soldiers while another claims he was sexually humiliated by both male and female personnel. Others allege they were stripped naked and photographed in the same style as the notorious pictures at Abu Ghraib, where abuses of prisoners by US troops helped fuel anti-American sentiment.
No public probe into Iraq abuse [Instead, they'll investigate *themselves.*] 14 Nov 2009 Fresh allegations of abuse by the UK military in Iraq do not warrant a new public inquiry, the Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell has said. He said a special unit within the Ministry of Defence, overseen by him, had been set up to examine the claims. Lawyers for former Iraqi prisoners want an inquiry into 33 abuse claims, which include the rape of a 16-year-old boy. Mazin Younis, the Iraqi human rights campaigner who has been compiling the allegations, said many people were detained at random and abused.
Illinois jail is lined up to hold Guantánamo detainees --'Super-maximum' facility backed by state governor but would need approval of Congress 15 Nov 2009 A significant number of the remaining 215 inmates of Guantánamo Bay could be transferred to a maximum-security prison in rural Illinois, according to a source in President Barack Obama's administration. The source described the Thomson Correctional Centre, a 1,600-cell maximum security facility built in 2001, as the "leading contender" to house a number of suspected terrorists detained at the Guantánamo Bay base in Cuba, which Obama has vowed to close.
Terrorists smuggle fatwas out of secure prisons 15 Nov 2009 Some of Britain’s most dangerous 'Al-Qaeda' leaders are promoting jihad from inside high-security prisons by smuggling out propaganda for the internet and finding recruits. In an authoritative report, Quilliam, a think tank funded by the Home Office, claims "mismanagement" by the Prison Service is helping Al-Qaeda gain recruits and risks "strengthening jihadist movements"...The notorious "preacher of hate" Hamza, who was convicted in 2006 of inciting murder and racial hatred [?!?] during his time as imam of Finsbury Park mosque, north London, has been able to give sermons to other Muslims through the water pipes that link the prison cells at Belmarsh. A charismatic figure who has led hunger strikes at the jail, he is thought to use the plughole in the sink in his cell to shout passages from the Koran. [OMG! It's the Koran-spouting, sink-plugholed 'preachers of hate' using supermax prison pipes to wage more terror and global jihad!! Got that, Obama? If you move terrorists from Guantanamo Bay onto US soil, we'll have dozens of desperate al-Qaeda number twos (HUNDREDS of those, don't ya know) preaching their terrorist fatwas through water pipes and sink plugholes all over America! Wait until Joe Lieberman hears about *this* one. --Lori Price]
Obama: Time running out for nuclear deal with Iran 15 Nov 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Sunday that time was running out for Iran to sign on to a deal to ship its enriched uranium out of the Islamic Republic for further processing. Standing beside Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, after the two leaders met Sunday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Obama said: "We are now running out of time."
Afghan troop surge to cost up to $54 bn per year 15 Nov 2009 The cost of sending 40,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan is estimated to be between $40 billion to $54 billion annually, a new report says. The New York Times cited top administration officials on Saturday that budget projections for the Afghan war will cost US taxpayers at least $1 million per soldier, per year.
'The US and the UK are fighting an ill-conceived and ill-judged war that has left as many as 32,000 Afghans dead and 235,000 displaced.' War in Afghanistan: Not in our name --71% of Britons back IoS call for withdrawal of forces within a year 15 Nov 2009 Seven out of 10 Britons back The Independent on Sunday's call for a phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a landmark report by Oxfam this week exposes the real human cost of the war. The powerful dossier by the aid agency reveals how women and children in Afghanistan are bearing the brunt of the ongoing conflict, undermining the international community's claims [lies] that they are the very people being helped by the West's activities.
2 U.S. Soldiers and a Contractor Are Killed in Afghanistan 15 Nov 2009 Two American service members and an American contractor were killed in two separate bombing attacks in Afghanistan on Friday, according to a statement from a NATO spokesman. One service member was killed by a roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan. The other attack took place on a road in southern Afghanistan, killing an American serviceman and an American contractor.
Militants attack anti-Taliban mayor in Pakistan 15 Nov 2009 More than a dozen militants opened fire on the house of an anti-Taliban mayor in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, but security guards repelled the attack, killing three assailants who had disguised themselves by wearing women's burqas, police said. Militants have staged a wave of attacks in northwestern Pakistan in recent weeks in retaliation for an army offensive launched last month in the tribal area of South Waziristan, where 'al-Qaida' and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding.
'Jaffery was a well-known journalist.' Pakistan: Iranian Consulate official shot dead 12 Nov 2009 Gunmen on Thursday killed a Pakistani working as the director of public relations at the Iranian Consulate in the northwest city of Peshawar, a police official said. The gunmen shot dead Abul Hasan Jaffery near his home before escaping, according to police. Jaffery was critically wounded in the attack and later died from his injuries at a military hospital in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province located near the Afgan border. Before joining the Iranian consulate, Jaffery was a well-known journalist. He had served with the provincial government as press officer and worked for two chief ministers. [And then, Blackwater arrived.]
Eleven Killed In Pakistan Car Bomb Blast 14 Nov 2009 Eleven people have been killed by a suicide car bomber in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. The bomber detonated his device when policemen asked him to stop for a search.
Ousted Honduran president won't recognize vote 15 Nov 2009 Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya insisted late Saturday that he will not accept any deal to restore him to office if it means he must recognize elections later this month. In a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, Zelaya also repeated his accusation that Washington reversed its stance on whether the Nov. 29 vote should be considered legitimate if he was not in office. "As the elected president of the Honduran people, I reaffirm my position that starting today, no matter what, I will not accept any agreement on returning to the presidency of the republic to cover up this coup d'etat," Zelaya said, reading from the letter on Globo radio.
Obama, Medvedev optimistic on START replacement 15 Nov 2009 President Barack Obama and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev say they still plan to have a replacement START nuclear arms reduction treaty ready by year's end. Obama and his Russian counterpart met Sunday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Russian and U.S. negotiators are working against a tight deadline. The current START agreement runs out Dec. 5.
Minot missile, bomb wings to become part of Global Strike Command 15 Nov 2009 Members of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base will make history Dec. 1 when they become part of a new command Air Force Global Strike Command. The new command will oversee all of the Air Force's nuclear forces intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers. The 5th Bomb Wing will become part of the new command on Feb. 1.
Lawmakers brush off Obama calls to delay Fort Hood hearings 15 Nov 2009 President Barack Obama's plea for Congress to hold off on investigations into the Fort Hood shooting isn't deterring lawmakers. During his Saturday address, Obama called on lawmakers to "resist the temptation" to turn the mass killing into political theater. He says he's not opposed to the hearings, he just wants lawmakers to wait until after federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate, however, say they plan to go ahead with the investigations.
Obama urges Congress to put off Fort Hood probe 15 Nov 2009 President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead. On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to "resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater."
Federal oversight of subways proposed 15 Nov 2009 The Obama administration will propose that the federal government take over safety regulation of the nation's subway and light-rail systems, responding to what it says is haphazard and ineffective oversight by state agencies. Under the proposal, the U.S. Department of Transportation would do for transit what it does for airlines and Amtrak: set and enforce federal regulations to ensure that millions of passengers get to their destinations safely. Administration officials said the plan will be presented in coming weeks to Congress, which must approve a change in the law. [Does this mean that in addition to the 'No Fly' list, we could be added to a 'No Ride' list? --LRP]
US medical workers balk at mandatory flu vaccines 13 Nov 2009 Thousands of nurses and other front-line healthcare workers are fighting mandatory flu immunization policies being put in place by some U.S. hospitals. Nurses unions have won some early battles against compulsory vaccination. Critics say mandating that healthcare workers get vaccines is misguided, ineffective and ultimately counterproductive.
'It returns you to problems that we have today.' Health insurers could be allowed to bypass some key reforms --Senate bills would include loopholes for proposed 'exchange' 15 Nov 2009 Nobody wants to spend a lot of time and energy -- and taxpayer money -- and end up where they started. But that's what could happen with one of the principal elements of health reform, the "exchange" or "gateway." Even as legislators focus on the details of how the marketplace will work, senators have indicated that they would allow insurers to continue operating outside it, much as the health-insurance lobby has sought. One Senate bill would preserve the possibility that insurers could tailor policies to draw healthy individuals out of the new markets, leaving coverage less affordable for those who stay behind.
Bank failure toll reaches 123 --Regulators close two Florida banks and on in California, costing the FDIC $986.4 million. 13 Nov 2009 Two Florida banks and one in California failed Friday night, bring the 2009 national tally to 123. Regulators closed Century Bank, Federal Savings Bank in Sarasota, Fla., Orion Bank in Naples, Fla., and Pacific Coast National Bank in San Clemente, Calif.
Obama administration 'revives discredited military commissions by trying a child soldier' Khadr to stand trial at military tribunal --U.S., Canada embracing Bush-era disdain for justice in trying to find a forum to guarantee conviction, critics say 14 Nov 2009 Omar Khadr's fate remains in the legal twilight of widely denounced military tribunals, despite President Barack Obama's promise to end the makeshift Bush-era system for putting terrorists on trial and to shutter the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp. Instead, the Obama administration has tinkered with, but not scrapped, military commissions and intends to put a child soldier on trial, the first time it has been done at a war crimes tribunal since the Second World War. The Harper government applauded the decision, even as it fought in Canada's Supreme Court to overturn an order to bring Mr. Khadr home. He has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for nearly eight years. Mr. Khadr, who has been in prison - including years in solitary - since 2002 may still be years away from having his case heard. "Any trial before the revised system of military commissions will carry the stigma of Guantanamo," said Human Rights Watch in a statement that accused the Obama administration of reviving the "discredited military commissions by trying a child soldier."
'Shocking' that Khadr will face military commission in U.S.: lawyer --AG Eric Holder announced Friday that the Toronto-born Khadr, the only westerner still at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is one of five who will face military tribunals on U.S. soil. 13 Nov 2009 Omar Khadr's civilian lawyer in the United States said Friday he was disappointed to hear Washington is pressing ahead with military commission proceedings against the Canadian terror suspect. Barry Coburn said he finds the decision "shocking." "We thought that the incoming Obama administration signalled a new day with respect to these cases - a new respect for civil liberties, an abhorrence of torture, a respect for the time-honoured legal procedures and protections that are mandated by the constitution and enforced by the federal courts, " Coburn told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview.
Accused 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed faces New York 'trial' --AG: All five to be tried together; prosecutors will seek death penalty 13 Nov 2009 Five Guantanamo Bay detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 conspiracy, including accused mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be transferred to New York to go on trial in civilian court, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday. Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will all be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York -- a short distance from the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed in the September 11 attacks. [KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month. (Gee, I'd confess to the 9/11 attacks, too.) Regrettably, the actual architects of the 9/11 terror attacks -- the Bush/Cheney cabal -- have yet to be tried for treason and war crimes. --LRP]
'Well, if they're [9/11 terror suspects] acquitted, they're not going to be out walking the streets. The Justice Department will just pick them up and charge them with something else.' ...'They've got a drawer full of other charges use against them. So, they can just re-arrest them and charge them with something else.' NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams on MSNBC 13 Nov 2009.
Illinois the next Gitmo? --Chicago Tribune: Near-empty prison a leading contender to house terror suspects 14 Nov 2009 A near-empty prison in rural Illinois has emerged as "a leading option" to house suspected terrorists currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an Obama administration official said Friday. As they work to shutter the controversial detention center, federal officials are talking to Illinois officials about buying the Thomson Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison about 150 miles west of Chicago.
US military: We pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Afghan insurgents --How the US Funds the Taliban By Aram Roston 11 Nov 2009 It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. "It's a big part of their income," one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon's logistics contracts--hundreds of millions of dollars--consists of payments to insurgents. [CLG has been reporting this insanity for years. Too bad the mainstream media won't cover it, instead of spending 24/7 on bimbo Sarah Palin's ghostwritten insipid Mantra of Whine. --LRP]
Drugs, bribes and 'police' in the pocket of the Taliban 06 Nov 2009 Having served in Afghanistan with the British Army, mentoring Afghan soldiers and police officers in 2006-7 and again last year, I know that the men who make up that police force are not officers of the law in any way we would recognise... Meanwhile, they are infiltrated by the Taliban at every level. The man named locally as responsible for shooting dead the five British soldiers this week is known to have links with the Taliban. The way the system works is that the Afghan government employs warlords who, in turn, recruit locals to serve as militia.
9 ISAF Troops Injured In Bomb Blast Near US Base In Afghanistan 13 Nov 2009 Nine members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and 10 civilian contractors were injured Friday in a suicide-bomb blast before a US military base in the eastern part of the Afghan capital Kabul. The bomber, who was driving an explosive-packed vehicle, triggered the blast on Jalalabad Road, a locality that houses several international military bases.
Orszag Says 40,000 More Troops Would Cost $40 Billion 12 Nov 2009 Sending 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan would cost an extra $40 billion a year, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said today. Orszag, speaking at the Bloomberg Washington Summit, said "every 10,000 troops would entail a fiscal year cost of about $10 billion, very roughly speaking."
UK to ask allies for 5,000 more troops in Afghanistan 13 Nov 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday Britain was trying to persuade its military allies fighting Taliban 'insurgents' in Afghanistan to send 5,000 more troops. He said he wanted to encourage members of the NATO-led coalition to share the burden of combat and help train Afghan soldiers.
Germany sending 120 more combat troops to Afghanistan --Opinion polls show most Germans oppose military involvement, which has cost the lives of 36 of their countrymen. 13 Nov 2009 Germany will send 120 more soldiers to northern Afghanistan to reinforce its base in the Kundus province, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said on Friday. Guttenberg announced the modest increase during a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where Germany has the third largest contingent in the NATO-led mission with 4,200 troops.
Death toll in Pakistan bombing up to 17: official 14 Nov 2009 The death toll from a powerful suicide car bomb which ripped through the Peshawar headquarters of Pakistan's top spy agency rose to 17 on Saturday, officials said. The early Friday attack devastated the provincial headquarters in the city of Peshawar of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which is heavily involved in Pakistan's anti-terror fight, destroying more than half the building.
Former US envoy Galbraith could earn $100m from Iraqi oil field 13 Nov 2009 A prominent former United Nations official was forced to defend himself yesterday against accusations that he used his influence in Iraq to enrich himself. Peter Galbraith, a former US ambassador who recently quit as deputy head of the UN mission in Kabul, struck a potentially lucrative oil deal in Iraqi Kurdistan which could reportedly earn him $100 million (£60 million). He helped the Kurds to negotiate provisions in the 2005 Iraqi Constitution that gave them control over new oil finds on their territory. [Insurgency?]
Ahmadinejad calls for WMD-free world 13 Nov 2009 Iran's President has repeated calls for global nuclear disarmament, saying the existence of atomic weapons has not solved any of the outstanding problems facing mankind. "There is no need for a nuclear bomb for that matter," said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday. "Their [the nuclear bombs] existence today has not helped the world in the least."
Controllers Were Slow to Notify Defense Command of Errant Jet 14 Nov 2009 Air traffic control supervisors delayed nearly an hour in notifying Norad, the military air defense command, that a Northwest Airlines jetliner was not responding to radio calls, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday. The delay was a violation of detailed procedures put in place after the hijackings of four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001. The delay appeared to make little difference to Norad, said the administrator, J. Randolph Babbitt, because while the Air Force did prepare fighter jets in the incident it never ordered them into the air.
Fort Hood suspect may be paralyzed --Hasan's attorney says he will seek psychiatric evaluation 14 Nov 2009 The accused Fort Hood gunman has no feeling in his legs and may be paralyzed from the waist down, his attorney said Friday after visiting Maj. Nidal M. Hasan in his hospital room. Retired Col. John Galligan, who has been hired by Hasan's family to defend him against murder charges, said the Army psychiatrist remains in the intensive care unit of a San Antonio military hospital, where he is in great pain, except for his legs.
says Ft. Hood shooter had Pakistan 'connection'
13 Nov 2009 The suspected shooter at last week's Ft. Hood massacre had
a "connection" to Pakistan, a Texas lawmaker said Friday. Rep. Mike
McCaul (R) suggested a financial relationship between Army Maj. Nidal
Malik Hasan and Pakistan, a country long plagued by terror groups, including
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, jihadist or patsy? By Jerry Mazza 13 Nov 2009 The story as it unwinds seems too scripted to be true. That Army psychiatrist and Major Nidal M. Hasan went on a rampage at Fort Hood with two guns blazing, a .357 Magnum and a semi-automatic pistol with laser target-finder, after shouting the Arabic phrase 'Allah Akbar' (God is Greatest) as he opened fire, and will live (so far) to talk about it, though an Army-appointed lawyer says he will never get a fair trial. Hasan coincidentally received his masters in chemistry at Virginia Tech, famous for the infamous Seung-Hui Cho, the campus killer gunman credited on April 19, 2007, with the deadliest shooting rampage in modern history... See the link to Citizens for Legitimate Government on him and his 'Missing Records.'
New types of influenza found in Ukraine --Chief medical officer told about AH3N2, AH2N2, AH1N1, a large group of influenza B, and parainfluenza viruses of three types, reports proUA.com. 12 Nov 2009 Besides swine influenza, AN3N2, AN2N2 and group B have been found in the territory of Ukraine. In particular, at present at least 8 different viruses are circulating in the territory of Bukovyna. Such conclusions are made by experts of regional sanitary epidemiological stations following the results of almost 6,000 studies on the identification of acute respiratory viral infections, said the chief state sanitary doctor of the Chernivtsi Region Oleksandr Svitlichny on November 11 at the briefing.
Two die in China after H1N1 flu vaccine 14 Nov 2009 Two people died after they were inoculated with the H1N1 flu vaccine in China, health authorities reported, amid wariness among the Chinese about the quality of the shot. Deng Haihua, spokesman for the health ministry, said in a statement posted on the website late Friday that authorities had been notified of the deaths in the past two days, but he gave no personal details of the victims. [See also: Va. teen suffers rare illness after swine flu shot 12 Nov 2009.]
Virginia Family Claims H1N1 Vaccine Sickened Son 13 Nov 2009 A northern Virginia family says their lives were turned upside down just 24 hours after getting their 14-year-old son received his seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines. Jordan McFarland is an avid young athlete who was unable to walk without the aid of a walker just one day after getting his flu shots. His father Calvin says doctors made a preliminary diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease characterized by muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
Scores of O.C. teens picked up in 'scared straight' curfew sweep --About 300 officers participated in the sweep. 13 Nov 2009 Sixty-seven underage Orange County teens were rounded up in a massive countywide [Nazi] curfew sweep late Thursday in an effort by dozens of law enforcement agencies to scare the after-hours wanderers straight. The teens, who ranged in age from 13 to 17, were taken to one of three headquarters, put on jail buses to await their parents' arrival and then shown photos of young men who’d been killed in after-curfew incidents.
Tenn. trooper suspended over white pride e-mail 13 Nov 2009 A Tennessee state trooper who accidentally sent an e-mail proclaiming white pride to 787 state employees has been suspended for 15 days without pay and will have to attend diversity training. The e-mail from Trooper Brent Gobbell states, in part, "You rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member ... you call him a racist." It also includes a list of racist epithets.
Republicans charged in $10 million scandal --Former House Speaker charged with 82 felonies 13 Nov 2009 Former House Speaker John Perzel, one of the most powerful members of the General Assembly since 1994, was charged Thursday with 82 felonies for allegedly masterminding a "sophisticated criminal strategy" to spend more than $10 million of taxpayers' money on political campaigns, Attorney General Tom Corbett said. Most of that money paid for computer technology to help Perzel, a Republican who represents a Northeast Philadelphia district, and other House Republicans win elections, a statewide grand jury concluded. Perzel is charged with theft, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and conflict of interest.
Ex-lawmaker gets 13 years in prison for bribery 13 Nov 2009 Former Democratic U.S. Representative William Jefferson, who hid $90,000 in cash in his freezer, was sentenced on Friday to 13 years in prison for bribery, racketeering and money laundering. Jefferson, who lost re-election last year in Louisiana, was accused in 2007 of soliciting millions of dollars in bribes from companies while using his office to broker business deals in Africa. He was convicted in August on 11 of 16 counts.
Palin's Book Goes Rogue on Some Facts 13 Nov 2009 Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition. Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush -- a package she seemed to support at the time.
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