December 2006 Archives
Unions oppose 'draft' of federal workers to Iraq 08 Dec 2006 The Iraq Study Group’s recommendation that the Bush administration consider ordering government civilians to Iraq has drawn outrage from federal employees’ unions. Civilian agencies have been seeking volunteers to assist with efforts in Iraq. But the report states that the potential danger of the assignment means few qualified candidates have taken the offer.
Top Air Force Lawyer Had Been Disbarred --White House 'Lawyer' Was Legal Adviser to Iraq Reconstruction Effort 10 Dec 2006 A top Air Force lawyer who served at the White House and in a senior position in Iraq turns out to have been practicing law for 23 years without a license. Col. Michael D. Murphy was most recently commander of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency at Bolling Air Force Base in the District. He was the general counsel for the White House Military Office from December 2001 to January 2003, and from August 2003 to January 2005. In between those tours, he was the legal adviser to the reconstruction effort in Iraq, an Air Force spokesman said. [Well, Bush has been practicing 'president' for 6 years without an election.]
'Rendition' of terrorism suspects such as Arar may be legal, Canada says 11 Dec 2006 Extraordinary rendition, the U.S. practice of shipping terrorism suspects to foreign prisons, may be legal in some cases, says the Foreign Affairs Department.
Routine and systematic torture is at the heart of America's war on terror --In the fight against cruelty, barbarism and extremism, America has embraced the very evils it claims to confront By George Monbiot 12 Dec 2006 After thousands of years of practice, you might have imagined that every possible means of inflicting pain had already been devised. But you should never underestimate the human capacity for invention. United States interrogators, we now discover, have found a new way of destroying a human being. Last week, defence lawyers acting for José Padilla, a US citizen detained as an "enemy combatant", released a video showing a mission fraught with deadly risk - taking him to the prison dentist. A group of masked guards in riot gear shackled his legs and hands, blindfolded him with black-out goggles and shut off his hearing with headphones, then marched him down the prison corridor. Is Padilla really that dangerous? Far from it: his warders describe him as so docile and inactive that he could be mistaken for "a piece of furniture".
Plans to construct legal compound at Guantánamo halted --Faced with mounting criticism, the Defense Department shelved a plan to make an end-run around Congress and build a military compound at Guantánamo. In an abrupt about-face, the Pentagon has scrapped plans to invoke emergency authority to fast-track construction of a controversial $100 million legal compound [detention centres/kangaroo courts] at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Instead, Defense Department officials will seek permission from Congress for any new major buildings in which to stage the first war-crimes trials since World War II. [The people who need to be tried for war crimes are Bush, Cheney Halliburton and Rumsfeld.]
U.S. military postpones plan to build complex for war-crimes trials at Guantanamo 10 Dec 2006 The Pentagon will not try to use emergency powers to build a compound to hold war-crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay, according to a member of a Senate panel that oversees funding for military construction projects.
Talks under way to replace Iraq PM 10 Dec 2006 Major partners in Iraq's governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid discontent over his failure to quell raging violence, according to lawmakers involved. The new alliance would be led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President [sic] Bush last week.
"We smell in this report the attitude of James Baker. We see this as an insult to the people of Iraq." 11 Dec 2006 Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, angrily accused the Iraq Study Group report's co-author, former secretary of state James Baker, of attempting to restore Sunni Muslim power with the report's suggestion that Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party loyalists be offered positions of power. He said: "We smell in this report the attitude of James Baker. We see this as an insult to the people of Iraq." ...The report, presented by Mr Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, urged more centralised control of Iraq's oil wealth and embedding thousands more US advisers in Iraq's security forces to quicken their training. "It asks that they put foreign officers in every unit, which is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty... What will remain of our sovereignty?" the president said.
Australian defense minister warns against withdrawal from Iraq 11 Dec 2006 Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson warned Monday that premature withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq could destabilize the Middle East, leave Iraqis hostage to escalating violence and leave the West with "no hope" of stopping global terrorism.
Robbery in downtown Baghdad nets $1 million 11 Dec 2006 [US] Gunmen disguised as Iraqi soldiers stopped a bank truck carrying $1 million in downtown Baghdad, stole the money and kidnapped its four guards Monday, police said. [Not as a much as a one-day haul for Halliburton, but worth noting. --LRP]
3 Iraqi soldiers killed by US friendly fire 09 Dec 2006 US troops mistakenly shot dead three Iraqi soldiers during a raid in Dolouiya, 80 km north of Baghdad Saturday.
Poll: Iraq Going Badly And Getting Worse Majority --In CBS News Survey Doubt U.S. Can Win; 62% Call War 'A Mistake' 11 Dec 2006 Americans believe the war in Iraq is going badly and getting worse, and think it's time for the U.S. either to change its strategy or start getting out, according to a CBS News poll. Just 21 percent approve of President [sic] Bush's handling of the war, the lowest number he's ever received, and an 8-point drop from just a month ago.
Mine explosion wounds 2 NATO soldiers in S. Afghanistan 11 Dec 2006 Two NATO soldiers were injured when a mine struck their convoy in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province on Sunday, a spokesman of NATO troops said.
Nato's Taleban death toll 'inaccurate' 10 Dec 2006 The Nato force in Afghanistan has said claims it killed up to 80 Taleban fighters in a battle earlier this month were inaccurate. A statement released on Sunday said the true figure was seven or eight.
Bush policies lead to 'Taliban mini-state' Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in North of Pakistan 11 Dec 2006 Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda [Al CIAduh] and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say. The result, they say, is virtually a Taliban mini-state.
McCain Warns of Iran In New York City Visit 11 Dec 2006 Sen. John McCain swept onto the turf of potential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani last night, vowing a strong defense of Israel and saying military action may be needed to prevent Iran from building nukes. "The Iranian regime defines itself by hostility to Israel and the United States," McCain said in a convocation speech for Yeshiva University at the Waldorf-Astoria, adding, "We are dealing with a possibly deranged and surely dangerous regime." [Hello, Pot? This is Kettle.]
Next battleground will be a familiar one, Israelis say --In Golan Heights, tensions with Syria are on the increase 10 Dec 2006 According to Israeli military intelligence, the battle will erupt in the Golan Heights within the next two years. And the status of the Golan broke into the news Wednesday, when the Iraq Study Group advised President [sic] Bush to pressure Israel to return the disputed land to Syria if it cooperates on other matters of importance in the Middle East.
PM puts Israel on nuclear list for first time 11 Dec 2006 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to list his country for the first time among states which have the nuclear bomb, before his official spokesman issued a denial. "We never threatened any nation with annihilation," Olmert said on German television station N24 Sat1. [What about the cluster bombs, DIME bombs, and DU that Israel uses almost every day?!? See: 'Israel accused of war crimes' 23 Aug 2006. See: 'US and Israel Targeting DNA in Gaza?: The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon' 04 Dec 2006.]
US casts sole 'no' vote against proposed treaty restricting arms trade 11 Dec 2006 The United States, which is the world’s biggest exporter of arms and accounts for more than 50 per cent of all arms exports, on Wednesday became the only country in the United Nations to vote against letting work begin on a new treaty to bolster arms embargoes and prevent human rights abuses by setting uniform worldwide standards for arms deals. The vote in the 192-nation UN General Assembly was 153-1, with the United States casting the sole "no" vote.
Annan fires parting shots at Bush's US 11 Dec 2006 The outgoing UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, today urged the US not to set aside its ideals and principles in its "war on [of] terror". In his last major speech before handing over to South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon at the end of the year, Mr Annan said the UN needed far-sighted leadership from the US... Possibly referring to human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, he said: "When it [the US] appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused."
Anthrax attack on US Congress made by scientists and covered up by FBI, expert says 11 Dec 2006 The terrorists who perpetrated the 2001 anthrax attack on Congress likely were US government scientists at the army's Ft. Detrick, MD., bioterrorism lab having access to "moonsuits" that enabled them to safely process and manufacture super-weapons-grade anthrax, an eminent authority on the subject says.
"President [sic] Bush's description of a 'war on terror' has long been criticised by terrorism experts who believe the phrase is inflammatory, inaccurate and helpful to terrorist groups." [Like Bush himself.] Reid accused of 'scaremongering' 10 Dec 2006 A terrorist atrocity in the UK over the Christmas period is 'highly likely', John Reid claimed yesterday. But Dr Reid faced immediate criticism from opposition figures who accused him of giving out just enough information to cause widespread fear, without any meaningful attempt to involve or educate the public in helping to prevent or cope with terror attacks. The row came as it emerged that the Foreign Office has urged Government ministers to stop using the phrase 'war on terror' - coined by US President [sic] George Bush following the September 11 attacks - claiming it risked angering British Muslims and raising tensions worldwide.
Christmas terror strike 'highly likely' 11 Dec 2006 The risk from terrorists in the Christmas period is "very high indeed" and the struggle against Muslim terrorism will last at least 30 years, John Reid, the Home Secretary, said yesterday. Mr Reid echoed the view of MI5 that there are around 30 major terrorist plots under way and the terrorists only "have to be lucky once".
After CIA rebuff, state department turns to Google 12 Dec 2006 Some people may to locate lost loves, or check out potential new ones. The state department resorts to the internet search engine, Google, when it is trying to penetrate the clandestine world of international nuclear weapons proliferators.
Oil producers shun dollar 10 Dec 2006 Oil producing countries have reduced their exposure to the dollar to the lowest level in two years and shifted oil income into euros, yen and sterling, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements.
Israeli government worst labor law violator 11 Dec 2006 Ninety-two percent of Israeli employers violate labor laws with impunity, according to a report published Sunday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The report, based on ministry of trade and industry figures, said that the government is one of the leading violators - systematically depriving workers of their basic rights and cash benefits.
High court rules on oil, gas royalties 11 Dec 2006 The Supreme Court ruled against the oil and gas industry Monday in a dispute over how many years into the past the government can reach to collect money for leases on federal land. In a 7-0 decision, the court refused to limit the number of years the government can reach back to collect [millions of dollars in] unpaid royalties.
Vote does not compute County logs 1,500 complaints on machines 11 Dec 2006 (IL) New machines designed to make voting easier became the main source of complaints received by Cook County officials on Election Day. Voters and election judges logged almost 1,500 complaints about problems with the computerized touch-screen machines Nov. 7, documents provided by Cook County Clerk David Orr's office show.
Ohio Rep. Kucinich to Run for President 11 Dec 2006 Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said Monday he is planning another bid because his party isn't pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war.
Obama Inches Toward 2008 Run, Says Public 'Hungry' For Change 11 Dec 2006 Senator Barack Obama inched closer to a presidential run with his first visit to New Hampshire, home of the inaugural primary election in the campaign for the White House. Obama, who went to the Granite State yesterday to headline a Democratic Party victory celebration, told reporters that "people are very hungry" for leadership that moves beyond the "small and petty slash-and-burn politics that we've seen over the past several years."
GOP Pushes Tax Bill Through Congress 09 Dec 2006 The 109th session of Congress, frustrated by partisanship and criticized for its meager record of accomplishment, ended with flurry of bill-passing and promises of change when Democrats take over the House and Senate in January.
New Orleans to Raze Public Housing --Many Units Closed Since Katrina to Be Demolished, Despite Protests 08 Dec 2006 Public housing officials decided Thursday to proceed with the demolition of more than 4,500 government apartments here, brushing aside an outcry from residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina who said the move was intended to reduce the ability of poor black people to repopulate the city. [Raze the 'voting' machines, instead.]
Dairy Industry Crushed Innovator Who Bested Price-Control System 10 Dec 2006 For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers... Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending dairyman Hein Hettinga's experiment -- all without a single congressional hearing. In late March, John A. Boehner (R-OH) placed the bill on a special docket usually reserved for uncontroversial measures such as naming post offices.
Skilling won't have to report to prison: WSJ 11 Dec 2006 A U.S. appeals court will allow ex-Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling to stay out of prison while it considers granting him bail, according to a report published on the Wall Street Journal's Web site on Monday.
Arctic Ice Melting Faster Than Expected 11 Dec 2006 New studies project that the Arctic Ocean could be mostly open water in summer by 2040 — several decades earlier than previously expected — partly as a result of global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.
All but Ageless, Turtles Face Their Biggest Threat: Humans 12 Dec 2006 Researchers estimate that at least half of all turtle species are in serious trouble, and that some of them, like the Galapagos tortoise, the North American bog turtle, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle and more than a dozen species in China and Southeast Asia, may effectively go extinct in the next decade if extreme measures are not taken.
Secret American talks with insurgents break down 10 Dec 2006 Secret talks in which senior American officials came face-to-face with some of their most bitter enemies in the Iraqi 'insurgency' broke down after two months of meetings, rebel commanders have disclosed.
CIA is undermining British war effort, say military chiefs --Confidential report speaks of 'serious tensions' in the coalition over strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan 10 Dec 2006 British intelligence officers and military commanders have accused the US of undermining British policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the sacking of a key British ally in the Afghan province of Helmand.
$15 billion US tax dollars down the drain: Iraq police academy set to implode: Advisers: Crumbling campus symbolizes law-and-order woes 10 Dec 2006 A U.S. project to turn the Baghdad Police College into the crown jewel of Middle Eastern law enforcement academies is such a shoddy mess that parts of it face demolition and the sprawling facility itself may be forced to shut down in two weeks, an American adviser in Iraq tells the Herald.
Judge weighs torture claim vs. Rumsfeld 08 Dec 2006 A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give [war criminal] Donald H. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would be unprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial.
Col. submits Guantanamo investigation 10 Dec 2006 An Army officer has finished his investigation into allegations of detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay and submitted the report to superiors, according to a military spokesman.
Photos confirm US raid child deaths 09 Dec 2006 Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage that confirms children were among the victims of a US air raid northwest of Baghdad. Local officials said that the bodies of 17 civilians, including six children and eight women, had been pulled from the debris of two houses in al-Ishaqi. The US military had issued a statement on Friday saying that two women were among 20 suspected "al Qaeda terrorists" killed in the operation.
40 bodies found across Baghdad 10 Dec 2006 A total of 40 bodies -- many of them shot and tortured -- were found across Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said.
Attacks claim scores of Iraqi lives 10 Dec 2006 Iraqi security forces have found the bodies of 60 men shot dead in apparent 'sectarian' [US] attacks in Baghdad, while at least 28 people are reported killed across the war-torn country. A security official said on Sunday: "Many of the victims were tortured, handcuffed and shot in their heads".
Black-Market Weapon Prices Surge in Iraq Chaos 10 Dec 2006 Weapon prices are soaring along with an expanding 'sectarian' [US] war, as more buyers push prices several times higher than those that existed at the time of the American-led invasion nearly four years ago. Three types of American-issued weapons are now readily visible in shops and bazaars here...These are three of the principal types of the 370,000 weapons purchased by the United States for Iraq’s security forces, a program that was criticized by a special inspector general this fall for, among other things, failing to properly account for the arms.
"The report has a mentality that we are a colony." Baker ideas an insult to Iraq: Talabani 11 Dec 2006 Iraq's president has rejected recommendations by the US bipartisan Iraq Study Group, calling them dangerous and an insult to Iraqis. "It asks that they put foreign officers in every unit, which is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty ... What will remain of our sovereignty?" Jalal Talabani said. "The report has a mentality that we are a colony where they impose their conditions and neglect our independence."
Bush urged to implement Iraq report ideas 10 Dec 2006 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush should implement recommendations by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group soon, or face losing any consensus it has generated, delegates to a security forum in Bahrain said on Sunday.
New poll shows 71 percent of Americans disapprove of war policy 09 Dec 2006 More Americans than ever say President [sic] Bush is doing a pitiful job with the war, and an almost equally overwhelming number of people think Iraq won't turn out to be a stable democracy, a new poll showed Friday. A whopping 71 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war, while only 27 percent say he's done a good job, according to the AP-Ipsos poll.
Rumsfeld says US troops must defeat enemy in Iraq 10 Dec 2006 Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary [War Criminal] Donald Rumsfeld paid a surprise farewell visit to American troops in Iraq and told them U.S. forces must stay until the enemy is defeated.
White House Debating Strategy, Including More Troops 09 Dec 2006 Dictator George W. Bush's national security team is said to be debating whether additional troops are needed to secure Baghdad. A senior administration official said the short-term force increase could be made up of all Americans, a combination of U.S. and Iraqi forces, or all Iraqis. [Arming the Left: Is the time now? --by Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003 "As long as we pose no REAL threat to the powers-that-be, to what is shaping up into [is] a dictatorship, we will continue to be ignored. Right now, we are ignored because we present no organized power to fight this onslaught of anti-democratic, totalitarian government that we are up against..."]
Pulling Out Combat Troops Would Still Leave Most Forces in Iraq 10 Dec 2006 Even if all of the Iraq Study Group’s proposals were carried out, it is not possible to predict exactly how many Americans will stay, or for how long. Decisions will hinge on military conditions on the ground and political conditions in Washington. But an analysis of the current numbers and tasks of American forces suggests that it will prove difficult to drop far below 100,000 by early 2008, and that 70,000 or more troops might have to stay for a considerable time.
Gunmen kill Shi'ite families in Baghdad after raid 10 Dec 2006 Gunmen killed nine members of two Shi'ite families in a mostly Sunni neighbourhood of Baghdad on Sunday and police found the bodies of 60 more apparent victims of 'sectarian' [US] killings gripping the capital.
Gunmen kill 5 family members in Afghanistan; investigation opened into civilian shooting 09 Dec 2006 A NATO spokesman said an investigation was launched into allegations that British forces opened fire on civilians, killing one and wounding six, after a suicide attack earlier this month. ...Taliban [US] militants broke into a house where two teachers lived and shot dead five family members in eastern Afghanistan, bringing to 20 the number of educators killed in attacks this year, officials and a relative said Saturday.
Wounded to get millions in compensation 10 Dec 2006 Hundreds of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be awarded millions of pounds in compensation following a ruling by the Government that they are victims of [Bush's] crime not war.
Beirut rally piles pressure on U.S.-backed govt 10 Dec 2006 Hundreds of thousands of chanting protesters swamped Beirut on Sunday in a Hezbollah-led rally that marked a leap forward in the opposition's drive to unseat Lebanon's Western-backed government [Prime Minister Fouad Siniora].
Beirut rally: Death to Israel, US 10 Dec 2006 Hundreds of thousands of protesters thronged central Beirut's two central squares, Riyad al-Solh Square and Martyrs' Square on Sunday to participate in the Hizbullah-led opposition's second rally.
Halting of foreign aid to Palestinians a crime: Carter 09 Dec 2006 Former US president Jimmy Carter said it was a "crime against the people of Palestine" for foreign governments to halt aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas 'took over' [was *elected,* unlike Bush]. "For Canada and others to punish the Palestinian people because they voted for their candidates of choice, I think is literally a crime," Carter told CBC television.
Police to get 'dirty bomb hoods' in terror alert 10 Dec 2006 (UK) Police forces have been told to buy anti-radiation masks for their 100,000 frontline officers to protect them in the event of a "dirty bomb" terrorist attack. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has told all forces they should look to purchase specially designed chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) hoods as soon as possible.
Christmas terror attack warning 10 Dec 2006 The terrorist threat facing the UK is "very high indeed", Home Secretary John Reid has said. He told the GMTV Sunday Programme the chances of an attempted attack over the Christmas period were "highly likely".
Two Spy Cops 'Radioactive' 10 Dec 2006 Two officers involved in the Alexander Litvinenko murder investigation have tested positive for small traces of polonium. A total of 26 officers closely involved in the inquiry were tested for exposure to radiation, the police service said.
US bugged Diana's phone on night of death crash 10 Dec 2006 The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died, according to the most comprehensive report on her death, to be published this week.
Nobel Winner Warns of Dangers of Globalization 10 Dec 2006 The Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus, who invented the practice of making small, unsecured loans to the poor, warned today that the globalized economy was becoming a dangerous "free-for-all highway."
General Augusto Pinochet dies 10 Dec 2006 Augusto Pinochet, the military general [installed by Nixon's corpora-terrorists] who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, has died from heart complications, the Santiago Military hospital said.
Are you nuts if you think the machine flipped your vote on Nov. 7? --Though solid evidence is hard to pin down, complaints abound about voting machines. 10 Dec 2006 (Pittsburgh) It was her first time using Allegheny County's new touch-screen voting machines, but, even so, Carlana Rhoten is positive she voted for Democrat Bob Casey on Nov. 7. That's why it was so surprising -- no, infuriating -- that the voting machine told her she'd voted for his Republican opponent incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum.
U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation 09 Dec 2006 Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts.
Senate Approves Anti-Pretexting Bill 09 Dec 2006 After more than eight months in limbo, a bill that would criminalize the practice of lying to obtain the telephone records of private citizens passed the Senate late Friday. The House passed it in April. It now goes to the White House for approval.
Democrats Plan Oil Royalties Inquiry --Dems fail to pass measure to end legal loophole that allows oil industry to avoid $10 billion in royalties 09 Dec 2006 House Democratic leaders vowed Friday to pursue a broad overhaul of tax breaks and other subsidies to oil companies in January, saying that their first target would be an investigation of how the government collects billions of dollars in royalties on oil and gas produced on federal property.
Records reveal major lobbying campaign at HUD by Abramoff 09 Dec 2006 Last spring, as the fallout from disgraced super lobbyist Jack Abramoff's January guilty plea swirled through Washington, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the agency was unaware of any lobbying Abramoff had done there. Now, though, e-mail and billing records turned over to a congressional committee by Greenberg Traurig, the Miami-based firm that employed Abramoff, say that Abramoff and others conducted a coordinated lobbying campaign at HUD in 2002-03 on behalf of Michigan's Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe. The campaign involved lobbying contacts with at least three high-ranking HUD officials, including current HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, the records say.
Failure to Navigate: Billions Later, Plan to Remake the Coast Guard Fleet Stumbles 09 Dec 2006 Four years after the Coast Guard began an effort to replace nearly its entire fleet of ships, planes and helicopters, the modernization program heralded as a model of government innovation is foundering... Many retired Coast Guard officials, former company executives and government auditors fault that privatization model, saying it allowed the contractors at times to put their interests ahead of the Guard’s. "This is the fleecing of America," said Anthony D’Armiento, a systems engineer who has worked for Northrop and the Coast Guard on the project. "It is the worst contract arrangement I've seen in all my 20 plus years in naval engineering."
As Trucking Rules Are Eased, a Debate on Safety Intensifies By Stephen Labaton 03 Dec 2006 ...In loosening the standards, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was fulfilling President [sic] Bush’s broader pledge to free industry of what it considered cumbersome rules. In the last six years, the White House has embarked on the boldest strategy of deregulation in more than a generation. Largely unchecked by the Republican-led Congress, federal agencies, often led by former industry officials, have methodically reduced what they see as inefficient, outdated regulations and have delayed enforcement of others.
Making the Highways Less Safe (The New York Times) 10 Dec 2006 To describe the Bush administration’s policy toward the trucking industry as deregulation is farcical. The word empowerment is so much more fitting for the array of trucking executives the White House appointed to be the ranking regulators of their own industry. While avowing professionalism, this cadre of political contributors and industry insiders has brazenly relaxed federal standards for truck safety over the last six years.
The Buck Just Stops --The House ethics committee shows 'a disconcerting unwillingness' to hold anyone responsible. (The Washington Post) 09 Dec 2006 What, one has to wonder, would it take for the House ethics committee to hold a lawmaker or a staff member accountable? A special investigative subcommittee convened to examine responses to Mark Foley's inappropriate contacts with congressional pages found... ..."a disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility for resolving issues regarding Rep. Foley's conduct." And it found "a pattern of conduct . . . among many individuals to remain willfully ignorant of the potential consequences of former Representative Foley's conduct with respect to House pages." The sum total of disciplinary actions the panel is recommending as a result? Zero.
Desperately Seeking Ethics (The New York Times) 09 Dec 2006 Sixty-four days after it promised to find out who knew about Representative Mark Foley’s wildly inappropriate, sexually predatory behavior with teenage House pages, and why they failed to stop it, the bipartisan committee produced a report yesterday that was a 91-page exercise in cowardice.
Global warming threatens Scotland's last wilderness 10 Dec 2006 The Cairngorm plateau - a rocky massif once encrusted in ice and snow for most of the year - is losing its snow cover with dramatic speed. As in the rest of the Highlands, a third has disappeared over the past 30 years and the rest will go in a few more decades, it is predicted. Global warming - triggered by mankind's industrial activities - is bringing rapid changes to the Highlands and, in particular, to this fragile outcrop of Arctic ecology at the heart of Scotland.
It's Cheney's Energy Task Force, redux: the LieberBush War Task Force Lieberman, Collins Propose Secret Iraq Strategy Group 08 Dec 2006 Sens. Joseph I. LieberBush and Susan M. Collins today proposed creating a new kind of Senate group to deliberate over Iraq policy, a group that would bring together top Senate leaders behind closed doors to debate and perhaps reshape U. S. strategy. The resolution, which the Senate could consider when it returns Jan. 4, would permit the group to not only consider proposals from Congress regarding the war, but allow consultation with Bush regime officials and outside groups. It would probably have no separate staff or budget, and meet weekly in private.
Rumsfeld to Request Dismissal of Torture Lawsuit 08 Dec 2006 Outgoing Defense Secretary [War Criminal] Donald H. Rumsfeld is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would hold him personally responsible for allegations of torture in overseas military prisons. The lawsuit, filed by two civil rights groups, describes the imprisonment of nine foreigners detained in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit contends the men were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.
Ex-Detainees Seek to Sue U.S. Officials --9 Former Prisoners Want Rumsfeld and Others Held Responsible for Torture 08 Dec 2006 In a federal courtroom today, nine former prisoners at U.S. military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan will seek through an unusual lawsuit to hold outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top military commanders personally responsible for the torture they say they endured.
W.House won't accept all proposals from Baker group 08 Dec 2006 The White House on Friday dismissed former Secretary of State James Baker's appeal that his Iraq recommendations be largely adopted as a whole and said President [sic] George W. Bush was considering various proposals for a change in course.
Bush Backs Away From 2 Key Ideas of Panel on Iraq 08 Dec 2006 President [sic] Bush moved quickly to distance himself on Thursday from the central recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, even as the panel’s co-chairmen opened an intensive lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to press Mr. Bush to adopt their report wholesale.
Poll: Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq war at new low of 27 percent 08 Dec 2006 Dissatisfaction with President [sic] Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an all-time high of 71 percent. The latest AP-Ipsos poll, taken as a bipartisan commission was releasing its recommendations for a new course in Iraq, found that just 27 percent of Americans approved of Bush’s handling of Iraq, down from his previous low of 31 percent in November.
Top Democrat questions Blackwater deals in Iraq 08 Dec 2006 California Representative Henry Waxman wants answers from the military about why North Carolina-based Blackwater USA was paid so much for work in Iraq at taxpayers' expense. Representative Henry Waxman wrote to outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that it's unclear how much taxpayers paid because the Army has not answered questions first raised two years ago.
Are Troops Dying for Oil Profits? Dennis Kucinich speaking from the Floor of the House 07 Dec 2006 "On October 25th, President [sic] Bush cited oil as a reason for our continued presence in Iraq. The Iraq study group is recommending Iraq law be changed to facilitate privatization of Iraq's oil wealth. The Iraq Study Group report says as much as 500,000 barrels per day -- that is $11.3 billion per year -- in Iraqi oil wealth is now being stolen, which is interesting, since the Ministry of Oil is the first place our troops were sent after the invasion of Iraq and we now have 140,000 troops there. How can we expect the end of the Iraq war and national reconciliation in Iraq, while we advocate that Iraq's oil wealth by handled by private oil companies? ...Is it possible that Secretary Baker has a conflict of interest, which should have precluded him from co-chairing a study group whose final report promotes privatization of Iraq oil assets, given his ties to the oil industry? Is it possible that our troops are dying for the profits of private oil companies?"
"That is absurd. It may even be criminal." GOP senator criticizes Iraq war in emotional speech 08 Dec 2006 In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen. Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon who has been a supporter of the war in Iraq, said the U.S. military's "tactics have failed" and he "cannot support that anymore." Smith said he is at, "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day. That is absurd," he said. "It may even be criminal."
More US war crimes on the way: U.S., Iraqi troops seal off Haditha - residents 08 Dec 2006 U.S. and Iraqi troops have sealed off the city of Haditha in Anbar province, in the heartland of the Sunni 'insurgency,' and have warned residents to keep off the streets and stay indoors, officials and residents said on Friday.
Your daily 'tortured bodies located around Baghdad' update: 35 Bodies Found Around Baghdad Thursday 07 Dec 2006 Police have found 35 bodies around Baghdad Thursday. The bodies were blindfolded and riddled with bullets. Twenty-three other Iraqis were killed in a series of shootings and bombings, including two college professors and a 7-year-old girl.
Controversy over US air strike 09 Dec 2006 Controversy broke out overnight over a US air strike that killed around 20 Iraqis, with the US military [lying sacks of sh*t] claiming the victims were "Al-Qaeda terrorists" while locals displayed the corpses of children.
Iraqi Police, Officials: U.S. Raid Killed 32, Including 6 Children 08 Dec 2006 Iraqi police and local officials said at least six children and eight women were among 32 people killed in a U.S. air strike on Friday which the U.S. military said killed 20 'al Qaeda' militants, including two women.
Mortar attack on the outskirts of Baghdad kills 25 people, police say 08 Dec 2006 Three mortar rounds hit a Shiite residential area on the outskirts of Baghdad on Friday night, killing 25 people and wounding 22, police said.
Basra raid may trigger revenge attacks against Danish forces 08 Dec 2006 The commander of the Danish contingent in southern Iraq said Friday he could not rule out possible revenge attacks against Danish forces after five suspected local rebel leaders were arrested in an overnight raid. Some 250 Danish soldiers joined 750 British troops in the overnight sweep in Harta, a suburb of Basra.
Stryker Brigade soldier killed in Iraq 09 Dec 2006 A 20-year-old soldier from Fort Lewis has been killed in Iraq, the Defense Department said Friday.
Iraq insurgents' bombmaking gets more lethal --Advanced explosives outpace military’s efforts to boost troop, vehicle armor 08 Dec 2006 Of the many dangers lying in wait for American soldiers in Iraq, the U.S. military increasingly fears one thing: the new, advanced roadside bombs planted by 'insurgents.'
Freed Iraq hostages forgive captors 08 Dec 2006 A British man and two Canadians freed from captivity in Iraq said on Friday they forgave their captors but are undecided on whether to testify at the trial of the men accused of kidnapping them.
General accuses Reid over Afghanistan 09 Dec 2006 The former chief of the army continued his verbal assault on the government today, accusing the home secretary, John Reid, of failing to give "the full picture" when he said he would be happy if UK forces did not have to fire a single shot during their mission to southern Afghanistan.
Iraq War: 22,000 US Troops Injured 06 Dec 2006 U.S. casualties in Iraq have passed another grim benchmark: Some 22,000 U.S. troops there have now been wounded since the start of the war. As of Tuesday, Dec. 6, 22,057 U.S. soldiers had been injured in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam Hussein, according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Senators want Army mental health inquiry 08 Dec 2006 Three U.S. senators Thursday called for in investigation into mental health services for Army soldiers suffering from PTSD.
Families face huge bills for soldiers' inquests 05 Dec 2006 Families of troops killed in Iraq have been forced to spend hundreds of pounds to buy documents during the inquests into their deaths, a Government minister admitted last night.
Americans skeptical on use of force: poll 07 Dec 2006 Almost two thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration has undermined national security by relying on force too much, a new U.S. poll says.
Dual Missile Test Fails Off Hawaii 08 Dec 2006 A drill planned to demonstrate the Navy's ability to knock down two incoming missiles at once from the same ship failed off Hawaii's coast on Thursday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.
Egypt deports 'terror suspects' 07 Dec 2006 Egypt has deported eight French and two Belgian citizens it arrested on suspicion of trying to recruit people to fight in Iraq, airport sources say. The 10 were put on a flight from Cairo to Brussels, the officials said.
Terror Drills on NJ Transit 08 Dec 2006 Commuters taking NJ Transit on their way home tonight may notice hundreds of extra police officers at 50 train stations in North Jersey. That's because the state's Homeland Security and Preparedness Office will be running a drill that simulates an [Bush bin Laden] attack on the state's transportation system.
Man arrested in alleged Illinois terrorism plot 08 Dec 2006 A man who wanted to carry out a "violent jihad" was arrested after he agreed to obtain hand grenades from a government informant to try to blow up a shopping mall, the FBI said on Friday.
German police detect traces of radiation at two sites linked to Litvinenko contact 09 Dec 2006 German police said Saturday that they had found traces of radiation at two sites in and near Hamburg linked to a contact of poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.
Litvinenko's associate 'in a coma' as spy murder mystery deepens On day 37 of a murder mystery; one funeral, a second murder plot and seven more people test positive for radioactivity 8 December 2006 Five weeks after Alexander Litvinenko suddenly fell ill at the hands of an unknown poisoner, the riddle of his murder and the uneasy diplomatic stand-off that surrounds it grew ever more knotted in intrigue and tragedy.
Scope of 2nd Amendment Is Questioned 07 Dec 2006 In a case that could shape firearms laws nationwide, attorneys for the District of Columbia argued Thursday that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals. The city defended as constitutional its long-standing ban on handguns, a law that some gun opponents have advocated elsewhere.
D.C. Argues Gun Rights Only For Militias --Lawyers Say 2nd Amendment Doesn't Apply to Individuals 08 Dec 2006 Attorneys for the District of Columbia told a federal appeals court Thursday that the 2nd Amendment protecting the right to bear arms applies only to militias and not to individuals. The district's solicitor general told a three-judge panel that the 2nd Amendment should be interpreted on military terms.
McKinney introduces bill to impeach Bush 08 Dec 2006 In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney announced a bill Friday to impeach President [sic] Bush. The legislation has no chance of passing and serves as a symbolic parting shot not only at Bush but also at DemocRATic leaders.
Foley Panel: GOP Didn't Protect Pages 08 Dec 2006 The House ethics committee reported Friday that Republican lawmakers and aides failed to protect young male pages from former Rep. Mark Foley's improper advances, concluding an investigation into a scandal that convulsed Congress and contributed to the GOP defeat in last month's elections.
Bush regime selling US infrastructure to corpora-terrorists: Wall Street sees wave of U.S. public asset sales 07 Dec 2006 Public works in the United States increasingly are going private, and Wall Street investment bankers are ready to deal. In all, bankers expect assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars to be put into play over the next few years.
U.S. House approves tax, energy, health care bill 08 Dec 2006 The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved legislation that extends 'popular' [?!? sic - corporate] tax breaks, opens the Gulf of Mexico to new oil and gas drilling and cancels a scheduled pay cut for doctors who treat the elderly under Medicare.
Keep the E.P.A. Libraries Open By Leslie Burger 08 Dec 2006 ...[T]he E.P.A. has obstructed the American public — as well as its own scientists and staff — by starting to dismantle its crown jewel, the national system of regional E.P.A. libraries... Although lawmakers haven’t yet agreed to President [sic] Bush’s proposed 2007 budget, which includes $2 million in cuts to the agency’s library system, the head of the E.P.A. has already instituted cuts... The E.P.A. cannot hide behind the fig leaf of fiscal responsibility.
Renowned cancer scientist was paid by chemical firm for 20 years 08 Dec 2006 A world-famous British scientist failed to disclose that he held a paid consultancy with a chemical company for more than 20 years while investigating cancer risks in the industry, the Guardian can reveal. Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.
'Elections' are over: Regulators Approve 7.7 Percent Increase For CL&P Customers 08 Dec 2006 Customers of Connecticut Light and Power will see their electric bills increase on Jan. 1. The state Department of Utility Control Friday approved a 7.7 percent rate increase for the company, which is Connecticut's largest utility.
"The risk of a catastrophic event occurring in New England has increased dramatically." Allstate Calls A Halt 08 Dec 2006 In a dramatic move to limit future hurricane claims, Allstate Corp. said Thursday it will stop selling new homeowners' insurance policies Feb. 12 anywhere in Connecticut - not just at the shore - in a move that some critics said was an overreaction.
Warm weather in Europe cause for concern 08 Dec 2006 Spring blossoms are popping up all over the Austrian Alps. Geneva's official chestnut tree has already sprouted leaves and flowers. And Swedes are still picking mushrooms. The same question is on everyone's minds: Is winter in Europe going to be canceled this year? Green fields, not white slopes, have greeted visitors to some of Europe's most popular ski resorts as December began with remarkably little snow.
Apocalypse now: 79 recommendations and a President forced into a corner 07 Dec 2006 A gauntlet was thrown at George Bush's feet yesterday when a long-awaited report on Iraq recommended that he seek the help of Iran and Syria, significantly bolster Iraqi forces and prepare to withdraw most US troops within 14 months.
A damning indictment of a President and his policy (The Independent) 07 Dec 2006 A more devastating indictment of the strategy of a sitting American president could not be imagined. The cross-party Iraq Study Group's recommendations on future US policy in that blighted country were made public yesterday. Gone are the illusions of "progress" and "victory" peddled by George Bush - and, until recently, Tony Blair. Instead, it paints an unvarnished picture of the "dire" reality in Iraq. It breaks new ground not in the proposals it makes, but in the bluntness with which it speaks truth to power.
The Roman Empire is falling - so it turns to Iran and Syria By Robert Fisk 07 Dec 2006 The Roman Empire is falling. That, in a phrase, is what the Baker report says. The legions cannot impose their rule on Mesopotamia. Just as Crassus lost his legions' banners in the deserts of Syria-Iraq, so has George W Bush. There is no Mark Antony to retrieve the honour of the empire. The policy "is not working". "Collapse" and "catastrophe" - words heard in the Roman senate many a time - were embedded in the text of the Baker report. Et tu, James?
Powell on Iraq: 'It looks like, smells like and ... is a civil war' 07 Dec 2006 On the same day that the Iraq Study Group offered its assessment on the deteriorating conditions in the Middle East, former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the conflict a civil war, joining a growing chorus of those who eschew the more benign-sounding [false] "sectarian violence" terminology preferred by the Bush regime. "It looks like, smells like and, in my judgment, is a civil war," the retired four-star general said last night.
Bush and Blair refuse to move over Iraq 08 Dec 2006 A defiant and at times prickly President [sic] George W Bush stood alongside Tony Blair yesterday and rejected key elements of a major report on the war in Iraq, while vowing: "We will help a young democracy prevail."
No withdrawal from Iraq, Howard insists 08 Dec 2006 The Prime Minister has refused to commit to withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by early 2008, despite the recommendation of the US bipartisan Iraq Study Group that American combat forces leave by then.
'Overstretch' putting UK troops at risk, says general 07 Dec 2006 British troops are being put at risk by underfunding and "overstretch" in Iraq and Afghanistan General Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the British Army, said in an attack on the Government.
Soldiers on front line short of equipment, MPs warn 08 Dec 2006 Troops are "desperately short" of equipment on the front line in Afghanistan and Iraq, a cross-party committee of MPs warns in a report published today.
Marines Could Face Charges In Iraqi Civilian Deaths 07 Dec 2006 Several marines could soon face charges in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians. Military prosecutors said they are close to taking action.
U.S. troops suffer heavy toll 07 Dec 2006 The U.S. military on Thursday confirmed 11 U.S. soldiers were killed this week in one of the worst days suffered by U.S. forces.
Saudis reportedly funding Iraqi Sunnis 07 Dec 2006 Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, including shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, according to key Iraqi officials and others familiar with the flow of cash.
Oil for Sale: Iraq Study Group Recommends Privatization By Antonia Juhasz 07 Dec 2006 President [sic] Bush hired an employee from the U.S. consultancy firm Bearing Point Inc. over a year ago to advise the Iraq Oil Ministry on the drafting and passage of a new national oil law. As previously drafted, the law opens Iraq's nationalized oil sector to private foreign corporate investment, but stops short of full privatization. The ISG report, however, goes further, stating that "the United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." ...If these proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be privatized and opened to foreign firms, and in control of all of Iraq's oil wealth.
Bush: No early Iran-Syria talks 07 Dec 2006 US President [sic] George W Bush has ruled out early talks with Iran and Syria on tackling Iraq's unrest, after meeting Tony Blair at the White House. Their talks came a day after a damning US report called for such a move as part of a change in strategy on Iraq.
Optimism fades in Afghanistan 07 Dec 2006 Optimism is starting to fade among the people of Afghanistan five years after the fall of the Taliban and amid rising violence in the country, a poll found. The number of people who think the country is on the right track has dropped 22 points - to 55 per cent - in the last year, according to a poll done in Afghanistan by ABC News and BBC World Service.
Two killed in suicide attack in Afghanistan 08 Dec 2006 A suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy on Thursday in southern Afghanistan, killing at least two Afghan civilians and wounding several others in the seventh suicide attack in the Kandahar region in 11 days, officials said.
26 Afghans released from U.S. military prison in Afghanistan 07 Dec 2006 The U.S. military has released 26 Afghans who were incarcerated at its detention facility, a statement said.
Guantanamo Detainees Going to New Prison 08 Dec 2006 The U.S. military transferred the first group of detainees on Thursday to a new maximum-security prison at Guantanamo Bay designed to restrict contact among the prisoners and prevent attacks on guards. More than 40 detainees were brought to the $37 million [KBR-built] prison perched on a plateau overlooking the Caribbean Sea from another maximum-security facility at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, said Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand.
PM unhappy with delay in charging Australian at Guantanamo Bay 07 Dec 2006 Prime Minister John Howard said Friday he was unhappy that an Australian terror suspect remained in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba without charges. "We are very hopeful that there will be formal charges brought against him early in the New Year," Howard said... More than 200 judges, lawyers and their supporters gathered in Melbourne's court precinct Friday to demonstrate against Hicks' detention. "I don't think there's been a period since the 1950s and the McCarthyist era when we've seen such a sustained attack and disdain on fundamental notions of justice," lawyer and former state attorney general Jim Kennan told the protesters.
Hicks turns up heat on PM 06 Dec 2006 Terror suspect David Hicks is set to launch court action in Australia aimed at forcing the Howard Government to seek his immediate repatriation from Guantanamo Bay. Lawyers acting for Hicks will lodge documents in the Federal Court today seeking an order requiring the Government to protect his rights as an Australian citizen by bringing him home.
U.S.: Padilla's Time in Brig Irrelevant 07 Dec 2006 Federal prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to prevent Jose Padilla's defense lawyers from questioning Defense Department officials or obtaining documents about his treatment during 3 years in military custody as an "enemy combatant."
Jailed media worldwide hits record: U.S. watchdog 07 Dec 2006 The number of journalists jailed worldwide for their work rose for the second year with Internet bloggers and online reporters now one third of those incarcerated [!?!], a U.S.-based media watchdog said on Thursday. A Committee to Protect Journalists census found that a record 134 journalists were in jail on December 1 -- an increase of nine from the 2005 tally.
Dubai Ports participating in U.S. security plan 07 Dec 2006 Dubai Ports World, the Arab-owned firm whose purchase of American port facilities caused a U.S. political uproar, will join a program aimed at stopping [planting] nuclear weapons being smuggled into the United States, sources familiar with the agreement said on Thursday.
DHS Passenger Scoring Illegal? 07 Dec 2006 A newly revealed system that has been assigning terrorism scores to Americans traveling into or out of the country for the past five years is not merely invasive, privacy advocates charge, it's an illegal violation of limits Congress has placed on the Department of Homeland Security for the last three years.
Privacy groups rip terrorist risk-rating plan --DHS effort assigns secret ratings to U.S., foreign travelers 06 Dec 2006 More than two-dozen privacy groups have joined a growing chorus of voices calling for the immediate suspension of a federal data mining program that assigns secret terrorist ratings to millions of U.S. citizens and foreigners traveling to and from the country. In formal comments filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday, the group called the government's Automated Targeting System (ATS) a "massive black box" for secretly profiling citizens in violation of the Privacy Act.
Bush 'Privacy Board' Just a Gag By Ryan Singel 06 Dec 2006 The first public meeting of a Bush administration "civil liberties protection panel" had a surreal quality to it, as the five-member board refused to answer any questions from the press, and stonewalled privacy advocates and academics on key questions about domestic spying. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which met Tuesday, was created by Congress in 2004 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, but is part of the White House, which handpicked all the members.
Crackdown on flying with liquids 08 Dec 2006 Air travellers entering and leaving Australia will face new restrictions on liquids carried in hand luggage from early next year. But Prime Minister John Howard said that the government will look at applying the restrictions to domestic flights as well.
Forced vaccines and quarantines are being signed into law as we 'debate' the solution to Bush's war in Iraq: Senate approves Burr's bioterrorism bill --Critics warn about the effects of 'secret vaccine production' 06 Dec 2006 The Senate passed a bill last night [S.3678] sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., that would create a new federal agency to combat [foment] bioterrorism. The bill to establish the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, commonly referred to as BARDA, passed by unanimous consent. Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, has been an outspoken critic of the bill. She was unaware that the bill had been passed by the Senate last night but said she's worried about the effects "secret vaccine production" could have on the American public. "This is an extremely dangerous precedent that is being set," she said. [Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate)[S.3678.ES] --The Library of Congress, THOMAS]
The House vote to approve BARDA could take place before Friday, 08 Dec. (National Vaccine Information Center) 06 Dec 2006 In the future, when the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares a public health "emergency" under Bioshield and other federal and state legislation passed since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans could be quarantined and forced to use experimental drugs and vaccines and have no recourse to the civil justice system if they are injured by them. Congress has already given complete liability protection to drug companies and those who order citizens to take drugs and vaccines during a declared public health "emergency." [Call the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 to express your views on BARDA; visit www.house.gov to locate your Congresscritters.]
Death by Dust --The frightening link between the 9-11 toxic cloud and cancer By Kristen Lombardi 28 Nov 2006 To date, 75 recovery workers on or around what is now known as "the Pile"—the rubble that remained after the World Trade Center towers collapsed on the morning of September 11, 2001—have been diagnosed with blood cell cancers that a half-dozen top doctors and epidemiologists have confirmed as having been likely caused by that exposure. Those 75 cases have come to light in joint-action lawsuits filed against New York City on behalf of at least 8,500 recovery workers who suffer from various forms of lung illnesses and respiratory diseases—and suggest a pattern too distinct to ignore.
Report: Businessman in coma from poisoning --Russian who had contact with murdered spy said to be in critical condition 07 Dec 2006 Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun, a key figure in the poisoning investigation of ex-security agent Alexander Litvinenko, is in a coma, a Russian news agency reported Thursday.
EAC Unit Recommends E-Voting Software Independence 06 Dec 2006 The Technical Guidelines Development Committee, a committee appointed by the Election Assistance Commission to study security issues involving electronic voting, voted on Dec. 5 to recommend a move to software independence in voting machines used in the United States.
GOP hands Wal-Mart $1bn 'incentive' 07 Dec 2006 Congressional negotiators agreed on legislation to extend dozens of trade and tax benefits and block a cut in fees that Medicare pays doctors. The biggest items include renewal and modification of a $16.3 billion research tax credit that will benefit companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co., and Monsanto Corp. The provisions include a $1 billion incentive for retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to hire welfare recipients and money to help clean up abandoned mines.
Infected blood threatens fresh outbreak of vCJD --Ease of transmission puts thousands at risk --Third transfusion death alarms scientists 08 Dec 2006 Thousands of people are at risk from an outbreak of variant Creut-zfeld-Jakob disease spread by contaminated blood or infected surgical instruments.
Global Warming is Reducing Ocean Life, Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, Say Scientists (University of California, Santa Barbara Press Release) 06 Dec 2006 Alarming new satellite data show that the warming of the world's oceans is reducing ocean life while contributing to increased global warming.
Panel's Hamilton: Iraq war costs could top $1 trillion 06 Dec 2006 The Democratic co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group said on Wednesday that America's ability to resolve the crisis in Iraq is narrowing and the costs could rise to more than $1 trillion.
Extra £600m earmarked for Iraq and Afghanistan 07 Dec 2006 The cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is increasing, the chancellor indicated in his statement yesterday. He said the Ministry of Defence had been allocated an additional £600m for operations in the two countries next year and for what he called "other international obligations".
Closer to the Abyss --U.S troops just don't have the means to stop Iraq's death squads. [That's because they *are* the death squads!!] Why the Baker proposals could turn into a nightmare. By Christopher Dickey 06 Dec 2006 Every day we move closer to the edge of a humanitarian abyss. Think the Balkans, Rwanda or Darfur, but with this grim difference: the United States won’t be able to stand back from the slaughter and wring its hands in Iraq. It is implicated up to its elbows already, and there’s more to come.
Police find 48 bodies with signs of torture in Baghdad 06 Dec 2006 Security and other developments in Iraq as of 2330 GMT on Wednesday: ...Police said they found 48 bodies with gunshot wounds and signs of torture in different areas of Baghdad.
NBC: 10 U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq --Mortar attack kills 8 Iraqis, wounds 40 06 Dec 2006 Ten American servicemembers were killed in two improvised explosive device attacks in Iraq on Wednesday, NBC News reported. The news came hours after a mortar attack killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the Sadr City Shiite district of the capital, police said.
'Our ship of state has hit rough waters.' Iraq report sees 'grave and deteriorating' crisis --"We are bordering on chaos and anarchy." 06 Dec 2006 United States troops should begin withdrawing from combat and Washington should launch a diplomatic and political push to halt a "grave and deteriorating" crisis in Iraq, a high-level panel studying the war said on Wednesday. [Iraq Study Group report includes giving amnesty to the 'insurgents' and returning the Golan Heights to Syria.]
Iraq Study Group urges troop withdrawal 06 Dec 2006 The panel's key recommendations call for a new diplomatic initiative in Iraq and the region, coupled with a change in the primary mission of US forces in Iraq from combat to training. As expected, the report set no timetable for withdrawal but it urged the Bush administration to start the process sooner rather than later by withdrawing all combat troops by early 2008 ['Election' Day].
Text of letter from Iraq panel co-chairs 06 Dec 2006 Text of a letter from the co-chairmen [James A. Baker III, Lee H. Hamilton] of the Iraq Study Group accompanying their report on how to revamp U.S. policy in Iraq.
The Iraq Study Group Report 06 Dec 2006 (.pdf)
Bush vows to take Iraq report "very seriously" 06 Dec 2006 An influential bipartisan panel is expected to recommend on Wednesday that U.S. forces withdraw from combat over the next year to focus on training Iraqis and President [sic] George W. Bush said he would take the recommendations "very seriously" [And then issue 28 'signing statements'].
Democrats Embrace Findings of Iraq Panel 06 Dec 2006 Democrats seized on the findings of the Iraq Study Group today, asserting that President [sic] Bush must change his approach and be ready to cooperate with members of Congress in finding a way forward, and eventually out of, Iraq.
Cheney's Halliburton Ties Remain --Contrary to Cheney's Claims, Researchers Say Financial Links Remain 26 Sep 2003 A report by the Congressional Research Service undermines Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's denial of a continuing relationship with Halliburton Co., the energy company he once led, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Thursday.
Suicide Bomber Strikes at American Firm in Southern Afghanistan 07 Dec 2006 A suicide bomber blew himself up on Wednesday outside the offices of an American security firm [U.S. Protection and Investigations, based in Houston] in the southern city of Kandahar, killing two American security officers [mercenaries] and nine Afghan members of the staff, other employees at the scene said.
Robert Gates confirmed as secretary of defense --Full Senate votes 95-2 in favor of proposed Rumsfeld replacement 06 Dec 2006 The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to confirm [Iran-Contra architect] Robert Gates as defense secretary, with Democrats and Republicans portraying him as the man who will help overhaul President [sic] Bush's Iraq policies.
RCMP chief's troubles grow --In one day on the Hill, Canada's top police officer was made to swear on a Bible, accused of perjury by an MP and put on notice by the Prime Minister for changing his testimony on the Arar case. 06 Dec 2006 Giuliano Zaccardelli, Canada's top police officer, was forced to swear on a Bible Tuesday before being allowed to give evidence to Parliament. He was then accused of perjury by a Liberal MP. By day's end, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "surprised and concerned" by the fact the RCMP Commissioner had changed key testimony given in the Maher Arar case.
Zaccardelli Resigns --RCMP commissioner leaves amid criticism over Arar file 06 Dec 2006 Embattled RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has resigned amid criticism over conflicting statements about the Maher Arar case. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Wednesday during question period in the House of Commons.
US and Israel Targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon By James Brooks 04 Dec 2006 It's been almost five months since the first report that Israeli drone aircraft have been dropping a "mystery weapon" on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Since then, news media around the world have run stories depicting the strange and "horrific" wounds inflicted by the new bomb... Combined with photographs of the victims and testimony from attending doctors, this evidence points to the use of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). DIME is an LCD ("low collateral damage") weapon developed at the US Air Force Research Laboratory... DIME bombs produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated "micro-shrapnel" of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA).
Israel destroys homes of Palestinian Bedouins 06 Dec 2006 The Israeli interior minister, Roni Bar-On, declared that his ministry has planned the demolition of more than 42,000 homes of Palestinian Bedouins that were built even before 1948 when Israel was proclaimed.
Row erupts over Israeli textbooks 05 Dec 2006 Israel's education minister [Yuli Tamir] has said school textbooks should show Israel's pre-1967 borders, prompting a storm of criticism from right-wingers. Currently, schoolbooks show Israel's territorial conquests in the 1967 war - the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights - as part of Israel. International law deems them occupied land that Israel has illegally settled.
Specter, Leahy Introduce Bill to "Restore" Habeas Corpus By Steven Aftergood 06 Dec 2006 ...Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the "Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2006," which would reinstate federal court jurisdiction over Guantanamo detainees and other suspected enemy combatants. The bill would repeal two provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 enacted in September that limit habeas corpus.
Senators Rap FBI Over Domestic Spying 06 Dec 2006 Senators frustrated by scant details on the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program on Wednesday rapped FBI Director Robert Mueller for refusing to show how it has curbed terrorist activity in the United States. Mueller said he was unable to talk about the warrantless spying program because it is classified.
"Bin Laden Will Be Back" [Yes, I am thinking late October-early November 2008.] 05 Dec 2006 (SPIEGEL interview) Former CIA agent Michael Scheuer on the prospects of finding bin Laden, the outlook for al Qaeda and the risk of new terror attacks in the United States.
Radiation found in British Embassy 06 Dec 2006 Traces of radiation have been found at the British Embassy in Moscow by the team probing the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.
Poisoned spy case to be treated as murder says Scotland Yard 06 Dec 2006 The death of Alexander Litvinenko is officially being treated as murder, police have said. Scotland Yard's announcement came after a post mortem examination of the former Russian spy confirmed he died of radiation poisoning.
Pharma-terrorists win again: FDA rejects new limits on mercury in vaccines --Group petitioned government to restrict use of controversial [deadly] preservative 06 Dec 2006 Federal health officials won’t put new restrictions on the use of a mercury-based preservative in vaccines and other medicines, denying a petition that sought the limits because of health concerns.
FDA fines American Red Cross $5.7 million --Government penalizes agency for breaking blood-safety laws 06 Dec 2006 The federal government has fined the American Red Cross $5.7 million for violating blood-safety laws and the terms of a 2003 consent decree. The 2003 consent decree settled charges that the Red Cross had committed "persistent and serious violations" of federal blood safety rules dating back 17 years.
Audit Says FEMA Squandering Katrina Aid 06 Dec 2006 One year after Katrina, the government is still squandering tens of millions of dollars in wasted disaster aid, including $17 million in bogus rental payments to people who had already received free trailers and apartments, federal investigators said Wednesday.
Outage turns to outrage --Decatur still reeling from storm 06 Dec 2006 As hundreds of National Guard troops fanned out across iced-over central Illinois Tuesday offering help, residents shivering without power for a fifth straight day demanded to know why it is taking so long to restore electricity.
Medicare's rigged drug contraption By Marie Cocco 06 Dec 2006 The lavishness of this project at privatizing Medicare is exposed, once again, in a new study by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan think tank that studies health policy. It found that Medicare overpays private managed-care medical plans so substantially that it costs taxpayers $922 more per patient to have them get coverage through corporate insurers such as Humana and UnitedHealth Group compared with traditional, government-run Medicare. "Every plan in every county in the nation was paid more in 2005 than its enrollees would have been expected to cost if they had been enrolled in traditional, fee-for-service Medicare," the study concludes.
Georgia foreclosures jump 99%; rate is nation's 3rd highest 06 Dec 2006 Foreclosures in Georgia are up a stunning 99 percent in the past year. The state now has the nation's third-highest rate of foreclosures: One in every 449 households.
Gates, Schmidt Lead Stock Sales to Highest Since 1987 06 Dec 2006 Stock sales by America's corporate chieftains exceeded purchases last month by the widest margin since 1987, suggesting they don't share the confidence of investors who sent the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a six-year high.
Arctic ice field could melt by 2080: European research 05 Dec 2006 The Arctic Ocean's ice field could melt entirely by 2080 due to global warming, a group of European scientists meeting in the northern Germany city of Bremen announced.
Canada: Suspect Tortured Despite Warning 05 Dec 2006 Canadian police said Tuesday they had told U.S. authorities they had no evidence an Ottawa software engineer was an al-Qaida agent before Washington deported him to Syria, where he was tortured.
Prosecutors want kidnap trial for CIA agents 05 Dec 2006 Italian prosecutors on Tuesday asked a judge to order CIA agents and Italian spies to stand trial on charges of kidnapping a terrorism suspect and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured, a court source said.
U.S.: Secrecy Bars ACLU Lawsuit 04 Dec 2006 The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Monday to toss out a lawsuit challenging a warrantless surveillance program, saying the government can't defend itself without revealing national secrets.
Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon By David Hambling 05 Dec 2006 According to documents obtained for Wired News under federal sunshine laws, the Air Force's Active Denial System, or ADS, has been certified safe after lengthy tests by military scientists in the lab and in war games... Documents acquired for Wired News using the Freedom of Information Act claim that most of the radiation (83 percent) is instantly absorbed by the top layer of the skin, heating it rapidly. The beam produces what experimenters call the "Goodbye effect," or "prompt and highly motivated escape behavior." In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds.
Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq 05 Dec 2006 There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.
Top Democrat Wants More Troops In Iraq --'We Can't Afford to Leave' 05 Dec 2006 In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a stepped up effort to "dismantle the militias." [OMFG. Arming the Left: Is the time now? --by Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003 "As long as we pose no REAL threat to the powers-that-be, to what is shaping up into [is] a dictatorship, we will continue to be ignored.]
Iraqi Troops Respond to Explosion Near Baghdad 05 Dec 2006 Iraqi soldiers responded to a vehicle bomb explosion near Baghdad in the Mahmudiyah district (south of Baghdad) at 8:15 a.m. today.
Three Servicemembers Killed in Iraq 05 Dec 2006 Three soldiers died in Iraq yesterday, and Defense officials have identified four earlier casualties.
Iraq: ICRC strongly condemns attacks against civilians International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 30 Nov 2006 As scores of civilians continue to be killed on a daily basis in Iraq, the ICRC strongly condemns deliberate attacks against civilians. Speaking in Geneva today, Georges Comninos, ICRC head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa, said: "Regardless of the complexity of the issues at stake in the Iraqi conflict, it is unacceptable and contrary to the most basic principles of humanity and law to target persons not participating in the hostilities".
Last men standing: Blair heads to US for crucial talks with Bush 06 Dec 2006 Tony Blair will be over the Atlantic today on his way to Washington as the Iraq review group chaired by the former US Secretary of State James Baker delivers its long-awaited report.
New defence chief admits US is not winning the war in Iraq 06 Dec 2006 The man picked by George Bush to be the next Defence Secretary has admitted the US is not winning the war in Iraq and said the soaring violence threatens to erupt into an even more chaotic regional conflict if a solution is not found rapidly.
US not winning in Iraq-Pentagon nominee Gates 05 Dec 2006 Robert Gates, U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush's choice to run the Pentagon, said on Tuesday America was not winning in Iraq and the war would determine whether the Middle East faced a "regional conflagration."
Gates OK'd for Defense by Senate Panel 05 Dec 2006 Robert Gates won approval by a Senate panel Tuesday to be the next defense secretary after telling the senators the U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq and there could be a "regional conflagration" if the country is not stabilized.
Iran to replace dollar with euro in foreign trade: Finance Minister 05 Dec 2006 Iran has decided to replace dollar with euro in its foreign trade given the continual impediments and hostile policies directed by U.S. toward the country, Iranian finance minister said on Monday.
Pentagon resists pleas for help in Afghan opium fight --The DEA wants the military to take a larger role in stopping the drug trade, which experts say finances the insurgency. 05 Dec 2006 The Pentagon, engaged in a difficult fight to defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade. The DEA's advocates in Congress argue that the Pentagon could undermine the insurgency by combating the drugs that help finance it. [Yes, but Bush bin Laden needs his drugs-for-terrorism operation to help finance future 9/11-style terrorist attacks.]
Afghan suicide bomb attack kills eight in south 06 Dec 2006 A suicide bomber attacked the office of a U.S.-owned security company in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday killing eight people, including two Americans, a government and company official said.
British soldier killed in battle with Taliban 05 Dec 2006 A British Royal Marine was killed and a second wounded on Tuesday in a battle with Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, the UK Helmand Task Force (UKTF) said.
Afghanistan investigates kidnap of German reporter 05 Dec 2006 Afghanistan is investigating reports a German journalist has been kidnapped from a taxi, the government said on Tuesday.
A Judge's Sharp Opinion 04 Dec 2006 U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued a blunt indictment Friday of the Bush regime's legal handling of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Frustrated with the plight of prisoners held without charges for years at the base, Kessler expressed disgust with the federal government's repeated efforts to block courts from hearing detainees' complaints.
Posters of terror suspects displayed at U.S. airports during holiday season 05 Dec 2006 Hundreds of wanted-terrorist posters are being distributed during the holiday season to U.S. airports by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [Hopefully, they don't forget Bush.]
Homeland Security Extends Comment Time 05 Dec 2006 Under pressure from Congress and the public, the Homeland Security Department extended the time for people to comment on its computerized risk assessment system for international travelers.
Radioactive traces at Arsenal stadium 06 Dec 2006 British investigators have found minute traces of polonium 210, the radioactive isotope that killed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, at a London soccer stadium.
Hackers attack Naval War College computer network 06 Dec 2006 Hackers attacked the computer network at the Naval War College in Newport, taking down the school's network for more than two weeks, including some e-mail services and the college's website.
Menezes family appeals for police prosecutions --Failure to act undermines rule of law, judges told 06 Dec 2006 The decision not to charge any police officers over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes was "a violation" of the human rights of his family, their QC told the high court yesterday.
Memo: Administration tried to cut payouts to nuke workers 05 Dec 2006 The Bush administration repeatedly sought ways to limit payouts to nuclear weapons workers sickened by radiation and toxic material, according to a memo written by congressional investigators and obtained by USA TODAY.
FEMA appeals Katrina housing order 05 Dec 2006 The Bush administration is challenging a court order requiring it to make housing payments to thousands of families whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
House postpones offshore drilling bill 05 Dec 2006 The House postponed a showdown vote on opening 8 million more acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling Tuesday. Supporters were worried about achieving the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass the measure under rules allowing little debate. They said they might make another attempt before week's end using different rules that allow broader debate but require only a simple majority.
Extra Checks on Voting Machines Rejected 04 Dec 2006 A federal advisory panel on Monday rejected a recommendation that states use only voting machines that produced results that could be independently verified.
US CDC awards $11.4 million for new bird flu tests 04 Dec 2006 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it had awarded $11.4 million for developing new, quick tests for influenza to four U.S. companies.
Third U.S. mad cow case reported in Virginia, CDC says 05 Dec 2006 A Saudi-born man living in Virginia has been identified as the third reported U.S. case of a human form of mad cow disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York bans trans fats from all restaurants 06 Dec 2006 New York city health chiefs have voted unanimously to ban artificial trans fats at restaurants, from the humble corner pizzeria to luxury bakers.
Richest 2% own 'half the wealth' 05 Dec 2006 The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute.
Alps Are Warmest in 1,300 Years 05 Dec 2006 Europe's Alpine region is going through its warmest period in 1,300 years, the head of an extensive climate study said Tuesday.
Pentagon Puts Guantanamo Court Project On Fast Track 04 Dec 2006 The Pentagon is invoking emergency authority to expedite funding of a war-crimes-court compound at its Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England has informed Congress. Defense spokesmen would not say when, if ever, the Pentagon had last invoked similar authority. Nor would they specify which military construction [KBR] already approved by Congress would be frozen to fund the court project, which could cost as much as $125 million, according to U.S. government documents.
Interrogations of Terror Suspect Included Hooding, "Truth Serums" 04 Dec 2006 ...Together with other documents filed late Friday, the images represent the latest and most aggressive sally by defense lawyers who declared this fall that charges against Jose Padilla should be dismissed for "outrageous government conduct," saying that he was mistreated and tortured during his years as an enemy combatant. Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say, included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent execution and the administration of "truth serums."
Video reveals harsh treatment of terror suspect 05 Dec 2006 First a small door at the bottom of José Padilla's locked cell number 103 was opened and he was told to put his bare feet through it so that they could be shackled. Then his hands were manacled through a separate panel. Next military guards, with their identities disguised behind camouflaged uniforms and riot helmets, entered the cell and locked his handcuffs on to a metal belt around his waist. They rendered him deaf and blind by putting headphones and blackout goggles on him...
From the 'people' who brought you the Hurricane Katrina response: NRC Releases Plan For Continued "Mission-Essential" Operations During an Avian Flu Pandemic 01 Dec 2006 The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released its 90-page plan outlining how the agency would maintain mission-essential and supporting functions during a possible flu pandemic that may cause staff absenteeism of 40 percent or more. The plan says the NRC would systematically "shed" lower priority work [!?!] and take certain action ahead of time to better support staff during a pandemic... The federal government planning assumptions for the pandemic include absenteeism as high as 40 percent for periods of weeks in the course of a 12- to 18-month period.
IT Caught Off Guard by Flu Pandemic Warning --Call to make quarantine preparations a priority is 'eye-opener' for execs 04 Dec 2006 Gartner Inc. is recommending that businesses complete planning by the second quarter of next year for a possible avian influenza pandemic and in particular stock up on supplies that would be needed by data center workers who might be quarantined together.
$10M CDC deal raises questions 03 Dec 2006 It began when a prominent Atlanta business leader introduced Dr. Julie Gerberding to a man who wanted to be her free management adviser, to help her transform operations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now the agency is scrambling to explain the gyrations it used to give $10 million in business without competition to a consulting firm associated with and recommended by CDC director Gerberding's free adviser.
Saudis and Iran prepare to do battle over corpse of Iraq 04 Dec 2006 The gulf's two military powers, Sunni-Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, are lining up behind their warring religious brethren in Iraq in a potentially explosive showdown, as expectations grow in both countries that America is preparing a pull-out. In Teheran, Iranian leaders have made clear that they believe they are the big winners from America's involvement in Iraq.
Mideast allies near a state of panic --U.S. leaders' visits to the region reap only warnings and worry. 03 Dec 2006 Instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, George W. Bush's journey across troubled Middle East found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.
Annan says Iraq in grip of civil war 03 Dec 2006 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Iraq was in the grip of civil war as U.S. and Iraqi forces attacked insurgent bases in a bid to shore up the authority of a government itself riven by factional rivalries.
Rumsfeld left secret 'cut and run' memo --Outgoing defence chief's plan to slash US bases 04 Dec 2006 The Bush regime is considering a series of major policy changes over Iraq that were set out by the outgoing defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in a secret memorandum sent to the White House, it was confirmed yesterday.
Rumsfeld 'considered Iraq withdrawal' 04 Dec 2006 A leaked memo from the outgoing US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicated that the chief architect of the Iraq war was considering a "major adjustment" of strategy, including troop redeployments and withdrawals, just days before his resignation last month.
Lieberman Opposes Iraq Pullout 04 Dec 2006 Despite mounting pressure from both parties for a change in direction in Iraq, Sen. Joseph I. LieberBush, "D"-Conn., said Sunday that withdrawing American forces would be a "statement of weakness."
U.S. Military Shifts Troops Into Advisory Roles in Iraq 05 Dec 2006 American commanders in Iraq are already shifting thousands of combat troops into advisory positions with Iraqi Army and police units, especially in the capital, in their latest attempt to bring 'sectarian' [US] violence under control.
Gunmen kill Iraqi journalist in Baghdad 04 Dec 2006 Gunmen shot dead on Monday an Iraqi journalist working for a local radio station, an official at Dijla station said. Nabil al Dulaimi, a Sunni, had just left his house in al- Washash area in northwest Baghdad and was heading to work when gunmen killed him, the official told Reuters.
Chronology -Journalists killed in Iraq 04 Dec 2006 Gunmen shot dead on Monday an Iraqi journalist working for a local radio station, an official at Dijla station said. Since the start of the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, more than 100 reporters and media assistants, such as drivers and translators, have been killed in Iraq, most of them Iraqis. Following is a chronology of those reported killed in 2006...
Security developments in Iraq, Dec 4 04 Dec 2006 Following are security and other developments in Iraq as of 1800 GMT on Monday: Police found the bodies of 52 people around Baghdad in the 24 hours to Monday evening, an Interior Ministry source said. Most had gunshot wounds and many had been tortured -- victims of suspected 'sectarian' [US] death squads. Gunmen killed four policemen in the northern city of Mosul, a hospital source said.
Dozens killed, 50 bodies found in Iraq 03 Dec 2006 At least 30 Iraqis were killed and 50 bodies were found in Baghdad. "Some of the bodies showed signs of torture," according to the police.
Helicopter Crash Kills Marine; Five Other Servicemembers Die in Operations 04 Dec 2006 A Marine died yesterday in the crash of a CH-46 Chinook helicopter in western Anbar Province, Iraq. Three other servicemembers are missing following the accident. Elsewhere in Iraq, four soldiers and a Marine have been killed in two incidents.
Eight Servicemembers Killed in Iraq 03 Dec 2006 Eight U.S. servicemembers have died in fighting in Iraq since Dec. 1, military officials reported.
Journalists Acquitted in Iraq WMD Case 04 Dec 2006 Three Danish journalists who published 'classified' intelligence reports on Iraq's former weapons program were acquitted Monday on charges of endangering national security. The articles said there was no evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, one of the key reasons cited by the U.S. and Britain for going to war.
More than 100 soldiers from CFB Valcartier leave for Afghanistan 04 Dec 2006 A contingent of 120 soldiers from the fabled Royal 22nd Regiment left Canadian Forces Base Valcartier Monday to fight the Taliban but also bring humanitarian aid to war-torn Afghanistan.
John Bolton resigns as ambassador to U.N. --Bush accepts resignation 04 Dec 2006 Unable to win Senate confirmation, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will step down when his recess appointment expires soon, the White House said Monday.
'80s scandal could haunt pick to succeed Rumsfeld 04 Dec 2006 Soon after the Sandinistas downed an arms-laden plane over Nicaragua, Robert Gates met privately with three other senior CIA officials to decide what they would tell Congress as it investigated whether the secret mission violated a U.S. ban on military aid to the right-wing insurgents [terrorists] seeking to topple the Marxist government.
CIA Veteran: How Robert Gates Cooked the Intelligence 04 Dec 2006 Intelligence cherry-picked for ideological purposes; the claims of a single, unreliable source treated as fact and stovepiped straight up to the White House; a National Intelligence Estimate riddled with dubious claims; efforts made to connect an enemy regime with international terrorism. Echoing the prelude to the Iraq War, these are, in fact, a sampling of the allegations directed at Robert Gates 15 years ago, when the Senate Intelligence Committee considered Gates' nomination to be the director of Central Intelligence.
US Marine jailed in landmark rape case 05 Dec 2006 A young United States Marine faces 40 years in a Philippine jail after being convicted of rape in a case that highlighted the issues of women's rights and national sovereignty in the Philippines.
11 'antiwar grandmas' won't get jail 02 Dec 2006 A judge dismissed charges yesterday against 11 antiwar grandmothers arrested in June for refusing to leave a Center City military recruiting station after trying to enlist to serve in Iraq.
Chavez victory signals further move to the left 05 Dec 2006 Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has won a resounding re-election victory, setting the scene for a promised "deepening" of his socialist revolution and a broader role as leftist lightning rod on the world stage.
Runaway victory for Chavez 04 Dec 2006 Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez won re-election by a wide margin today, giving him another six years to solidify his self-styled social revolution and further his crusade to counter US influence.
Egypt arrests American, others in terror plot --Police detain more than a dozen suspects in alleged conspiracy 04 Dec 2006 Police have arrested an American, 11 Europeans and several others from Arab countries for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
Citigroup Laundering Saudi Cash Used to Fund Jihadist Terrorism By Bill Gallagher 05 Dec 2006 Did Citigroup, one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world, help transfer funds into accounts used to bankroll terrorism? Why do prominent Saudis involved in funneling money to "charitable" accounts that end up funding terrorism escape scrutiny? Why would the FBI, when given evidence of such conduct, promise to investigate, and then wait 17 months to question the whistleblower? Why would the FBI then suddenly drop the probe just two weeks into it?
Airport X-ray labelled strip search 05 Dec 2006 A full-body x-ray machine to be tested this month at a US airport has raised concerns about privacy issues with some rights advocates saying the technology amounts to a virtual strip search.
Secret Scottish base training anti-terror squads 04 Dec 2006 A secretive new government office has been set up to prepare Scottish police forces for a terrorist attack using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, The Scotsman has learned.
Home Office mulls plan for dedicated team of judges 04 Dec 2006 Britain could get dedicated "terror judges" to oversee court cases where intercepted phone calls would be used against people accused of terrorism. Creating "examining magistrates" like those who run cases in France and other continental countries would mark a fundamental change in British law.
Warning over 'playing politics' with the threat 04 Dec 2006 A leading academic yesterday warned politicians against "playing politics" with terrorism after John Reid, the home secretary, claimed an independent Scotland would be more vulnerable to attack. In the run up to a Scottish election next year, Mr Reid has pulled out all the stops to attack the Scottish National Party, including the charge the party are "hopelessly inadequate" to deal with terrorism.
Two More Sites Checked 04 Dec 2006 Two more central London locations are being investigated in connection with the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The Health Protection Agency has confirmed they are the Parkes Hotel in Beaufort Gardens and 1 Cavendish Place.
Train derails in Ill., spills unknown chemical 04 Dec 2006 A Union Pacific freight train derailed near this southern Illinois community early Monday, spilling an unknown chemical and leading to the evacuation of more than 70 homes.
Send Bush: NASA plans for permanent base on moon 05 Dec 2006 NASA is to build a permanently occupied base on the moon, most likely at the lunar north pole. The habitat will serve as a science outpost as well as a testbed for technologies needed for future travel to Mars, and construction will follow a series of flights to the moon scheduled to begin by 2020.
Well-known GOP activist held in sex-predator sting 01 Dec 2006 Larry Corrigan, a well-known activist [GOPedophile] in local Republican politics as a backer of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng, was arrested Wednesday in an Internet sting for allegedly trying to arrange sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The Pryce of democracy in Ohio's 15th Congressional District By Bob Fitrakis 03 Dec 2006 The Republican Party is on the brink of seizing another seat in the U.S. Congress. The key race is the central Ohio 15th District Congressional House seat held by Deborah Pryce, the fourth most powerful Republican in Congress.
More elite cops charged 04 Dec 2006 Cook County prosecutors on Monday charged three more members of an elite Chicago police unit with using their badges and guns to break into homes and shake down residents for money over a two-year period. There were also additional charges against three of the four officers already implicated in the ongoing investigation of the department's special operations section.
House to Vote on Senate's Offshore Drilling Plan 05 Dec 2006 The House is scheduled to vote today on a Senate plan for offshore oil and gas drilling that would open up new acreage in the Gulf of Mexico but that falls far short of an offshore drilling bill the House adopted earlier this year.
Alert over secret GM seed in imports 05 Dec 2006 Genetically engineered Canadian canola is being imported into Australia but the chances are no one will tell you if it ends up in your margarine or mayonnaise. The multinational grain trader [corpora-terrorist] Cargill said it had imported canola seed because of a sharp drop in Australian canola production caused by the drought.
Five Tons of C4 Explosives Stolen in Iraq 02 Dec 2006 A mysterious theft of explosives occurred in neighboring Iraq. A pro-PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] website on Thursday claimed that five tons of C-4 explosives were stolen from the warehouses of Iraqi Defense Ministry. It was not certain by whom or when the plastic explosives in the warehouse were stolen.
'A culture of waste, incompetence and fraud.' Corruption costs Iraq $4bn a year --One third of rebuilding contracts under criminal investigation. 02 Dec 2006 A US government report has concluded that [Cheney Halliburton's] oil smuggling abetted by corrupt Iraqi officials is netting insurgents $100m a year, helping to make them financially self-sustaining... Iraq also represented a grey zone beyond the reach of the US civil courts. KBR was found to have overcharged the US military about $60m for fuel deliveries, but that did not stop it winning more government contracts.
Pentagon to Seek $100B+ War Chest 01 Dec 2006 The Bush administration is hammering out its largest-ever appeal for more Iraq war [Halliburton] funds - a record $100 billion, at least, and that figure reflects cuts from wish lists originally circulating around the Pentagon.
Iraq war has cost the US USD 350 bn 03 Dec 2006 The war in Iraq has cost the United States more than USD 350 billion since the March 2003 invasion, according to a review of Congress figures. About USD 290 billion, including 254 billion for military operations, were allocated for the war in fiscal year 2006, which closed on September 30, according to a September 22 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Rumsfeld Memo Proposed 'Major Adjustment' in Iraq 03 Dec 2006 Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction.
Bush Is Weighing Options on Iraq, Top Aide Says 03 Dec 2006 President [sic] Bush is weighing a range of options in Iraq, including a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from violence-plagued cities and a troop buildup near the Iranian and Syrian borders, his top security aide [Stephen J. Hadley] said today.
Iraq data shows 44 pct Nov leap in civilian dead 01 Dec 2006 The number of Iraqi civilians killed in violence appears to have leapt by 44 percent in November from an already record level the previous month, data from Iraqi Interior Ministry officials showed on Friday. The increase, to 1,850 deaths, was closely matched by a 45 percent leap in the number of civilian deaths tallied by Reuters from individual incident reports provided by Iraqi officials.
Iraqi civilian death toll soars 01 Dec 2006 The number of Iraqi civilians killed in sectarian violence leapt last month, Iraqi interior ministry figures show. Official statistics show civilian deaths in November rose by 44% compared with October's toll.
Death squads roam Baghdad's hospitals 03 Dec 2006 Everyone seems to be desperate for money to cope with the insecurities of life in Baghdad these days, so Dr Salim Jawad [a surgeon and a Sunni] was not surprised when a hospital porter took him to one side and asked whether he would be interested in making some cash. For every patient the doctor identified from the predominantly Sunni provinces of Diyala and Anbar and from the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad, he was told, he would be paid $300 (£151). Jawad realised that he was being invited to pass death sentences on patients at the Medical City hospital in return for swift and surreptitious payments. "You can make a fortune," Ali told him calmly. "Doctor, if you have those patients in the future just tell me and I will give you $300 just for that information . . . and do not tell anyone about this little talk."
Gunmen kill policeman outside Baghdad hospital 03 Dec 2006 Unknown gunmen attacked a police checkpoint outside a hospital in western Baghdad on Saturday, killing a policeman and wounding another, an Interior Ministry source said.
Triple Baghdad Bombing Kills at Least 91 02 Dec 2006 Three parked car bombs exploded in central Baghdad on Saturday near an area packed with vendors, killing at least 91 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
Several killed in attack in Afghan south 03 Dec 2006 At least eight people were killed in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Sunday in a suicide car bombing against NATO troops and subsequent gunfire by the soldiers, police and witnesses said. Three civilians died when the bomber struck a military convoy and five more were shot by troops afterwards, they said.
Bomber Hits NATO Convoy in Afghanistan 03 Dec 2006 A suicide car bomber targeted a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least three civilians and wounding four others, a police officer said.
Taliban says it shot down U.S. civilian chopper 03 Dec 2006 The Taliban said on Sunday it had shot down a U.S. civilian helicopter chartered by NATO that crashed in bad weather in southern Afghanistan.
Helicopter missing in south Afghanistan 02 Dec 2006 A search is under way for a 'civilian' helicopter that went missing in bad weather on Saturday while ferrying supplies for foreign forces in southern Afghanistan.
Canadian tanks deployed in Afghanistan combat 02 Dec 2006 The throaty roar of engines announcing the approach of the squadron of Canadian Leopard tanks ["rolling thunder''] could be heard from kilometres away as they emerged from the mist and rain Saturday to back up ground troops in the war-torn Panjwaii district. The 42-tonne monsters left Kandahar Airfield under the cover of darkness early Saturday morning in the first combat deployment of Canadian tanks since the Korean War.
Pa. protesters rally over Rumsfeld award 02 Dec 2006 About three dozen people rallied outside Philadelphia's venerable Union League to protest the organization's decision to honor departing Defense Secretary [War Criminal] Donald Rumsfeld.
Pentagon Intelligence Chief to Step Down 01 Dec 2006 Stephen A. Cambone, the Pentagon's top intelligence official and a close ally of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, will step down at the end of the year, becoming the first key department member to leave in the wake of Rumsfeld's resignation.
US tells banks to shut down Iran operations 03 Dec 2006 Several of the UK's largest banks fear they could face the full legislative wrath of the US government unless they bow to Washington's pressure to shut their operations in Iran.
About 800,000 protest in Beirut for new government 01 Dec 2006 Hundreds of thousands of protesters organized by the group Hezbollah and its allies rallied outside the downtown Beirut office of Lebanon's prime minister on Friday, calling for his resignation in what's being called "the great showdown."
Homeowners up in arms: U.S. military frequency jams hundreds of garage doors 02 Dec 2006 A secretive U.S. air force facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., tested a radio frequency this past week that it would use to communicate with first responders in the event of a homeland security threat. But the frequency also controls an estimated 50 million garage door openers, and hundreds of residents in the surrounding area found their garage doors had suddenly stopped working.
Bob Gates & Locking You Up Forever By Robert Parry 01 Dec 2006 As the next Defense Secretary, Robert M. Gates will be in charge of a new star-chamber legal system that can lock up indefinitely "unlawful enemy combatants" and "any person" accused of aiding them. Yet, despite these extraordinary new powers, his confirmation is being treated more like a coronation than a time for tough questions.
More torture taxis on the way: Qantas raider has link to CIA 04 Dec 2006 The Texan corporate raiders trying to buy Qantas have been linked to the CIA, raising major concerns about the future of sensitive government defence contracts. It comes after news that a Macquarie Bank-led consortium including Texas Pacific Group is trying to take over Australia's national airline.
The House of Death --When 12 bodies were found buried in the garden of a Mexican house, it seemed like a case of drug-linked killings. But the trail led to Washington and a cover-up that went right to the top. By David Rose 03 Dec 2006 ...[A]s a result of documents disclosed in three separate court cases, it is becoming clear that his [Luis Padilla's] murder, along with at least 11 further brutal killings, at the Juarez 'House of Death', is part of a gruesome scandal, a web of connivance and cover-up stretching from the wild Texas borderland to top Washington officials close to President [sic] Bush.
FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool --"Roving bug" technique approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials 01 Dec 2006 The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
Nike+ IPod = Surveillance 30 Nov 2006 If you enhance your workout with the new Nike+ iPod Sport Kit, you may be making yourself a surveillance target. A report from four University of Washington researchers to be released Thursday reveals that security flaws in the new RFID-powered device from Nike and Apple make it easy for tech-savvy stalkers, thieves and corporations to track your movements.
Police admit planting evidence 02 Dec 2006 (CA) A Huntington Beach police officer's exoneration for planting a loaded gun in a suspect's car has led to the revelation that police routinely plant evidence in unsuspecting civilians' vehicles for training exercises. Chief Kenneth Small said Friday that police plant contraband – including unloaded weapons, fake drugs and drug paraphernalia – in suspects' vehicles after they're arrested as a method of training new officers in searches.
"Shoot Back." Protesters Square Off With Police in NY 03 Dec 2006 The man gunned down in a spray of 50 police bullets was buried Saturday as hundreds of angry demonstrators honored him with a moment of silence before going jaw-to-jaw with police in a bitter confrontation outside a Queens precinct house. The demonstrators taunted police, standing just inches away from a row of officers and daring the police to lay a hand on them. Some in the crowd held signs reading "Death to the pigs" and "Shoot back."
High Court to Hear Free Speech Case 02 Dec 2006 The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether a high school student had a free-speech right to unfurl a banner that read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at a school-sponsored event. A ruling on the issue, due early next year, is expected to clarify the extent to which school officials can control slogans on banners, T-shirts and the like at school events.
Leahy: Bush Should be "Terrified" By Odum (Report on post-election party sponsored by the Vermont Democratic Party) 02 Dec 2006 [Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)] related a conversation where he was recently asked if President [sic] Bush should be "worried" that he was now to be Chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. The crowd started cheering. "No, no" he said, calming the crowd, as if to be prepared for a softening of his rhetoric. "No, he shouldn't be worried. He should be terrified." And the room exploded. Leahy went on to assure the crowd that, unlike "some in the administration," he'd "actually read the Constitution," and went on to promise that no judges nominated to the federal bench who would ignore that Constitution would ever get past his committee.
Hoffman: 'Bush Manipulates 9/11' 01 Dec 2006 Acclaimed screen star Dustin Hoffman has slammed US President [sic] George W Bush for manipulating the 9/11 terrorist attacks to facilitate the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Litvinenko probe takes British police to Moscow 03 Dec 2006 British police investigating the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko will go to Moscow to speak to witnesses who met the former Russian spy in London shortly before his death, a police source said. Nine detectives may fly to Moscow as early as Monday, while others have already visited the United States as part of the probe, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
'I can blackmail them. We can make money' --As Scotland Yard officers fly to Washington to help the FBI quiz a former Soviet spy, The Observer reveals Alexander Litvinenko's amazing plot to extort cash from some of Russia's top figures. 03 Dec 2006 Over the summer months, the former Kremlin spy [Alexander Litvinenko] began finalising an extraordinary business proposition that may prove the most compelling motive yet for murder. Litvinenko claimed to have made contact with senior sources in the heart of the FSB, the successor to the KGB, who would supply him with a stream of confidential dossiers on any target that the 43-year-old exile requested.
Isotope linked to death available online 02 Dec 2006 The rare isotope suspected to have felled former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is surprisingly easy to buy — in fact, for $69, it's a mouse click away.
GOP Pays $135K in N.H. Call Jamming Suit 02 Dec 2006 State and national Republicans will pay $135,000 to settle a suit involving a scheme to jam Democratic get-out-the-vote calls on Election Day 2002, officials said Saturday.
Federal agency faults voting machines 01 Dec 2006 Paperless electronic voting machines in widespread use across the country may be vulnerable to errors or sabotage and cannot be made secure, a draft report by a federal agency [the National Institute of Standards and Technology] said.
Supreme court to confront school racial diversity 02 Dec 2006 The Supreme Court confronts whether race can be used in deciding where students to go to school on Monday, testing the willingness of President [sic] George W. Bush's two newest court appointees to overturn programs to foster racial diversity.
Bush may end drilling ban in Alaskan bay 02 Dec 2006 President [sic] Bush is deciding whether to lift a ban on oil and gas drilling in federal waters off Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to endangered whales and sea lions and the world's largest sockeye salmon run.
St. Paul Travelers Pulls Out of New Orleans --Insurance Giant Won't Renew Policies In Post-Katrina Louisiana 02 Dec 2006 St. Paul Travelers said Friday that it will stop renewing many commercial insurance policies in the New Orleans area next year, stoking fears that other insurers are prepared to pull out of the market after Hurricane Katrina.
Workforce cuts could backfire --U.S. automakers must keep an eye on quality, experts say 03 Dec 2006 Like dieting too drastically, the U.S. auto industry’s rapid contraction could be unhealthy. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. must avoid pitfalls from letting many of their experienced workers walk out the door, such as a drop in quality, and they must focus on producing better cars and trucks than their competitors, analysts said.
Quite a haul --Fruits of U.S. labor reward the wealthiest The Sacramento Bee 02 Dec 2006 Here is something to chew on in this season of holiday feasts. Seven percent of all income in the United States goes to the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all citizens... A study from university researchers in Berkeley and Paris came to that conclusion this year. The richest of the rich haven't taken this kind of haul out of the American economy since the 1920s.
"There were clearly 147 suspect flights through Ireland." Ban on CIA's 'Guantanamo Express' from Irish airports 01 Dec 2006 The plane sometimes referred to as the 'Guantanamo Express', used by the CIA to transport kidnapped suspects to secret jails, has been banned from landing at Irish airports in future, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern told a European Parliament committee. The plane landed at Shannon after taking Abu Omar from Germany to Egypt on February 17, 2003, where he is still being held incommunicado and tortured, according to the committee’s report.
U.S. Marine lawyer fights for Australian stranded at Guantánamo Bay 01 Dec 2006 David Hicks, a 30-year-old Australian who is about to begin his sixth year at Guantánamo Bay, is gaining supporters for his release from diverse quarters. On Monday, the attorneys general from Australia's eight states and territories sent a letter to the federal attorney general demanding that Hicks be brought home, and asking 10 specific questions about the conditions of his detention. They wrote the letter after meeting with Hicks's appointed military lawyer, Michael Mori, a major in the United States Marine Corps.
GSA Chief Seeks Cuts For Contract Oversight 02 Dec 2006 The new chief of the U.S. General Services Administration is trying to limit the ability of the agency's inspector general to audit contracts for fraud or waste and has said oversight efforts are intimidating the workforce, according to government documents and interviews. GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan, a Bush political appointee and former government contractor, has proposed cutting $5 million in spending on audits and shifting some responsibility for contract reviews to small, private audit contractors.
ACLU Urges End to Data-Mining 02 Dec 2006 Privacy advocates yesterday called on the federal government to scrap a Department of Homeland Security data-mining program designed to create terrorism risk assessments for every traveler who enters or leaves the United States.
U.S. government quietly rates millions of travellers for terrorism potential 01 Dec 2006 Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travellers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals. The travellers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep them on file for 40 years.
U.S. eyes tighter security for visa-free travelers 01 Dec 2006 The Bush administration wants travel agents to help conduct new background checks on European and Asian travelers who do not need visas to enter the United States, officials said on Friday.
TSA's revealing X-ray screening raises privacy concerns --Critics call screening a 'virtual strip search' 01 Dec 2006 The federal government plans this month to launch the nation's first airport screening system that takes potentially revealing X-ray photos of travelers in an effort to find bombs and other weapons. Transportation Security Administration screeners at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will test a "backscatter" machine that could vastly improve weapons detection but has been labeled a "virtual strip search" by the American Civil Liberties Union. The TSA also will look at using the machines in subways.
'Backscatter' nudity and traveler threat scores bring TSA controversy By Patrick Cooper 01 Dec 2006 Security screeners at Phoenix's major airport will soon begin testing of a "backscatter" X-ray machine, which "can show clear images of nude bodies," USA TODAY reports this morning.
New Rules Make Firms Track E-Mails, IMs 01 Dec 2006 U.S. companies will need to keep track of all the e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees thanks to new federal rules that go into effect Friday, legal experts say.
US warns of possible Qaeda financial cyber attack 30 Nov 2006 The U.S. government has warned U.S. private financial services of an al Qaeda [al CIAduh] call for a cyber attack against U.S. online stock trading and banking Web sites beginning Friday, officials said on Thursday.
Syria Envoy Says Iraq Help Not Tied to a U.S. Pullout Schedule 02 Dec 2006 Syria's ambassador to the U.S. said his country is prepared to help quell the violence in neighboring Iraq and build national unity without the U.S. setting a schedule for the withdrawal of its forces.
Bush vows to 'complete Iraq job' 30 Nov 2006 US President George W Bush has pledged to keep American troops in Iraq until "the [whack]job is complete".
The Only Consensus on Iraq: Nobody's Leaving Right Now 01 Dec 2006 Despite the Democrats’ victory this month in an election viewed as a referendum on the war, the idea of a rapid American troop withdrawal is fast receding as a viable option.
"One can say the Iraqi police force is almost non-functional." Armed vigilantes roam Baghdad streets 01 Dec 2006 In the absence of government or U.S. control, various Iraqi militias operating in Baghdad have taken law enforcement into their own hands. Armed men totting machine guns and rocket propelled grenades roam the streets amid fears of reprisals from rival sectarian groups.
Woman being used as 'human shield' shot by U.S. forces 01 Dec 2006 American forces conducted several raids in and around Baghdad on Friday, killing two 'insurgents' and wounding an Iraqi woman the militants were using as a "human shield," the U.S. command said.
Three Soldiers Killed in Baghdad 01 Dec 2006 Two Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers were killed during combat operations in Baghdad yesterday, and one Multinational Division Baghdad soldier was killed in Baghdad Nov. 29, military officials reported.
Afghanistan Opium Crop Sets Record 02 Dec 2006 Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world's heroin [Al-CIAduh's drugs-for-terrorism], broke all records in 2006. In addition to a 26 percent production increase over past year -- for a total of 5,644 metric tons -- the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent.
Rumsfeld honored for citizenship amid protests 01 Dec 2006 Outgoing Defense Secretary [War Criminal] Donald Rumsfeld was honored for citizenship by a patriotic organization on Friday as peace protesters outside criticized his role as one of the architects of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Stephen A. Cambone to Resign 01 Dec 2006 The Department of Defense announced today that Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Stephen A. Cambone will resign from the Department on Dec. 31, 2006.
Papers Reveal More Plans for Defense in CIA Leak Case 01 Dec 2006 Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby says that during the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's identity he was preoccupied with [making] terrorist threats, Iraq's new government and emerging nuclear programs in Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.
FBI joins in Russian spy death probe 01 Dec 2006 The FBI has been asked to join the British investigation of the killing of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said today.
Radiation tests at hotel 01 Dec 2006 Police and Health Protection Agency officials have sealed off a hotel while radiation tests were carried out in another development in the poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko.
Poison plotters claim their second victim 02 Dec 2006 Police fear that the murder of a former Kremlin spy may have been part of a double killing plot after a second man [Mario Scaramella] was taken to hospital last night with radiation poisoning.
Italian academic contaminated with polonium-210 01 Dec 2006 Mario Scaramella, an Italian academic who allegedly met poisoned Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, has been seriously contaminated with the radioactive isotope polonium-210, which killed Mr Litvinenko last week.
Doctors suspect former Russian PM was poisoned 01 Dec 2006 Doctors treating former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, who is gravely ill, believe he was poisoned, an aide said today.
Former spy's wife tests positive for radiation 01 Dec 2006 More people have been contaminated by the same radioactive substance that killed an ex-KGB agent, including the former spy's wife.
Facing Fierce Protest, Mexico's Calderon Takes Power in Unprecedented Midnight Ceremony; Opposition Lawmakers Vow to Block Inauguration 01 Dec 2006 Felipe Calderon has taken over as Mexico's president in an unusual midnight ceremony at the presidential residence in Mexico City. Opposition lawmakers are vowing to physically block him from being inaugurated in Congress. [That is what should have happened in January 2001, in the US.]
Brawl breaks out in Mexico Congress 30 Nov 2006 Felipe Calderon took the oath of office as Mexico's president Friday amid jeers and whistles, a lightning-fast ceremony before lawmakers who exchanged punches and insults over the Reichwing leader's 'narrow victory' [coup d'etat]. Calderon entered through a back door and appeared suddenly on the speaker's platform, the site of three days of fistfights and sit-ins by lawmakers seeking to control the stage.
Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion 30 Nov 2006 With control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies.
Texas Democrat to Head House Intelligence Panel 02 Dec 2006 House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) to chair the House intelligence committee yesterday, skipping over the two most senior Democrats on the panel to hand the sensitive post to a Vietnam War veteran and former U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Security of Electronic Voting Is Condemned --Paper Systems Should Be Included, Agency Says 01 Dec 2006 Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The assessment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the government's premier research centers, is the most sweeping condemnation of such voting systems by a federal agency.
Judge says Dems can seek more than just phone costs in jam case 30 Nov 2006 A judge has ruled New Hampshire Democrats can go after more than just the cost of renting and using telephones that were jammed by Republicans on Election Day four years ago. The ruling offers the Democrats the right to argue the GOP jamming in 2002 hindered their attempt to boost voter turnout.
White House warned on air ownership plan 30 Nov 2006 A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers led by an incoming Democratic committee chairman has warned the White House not to proceed with a proposal to ease foreign investment in U.S. airlines.
House Republican leaders agree to vote on an offshore drilling bill 01 Dec 2006 Congress will attempt to pass legislation next week to allow offshore oil and gas exploration in new portions of the Gulf of Mexico, while barring rigs for at least 125 miles off [Jeb's] Florida's Panhandle and for nearly 250 miles off its West Coast.
Elections over; Natural gas prices rise --Heating bills could skyrocket this winter 01 Dec 2006 Natural gas prices are soaring on commodity markets, a development that could lead to higher-than-expected heating bills this winter. Natural gas prices trading for delivery in January rose 11% in November and are trading near a 10-month high.
Mega barf alert! Genetically modified potatoes to be grown in British trials 02 Dec 2006 Fields of genetically modified potatoes will be grown in Britain next spring under plans approved by the government yesterday. The German chemicals company BASF has been granted permission to conduct two field trials of potatoes modified to resist late blight, a fungus.
Feds Collect Giant Rats in Florida [Don't forget Jeb!!] 30 Nov 2006 As the rising sun danced across Florida's coastal waters, government workers in shorts and T-shirts knelt in a grassy island field and plucked wriggling rats from traps laid the night before. These weren't just any rats. They were 3-pound, 35-inch-long African behemoths. They squirmed as the workers, wearing protective gloves, removed green radio collars that had been tracking the rodents' movements.
U.S. Plans to Send 3,500 More Troops to Baghdad 29 Nov 2006 The United States is planning to send another 3,500 soldiers to Baghdad to help restore [?!?] security there, Defense Department officials said Wednesday.
Defense Eyeing More Deployments to Iraq 29 Nov 2006 The Pentagon is developing plans to send four more battalions to Iraq early next year, partly to boost security in Baghdad, defense officials said Wednesday.
US troops to remain until 'job is done' 30 Nov 2006 President [sic] George W Bush has said US troops will remain in Iraq until the "job is complete". [What is "the job?"]
Bush says there'll be no "graceful exit" from Iraq [There was no "graceful entrance," either.] 30 Nov 2006 President [sic] Bush today rejected calls for a measured withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, even as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, facing doubts about his ability to dampen violence, asserted his forces could take full control by June.
Bush Dismisses Calls for Iraq Withdrawal 01 Dec 2006 President [sic] Bush said today that American troops would stay in Iraq unless its government asks them to leave, using a joint news conference with the Iraqi prime minister to push back against a reported decision by an independent bipartisan panel to call for a gradual withdrawal.
Iraq Panel to Recommend Pullback of Combat Troops 30 Nov 2006 The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.
MPs call for inquiry into government's role in CIA flights 29 Nov 2006 Opposition parties today called for a full public inquiry into "extraordinary rendition" following a scathing EU report that accused the British government of obstructing investigations into the controversial flights.
The Masri Case: White House Fears ACLU Campaign 30 Nov 2006 Khaled El-Masri was innocently detained in a secret CIA prison. Now US civil liberties advocates are helping him take the intelligence service to court. His chances of winning the trial are slim -- but his case is stirring up negative publicity for the Bush administration.
Reinforcements denied in Afghanistan 30 Nov 2006 In a show of solidarity, NATO leaders agreed Wednesday to come to one another's aid in emergencies anywhere in Afghanistan, but their summit failed to muster significant reinforcements for operations in Taliban strongholds.
Soldier's coffin at center of furor --Airport unable to find video of incident 30 Nov 2006 A woman says she saw a soldier's flag-draped coffin put into a cart with passengers' baggage last month at the Greater Rochester International Airport, shocking her and other onlookers.
Halliburton subsidiary settles Kosovo fraud allegations 29 Nov 2006 Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) has settled fraud allegations under the False Claims Act, the US Justice Department said Wednesday, and has agreed to pay the US $8 million for allegedly overcharging the Army for logistical support it provided between 1999 and 2000. The DOJ alleged that KBR double-billed the military and delivered non-conforming goods to be used for the construction of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.
Al-Qaida said to be operating in Somalia [Translation: US locates oil reserves in Somalia] 30 Nov 2006 Al-Qaida [Al-CIAduh] militants are operating with "great comfort" in Somalia, providing training and assistance to a radical military element loyal to the Islamic group that controls most of southern Somalia, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.
UK monitoring planes for radiation 01 Dec 2006 Britain is monitoring five planes for radiation in an ever widening probe into the poisoning of a former Russian spy that has heightened tensions with Moscow.
Radiation found at 12 sites 30 Nov 2006 The number of sites contaminated in the public health alert linked to the death of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko has doubled to around 12, it was revealed today. The home secretary, John Reid, told the Commons the number was likely to rise again.
33,000 BA passengers alerted over radiation 30 Nov 2006 British Airways is trying to contact all 33,000 passengers who may have been exposed to radioactive traces that were found on two of its planes.
Spy Probe Planes Grounded 30 Nov 2006 Traces of radiation have now been found on two British Airways' jets connected to the case of Alexander Litvinenko and a third has been grounded in Moscow until it can be tested. BA warned an estimated 33,000 passengers and 3,000 staff that "low levels of radioactive traces" had been found on two of its aircraft at Heathrow airport.
'Ex-Russian PM Poisoned' 30 Nov 2006 Doctors treating a former Russian Prime Minister for a serious illness believe he was poisoned, it has been claimed. Yegor Gaidar is said to be recovering in a Moscow hospital after becoming unwell on a trip to Ireland a week ago.
UK terror suspects lose extradition battle 30 Nov 2006 Two terrorist suspects today lost their high court battle to avoid extradition to the United States. Lawyers for Haroon Rashid Aswat and Babar Ahmad argued that, despite US assurances to the contrary, there was "a real risk" that the men would be mistreated, or tried and sentenced as enemy combatants if sent to America.
U.S. Will Pay $2 Million to Lawyer Wrongly Jailed 30 Nov 2006 The federal government agreed to pay $2 million Wednesday to an Oregon lawyer [Brandon Mayfield] wrongly jailed in connection with the 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid, and it issued a formal apology to him and his family.
DHS Official Admits Aiding Immigrants for Bribes 30 Nov 2006 A Department of Homeland Security supervisor pleaded guilty today to pocketing more than $600,000 in bribes in exchange for falsifying immigration documents to help Asian immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship.
Ex-CIA Worker Pleads Guilty in Thefts 30 Nov 2006 A fired CIA employee has admitted breaking into 10 homes near the agency's headquarters and stealing jewelry including Camp David cufflinks, Cartier earrings, a Tiffany ring and a sapphire-diamond necklace.
Panel Urges Overhaul of Wall St. Regulations 29 Nov 2006 Saying it is concerned about a loss of American competitiveness, an independent committee will call on Thursday for a sweeping overhaul of securities market regulations. It recommends making it harder for companies to be indicted by the government or sued by private lawyers, and urges policies to keep the Securities and Exchange Commission from adopting rules that impose high costs on business. With Congress soon to be under control of the Democrats, the report recommends changes that can be made without legislation.
Indiana May Turn Over Welfare System to IBM Under $1.6 Billion Outsourcing Deal --IBM would provide Indiana with intake processing services and set up an automated welfare eligibility application system 29 Nov 2006 The state of Indiana is close to outsourcing the technology and back-office operations that support its welfare system under a contract that, if approved by the governor, would be worth $1.6 billion to IBM and a handful of partners, including ACS and Phoenix Data Corp.
Schumer presses for inquiry of GOP tactics 30 Nov 2006 New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer is pressing U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to justify his department's decision not to investigate whether Maryland Republicans purposely misled voters on Election Day by circulating voter guides listing top state GOP candidates as part of a "Democratic Sample Ballot."
GOP digs in, won't concede House --Republicans likely to request recount in Chester County race, haven't ruled out trying to get Democrat to switch parties 30 Nov 2006 (PA) State House Republicans are refusing to concede defeat in a battle over who will control the chamber for the next two years, despite Democratic claims of victory thanks to a razor-thin win in a Chester County race.
Under video review: Re-enacted voting --Officials don't know why a replay of a tight congressional race yielded a 5-vote change. 30 Nov 2006 State officials said Wednesday that they have not yet found the cause of a handful of discrepancies that appeared during the testing of Sarasota County touch-screen voting machines this week. The machines are at the heart of an election dispute in the 13th Congressional District race. Democrat Christine Jennings lost to Republican Vern Buchanan by 369 votes, but about 18,000 ballots contained no choice in the congressional race. The so-called "undervote" rate was three to five times greater than in other parts of the district that use different voting systems.
Feds to Toughen E-Voting Standards? 29 Nov 2006 A federal agency is set to recommend significant changes to specifications for electronic-voting machines next week, internetnews.com has learned. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recommending that the 2007 version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify direct record electronic (DRE) machines.
Gore takes a swipe at Justice Scalia on 'Jay Leno' 30 Nov 2006 President Al Gore took a swipe at Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday, referencing the conservative jurist's recent skepticism in a global warming case and role in the 2000 presidential election. "In the arguments, Justice Scalia said, 'I'm not a scientist, I don't want to deal with global warming.' I just wish he felt that way about presidential elections," Gore joked on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." In his monologue, Leno made references to the Supreme Court's controversial vote to end ballot recounts in Florida in 2000. "Well you know there's talk that Vice President Gore could win an Oscar for his global warming movie, 'An Inconvenient Truth.' If he does get it, it would be his first win since the presidency in 2000," Leno said.
Republicans want vote on abortion bill 30 Nov 2006 While they still can, House Republicans are looking at scheduling a vote next week on a fetal pain abortion bill in a parting shot at incoming majority Democrats and a last bid for loyalty from the GOP's base of social conservatives.
Bush Nuts --Are George W. Bush lovers certifiable? By Andy Bromage 23 Nov 2006 A collective "I told you so" will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse’s study gets out. Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President [sic] Bush.
UK CO2 target accepted by Brussels 29 Nov 2006 The European commission today accepted the UK government's offer of a 13% cut in maximum CO2 emissions from industry in the next five years.
1,245 Secret CIA Flights Revealed by European Parliament 28 Nov 2006 Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer Report: The CIA flew 1,245 secret flights into European airspace, according to a European Parliament draft report obtained by ABC News. The report is the result of a year-long investigation into secret CIA "extraordinary rendition" flights and prisons in Europe.
British security forces 'colluded in international terrorism' 29 Nov 2006 British security forces colluded in acts of international terrorism in the 1970s, a Dáil committee said in a hard-hitting report today. "The spectre of collusion" was present in the attacks investigated by the probe into a series of bomb and gun attacks carried out on both sides of the border by loyalist paramilitaries.
U.S. Apologizes to Mistaken Terrorism Suspect 29 Nov 2006 The U.S. government has agreed to pay $2 million to an Oregon lawyer [Brandon Mayfield] who was wrongfully arrested as a terrorism suspect because of a bungled fingerprint match and has issued an apology for the "suffering" inflicted on the attorney and his family. [See: Apology Note.]
Apology Note 29 Nov 2006 The United States of America apologizes to Mr. Brandon Mayfield and his family for the suffering caused by the FBI's misidentification of Mr. Mayfield's fingerprint and the resulting investigation of Mr. Mayfield, including his arrest as a material witness in connection with the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the execution of search warrants and other court orders in the Mayfield family home and in Mr. Mayfield's law office.
Radioactive planes discovered 29 Nov 2006 Authorities found traces of radiation on two British Airways 767 jetliners today as investigators widened their search for clues into the poisoning death of former Russian spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko.
Radiation found on spy probe planes 29 Nov 2006 Traces of radiation have been found on two British Airways aircraft at Heathrow Airport after tests were being carried as part of the probe into the death of former Russian spy Viktor Litvinenko. A Home Office spokesman said arrangements were also being made to examine a third plane.
Suspected bomb found on Ohio highway 29 Nov 2006 A device that appeared to be a bomb was found under an overpass on a busy Interstate highway near Cincinnati on Wednesday, and local media said a bomb squad removed and destroyed it.
Gingrich wants to restrict freedom of speech? Legal expert looks at constitutionality of former House Speaker's comments By Keith Olbermann 29 Nov 2006 Newt Gingrich called for a reexamination of free speech at the Loeb First Amendment Award Dinner in New Hampshire this week, saying a "different set of rules to prevent terrorism" are necessary. Gingrich’s call to restrict free speech is mainly focused on the Internet. Keith Olbermann discussed the constitutionality of this with George Washington University law professor and constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley.
'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Nov. 28 (Transcript) KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: ...Jonathan, are there not legal methods already in place to deal with such sites that do not require what Mr. [Newt] Gingrich has here called "supervision that we would never dream of"? JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, there are plenty of powers and authorities that could be used to monitor truly dangerous people. But what you see here, I think, is the insatiable appetite that has developed among certain leaders for controlling American society. We saw that with John Ashcroft not long after 9/11, when he said the critics were aiding and abetting the terrorists. There is this insatiable appetite that develops when you feed absolute power to people like Gingrich... OLBERMANN: So, and also, when you talk about closing down Internet sites, who is the one who‘s going to decide which those are? I mean, it could be the Daily Kos, it could be Citizens for Legitimate Government, it could be the sports Web site Dead Spin, for all we know, if they don‘t—if he doesn't like any one of them in particular.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann smashes Newt Gingrich: 29 Nov 2006 "When you talk about closing down internet sites, who is the one who is going to decide which those are? It could be the Daily Kos, it could be Citizens For Legitimate Government - if he doesn't like any one of them in particular." Webpage by Ron Corvus
Fighting shuts down Iraqi city as Iraqi PM's meeting with Bush delayed 29 Nov 2006 Fierce fighting Wednesday between occupation forces and insurgents shut down the Iraqi city of Baqouba, which has been roiled by violence in recent days, killing scores of militants and civilians... Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki arrived in Jordan for meetings with President [sic] Bush aimed at halting the escalating violence, but the session was put off until Thursday.
Bush Adviser's Memo Cites Doubts About Iraqi Leader 29 Nov 2006 A classified memorandum by President [sic] Bush’s national security adviser [Stephen J. Hadley] expressed serious doubts about whether [US-installed] Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq and recommended that the United States take new steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader’s position.
Iraq Study Group to unveil report on Dec. 6 29 Nov 2006 The Iraq Study Group, an independent, bipartisan panel charged with evaluating U.S. policy in Iraq, will release its report on Dec. 6, sources close to the group's deliberations said on Wednesday.
Saudi will intervene in Iraq if US withdraws-aide 29 Nov 2006 Using money, weapons or its oil power, Saudi Arabia will intervene to prevent Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias from massacring Iraqi Sunni Muslims once the United States begins pulling out of Iraq, a security adviser to the Saudi government said on Wednesday.
US-led forces to remain in Iraq another year 29 Nov 2006 The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a new 12-month mandate that could keep US-led 'multinational' forces in Iraq through 2007 at the request of the government in Baghdad.
While Iraq Descends Into Flames, Bush Stands Increasingly Alone By Bill Gallagher 28 Nov 2006 President [sic] George W. Bush's mad experiment in nation-building, his arrogant move to use military force to try to brand Iraq as a Western-style democracy, is a failure... Vice President Dick Cheney has already touched base with our dear friends the Saudis. He met with King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, ostensibly to enlist Saudi help in pacifying Iraq. In fact, they probably spent most of their time discussing oil prices and what the disintegration of Iraq means for worldwide supply. Since Cheney is one of the chief architects of the fiasco in Iraq, why would any adult listen to his analysis of the future there and throughout the Middle East? The Saudis are a special case, however. They are Bush family intimates and still have big contracts with Halliburton.
Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange By Emily Heil 29 Nov 2006 At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, [George W.] Bush asked [Jim]Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing. Webb [D-VA] responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb. "I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing," Bush retorted, according to the source.
Powell says world should recognize Iraq at civil war 29 Nov 2006 Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday Iraq had descended into civil war and urged world leaders to accept that "reality."
Gingrich calls Iraq war a 'failure' --In N.H., says Bush must admit that to regain trust 29 Nov 2006 Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told a New Hampshire audience yesterday that unless the Bush administration admits that the war in Iraq is a "failure," it will never develop a strategy to leave the country successfully. Gingrich, who served on a key Pentagon board that advised Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the runup to the Iraq war, was eager to distance himself from the Bush administration's handling of the war.
Iraq one of greatest presidential blunders: Carter 28 Nov 2006 Former US president Jimmy Carter said the Iraq war was one of the "greatest blunders" ever made by a US leader.
Al-CIAduh 's drugs-for-terrorism program is a success: UN: Afghan government officials protecting opium trade --A new report says wiping out heroin production, which reached a record high in 2006, could take a generation. 29 Nov 2006 According to a new UN report, the opium trade in Afghanistan has reached record production levels this year, largely due to corrupt government officials who have been protecting drug production.
Accept defeat by Taliban, Pakistan tells Nato 29 Nov 2006 Senior Pakistani officials are urging Nato countries to accept the Taliban and work towards a new coalition government in Kabul that might exclude the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Suicide Bomber Kills 2 in Afghanistan 29 Nov 2006 A suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up next to a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two civilians. It was the third straight day troops there have been hit by suicide attacks.
UN says Israel laid anti-personnel mines in Lebanon 28 Nov 2006 The U.N. said on Tuesday Israel used anti-personnel landmines, banned by most countries, as well as cluster bombs during its July-August war in Lebanon.
Mexico leftists camp in Congress to stop Calderon 29 Nov 2006 Leftist lawmakers who brawled with rivals in Mexico's Congress vowed on Wednesday to camp out there and wreck conservative President-[s]-elect [rightist] Felipe Calderon's inauguration later this week. The leftists say Calderon stole July's presidential election with fraud and say they will not let him swear in on Friday at a ceremony in Congress to be attended by some Latin American leaders and former U.S. President [sic] George Bush.
New Orleans Police Ask Governor to Extend Tours of National Guard 29 Nov 2006 New Orleans police officials have requested Louisiana National Guardsmen remain on state active duty for another six months, a Guard spokesman said.
Judge strikes down part of Bush anti-terror order 28 Nov 2006 A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that provisions of an anti-terrorism order issued by President [sic] George W. Bush after September 11 are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that part of the law, signed by Bush on September 23, 2001 and used to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations, violated the Constitution because it put no apparent limit on the president's powers to place groups on that list.
Animal Terrorism Act Signed Into Law 28 Nov 2006 Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced today that President [sic] Bush signed into law the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a bill that can potentially criminalize interference with an "animal enterprise," including interference [?!?] with commercial and academic institutions that may use animals for testing or research.
Analysis of Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act By Will Potter 10 Oct 2006 Legal, above-ground activists are the ones that should be most concerned about this vague and overly broad legislation [H.R. 4239: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act]. And as we’ll see, it’s not just animal rights activists that should worry. What would qualify as "terrorism?"
Prison population at record 80,000 29 Nov 2006 The number of prisoners in England and Wales has topped 80,000 for the first time in history. There were 79,908 inmates in jails and a further 152 being held in police stations under the Government's emergency plans, making a grand total of 80,060.
Report: Bad cops protected 29 Nov 2006 Chicago police officials have deliberately ignored corruption within the ranks, giving bad cops a sense of security to commit crimes on the job without being caught, according to a national expert on internal affairs hired by plaintiffs suing the city.
Pressure at OSHA to alter warning --Author of advisory on asbestos in brakes faces suspension for refusing to revise it 20 Nov 2006 It took six years to get federal worker safety officials to issue warnings to auto mechanics that the brakes they're working on could contain lethal asbestos fibers. But it took only three weeks after the warnings were posted before a former top federal official with ties to the auto industry reportedly pushed to have them removed.
Judge rules insurance covers New Orleans homeowners 28 Nov 2006 A Louisiana federal judge has ruled many New Orleans homeowners whose houses sustained water damage after Hurricane Katrina are not excluded from coverage under their insurance policies, a judgment that represents a loss for the insurance industry.
FEMA Ordered to Resume Katrina Payments 29 Nov 2006 A federal judge ordered the Bush administration Wednesday to immediately resume making housing benefits available to thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Frist won't run for president in 2008 29 Nov 2006 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will not run for president in 2008, Republican officials said Wednesday, as the field of White House contenders continued to shrink more than a year before the first convention delegates are chosen.
US Air Force seeks $33.4 bln in extra 2007 funds 28 Nov 2006 The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday said it asked Pentagon officials for $33.4 billion in extra funding for fiscal 2007 to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and costs related to the "longer war on [of] terror." U.S. lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated about the Pentagon's continued use of emergency budget requests to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, given that the military's costs there are predictable to some extent.
Bush Wants More Troops for Afghanistan 28 Nov 2006 U.S. President [sic] George Bush says more NATO troops are needed to battle Taleban militia in Afghanistan. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush spoke in the Latvian capital, Riga, ahead of the annual summit of the NATO alliance.
Bush Says U.S. Won't Pull Out of Iraq 28 Nov 2006 Dictator Bush, under pressure to change direction in Iraq, said Tuesday he will not be persuaded by any calls to withdraw American troops before the country is 'stabilized.'
UK could remain in Iraq for decade --Government attempt to put positive slant says that British troops will not leave until the US does --In the Commons, an SNP attempt to force a vote on withdrawal is blocked 28 Nov 2006 The final withdrawal of British forces from Iraq will not take place until the US pulls out, and that could be another decade, the government indicated yesterday, amid hopes thousands of troops will return to the UK next year.
UN renews mandate for Iraq troops 28 Nov 2006 The 15-member United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to extend the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq until the end of next year. The move was requested by the [US-installed] Iraqi government, which said the troops were needed for a further year while it built up its own security forces.
Bush rules out talks with Iran until it stops nuclear program 28 Nov 2006 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush on Tuesday ruled out any talks with Iran until it suspends its uranium enrichment program, and said Iran and Syria should not destabilize the 'fledgling democracy' [The *what?*] in neighboring Iraq.
US terrorists are busy little bees: US military trains 'air force' of bomb-sniffing bees 28 Nov 2006 US military defense scientists have found a way to train the common honey bee to smell explosives used in bombs, a skill they say could help protect American troops abroad. Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico said in an online statement published Monday they had developed a method to harness the bee's exceptional olfactory sense.
Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker 28 Nov 2006 The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday.
It is strange how in Iraq slaughter soon seems to be part of normal life A special dispatch by Patrick Cockburn on his journey through a country being torn apart by civil war 28 Nov 2006 Iraq may be getting close to what Americans call "the Saigon moment", the time when it becomes evident to all that the government is expiring. "They say that the killings and kidnappings are being carried out by men in police uniforms and with police vehicles," the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said to me with a despairing laugh this summer. "But everybody in Baghdad knows that the killers and kidnappers are real policemen."
Judge reinstates wrongful death lawsuit for Iraq contractors 28 Nov 2006 A Wake County judge ended nearly two years of legal limbo Monday by agreeing that the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of four private contractors [mercenaries] killed and mutilated in Iraq could go forward in state court. Blackwater Security Consulting, the Blackwater USA division that trained and deployed the high-level security guards, had argued that it was an extension of the military and that the case shouldn't be heard in any court, and particularly not a state court.
Baghdad hospital blasts kill four 28 Nov 2006 Two car bombs outside one of Baghdad's main hospitals have killed four people and injured at least seven others, Iraqi security officials say. Most were civilians waiting to collect relatives' bodies from the Yarmouk hospital mortuary, they said.
Five girls killed in Iraqi clash 28 Nov 2006 Five young girls have been killed in Iraq during a clash between US marines and 'insurgents' in the western city of Ramadi, the US has said.
Body of U.S. warplane pilot missing in Iraq 28 Nov 2006 U.S. forces hunted for the body of an F-16 pilot who was killed on Monday when his warplane came down in a Sunni insurgent stronghold northwest of Baghdad.
Conn. Native Packed, Ready to Leave Iraq When Killed 28 Nov 2006 A Connecticut native who was about to end his one-year tour of duty in Iraq was killed Sunday in Baghdad, his father said Monday. Army Capt. Jason Hamill and two other soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb while riding in an armored vehicle, said Hamill's father, Richard Hamill of Salem.
Officers to blame for friendly fire death of Marine 28 Nov 2006 A young Royal Marine died under "friendly fire" in Iraq because of serious failings by his commanding officers, which the Army initially denied, an inquest has found.
Hidden costs wait to surface from Iraq war's depths 21 Nov 2006 Many argue that the true costs of Iraq remain skillfully concealed from the US public but cannot be deferred indefinitely. Much of the human cost of the war has been kept out of sight, including the return of the dead given the Bush administration’s ban on the televising of bodybags.
Iran: US exit key to Iraq peace 28 Nov 2006 US troops must leave Iraq if security is to be restored, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said during talks with the Iraqi president.
Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do --A letter from Michael Moore 27 Nov 2006 Today marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II. That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad. And we haven't even done THAT...
Nato urged to plan Afghanistan exit strategy as violence soars [Tsk, tsk - another war Bush lost] 27 Nov 2006 Heads of Nato's 26 nations are unlikely to agree to send reinforcements to Afghanistan - dealing a blow to Tony Blair's hopes that others will take up more of the increasingly heavy burden. In the bloodiest day of violence to grip the country in many weeks, a series of fierce clashes between Nato forces and Taliban fighters and a suicide bombing left 76 people dead and more than 45 injured yesterday, many of them children.
Stockpile in case of Venezuela [CIA] vote chaos, U.S. says 28 Nov 2006 The United States warned people to stockpile food, water and medicine in Venezuela in case a vote on Sunday sparks [CIA-engendered] public disorder as anti-U.S. President Hugo Chavez seeks reelection. [President Chavez will win by a landslide, and hopefully keep his promise to take down the US-Halliburton empire.]
11 EU governments knew of secret CIA prisons 28 Nov 2006 Eleven European Union governments - including Britain, Poland and Germany - knew about secret CIA prisons operating in Europe, a draft European Parliament report concluded Tuesday.
Report assails collusion in Europe with CIA 28 Nov 2006 A new European Parliament report on secret abductions, transportation and detention of terror suspects bluntly rejects the assertion by several European countries accused of being involved that they were unaware of a CIA program.
Released German Terror Suspect Sues CIA For Damages 28 Nov 2006 A German national [Khaled El-Masri] who says he was captured by the CIA and held for five months in an Afghan jail was fighting for damages from the US intelligence agency Tuesday in an appeals court.
Khaled El-Masri, Victim of CIA Kidnapping and Abuse, Seeks Acknowledgement, Explanation and Apology --El-Masri in U.S. to Hear ACLU Lawsuit Argued Before Federal Appeals Court 28 Nov 2006 The American Civil Liberties Union today argued before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that its lawsuit on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, a victim of the CIA’s policy of "extraordinary rendition," should proceed. Earlier this year a federal district court in Alexandria, VA dismissed El-Masri’s lawsuit based on the government's argument that allowing it to proceed would jeopardize state secrets.
Gingrich: 'different set of rules' needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use Internet, free speech --Newt Gingrich raises alarm at event honoring those who stand up for freedom of speech. 28 Nov 2006 (NH) Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism. Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message. Gingrich spoke to about 400 state and local power brokers last night at the annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, which fetes people and organizations that stand up for freedom of speech.
What Will You Do When the Government Demands Your Laptop? By Mark Nestmann 21 Nov 2006 Courtesy of a decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Customs officials can seize and copy the contents of any laptop carried across a U.S. border. There's no arrest, warrant or probable cause required—just "gimme." If you're a defense attorney, your most confidential client files may wind up in the hands of government prosecutors. If you’re a political opponent of the Bush administration, your correspondence and the names and addresses of everyone you’ve contacted can now be used against you to support a "terror" investigation. The ways that this new authority can be misused are too numerous to count—whatever information you carry with you on your laptop—banking records, client data, "adult" videos, you name it—now, in effect, must be shared with the U.S. government.
Justice Department Eyes Spy Program 27 Nov 2006 The Justice Department has begun an internal investigation into its handling of information gathered in the government's domestic spying program. However, Democrats criticized the review as too narrow to determine whether the program violated federal law.
New York Times Is Handed A Defeat in Charity Probe Case 28 Nov 2006 The Supreme Court handed a legal defeat to the New York Times yesterday by refusing to block an appeals court ruling that prosecutors are entitled to examine the telephone records of two Times reporters as part of an investigation into leaks about raids against Islamic charities in 2001.
UK Police Adorn Nazi Chic --Uniforms begin to befit fascist policies abolishing freedom of speech By Paul Joseph Watson 28 Nov 2006 British police have been photographed wearing bizarre Nazi-like insignia on their uniforms as the attire of Tony Blair's enforcers begins to compliment the totalitarian society the Prime Minister is creating by openly abolishing freedom of speech and freedom of assembly under draconian crime and terror laws.
Zelikow to resign from State Department 27 Nov 2006 Secretary of State [War Criminal] Condoleezza Rice's most senior adviser on Iraq is leaving the State Department to return to his teaching job.
Hastings Won't Lead House Intelligence Committee 28 Nov 2006 Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said he wasn't chosen to become chairman of the House intelligence committee.
Embassy denies asking Bush twins to leave Argentina 27 Nov 2006 The U.S. Embassy in Argentina rejected reports that it had told President [sic] George W. Bush's twin daughters to leave the country after a widely publicized purse-snatching incident. ABC News reported on its Web site on Monday that embassy officials had "strongly suggested" that the bimbos, Jenna and Barbara Bush, cut short their visit to Buenos Aires due to security concerns.
Slain former spy took Yukos dossier to Israel 28 Nov 2006 The former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who last week died in an apparent poisoning, travelled to Israel weeks before his death to pass on a dossier on how the Kremlin took over the Russian energy giant Yukos, The Times reported yesterday.
Radioactive traces found at Berezovsky's office 28 Nov 2006 Police investigating the death of the Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko found traces of the radioactive metal polonium-210 in two buildings in central London as efforts continued to trace the source of the poison.
Fowl raisers oppose bird flu vaccine plan 28 Nov 2006 (Thailand) Representatives of chicken raisers yesterday asked the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to drop its plan to use the anti-bird flu vaccine in fowl for fear this would harm both human health and the broiler, or young chicken, industry.
And For the Rest of the Century's Weather… A new study predicts some wet and wild climate changes in the decades ahead 27 Nov 2006 In a study called "Going to the Extremes" in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change, researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Texas Tech University found strong evidence that by the end of this century, there will be significant increases in what the authors call "extreme weather events"—deadly heat waves, heavy rainfall and prolonged droughts... Particularly worrisome is the projected increase in hot nights during heat waves, because they tend to be associated with the highest fatality rates. The one small bright spot [*LOL*] in the report was that growing seasons will lengthen—but that’s small consolation to agricultural experts, who say warming will encourage even more weed growth than crop growth. Farmers may have to double or triple their use of herbicides.
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