Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.


Citizens For Legitimate Government
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush coup d'etat, and to oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

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December 2007 Archives, Page Two

'The Hartford Courant wouldn't publish a positive, smiling picture of Ned Lamont on its cover if God Himself commanded it.' "Ned Wins, Joe's In!" By Lori Price 27 Dec 2007 When Joe LieberBush lost the Connecticut Democratic primary - despite the Hartford Courant exerting every fiber of its being to insure that Reichwinger Joe would emerge victorious - their actual headline read: "Ned Wins, Joe's In!" Also, they showed equivalent sized photos of BOTH candidates, smiling. Prior to that day, the Courant wouldn't publish a positive, smiling picture of Ned Lamont on its cover if God Himself commanded it.

Wars Cost $15 Billion a Month, GOP Senator Says 27 Dec 2007 The latest estimate of the growing costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the worldwide battle against of terrorism -- nearly $15 billion a month -- came last week from one of the Senate's leading proponents of a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq. "This cost of this war is approaching $15 billion a month, with the Army spending $4.2 billion of that every month," Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the ranking Republican on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, said in a little-noticed floor speech Dec. 18. While most of the public focus has been on the political fight over troop levels, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported this month that the Bush administration's request for the 2008 fiscal year of $189.3 billion for Defense Department operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and worldwide counterterrorism activities was 20 percent higher than for fiscal 2007 and 60 percent higher than for fiscal 2006.

'The Americans assassinated them both.' U.S. Defends Soldiers' Actions in Killing of 2 Iraqis in Baqubah 27 Dec 2007 Two Iraqi men killed by American soldiers north of Baghdad on Tuesday, including a member of a U.S.-backed security force, were shot after one of them [allegedly] fired on the soldiers and the other then attempted to pick up a weapon, according to an account of the incident provided by U.S. military officials on Wednesday. ...Both slain men had been bound in plastic handcuffs. Iraqis who gathered at the scene of the shootings used the vest and the handcuffs as evidence that the killings were unjustified and alleged that the men were first captured and then shot.

Turkey continues to bomb Kurdish targets in Iraq 27 Dec 2007 Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq yesterday in the fourth such cross-border raid in five days. The Turkish military said its offensive against the outlawed PKK inside Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq would continue.

Turkish raids in Iraq lift oil prices 27 Dec 2007 Oil prices jumped yesterday on supply concerns, stoked by a new round of Turkish air strikes in northern Iraq and a growing belief that domestic oil inventories fell last week. Turkey's military said its warplanes bombed eight suspected Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq yesterday. It was the third Turkish strike inside Iraq in less than two weeks. [See: Bush backs Turkish strikes on Kurdish rebels 25 Dec 2007.]

US Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,900 26 Dec 2007 As of Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007, at least 3,900 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is four higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST.

U.S. Troops Kill 11 in Mahdi Army 27 Dec 2007 U.S. military forces killed 11 members of a Mahdi Army splinter group southeast of Baghdad early Thursday, American officials said, in the largest such operation against the powerful militia in months.

U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan 27 Dec 2007 Beginning early next year, U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units, according to defense officials involved with the planning. A new agreement, reported when it was still being negotiated last month, has been finalized. And the first U.S. personnel could be on the ground in Pakistan by early in the new year, according to Pentagon sources.

Bhutto assassination is an excuse for renewed martial law measures: Pakistan on 'Red Alert' 27 Dec 2007 News of Benazir Bhutto's death brought a swift and angry reaction from supporters in Sindh and its capital, Karachi, where fires were set, shots fired and stones thrown. "Police in Sindh have been put on red alert," said a senior police official. "We have increased deployment and are patrolling in all the towns and cities, as there is trouble almost everywhere."

'Red Alert' in Pakistan allows riot police and paramilitary police to 'fire live rounds' at protesters. (MSNBC) US tax dollars are funding the clampdown. See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against 'Al Qaeda' and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. See: US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007 The US Senate has approved a $785 million assistance package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008 as lawmakers passed with a bipartisan 76-17 vote a massive appropriations bill for federal spending on Tuesday night.

Bhutto Assassination Sparks Riots 27 Dec 2007 Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been shot dead at a political rally - sparking riots across the country. The gunman then detonated a bomb, killing at least 15 of her supporters in Rawalpindi. Many more were injured in the suicide blast. At least four people have been shot dead in rioting as fears grow that the country will be plunged into civil war.

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated in gun, bomb attack 27 Dec 2007 Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Thursday as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi, putting January 8 polls in doubt and sparking anger in her native Sindh province. State media and her party confirmed Bhutto's death from a gun and bomb attack.

From airborne ops to laser gunship 27 Dec 2007 (photo) It's hard to imagine a more versatile aircraft than the humble-looking C-130 Hercules, a propeller-driven design from the middle of the 20th century that continues to be reinvented for an era of ever higher, ever fancier tech. The plump airframe carries paratroopers and fire-fighting equipment, hurricane hunters and 105mm cannons.

Holy hypocrisy, Batman! US concerned by Russian sale of air defense systems to Iran 26 Dec 2007 The White House expressed concern Wednesday over Iran's announcement that Russia would supply S-300 air missile defense systems to the Islamic republic.

No charges over Israeli cluster bombs 26 Dec 2007 Israeli military prosecutors have announced they will not press charges over the army's use of cluster bombs during the war against Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon, actions that had been widely criticised by human rights organisations.

Hicks to apologise after release 27 Dec 2007 'Confessed' terrorism 'supporter' David Hicks is set to offer an apology when he is released from Adelaide's Yatala Prison this weekend. His father, Terry Hicks, said his son will show his face to waiting media outside the jail while his lawyer David McLeod reads an apology to the nation on behalf of his client. [Now we just need Bush bin Laden to apologize to Hicks for torturing him.]

Hicks planning to go to university 28 Dec 2007 David Hicks wants to be left alone to get on with his life, which involves getting a job and attending university, his father Terry says. The 'confessed' terrorism supporter is scheduled for release from Adelaide's Yatala Prison after 8am (CDT) on Saturday.

Judge keeps White House logs secret 21 Dec 2007 A federal judge agreed Friday to let the Bush administration keep secret the lists of visitors to the White House until an appeals court decides whether the documents are public records. The logs being sought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington relate to White House visits regarding nine conservative religious commentators, including James Dobson, Gary Bauer and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Fire at Palo Verde nuclear power plant --Fire units respond to Palo Verde nuclear power plant 26 Dec 2007 The Phoenix Fire Department along with several units responded to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix. Authorities say a maintenance crew noticed smoke coming from a piece of fiberglass in a cooling tower at Unit 3. [See: Bomb mystery at Palo Verde 03 Nov 2007 Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate how a pipe bomb got into a contract worker's pickup bed Friday, triggering a lockdown of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and trapping thousands of employees there for about seven hours.]

EPA is to reveal greenhouse gas papers 27 Dec 2007 The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday signaled it is prepared to comply with a congressional request for all documents -- including communications with the White House -- concerning its decision to block California from imposing limits on greenhouse gases.

U.S. retail heating oil price rises to record -EIA 27 Dec 2007 Heating oil prices for U.S. households rose 0.2 cent during the past week to hit a record of $3.30 a gallon, the government said on Thursday. The national heating oil price has jumped an average of 86.6 cents from a year ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly heating oil report.

State may see $4 gasoline in '08 27 Dec 2007 Gasoline could average $3.75 a gallon across the U.S. in a few months, pushing the price in California up and over the $4 mark, energy analysts said Wednesday.

Giuliani invokes 9/11 in ad campaign 27 Dec 2007 Rudy Giuliani invokes the 2001 terrorist attacks -- the tragedy that made him the face of U.S. resolve and put him on the national political map -- in a new ad campaign launched as the Republican tries to overcome a rough patch in his presidential candidacy.

U.S. Ruling Backs Benefit Cut at 65 in Retiree Plans 27 Dec 2007 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

WHO confirms human-to-human birdflu case 27 Dec 2007 The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday a single case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus in a family in Pakistan but said there was no apparent risk of it spreading wider.

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007 By Allan Uthman, Ian Murphy, Paul Jones and Tyler Bass 27 Dec 2007 2. Dick Cheney Charges: Worst president ever. So openly horrible, he now makes jokes about being Darth Vader... Polling lower than HPV. Exhibit A: His Halliburton stock rose 3000% in 2007. No joke. 1. George W. Bush Charges: Is it a civil rights milestone to have a retarded president? Maybe it would be, if he were ever legitimately elected. You can practically hear the whole nation holding its breath, hoping this guy will just fucking leave come January '09 and not declare martial law... Inarguably a major criminal and a much greater threat to the future of America than any Muslim terrorist... Sentence: Dismembered, limbs donated to injured veterans. [A must read]

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Britain in secret talks with the Taliban 26 Dec 2007 Agents from MI6 entered secret talks with Taliban leaders despite Gordon Brown's pledge that Britain would not negotiate with terrorists, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Officers from the Secret Intelligence Service staged discussions, known as "jirgas", with senior 'insurgents' on several occasions over the summer. An intelligence source said: "The SIS officers were understood to have sought peace directly with the Taliban with them coming across as some sort of armed militia. The British would also provide 'mentoring' for the Taliban."

Afghanistan expels Briton accused of Taliban talks 26 Dec 2007 British and European officials today scrambled to head off a diplomatic row with Afghanistan, saying the expulsion of two western aides for allegedly holding talks with the Taliban was the result of a "misunderstanding". The attempts to resolve the diplomatic wrangle came as the Daily Telegraph reported that MI6 agents held discussions with the Taliban on "several occasions over the summer". Two weeks ago Gordon Brown told the House of Commons: "We will not enter into any negotiations with these people." The paper reported that Afghan officials were present at the talks which "sought peace directly with the Taliban", according to an intelligence source.

Diplomatic row as Afghans expel European pair 26 Dec 2007 A diplomatic row erupted on Wednesday between Afghanistan and key aid partners after Kabul declared "persona non grata" a Briton and an Irishman working for the EU and the U.N., accusing them of threatening state security by meeting Taliban 'insurgents.'

Iraq government backs insurgent amnesty law --50,000 prisoners are held by US and Iraqi forces 26 Dec 2007 Iraq's government has backed a draft law that enables the release of thousands of suspected 'insurgents' held captive by US and Iraqi forces. The amnesty law is thought to specify offences for which prisoners who have been held without charge can be freed.

Bush signs $555 billion spending bill 26 Dec 2007 President [sic] Bush on Wednesday signed a $555 billion bill that funds the Iraq war well into next year and keeps government agencies running through September.

Mission accomplished! Oil Rises After Report Turkey Attacked Kurdish Rebels in Iraq 26 Dec 2007 Crude oil rose for a third day in New York on concern shipments from Iraq may be disrupted after the Turkish military attacked bases of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Turkish planes bombed an area of Iraq near Turkey's border to attack Kurdish rebels, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday, citing an unidentified Iraqi-Kurdish security official. Iraq exports crude oil through its northern pipeline to Turkey. [See: Bush backs Turkish strikes on Kurdish rebels 25 Dec 2007.]

Turkish warplanes strike suspected Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq 26 Dec 2007 Turkish jets struck Wednesday at eight caves that suspected Turkish Kurd rebels were preparing to use as winter hideouts in northern Iraq, Turkey's military said. Inside Turkey, troops said they killed six rebels in the second day of operations on the slopes of Mount Gabar, near the Iraqi border.

4 Sunni Allies of U.S. Killed in Iraq 27 Dec 2007 Four members of a local American-backed Awakening group [terrorists] in Diyala Province were killed Wednesday when a house they were raiding exploded, the police said.

Bodies of 17 men are found north of Baghdad 26 Dec 2007 The decomposed bodies of 17 men have been found in Iraq's restive Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said on Wednesday. The bodies were found in a town near the provincial capital of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, in the past two days. All had gunshot wounds in the head. [Blackwater is a busy little bee!]

Government rules out inquiry into Iraq conflict 26 Dec 2007 The Government has backtracked over demands for an independent inquiry into the mistakes made in the run-up to and aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Ministers have hinted repeatedly that an investigation would be held after British forces leave the country. But they have now changed tack in the hope of "moving on" in Iraq rather than looking back at what went wrong.

Silence on CIA tapes of Habib 27 Dec 2007 The Rudd Government is refusing to say if it is seeking information about videotaped interrogations of terror suspects held by the CIA that may shed light on the treatment of Australia's former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib. The CIA tapes have become the subject of increasing interest in the US following the agency's destruction in 2005 of hundreds of hours of tape showing the interrogation torture of alleged al-Qa'ida operatives Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in late 2001.

F-15 Grounding Strains U.S. Air Defenses 26 Dec 2007 The grounding of hundreds of F-15s because of dangerous structural defects is straining the nation's air defense network, forcing some states to rely on their neighbors' fighter jets for protection, and Alaska to depend on the Canadian military. [In other words, the table is set for Bush to carry out another 9/11-style terrorist attack --blame free. --LRP]

Raytheon: Army aware of missile's flaw 26 Dec 2007 Army officials were aware that the Raytheon-built Patriot air-defense system had difficulty distinguishing between friendly and enemy aircraft but deployed the missiles in the Iraq war after deciding the system was needed to protect troops, a Raytheon Co. executive stated in a recent legal filing. The statement was filed in a lawsuit brought by the family of a Navy pilot who was killed by a Patriot missile while flying over Iraq in 2003.

Japan Test Fires Its First Raytheon-Built Standard Missile-3 26 Dec 2007 The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully flight tested its first Raytheon Company-built Standard Missile-3. The SM-3 Block IA missile engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 60 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Personnel at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target while the crew of the Japanese destroyer JS KONGO (DDG-173) fired the intercepting missile.

Russia deepens military ties with Iran 27 Dec 2007 Russia is to supply Iran with new S-300 air defence systems, Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said, a sign of growing military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.

Ex-CIA official: Israel will attack Iran on its own 21 Dec 2007 "I came back from a trip to Israel in November convinced that Israel would attack Iran," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and senior adviser to three US presidents, George W. Bush among them [sic], told Newsweek magazine in an article published Friday. Citing conversations he had in Israel with officials in Mossad and the Israeli defense establishment, Riedel concluded that "Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened."

Soldier gets more time to spend with sick baby 25 Dec 2007 A Fort Lewis soldier worried about his sick newborn will have more time to spend with his family after first being told to report back to duty. Army Sgt. Chris Williams, 24, of Crown Point, now has until Friday to report for duty in the United States, after which he will be returned to his unit in Iraq.

Police academy class slogan: Cause PTSD 25 Dec 2007 Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it." A state police academy leader has disavowed the slogan of the most recent graduating class, urging one another to "go out and cause" post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nigeria court issues arrest warrant for Pfizer staff 24 Dec 2007 A Nigerian state court Monday issued an arrest warrant for three Pfizer Inc. group staffers who allegedly defied a summons and failed to appear in court for hearings of a case against the US drugs company for an 'alleged' illegal clinical trial. The state accuses the company of illegally testing a meningitis drug called Trovan on 200 children in April 1996. The alleged illegal clinical trial led to the deaths of 11 children and deformities including deafness, blindness, paralysis and brain damage in 181 others.

Boston's Big Dig was the dry run for Bechtel's bullsh*t in Iraq: Boston's $14.8B Bechtel Big Dig Finally Complete 26 Dec 2007 When the clock runs out on 2007, Boston will quietly mark the end of one of the most tumultuous eras in the city's history: The Big Dig, the nation's most complex and costliest highway project, will officially come to an end. History of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff's project includes tunnel leaks, epic traffic jams, last year's death of a motorist crushed by concrete ceiling panels and a price tag that soared from $2.6 billion to a staggering $14.8 billion. Civil and criminal cases stemming from the July 2006 tunnel ceiling collapse continue. Lawsuits are pending against other Big Dig contractors, and Powers Fasteners still faces a manslaughter indictment.

Mega barf alert! Calif. Governor Wants Bigger Private Sector Role In Public Works California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on lawmakers on Wednesday to pass legislation to allow the private sector a bigger role in building, operating and maintaining the state's public works. [See: Boston's $14.8B Bechtel Big Dig Finally Complete 26 Dec 2007.]

Senate Meets Briefly to Block Bush 26 Dec 2007 The House was quiet as a mouse the day after Christmas. But across the Capitol, the Senate was operating in an unusually efficient manner in its ongoing power struggle with President [sic] Bush. A nine-second session gaveled in and out by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., prevented Bush from appointing as an assistant attorney general a nominee roundly rejected by majority Democrats. Without the pro forma session, the Senate would be technically adjourned, allowing the pResident to install officials without Senate confirmation. [Right, and having been installed twice, no one knows more about installation than Bush.]

US presidential hopefuls back on trail after Christmas break 26 Dec 2007 After a day off for Christmas celebrations, US presidential contenders hit the campaign trail full tilt Wednesday, just a week before voters in key states begin to narrow the field of White House hopefuls.

Huckabee bags a pheasant while hunting in Iowa 26 Dec 2007 Presidential contender Mike Huckabee bagged a pheasant Wednesday [*puke*], offering Iowa voters the image of an experienced outdoorsman on the hunt, shotgun blasting and dogs braying.

Edwards makes final trip to New Hampshire before Iowa's caucuses 26 Dec 2007 John Edwards made a final move Wednesday to shore up New Hampshire support ahead of Iowa's caucuses on promises of fighting the establishment, changing Washington, being electable -- and even speaking with a Southern accent. Edwards, on a 300-mile, one-day campaign tour through New Hampshire, appealed to his populist themes during stops.

Clinton Widens Iowa Lead in New American Research Group Poll 26 Dec 2007 Senator Hillary Clinton of New York widened her lead over Democratic rivals in a poll of people who plan to participate in the Iowa caucus. Clinton was supported by 34 percent of the people surveyed by the American Research Group, followed by John Edwards with 20 percent and Barack Obama with 19 percent.

Dallas Morning News endorses Huckabee, Obama 23 Dec 2007 The Dallas Morning News on Sunday endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination for president and Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee, saying both took a fresh approach.

U.S. Disparity in Executions Grows as Texas Bucks Trend 26 Dec 2007 This year’s death penalty bombshells -- a de facto national moratorium, a state abolition and the smallest number of executions in more than a decade -- have masked what may be the most significant and lasting development. For the first time in the modern history of the death penalty, more than 60 percent of all American executions took place in Texas.

Bird flu reappears in Germany - official 26 Dec 2007 A third outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian flu, which is potentially lethal to humans, was confirmed this month in Germany's Brandenburg region outside Berlin, a veterinarian official said Wednesday.

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Afghanistan orders UN, EU officials out for meeting with Taliban insurgents 25 Dec 2007 Afghanistan has ordered a top European Union official and a United Nations staffer to leave the country for threatening national security, government and diplomatic officials said Tuesday. The two were declared persona non grata, apparently after allegations they had met with Taliban 'insurgents,' a European diplomat said.

Afghans to expel two foreigners on security charges 25 Dec 2007 Afghanistan has ordered the expulsion of a Briton working for the EU and an Irishman working for the United Nations, accusing them of posing a threat to national security, officials and diplomats said on Tuesday. Local news portals said the pair may have visited the Taliban 'insurgent' stronghold of Helmand recently and might have met with senior tribal elders with close links to the Taliban -- or even insurgent leaders themselves.

Bombs kill four in Afghanistan: police 24 Dec 2007 Two bombs, one of them hidden under a dead body, exploded near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and killed four people, police said. Police blamed Taliban fighters for the blasts, which occurred Sunday.

Iraq bombs hit US-backed militias 25 Dec 2007 More than 30 people have been killed and scores injured in suicide bombings in northern Iraq.

Iraq Suicide Bombings Kill 34 in Northern Cities, AP Reports 25 Dec 2007 Suicide bombings in two northern Iraq cities today killed at least 34 people and wounded 85 others, the Associated Press reported, citing local and U.S. military authorities. A pickup truck exploded outside residential buildings owned by the state-run North Oil Co. in Beiji, site of Iraq's biggest oil refinery, AP said. At least 25 people died and 80 were injured, unidentified police and hospital officials told the news service.

Bush backs Turkish strikes on Kurdish rebels 25 Dec 2007 US President [sic] George Bush has spoken with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip and gave his backing for military strikes by Ankara on Kurdish rebel rear bases in Iraq.

Turk Iraq raids 'killed hundreds' 25 Dec 2007 Turkish forces have killed hundreds of Kurdish rebels and struck more than 200 targets in northern Iraq in the past 10 days, the Turkish military has said. Up to 175 rebels were killed on 16 December alone, the military statement added. More cross-border air raids were reported on Tuesday.

Over 150 PKK killed in Turkish December 16 Iraq strikes 25 Dec 2007 Turkey's military said on Tuesday that between 150 and 175 Kurdish guerrillas were killed in a large-scale air offensive on December 16 that targeted rebel camps in northern Iraq, the first in a series of cross-border attacks. Turkey launched the offensive, involving some 50 war planes, against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases after receiving intelligence and clearance from the United States.

Iraq Kurds warn Turkey over raids 25 Dec 2007 The president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq has warned Turkey to halt its strikes against rebel Kurdish positions in the border area. Massoud Barzani said he "vehemently condemned" the bombardments, which he said had killed innocent people.

Crown Point soldier must leave ailing baby --Newborn in hospital; Army cuts dad's extended leave 25 Dec 2007 (IN) A soldier who has served two tours in Iraq [Sgt. Chris Williams] says he is frustrated with the Army after his commanders canceled his extended leave even though his newborn son is battling a serious lung infection.

US institute: Israel could survive nuclear war 24 Dec 2007 If a nuclear war between Israel and Iran were to break out 16-20 million Iranians would lose their lives - as opposed to 200,000-800,000 Israelis, according to a report recently published by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is headed by Anthony H. Cordesman, formerly an analyst for the US Department of Defense.

Israel defense budget said too low 25 Dec 2007 Israel's 2008 budget is being criticized as being too sparse when it comes to defending the nation against the potential threat posed by Iran.

Israel Won't Prosecute for Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon 25 Dec 2007 Israeli military prosecutors announced Monday that they would not press charges over the army’s use of cluster bombs during the war against Hezbollah guerrillas [and civilians] in Lebanon, actions that had been widely criticized by human rights organizations.

Italy seeks Operation Condor plot suspects 24 Dec 2007 Prosecutors in Italy have issued arrest warrants for 140 people over a decades-old plot by South American dictatorships called Operation Condor. Under Operation Condor, six governments worked together from the 1970s to hunt down and kill left-wing opponents.

FBI aims for world's largest biometrics database 23 Dec 2007 The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world's largest computer database of biometrics to give the government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

As Primaries Begin, the FEC Will Shut Down --No Quorum on Election Board As Nominees Stall in Congress 22 Dec 2007 The federal agency in charge of policing the torrent of political spending during the upcoming presidential primaries will, for all practical purposes, shut its doors on New Year's Eve. The Federal Election Commission will effectively go dark on Jan. 1 because Congress remains locked in a standoff over the confirmation of President [sic] Bush's nominees to the panel. As a consequence, the FEC will enter 2008 with just two of six members -- short of the four votes needed for the commission to take any official action.

Lieberman Backs GOP's Collins In Maine --Connecticut Independent GOPedophile Helps With Fundraising, Too 24 Dec 2007 As U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) faces what many see as a tough re-election challenge from Democrat Tom Allen, Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-Israel) is backing Collins and raising money for her campaign... Some suggest that the endorsement could backfire by generating more support for Allen from liberal Democrats who use the Internet to organize and raise money, and who regard LieberBush as a pariah because of his advocacy of the war in Iraq.

Huckabee campaigning for 23% sales tax 24 Dec 2007 Mike Huckabee, one of the most conservative Republicans in the 2008 presidential race, has embraced one of the most radical ideas on the campaign trail: a plan to abolish all federal income and payroll taxes and replace them with a single 23% national sales tax.

Ron Paul won't rule out third-party run 23 Dec 2007 Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) refused to rule out the possibility he may run as a third-party candidate during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press." Paul, however, downplayed expectations that he will run on a potential third-party libertarian ticket, saying "I have no intention of doing that."

Disappointing Sales During Holiday Season 26 Dec 2007 American consumers, uneasy about the economy and unimpressed by the merchandise in stores, delivered the bleak holiday shopping season retailers had expected, if not feared, according to one early but influential projection.

Court curbs insurers' ability to rescind medical policies 25 Dec 2007 California health insurers have a duty to check the accuracy of applications for coverage before issuing policies -- and should not wait until patients run up big medical bills, a state appeals court ruled Monday. The court also said insurers could not cancel a medical policy unless they showed that the policyholder willfully misrepresented his health or that the company had investigated the application before it issued coverage.

Cigna stands by decision on transplant 25 Dec 2007 A Friday funeral was set for the Northridge teenager who died last week after her insurer refused to pay for a liver transplant and then reconsidered. Meanwhile, the girl's health plan stood by its initial decision Monday.

FDA is implicated in the HPV vaccine fraud By Mark Yannone 23 Dec 2007 Mike Adams presents evidence from the FDA's own Web site and the Journal of the American Medical Association that reveals Gardasil's vaccine to be ineffective and harmful.

Third bird flu outbreak found in Germany 26 Dec 2007 The third case of the deadly bird flu virus in ten days has been discovered on a small poultry farm in the German state of Brandenburg resulting in the culling of 46 chickens, officials said Tuesday.

Beef from Safeway may have had salmonella: USDA 24 Dec 2007 The Agriculture Department said fresh ground beef products contaminated with multi-drug resistant Salmonella may have been ground and later sold at Safeway Inc stores in five states.

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Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against 'Al Qaeda' and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. American money was has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs. [Another $5 billion goes the way of Project Bioshield, down the toilet and into the hands of Bush's corpora-terrorists. Meanwhile: Medicaid Funding for Schools Cut 23 Dec 2007 The Bush regime yesterday eliminated about $700 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements to schools, sidestepping an attempt by Congress to block such a move.]

US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007 The US Senate has approved a $785 million assistance package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008 as lawmakers passed with a bipartisan 76-17 vote a massive appropriations bill for federal spending on Tuesday night. The House of Representatives had passed the bill late Monday as part of the appropriations act 2008.

Pakistan agents 'staged escape' of terror suspect 23 Dec 2007 Friends of Rashid Rauf, the man wanted in Britain for last year’s Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot to blow up transatlantic airliners, believe that he did not escape from custody last weekend but was kidnapped by Pakistan’s military intelligence agency (ISI). They fear he may be shot. Rauf was arrested in Pakistan in August last year at the same time as 25 men were held in Britain after police uncovered an alleged plot to blow up 12 airliners flying to the United States from Heathrow and Gatwick. Since then, Rauf has been held with other Al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan's highest-security unit in Rawalpindi until his "escape" last weekend. The officers had allowed him to stop for lunch at a McDonald's restaurant and later in the journey permitted him to pray at a mosque. His handcuffs were removed to allow him to pray freely... Hashmat Habib, Rauf’s lawyer, said his client was being victimised because the Pakistani authorities had been forced to drop all charges against Rauf over the transatlantic flight plot.

Saudis biggest group of al Qaeda Iraq fighters: study 19 Dec 2007 Most al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] fighters in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and Libya and many are university-aged students, said a study released on Wednesday by researchers at the U.S. Army's West Point military academy. The study was based on 606 personnel records collected by al Qaeda in Iraq and captured by coalition troops in October.

Iraqi fighters display new weapons --Foreign forces in Iraq are hoping that a much heralded drop in violence in Iraq will continue into the new year. However, in exclusive images obtained by Al Jazeera, it seems fighters from the Islamic Front for Resistance in Iraq (Jami) are merely biding their time and training hard with an array of new weapons in order to drive foreign forces out as soon as possible. Report by Hoda Abdel Hamid 24 Dec 2007 Deep in the groves north of Baghdad, a group of fighters are shown on camera participating in an afternoon workshop on the making and use of weapons. It includes a step-by-step lesson on how to turn an old tank shell into a roadside bomb. It took only 20 minutes to put together a device powerful enough to blow up an armoured vehicle. Two will destroy a tank, the instructors say.

Warnings Unheeded On Mercenaries In Iraq --Despite Shootings, Security Companies Expanded Presence --State Department has paid $2.4 billion for mercenaries in Iraq -- including $1 billion to Blackwater -- since 2003 24 Dec 2007 The U.S. government disregarded numerous warnings over the past two years about the risks of using Blackwater Worldwide and other mercenaries in Iraq, expanding their presence even after a series of shooting incidents showed that the firms were operating with little regulation or oversight, according to government officials, private security firms and documents.

Iraq cover-up claims: MPs call for inquiry --UK security firm accused of failing to pass on intelligence to army in Basra 24 Dec 2007 MPs called yesterday for a full parliamentary inquiry into the British security company ArmorGroup after allegations made about its operations in Iraq by former employees. Two MPs have issued the call in response to claims that an employee had been told to withhold intelligence from the British armed forces and that the company had exaggerated the numbers of its employees on the ground.

Calls to probe Iraq security claims 24 Dec 2007 MPs have called for a parliamentary inquiry into claims that a UK-based security company deliberately withheld intelligence from the British armed forces in Iraq. A former employee of ArmorGroup is reported as claiming that the company's "official line" was not to pass on information about militia infiltration of the Iraqi police in Basra.

Firm rejects Iraq security claims 24 Dec 2007 A UK-based security company operating in Iraq has dismissed claims it routinely withheld intelligence from the British armed forces. ArmorGroup described the allegations from Colin Williamson, a former policeman it employed in Basra, as "almost inconceivable".

Baghdad Bombing Kills Two, Wounds Six 24 Dec 2007 Two people were killed and six others were wounded when a bomb hidden inside a minivan exploded Monday near Baghdad's governor office, the latest violence in holiday season in Baghdad, Iraq capital. The explosive went off near the heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and other western embassies and Iraqi government.

Gunmen kidnap 14 members of Iraqi family: police 24 Dec 2007 [US] Gunmen posing as Iraqi security forces kidnapped 14 members of one family in the volatile Diyala province north of Baghdad on Monday, police said. They said the gunmen stopped a minibus carrying the 14 at a fake checkpoint near the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of the capital. Those kidnapped included women and children, police said.

No let-up for Christmas for U.S. troops in Iraq 24 Dec 2007 Christmas Eve, late afternoon, and U.S. soldiers from 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment piled into their Stryker armored vehicles for a patrol out on the streets of Baghdad. This is the fifth Christmas that U.S. troops have been out in Iraq, and commanders say the best way to keep morale up is to keep moving.

US warns against early Iraq pullout 23 Dec 2007 The US military commander in Iraq says progress has been made to reduce the level of violence. But General David Petraeus [Betrayus] said what had been achieved "remains tenuous and is still fragile" and cautioned against speeding up the withdrawal of US troops. Highlighting that fragility on Sunday, attacks killed at least five people, including a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in Baghdad that left two civilians dead.

Troops needed in Afghanistan 'for at least 10yrs' 24 Dec 2007 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has arrived back in Australia after a surprise visit to Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Rudd pledged an extra $110 million to help rebuild Afghanistan and says Australian soldiers will remain in the country for what he calls "the long haul".

Spain's troops in Afghanistan as long as needed: minister 24 Dec 2007 Spanish troops will remain in Afghanistan as long "as necessary," Spain's defence minister Jose Antonio Alonso said in an interview.

Israel to spend $230m on defence shield 24 Dec 2007 Israel is to spend $230 million over the next five years to develop a defence shield against rockets and short-range missiles. Israel's Security Cabinet has confirmed funding for the project that has been dubbed "the Iron Dome."

Jeb Bush to arrive in Israel for private visit 23 Dec 2007 Two weeks before US President [sic] George W. Bush is scheduled to arrive on his first visit to Israel as pResident, his younger brother Jeb Bush is scheduled to arrive Monday for a private visit.

Iran to seek bids for 19 atomic power plants: MP 24 Dec 2007 Iran said on Monday it rejected any preconditions for talks with the United States, which suspects it wants an atomic bomb, and a member of parliament was quoted as saying Tehran planned 19 nuclear power plants.

Lawyer urges judge to open CIA tapes inquiry 21 Dec 2007 A lawyer for a group of terrorism suspects held by the United States told a court on Friday that trusting the Justice Department with an inquiry into the CIA's destruction of interrogation torture tapes would amount to putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

Fragile Hicks faces torture of freedom 24 Dec 2007 David Hicks's mental condition is so fragile that - only five days before his scheduled release from jail - he suffers from agoraphobia and retreats to the kind of solitary confinement he endured for five years in Guantanamo Bay.

DHS to Finalize Satellite-Surveillance Plans 20 Dec 2007 After delaying a domestic satellite-surveillance program for more than two months, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expects to finalize a new charter for it this week, a move that attempts to quell civil-liberties concerns and get the program back on track. Mr. Chertoff also plans soon to unveil a cyber-security strategy, part of an estimated $15 billion, multiyear program designed to protect the nation's Internet infrastructure. The program has been shrouded in secrecy for months and has also prompted privacy concerns on Capitol Hill because it involves government protection of domestic computer networks.

Police Begin Fingerprinting on Traffic Stops 23 Dec 2007 If you're ticketed by Green Bay police, you'll get more than a fine. You'll get fingerprinted, too. If you're caught speeding or playing your music too loud, or other crimes for which you might receive a citation, Green Bay police officers will ask for your drivers license and your finger. You'll be fingerprinted right there on the spot.

Cheney accused of blocking Californian bid to cut car fumes 24 Dec 2007 The US vice-president [sic], Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial decision to block California's attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders at the government Environmental Protection Agency.

Probe of Calif. Fires Lays Most Blame on Power Lines --Downing of Poles by Santa Ana Winds Renews Debate Over Costly Option of Burying Electrical Cables 24 Dec 2007 When the firestorms of October were finally extinguished and hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians returned to their homes, officials set out to understand how 21 fires erupted in the span of just three days. A '10-year-old boy confessed' to starting one fire. Two other fires were attributed to arson. In an odd twist, a convicted arsonist was discovered among the volunteers fighting fires in San Diego County, but the man was not implicated in the October fires.

Mission accomplished: U.S. gasoline prices rose in 2007: survey 23 Dec 2007 U.S. average gasoline prices rose 8 percent, or 21 cents, in 2007 from the prior year, an industry analyst said, as oil prices rose. The average annual price for U.S. gasoline was $2.7878 in 2007, up from 2006's $2.5730, according to the Lundberg survey of about 7,000 U.S. gas stations.

Obama vows to get lead out of toys --Touts plan for offshore testing, strict ban 24 Dec 2007 As holiday shoppers hunted for safe toys Sunday, Democrat Barack Obama touted his plan for tighter regulation of Chinese-made toys, millions of which have been recalled. Obama said he would test to find toys with lead-based paint and ban those with even trace amounts.

Republican Romney picks up negative endorsement 23 Dec 2007 Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has taken an editorial drubbing from a small New Hampshire newspaper, at a time when most newspapers close to the presidential race are handing out endorsements. "Romney should not be the next president," blared the Concord Monitor of tiny New Hampshire state, where the third nominating contest for the 2008 US presidential race will take place on January 8.

Scientist who claimed GM crops could solve Third World hunger admits he got it wrong 18 Dec 2007 A claim that GM technology is helping deliver higher crop yields in Africa was wrong, the Government's chief scientist [Professor Sir David King] has been forced to admit. Dr Richard Horton, the editor of medical journal The Lancet said Sir David took his faith in science into "the realms of totalitarian paranoia".

Deadly Storm Leaves Dangerous Roadways 24 Dec 2007 Highways were treacherous for holiday travelers Monday in the upper Midwest in the aftermath of a blustery snowstorm that blacked out thousands of homes and businesses and snarled air travel.

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Troops needed for ten more years: Karzai 21 Dec 2007 Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said that his war-torn country will need foreign troops for at least another decade. "I believe it will take another 10 years, at least 10 years," he told German newspaper Bild when asked for how much longer the country will need German troops.

We're in for the long haul: Rudd 24 Dec 2007 The Prime Minister has given an open-ended commitment for Australian troops to remain in Afghanistan as he revealed he fears more fatalities. Kevin Rudd met Australian troops at Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan province before flying to Kabul, where he held a press conference with the President, Hamid Karzai.

Italian prime minister pledges long-term commitment to Afghanistan 23 Dec 2007 Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi echoed recent pledges by French and Australian leaders, as the Afghan presidential palace said he emphasized his county's long-term commitment to Afghanistan in a meeting Sunday with President Hamid Karzai. Italy has about 2,400 troops in NATO's International Security Assistance Force in the country, mostly in the western province of Herat, where there is little violence.

Three Canadian soldiers injured in Afghanistan 23 Dec 2007 Three Canadian soldiers were injured in southern Afghanistan Sunday when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device, according to military officials cited on Canadian television.

Iraq says U.S.-backed patrols can't be "third force" 22 Dec 2007 The Iraqi government will not tolerate U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrols turning into a "third force" alongside the army and the police, Defence Minister General Abdel Qader Jassim said on Saturday.

U.S. commander in Iraq warns against faster troop withdrawal 23 Dec 2007 The top U.S. commander General David Petraeus [Betrayus] warned on Sunday against faster troop withdrawal from Iraq because security process U.S. troops made in the country remains "fragile." Petraeus said in an interview with Fox news since 'insurgent' attacks and U.S. troops casualties have been sharply reduced, the United States is ready to withdraw five combat brigades from Iraq by mid next year [just in time to help the GOP in the 2008 'elections'].

Turkish Jets Strike PKK Positions in Northern Iraq 23 Dec 2007 Turkey bombed and shelled Kurdish militants in neighboring northern Iraq in the third of a series of cross-border attacks in the past week that the armed forces say have killed hundreds of fighters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Turkish warplanes bomb northern Iraq for third time 23 Dec 2007 The Turkish military says its warplanes have bombed separatist Kurdish rebel targets inside northern Iraq. It is the third confirmed cross-border attack in less than a week.

2 killed in violence in northern Iraq 23 Dec 2007 A car bomb and gunfire killed two people in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh on Sunday, local police sources said. A car bomb parked on the main road near the Hamam al-Alil town, 40 km south of the provincial capital of Mosul City, detonated near a police patrol killing a civilian and wounding five policemen, Brigadier Abdul Kareem al-Jubouri, head of the provincial police operations office, told Xinhua.

Iran 'restraining Shia militias in Iraq' 23 Dec 2007 Iran has decided "at the most senior levels" to restrain Shia militias in Iraq, causing a sharp drop in roadside bomb attacks in recent months, according to a senior US diplomat.

Iran Cited In Iraq's Decline in Violence --Order From Tehran Reined In Militias, U.S. Official Says 23 Dec 2007 The Iranian government has decided "at the most senior levels" to rein in the violent Shiite militias it Blackwater supports in Iraq, a move reflected in a sharp decrease in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks over the past several months, according to the State Department's top official on Iraq.

Olmert Rules Out Truce Talks With Hamas 23 Dec 2007 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday ruled out cease-fire talks with the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas rulers, vowing to press ahead with a "true war" against Palestinian militants who attack southern Israeli communities with rocket and mortar fire.

CIA chief to drag White House into torture cover-up storm 23 Dec 2007 The CIA chief [Jose Rodriguez] who ordered the destruction of secret videotapes recording the harsh interrogation torture of two top 'Al-Qaeda' suspects has indicated he may seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testiLying before the House intelligence committee. It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president [sic], but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.

CIA 'kept' tapes from 9/11 probe 23 Dec 2007 A leaked memorandum from the former 9/11 commission says it made repeated requests to the CIA for information on the interrogation of 'al-Qaeda' suspects. But ex-commission executive director Philip Zelikow says the CIA did not hand over tapes that have since come to light, the New York Times reported. The CIA later erased the footage, which allegedly contains images of abuse.

CIA denies withholding terror suspects interrogation tapes 23 Dec 2007 The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States Saturday rejected allegations that it had prevented the 9/11 commission from seeing videotapes that show interrogations of terror suspects.

The torture tape fingering Bush as a war criminal By Andrew Sullivan 23 Dec 2007 Any reasonable person examining all the evidence we have - without any bias - would conclude that the overwhelming likelihood is that the president of the United States authorised illegal torture of a prisoner and that the evidence of the crime was subsequently illegally destroyed... It’s a potential Watergate. But this time the crime is not a two-bit domestic burglary. It’s a war crime that reaches into the very heart of the Oval Office.

Cuba and Venezuela sign 14 oil agreements 23 Dec 2007 Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and acting Cuban President Raul Castro signed agreements Saturday in the energy, mining and oil sectors, including a 170-million-dollar deal to build a new power plant.

French bird flu TV crew may face Niger death penalty -lawyer 22 Dec 2007 Authorities in Niger have charged two French journalists with colluding with armed groups in the country's uranium-rich north, which could carry the death penalty if they are convicted, their lawyer said on Saturday. Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson are accused of violating the terms of their media accreditation to film a report about bird flu in the southern city of Maradi, instead travelling to film rebel fighters in the country's Saharan north. [Gee, I wonder what they stumbled upon?]

Freedom may not be easy for Hicks 24 Dec 2007 In five days David Hicks will be free, but he is not about to embark on a normal life. After six years largely in solitary confinement, five of them in the US military terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he is psychologically unprepared to pick up the threads of his old life. Hicks suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety. A Melbourne forensic psychiatrist, Professor Paul Mullen, who assessed Hicks at Guantanamo Bay in February 2005, said Hicks would be suffering psychological damage from his severely traumatic experiences. These included being imprisoned in a container in the hot sun in the belief he had been left there to die.

Police charge man under terrorism laws 23 Dec 2007 Police said on Sunday detectives had charged a man from Birmingham with a suspected terrorism offence. The 38-year-old, from the Small Heath area of the city, was charged with one offence under the Terrorism Act 2006, a spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said. "The charge relates to alleged engagement in conduct for the preparation of the intention to commit an act of terrorism," the spokeswoman said. ['Preparation of the intention' to commit a crime- gotta love that one!]

FBI Sought Authority to Detain Thousands --Declassified Papers Detail Hoover Plan During Korean War 23 Dec 2007 Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention shortly after the Korean War began and arrest as many as 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, according to a newly declassified document. All apprehended individuals eventually would have had the right to a hearing under Hoover's plan, but hearing boards composed of one judge and two citizens "will not be bound by the rules of evidence," he wrote. ['Not be bound by the rules of evidence' --Oh, just like Bush!]

Medicaid Funding for Schools Cut 23 Dec 2007 The Bush dictatorship yesterday eliminated about $700 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements to schools, sidestepping an attempt by Congress to block such a move. The new rule, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is expected to 'save' the federal government $3.6 billion over five years [so Halliburton can get it], transferring those costs to school districts. Lawmakers this week passed legislation to place a six-month moratorium on Medicaid implementing the rule change, but President [sic] Bush had not signed the bill.

Bonuses on Wall Street surge 14 percent 21 Dec 2007 This might have been one of Wall Street's most dismal years in a decade, but that hasn't stopped bonus checks from rising an average of 14 percent.

Crisis may make 1929 look a 'walk in the park' 23 Dec 2007 Twenty billion dollars here, $20bn there, and a lush half-trillion from the European Central Bank at give-away rates for Christmas. Buckets of liquidity are being splashed over the North Atlantic banking system, so far with meagre or fleeting effects. As the credit paralysis stretches through its fifth month, a chorus of economists has begun to warn that the world's central banks are fighting the wrong war, and perhaps risk a policy error of epochal proportions.

Zogby Poll: Obama Leads Top Republicans --Telephone survey shows fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Edwards would defeat some GOPers, lose to others 20 Dec 2007 Illinois Sen. Barack Obama would defeat all five of the top Republicans in prospective general election contests, performing better than either of his two top rivals, a new Zogby telephone poll shows.

Concord Monitor: Romney "Must Be Stopped" 22 Dec 2007 Delivering the journalistic equivalent of a giant lump of coal three days before Christmas, the Concord Monitor editorial board has leveled an extraordinary broadside against Mitt Romney, declaring in an editorial to be published in Sunday's paper that the former Massachusetts governor "must be stopped" in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney should not be the next president (Concord Monitor) 23 Dec 2007 If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit... Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped. ...Romney has said he'd like to "double" the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates have been held for years without formal charge or access to the courts. He dodges the issue of torture - unable to say, simply, that waterboarding is torture and America won't do it. When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate.

As Earth Warms Up, Tropical Virus Moves to Italy 23 Dec 2007 After a month of investigation, Italian public health officials discovered that the people of Castiglione di Cervia were, in fact, suffering from a tropical disease, chikungunya, a relative of dengue fever normally found in the Indian Ocean region. Insects were spreading the disease: tiger mosquitoes, who can thrive in a warming Europe. Aided by global warming and globalization, Castiglione di Cervia has the dubious distinction of playing host to the first outbreak in modern Europe of a disease that had previously been seen only in the tropics.

Earlier ice breakup hurting polar bears 23 Dec 2007 The future of northern Manitoba's polar bears is much more ominous than previously suspected, and has dire implications with regard to the rest of the polar bear population in northern Canada, according to a new report. Researchers at the Canadian Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey (Alaska) confirm that the sharp decline that is taking place in the northern Manitoba polar bear population is likely a blueprint for the future of the entire Canadian polar bear population.

Major Storm Causes Swath of Blackouts 23 Dec 2007 Highways were hazardous for holiday travelers Sunday and thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity in the Midwest as a storm blew through the region with heavy snow and howling wind. At least eight deaths had been blamed on the storm.

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CIA obstructed 9/11 investigators: report 22 Dec 2007 The CIA obstructed an official US investigation into the September 11 attacks by withholding tapes of interrogations of 'Al-Qaeda' operatives, according to former investigators quoted in a report on Saturday.

9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes 22 Dec 2007 A review of classified documents by former members of the Sept. 11 commission shows that the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of 'Al Qaeda,' and were told by a top C.I.A. official that the agency had "produced or made available for review" everything that had been requested. In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission's inquiry.

FBI Prepares Vast Database of Biometrics $1 Billion Project to Include Images of Irises and Faces 22 Dec 2007 The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad. Digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns are already flowing into FBI systems in a climate-controlled, secure basement here... In the coming years, law enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law.

FBI aims for world's largest biometrics database 22 Dec 2007 The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world's largest computer database of biometrics to give the government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Life 'better' under Saddam Hussein says vicar of Baghdad 21 Dec 2007 Life was "better" for Christians in Iraq under the government of Saddam Hussein than it is today, according to the only Anglican vicar working in Baghdad. Canon Andrew White, vicar of St George’s Church in the capital of Iraq told Times Online that day-to-day life was 'a lot easier' for Christians when Saddam Hussein was president of the country.

US 'risks running out of funds' for Iraq, Afghanistan wars 22 Dec 2007 American Defence Secretary Robert Gates says the US could run out of money for its military operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Mr Gates says though Congress this week approved military spending of $70 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was less than half what the administration had wanted.

Army: Turkish warplanes attack PKK positions in Iraq 23 Dec 2007 Turkish aircraft bombed positions of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Saturday, the Turkish army said on its website. "Turkish aircraft struck important targets of the terrorist group of PKK in northern Iraq ... between 14:25-15:00 local time(1125-1200 GMT)," said the statement.

Turkish Planes Bomb Kurds in Iraq Again 22 Dec 2007 Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Saturday in the third confirmed cross-border offensive by Turkish forces in less than a week, the military said.

Four Iraqis killed by Baghdad suicide car bomb: official 22 Dec 2007 A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a joint Iraqi army and police checkpoint in western Baghdad on Saturday, killing four people, a security official said. The attack in the capital's Al-Ghazaliyah neighbourhood killed two policemen, a soldier and a civilian, he said. Six other people -- two soldiers, three policemen and a civilian -- were wounded by the blast, he added.

U.S. soldier killed, 11 wounded in Iraq bombings 22 Dec 2007 An American soldier was killed and 11 others were wounded when two roadside bomb attacks hit their vehicles in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said on Saturday. The attack took place when the soldier's unit was conducting combat operations in Kirkuk province on Friday, a military statement said.

Gates: US troops could soon begin partial Iraq pullout --US Defense Secretary says improved security [?] in Iraq will enable five units to pull out by July as planned [to help the GOP in the 2008 'elections']. 22 Dec 2007 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Friday voiced hope that US troops will soon start returning home from Iraq, saying improved security there will enable five units to pull out by July as planned.

Rudd to Withdraw Australian Troops From Iraq by June, AFP Says 22 Jun 2007 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in Baghdad yesterday Australian troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by June, Agence France-Presse reported. Australia will continue to support Iraq through its naval deployment in the Persian Gulf to ensure the security of Iraq's exports, Rudd said, according to AFP. Australia will also continue to train Iraqi troops and police in Australia and Jordan, he said.

Rudd makes surprise visit to Iraq 21 Dec 2007 New Australian PM Kevin Rudd has held talks with Iraqi counterpart Nouri Maliki on a surprise visit to Baghdad. Mr Rudd won a landslide victory in the general election last month with a key pledge to bring back Australian combat troops by the middle of next year.

France could boost troops in Afghanistan 22 Dec 2007 French President [Bush troll] Nicolas Sarkozy said France could boost its presence in Afghanistan to help the Afghan army and police in a surprise visit to give French troops his Christmas greetings.

Family adopts slain son's military dog 21 Dec 2007 A military working dog wounded in Iraq during a rocket attack that killed its Marine handler was adopted Friday by the slain Marine's family. Cpl. Dustin Lee's family planned to take home the bomb-sniffing dog -- named Lex -- on Saturday after the 8-year-old German shepherd was granted early retirement.

Saudi at Guantanamo charged in ship attack plot 20 Dec 2007 Prosecutors for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals charged a Saudi Arabian prisoner on Thursday with plotting with 'al Qaeda' to blow up a ship off the coast of Yemen or in the Strait of Hormuz. A Pentagon spokesman said the captive, Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, was formally served with charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. The charges still must be approved by a Pentagon official overseeing the Guantanamo tribunals before they can proceed to 'trial.'

Officers involved in De Menezes killing escape disciplinary action 22 Dec 2007 None of the senior police officers in charge of the botched operation which led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes will face disciplinary action. The decision by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) not to recommend disciplinary proceedings against four officers... was a "scandal", said relatives of Mr De Menezes because it has been made before next year's inquest into the 27-year-old Brazilian's death.

Hoover Planned Imprisonment of 12,000 'Disloyal' Americans In 1950 23 Dec 2007 A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty. Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons. The arrests would be carried out under "a master warrant attached to a list of names" provided by the bureau. "The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States," he wrote. "In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus," it said.

Senate stays in session to block Bush 21 Dec 2007 The last political scuffle of the year between the White House and the Democratic-led Congress played out on the floor of the Senate Friday morning -- even though nearly all the senators had left the Capitol for the Christmas holiday earlier in the week. In a session that lasted under a minute, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, opened and then immediately gaveled closed the Senate. His sole reason for doing so was to block President [sic] Bush from naming controversial "recess appointments" -- a constitutional mechanism that allows the president, during congressional recesses, to fill top government posts for up to one year and avoid Senate confirmation.

Karl Rove Inks $1M-Plus Memoir Deal --Ex-Bush Advisor Rove to Ink Memoirs for at Least $1.5M 21 Dec 2007 GOP strategist KKKarl Rove has agreed to write about his years as an adviser to President [sic] Bush in a deal worth over $1.5 million with former colleague Mary Matalin's conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, officials said Friday.

Edwards says he'll battle any efforts to smear him 22 Dec 2007 John Edwards warned Friday that if Republicans try to smear him the way they did the Democrats' last presidential nominee, he'll make them regret it. "I will fight back with every fiber of my being," he told hundreds of cheering Iowans at a West Des Moines rally. "If they come after us, we have to go back harder than they came at us."

Ruling Lets Firms Bar Union E-mail E-Mail 23 Dec 2007 The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers have the right to prohibit workers from using the company’s e-mail system to send out union-related messages, a decision that could hamper communications between labor unions and their membership.

Democrats Make Bush School Act an Election Issue 23 Dec 2007 Teachers cheered Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton when she stepped before them last month at an elementary school in Waterloo, Iowa, and said she would "end" the No Child Left Behind Act because it was "just not working." "No Child Left Behind may be the most negative brand in America," said Representative George Miller of California, the Democratic chairman of the House education committee.

Giuliani's Doctor to Provide Update 23 Dec 2007 Rudolph W. Giuliani on Saturday provided the most detailed account yet of the health scare that led to his recent hospitalization, saying that he suffered a "terrible headache" but did not black out, and that his doctor would update his health condition "after Christmas."

Enron's Skilling asks for prison release 21 Dec 2007 In an aggressive 160-page filing, ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling asked a federal appellate court today to get him out of prison, where he's been for more than a year, and get him a new trial in a new town. In September, Skilling asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his 24-year sentence on 19 convictions of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors at Enron.

Poland reports fresh outbreak of H5N1 bird flu 22 Dec 2007 Laboratory tests have confirmed a fresh outbreak of deadly H5N1 avian flu in the same area of northern Poland where the virus was discovered earlier this month, PAP news agency said on Saturday.

Attorney Wants Criminal Charges Against Insurer 22 Dec 2007 The lawyer for California teen Nataline Sarkisyan charged today that the only reason Cigna Health Care officials changed their minds and approved a liver transplant for the desperate girl was they knew it was too late and they wouldn't have to pay for it. Sarkisyan, 17, died Thursday. Now the Sarkisyan family hopes manslaughter or murder charges will be pressed. Their lawyer, Mark Geragos, says he will refer the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges against the insurer, [corpora-terrorists] Cigna HealthCare.

Snowstorm, Multi-Car Pileup Hit Plains 22 Dec 2007 A strong snowstorm that cut visibility nearly to zero in some places as it rolled across the Plains on Saturday caused numerous vehicle pileups and forced authorities to close portions of several major highways. Dozens of vehicles were involved in a pileup on Interstate 29 in western Missouri, authorities said. Sections of some Oklahoma highways were closed because of whiteout conditions.

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7 British soldiers killed by same American-made gun 20 Dec 2007 A single trained marksman is suspected of killing seven British soldiers in separate attacks in Iraq, an inquest heard on Thursday. The sniper's victims are thought to include Cpl Rodney Wilson, who was killed when he was shot in the back while trying to rescue an injured colleague in Basra. Analysis of the bullet which struck him showed it was fired from the same American-made weapon which has been involved in the deaths of six other servicemen in the city. Cpl Wilson's father, Richard, said: 'It's almost certainly the same person firing it, some sort of hired shooter probably.' Cpl Wilson was hit by a 5.56 calibre bullet. The ammunition is compatible with weapons such as the M16 and M4 Carbine, commonly used by US forces, and the SA80, the standard British Army issue assault rifle.

Iraq 'torture complex' discovered 20 Dec 2007 US and Iraqi forces have discovered a "torture complex" in an al-Qaeda safe haven near Muqdadiya in central Diyala province, the US military has said. Three buildings containing chains on the walls and ceilings, and a metal bed connected to a power supply were found during an operation on 9 December. [Things that make you go 'hmm.' Lori Price notes the US brand (or English words) on the boxing gloves found at the 'al Qaeda' torture chamber in Iraq. See: GIs find 26 bodies next to Iraq torture center 21 Dec 2007. Click on DoD video, 'Al-Qaida torture chamber discovered?' (10-16 seconds;45-57 seconds; and 1:27-1:39 into video) Also, see In pictures: Iraq 'torture complex' (Click on 'Pictures of the complex,' advance to Image #3) to view boxing gloves on metal cot.]

Iraq authorities detained 1,350 children in 2007: Report --Iraq children 'paying high price' for Bush occupation 21 Dec 2007 Two million children in Iraq are facing threats including poor nutrition, lack of education, disease and violence, the UN children's agency, Unicef, has said. Hundreds were killed in violence during 2007, while 1,350 were detained by the authorities, it said in a new report. Unicef said more than 4m children were vaccinated 'against' polio and 3m 'against' measles. [There's no electricity, food, water, or education in Baghdad, but Bush made sure 7 million Iraqi children got their mandatory doses of mercury, formaldehyde - and God knows what else - while his pharma-terrorists make a killing. That's part of the 'quiet corporate genocide' that Bush wages every day against the Iraqi people. --LRP]

Iraq Shi'ite leader wants U.S.-backed units curbed 21 Dec 2007 A powerful Shi'ite Muslim leader in Iraq called on Friday for U.S.-backed, mainly Sunni neighborhood patrols to be brought under tight government control with a more balanced sectarian makeup.

12 killed in suicide bombing near Baghdad --Other attacks disrupt Muslim holiday calm; 'great threats' continue, U.S. official says 21 Dec 2007 A suicide bomber edged into a crowd of Iraqi officials and U.S. forces gathered for a meeting north of Baghdad yesterday, killing as many as 12 people, including an American soldier.

Pentagon: U.S. troop reduction in Iraq "on schedule" 22 Dec 2007 A plan to reduce U.S. troops in Iraq from 158,000 currently to about 100,000 by the end of 2008 is still on schedule, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday at a press conference. However, he emphasized that many developments could affect that plan, and he left open the possibility that the United States may need to add troops in Afghanistan.

Iraqi media braves assault from all sides 20 Dec 2007 For the fifth year in a row, Iraq was the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist... Those working for print, television, radio, and other outlets say they are sometimes bribed to relay the views and pronouncements of the organization that funds their operations or paid off by politicians who want positive coverage. Others say they face ongoing pressure from the US military, as illustrated by the case of award-winning Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who was accused by the US of being linked to terrorists, a charge that his employer denies.

US government denies CIA tapes showed Guantanamo torture 21 Dec 2007 US government lawyers flatly denied Friday that videotapes destroyed by the CIA contained any scenes of the torture of terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay, in a keenly watched court hearing here. US District Court Judge Henry Kennedy had summoned attorneys for the government and for "war on terror" prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to give oral arguments on whether the agency violated his 2005 order to preserve any possible evidence of detainee mistreatment at the US prison camp in Cuba.

CIA Seeks Investigation of Ex-Officer's Claims --Waterboarding Statements Raise Concern 21 Dec 2007 The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a former agency officer illegally disclosed classified information in describing the capture and waterboarding of an 'al-Qaeda' terrorism suspect, officials said yesterday. In interviews last week with The Washington Post and other news organizations, former CIA officer John Kiriakou discussed details of the capture of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein alleging that he resisted cooperating with interrogators until he was subjected to waterboarding. "If they do pursue it, they will open a Pandora's box that will put the spotlight on whether the interrogations were lawful, and the extent to which they have been fully revealed by federal officials," Kiriakou's attorney, Mark Zaid, said in an interview.

Former CIA officer probed over waterboarding interviews 20 Dec 2007 The Department of Justice is investigating whether a former intelligence officer illegally disclosed classified information in interviews he gave on how the CIA interrogated a suspected senior 'al Qaida' member. In interviews with ABC News and The Washington Post earlier this month, former CIA officer John Kiriakou gave detailed descriptions of how a prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded. The procedure produces the sensation of drowning and is widely considered a form of torture, which is illegal under U.S. and international laws.

Judge Delays Ruling on C.I.A. Tape Hearing 21 Dec 2007 A federal judge on Thursday refused, at least for now, to order a hearing at which the government would have to explain in detail the destruction of C.I.A. videotapes showing the harsh interrogation torture of two suspected 'Al Qaeda' operatives. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy turned down a request for such a hearing made by lawyers for a dozen Yemeni prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Instead, he took the matter under advisement and said he would rule later.

Australia Puts Controls on Ex-Guantanamo Inmate Hicks 21 Dec 2007 David Hicks, who spent more than five years in Guantanamo Bay, must observe a curfew and report to police when he is released from jail next week, an Australian court ruled. A judge today granted a police request to impose a control order on Hicks, court spokeswoman Denise Healy said by telephone. The judge imposed eight conditions on Hicks. He must observe a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew, report to police three times a week and live at a residence to be agreed on with officers. He must own only one mobile phone and SIM card and have one Internet address [LOL!], Healy said. Hicks was also barred from owning a firearm and associating with terrorist groups.

Mukasey cuts off White House access to information on probes 19 Dec 2007 Attorney General Michael Mukasey Wednesday reversed a controversial Bush administration policy that had allowed numerous White House officials to know about ongoing federal investigations. In a memo to Justice Department employees, Mukasey said communications about criminal and civil investigations "must be limited."

Feds lodge appeal over records 21 Dec 2007 The Justice Department on Thursday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for access to documents seized in the unprecedented 2006 search of Rep. William Jefferson's congressional office. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III postponed proceedings until Jan. 16, when Jefferson, a New Orleans Democrat, is expected to answer questions for the first time under oath about the sprawling public corruption case against him.

US Wants Iran to Admit to Nuke Program 21 Dec 2007 Iran must "confess" [!?!] to running a past nuclear weapons program or its claims of cooperating with a U.N. investigation will not be credible, the chief U.S. envoy to the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Friday. [Bush can't even 'confess' to being human - Ahmadinejad should just say 'b*** me.']

Iran could revive atom bomb bid due curbs on IAEA: U.S. 21 Dec 2007 The United States said on Friday that what U.S. intelligence found to be a secret Iranian nuclear arms program halted in 2003 could easily be revived because of later curbs on U.N. inspections in the country.

Rice promises more U.S. pressure on Iran in 2008 21 Dec 2007 The United States is open to better relations and talks with Iran, but Washington will not drop its condition that Tehran suspend sensitive nuclear work, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

Powers fail to reach deal on Iran sanctions 20 Dec 2007 The United States and five other powers failed again to reach agreement Thursday on tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

Lebanon delays presidential vote 21 Dec 2007 A Lebanese presidential election scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until December 29, the parliament speaker said on Friday, the tenth delay to the vote. The Western-backed ruling coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition have agreed on army chief General Michel Suleiman as president, but they are still at odds over how to share power in the new government to be formed once he takes office. [God, is there any country whose 'elections' Bush bin Laden *doesn't* rig?]

Dozens Killed, Hundreds Injured in Pakistan Bomb Attack 21 Dec 2007 At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured Friday when a suicide bomber attacked a mosque on the holy day of Eid al-Adha in a remote town in Pakistan's North-West Frontier province. The attack was apparently aimed at former interior minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, some 40 miles from the provincial capital of Peshawar. Sherpao survived the attack, though one of his sons was injured.

Payments vary greatly for new veterans with mental illness 20 Dec 2007 Veterans coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating mental ailments are discovering that their disability payments from the government vary widely depending on where they live, an exclusive McClatchy analysis has found.

Los Angeles Police Told to Disclose Their Finances 21 Dec 2007 Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department’s gang unit and narcotics unit will be required to disclose an array of personal financial information to the department under a new anticorruption policy.

Fla. officer uses stun gun on woman who yelled at her in store 21 Dec 2007 A police officer used a stun gun to subdue a woman who yelled at her in a crowded electronics store, and prosecutors are reviewing whether to pursue charges against the customer. The customer, Elizabeth Beeland, was arrested [!] on two misdemeanors, disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer without violence.

Democrats seek to question Justice officials about election probe 20 Dec 2007 The chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Thursday said he wants to question Justice Department officials who were involved in investigating an Election Day dirty trick in New Hampshire. In a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said he wants to determine whether the department stalled an indictment of James Tobin, a northeast regional coordinator for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, until after the 2004 election "to minimize the political impact . . . on Republican electoral interests."

Official: Justice Dept. slowed probe into phone jamming 19 Dec 2007 The Justice Department delayed prosecuting a key Republican official for jamming the phones of New Hampshire Democrats until after the 2004 'election,' protecting top GOP officials from the scandal until the 'voting' was over. An official with detailed knowledge of the investigation into the 2002 Election-Day scheme said the inquiry sputtered for months after a prosecutor sought approval to indict James Tobin, the northeast regional coordinator for the Republican National Committee.

Firefighters group takes on Giuliani over handling of 9/11 19 Dec 2007 A group of New York firefighters who lost sons in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks is organizing a political committee to take on former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A leader of the 9 /11 Firefighters and Families group met Tuesday with union leaders and political consultants, readying plans to set up a tax-exempt committee that would fund appearances and a media drive against Giuliani's campaign for the Republican nomination.

Ex-congresswoman seeks presidency 19 Dec 2007 Former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney (GA) as decided to seek the presidency -- as a Green Party candidate. In a video posted on the Internet on Tuesday, McKinney criticized the war in Iraq and complained about Democrats and Republicans, saying both parties are beholden to corrupt corporate interests.

Congressional Black Caucus members seek pardon for Bell, rest of Jena 6 in La. 21 Dec 2007 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on Gov. Kathleen Blanco to pardon Mychal Bell and five other teenagers known as the "Jena 6." Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a letter to Blanco this week that Bell and the other teens have paid their debt to society and should be immediately pardoned.

New Orleans city council OKs demolition of public housing amid massive protests 21 Dec 2007 After protesters skirmished with police inside and outside the New Orleans City Hall, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a federal plan to demolish a vast swath of public housing.

Lawsuit Promised in Transplant Case 21 Dec 2007 The family of a 17-year-old girl who died hours after her health insurer reversed a decision and said it would pay for a liver transplant plans to sue the company, their attorney said Friday. Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday at about 6 p.m. at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Attorney Mark Geragos said he plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare in the case. The insurer "maliciously killed her" because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said.

State will sue EPA over emission decision --Several others joining against federal agency 20 Dec 2007 Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday that Washington will join other states in suing the federal government over the Environmental Protection Agency's decision preventing the adoption of stricter rules limiting vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

Common buzzard found dead in HK tests positive for H5N1 21 Dec 2007 The common buzzard that was found dead earlier on Hong Kong's largest but thinly populated island tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said Friday.

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Guantanamo prisoner is not POW, U.S. judge says --"Unlawful enemy combatant" will face military tribunal at U.S. naval base 20 Dec 2007 Osama bin Laden's driver is not a prisoner of war as defined by the Geneva Conventions and can be tried by a Guantanamo war crimes tribunal, a U.S. military judge ruled in a decision made public on Thursday. The judge said Yemeni prisoner Salim Ahmed Hamdan is an "unlawful enemy combatant" under the law passed by Congress last year to provide a legal basis to try non-Americans on terrorism charges in a special war crimes kangaroo court at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Congress Subpoenas Ex-CIA Official --Congressional Panel Subpoenas Ex-CIA Official Who Ordered Destruction of Torture Tapes 20 Dec 2007 The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena Thursday for Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA official who directed that secret interrogation videotapes of two suspected terrorists be destroyed. The panel ordered Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, to appear for a hearing on Jan. 16. Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said Rodriguez "would like to tell his story but his counsel has advised us that a subpoena would be necessary."

Congress Reviews CIA Videotape Documents --Congressional Investigators Reviewing CIA Documents on Destroyed Terror Suspect Videotapes 20 Dec 2007 The CIA opened its files to congressional investigators Thursday, inviting them to the agency's Virginia headquarters to begin reviewing documents and records relating to the destruction of interrogation torture videotapes.

Bush Says "Does Not Recall" Being Briefed on CIA Tapes --Will "Reserve Judgment" on Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes 20 Dec 2007 President [sic] Bush insisted today that he would "reserve judgment" on the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes pending inquiries by the federal government and Congress, and stood by his previous assertion that he does not recall being informed of the matter until he was briefed on it this month. In response to questions about the videotapes at a year-end [?] White House news conference, Bush also suggested that critics of harsh interrogation techniques torture shown in the tapes want the United States to become isolationist.

Iraq, Afghanistan War Costs Top Vietnam 20 Dec 2007 Congress' approval Wednesday of $70 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mean the twin conflicts are now more costly to American taxpayers than the war in Vietnam. According to a study by the Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Congress has now approved nearly $700 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Torture chamber found north of Baghdad 20 Dec 2007 Blood-splotches on walls, chains hanging from a ceiling and swords found on the killing floor of a suspected al-Qaida Blackwater in Iraq torture chamber are the latest horrors discovered by U.S. soldiers pushing into Diyala province. The U.S. military -- which discovered the torture site, along with nine weapons caches during a Dec. 8-11 operation north of Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

Iraq bombings kill at least 16 20 Dec 2007 Two bomb blasts shattered the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha today in Iraq, including one that targeted a gathering of Iraqi security volunteers meeting with U.S. forces north of the capital. Police in Diyala province said at least 13 people were killed and 10 injured and that one of the dead may have been an American soldier.

Iraq's Kurdish leader shuns Rice 20 Dec 2007 Iraq's Kurdish leader and other Kurd officials have refused to meet the US secretary of state to show their anger at Washington policies. Massoud Barzani refused to meet Condoleezza Rice in Baghdad on Tuesday, because of the US support for Turkey's army in its attack against the Kurdish militia.

Putin: US made big mistake in Iraq 20 Dec 2007 Russian leader Vladimir Putin has said that the events of the last years show the great mistake committed by the US when it invaded Iraq. Russia considered such a decision was wrong from the start, and there is no solid argument now to change our criteria, Putin told Time magazine who named him 'Person of the Year' on Wednesday.

Bush's bid to punish Iranian banks stalls 18 Dec 2007 The Bush regime's new policy of penalizing Iranian banks is facing a critical challenge as financial institutions in Russia, China and much of the Middle East decline to cut ties, analysts and diplomats say. Even Afghanistan and Iraq have so far declined to take action against Bank Melli, Iran's largest public financial institution, which was among the first foreign banks to open branches in Kabul and Baghdad.

Bush: Patience with Syria's Assad ran out long ago 20 Dec 2007 President [sic] George W. Bush on Thursday warned Damascus against interfering in Lebanon's political crisis, saying his patience with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had run out long ago. [Right, and our patience with Bush bin Laden ran out on 20 January 2001.]

Guantanamo Bay man is granted bail 20 Dec 2007 A former Guantanamo Bay detainee wanted by Spanish authorities for terror-related offences was granted bail when he appeared before a British judge. Jamil El-Banna was arrested hours after returning to the UK following his release from the US Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

Guantanamo three detained after flying home to Britain 20 Dec 2007 Three British residents who have been held by the United States government for nearly six years were released from Guantanamo Bay yesterday and flown home to be reunited with their families. Jamil el-Banna, Omar Deghayes and Abdenour Samuer were handed over to British police officers and arrived at Luton airport by chartered aircraft last night. Mr Deghayes and Mr Samuer were arrested and taken straight to the high-security Paddington Green police station in London, and Mr Banna, who was not arrested but was detained, was taken to a police station in Bedfordshire for questioning by British officers.

French court finds ex-Guantanamo inmates guilty 19 Dec 2007 Five former Guantanamo Bay inmates were found guilty on Wednesday of terrorism-related charges by a French court and sentenced to one year in prison. A sixth man was acquitted, according to the ruling that was read out in court. The verdict took into account the 18-30 months the defendants had spent in the Guantanamo U.S. military prison and none will have to serve further time in jail.

Pima County Dems get to see electronic election records, judge rules 18 Dec 2007 Pima County will have to turn over electronic database records from past elections to the Pima County Democratic Party, a judge ruled Tuesday. Pima County Superior Judge Michael Miller said the county must release records requested a year ago, including copies of the Diebold GEMS databases for the 2006 primary and general elections.

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US 20 Dec 2007 The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday. "We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

Judge blocks Florida's voter registration law --A Florida law that requires voter registration applications to be rejected if forms don't match driver's license or Social Security cards was blocked. 19 Dec 2007 A federal judge ordered Florida election authorities to stop enforcing a 2-year-old voter registration law, ruling Tuesday there is proof that the change put in place by the GOP-controlled Legislature has resulted in "actual harm to real individuals." Secretary of State Kurt Browning said the state will immediately appeal. About 14,000 people have not been able to register since January 2006 because of Florida's ''no match'' law, which requires Social Security or driver's license numbers on voter-registration forms match those in federal or state databases.

McCain Pleads With NY Times to Spike Story 20 Dec 2007 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Sociopath-Ariz., has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist. McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

Clinton Launches Obama Attack Web Sites --Clinton Campaign Registered Names of Two Web Sites to Attack Ill. Senator 20 Dec 2007 ABC News has learned that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has registered the names of two Web sites with the express goal of attacking her chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. It's the first time this election cycle a presidential campaign has launched a Web site with the express purpose of of launching serious criticisms on a rival.

Tancredo Quits Race, Endorses Romney 20 Dec 2007 After taking credit for pushing the issue of immigration to the forefront of the presidential race, Representative Tom Tancredo ended his campaign, and in an unexpected move, endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

Giuliani Released After Hospitalization for Flu-Like Symptoms 20 Dec 2007 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani left a St. Louis hospital after spending the night there with flu-like symptoms. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has seen his lead over the Republican field shrink in recent national polls of Republicans, waved as he left Barnes Jewish Hospital and got into a car.

Labor Dept. Accused of Union Sabotage --Group Calls Conflict-of-Interest Rules Untenable 11 Dec 2007 Political operatives in the Department of Labor are using federal reporting requirements to undermine trade unions and conduct a "political misinformation campaign" against them, a report released yesterday charges. While the Bush regime has generally relaxed federal regulations, the department's Office of Labor-Management Standards has done the reverse, beefing up disclosure rules, staff and investigations of union leaders and members, the study by the 'left-leaning' Center for American Progress said.

FEMA is lowest in public-approval poll 20 Dec 2007 The Federal Emergency Management Agency has yet to shake its poor reputation, more than two years after its mishandling of killing poor during and after Hurricane Katrina, a poll shows. FEMA ranked at the bottom in a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll that measured the public's views of a dozen federal government agencies.

New Orleans police, protesters clash --Police use stun guns on protesters 20 Dec 2007 Police used chemical spray and stun devices as dozens of protesters seeking to halt the demolition of public housing in New Orleans tried to force their way through an iron gate at City Hall. Some people were arrested as officers tried to establish order and an ambulance arrived on the scene.

Police, Protesters Clash at NO City Hall 20 Dec 2007 Police used chemical spray and stun guns Thursday as dozens of protesters seeking to halt the demolition of 4,500 public housing units tried to force their way through an iron gate at City Hall. One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the gates. She was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had what appeared to be a Taser wire hanging from her shirt.

High Noon in New Orleans: The Bulldozers Are Ready 19 Dec 2007 Ever since it took over the public housing projects of New Orleans more than a decade ago, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been itching to tear them down. Now, after years of lawsuits and delays, it looks as if the agency will finally get its Christmas wish.

Ex-Fannie boss fingers White House --Says administration orchestrated accounting scandal that led to his downfall 20 Dec 2007 The former chief executive officer of Fannie Mae says the Bush administration helped orchestrate an accounting scandal that cost him his job and that he wants to use White House documents to defend himself in a shareholder lawsuit.

Northern Rock rescue to cost us £1,800 each 20 Dec 2007 The Northern Rock crisis is threatening to cost every taxpayer up to £1,800, as it emerged Gordon Brown was warned a year ago that "urgent action" was needed to prevent a banking meltdown.

HPV Vaccines Based on "Scientific Fraud" Says Consumer Advocate By Mike Adams 19 Dec 2007 Archived documents discovered at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website reveal the agency knew in 2003 that HPV infections did not cause cervical cancer. Despite that knowledge, the FDA has continued to support the use of the Gardasil vaccine in compulsory vaccinations programs like the one announced in Texas earlier this year. [See: "The Great HPV Vaccination Hoax Exposed," by Mike Adams.]

Bush defends EPA's rejection of California plea --Rep. Waxman asks EPA for documents on how the decision was made 20 Dec 2007 President [sic] Bush today defended the Environmental 'Protection' Agency's decision to deny California's bid to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, saying that a national strategy toward climate change is more effective than a state-by-state approach. ...With distrust toward the Bush regime rampant on Capitol Hill, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) fired off a letter to the EPA today, requesting that the agency preserve and produce all documents relating to the decision.

E.P.A. Says 17 States Can't Set Emission Rules for Cars 20 Dec 2007 The Environmental 'Protection' Agency on Wednesday denied California and 16 other states the right to set their own standards for carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. The E.P.A. administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said the proposed California rules were pre-empted by federal authority and made moot by the energy bill signed into law by President [sic] Bush on Wednesday.

Recommendation Nears for Listing Polar Bear as 'Threatened' 19 Dec 2007 One year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took up a proposal to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. In early January, the agency is due to make a recommendation to the Interior Department about whether to include the polar bear on the list. Public sentiment has generally leaned toward supporting such a listing, in light of the bear's shrinking habitat. [Please sign NRDC's petition.]

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'We'll have procedures and we're not going to advertise what they are.' Next evacuees will face criminal checks, wear 'special wristbands' --'Certain people' to be put on 'special busses' during evacuations 15 Dec 2007 Texans seeking to escape the next hurricane or state emergency by evacuation bus will first be submitted to criminal background checks, the state's emergency management director says. Jack Colley would not discuss how thorough the background checks will be. Earlier this month, it was announced AT&T Inc. has contracted with the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management to provide electronic wristbands for those residents 'wanting' them, before they board an evacuation bus... That person's name and their bus information would be sent wirelessly to the University of Texas Center for Space Research data center.

Destruction of CIA tapes may have violated a court order --A federal judge will investigate whether the action defied his instructions to the federal government to preserve evidence in terrorism detentions. 19 Dec 2007 Over the objections of the Justice Department, a federal judge said Tuesday he would explore whether the U.S. had violated a court order to preserve evidence when the CIA destroyed videotaped interrogations of two terrorism suspects in 2005. U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. set a hearing for Friday in Washington in response to a request from Yemeni prisoners who are challenging their detention by the U.S. at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

NY Times changes CIA headline for WH 19 Dec 2007 The New York Times has changed the subheadline in Wednesday’s front-page story on the CIA’s destruction of secret interrogation tapes, following a formal request by the White House. The correction has already been made online, and there will be a print correction in the paper, according to a Times representative. On Wednesday, White House press secretary whore Dana Perino said in a statement that the Times subheadline -- "White House Role Was Wider Than It Said" -- was inaccurate.

Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A.Tapes --White House Role Was Wider Than It Said 19 Dec 2007 At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations torture of two operatives from 'Al Qaeda,' according to current and former administration and intelligence officials. The accounts indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged.

Report: White House Lawyers Involved in CIA Tapes --At Least 4 White House Lawyers Involved in Talks About Destroying Tapes 19 Dec 2007 At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the CIA between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy video tapes of CIA interrogations al Qaida suspects, The New York Times reports, citing current and former administration and intelligence officials the newspaper did not identify.

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11 By John Leyden 18 Dec 2007 Fresh evidence has emerged that the US government's warrantless wiretapping program predates the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Secret surveillance operations that enabled the National Security Agency (NSA) to access telecommunications traffic data have been in place since the 1990s, according to the New York Times.

Military contractor sued over torture claims 19 Dec 2007 A U.S military contractor is being sued over the alleged torture of more than 250 people once held in Iraqi prisons, including the notorious Abu Ghraib. Lawsuits have been filed in the U.S federal court, asking for millions of dollars in damages against CACI International of Arlington, Virginia.

Guantanamo Bay three return to UK 19 Dec 2007 Two former British residents held at Guantanamo Bay for several years without charge were arrested as they landed in the UK this evening. A third was not arrested but was detained for questioning. Scotland Yard said the two men were arrested on board their flight shortly after it touched down at Luton airport from Guantanamo Bay at around 7pm. They were taken to a central London police station. The third man was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 and has been taken to a police station in Bedfordshire.

Guantanamo Bay four 'are security risk' 19 Dec 2007 There were fears over "issues of national security" sparked by the return of three former British residents held at Guantanamo Bay to the UK. The men, viewed as "extremely dangerous" by the US have agreed to voluntary security restrictions as part of a deal to return them to the UK but only guarded details of the terms of the agreement were being released.

Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan 19 Dec 2007 Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, apparently trying to avoid acknowledging an elaborate secret detention system, have quietly set free nearly 100 men suspected of links to terrorism, few of whom were charged, human rights groups and lawyers here say.

Democrats again impotent to rein in Iraq war funds 19 Dec 2007 Democrats failed again this week in their efforts to influence Iraq war policy, showing themselves incapable of carrying out the mandate of voters who gave them a majority in Congress one year ago. The US House of Representatives was expected to vote Wednesday on a Senate-approved budget bill for 2008 that includes 70 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a boost to Republican President [sic] George W. Bush.

House approves $70 billion for Bush's wars 19 Dec 2007 The U.S. House Wednesday approved a $556 billion bill to fund most of the federal government through September 2008, including new money for the Iraq war. The House gave final congressional approval to the bill that was cleared by the Senate late on Tuesday. It now goes to Bush for his expected approval.

Senate Adds $70 Billion for Wars in Spending Bill 19 Dec 2007 The Senate voted Tuesday night to add $70 billion for Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a sweeping year-end budget package after again rejecting Democratic efforts to tie the money to calls for troop withdrawals from Iraq. The debate was part of a choreographed exercise intended to meet President [sic] Bush's demand for more war financing while sparing antiwar Democrats from having to back the money to secure approval of the budget legislation.

Turkey says U.S. intelligence led to Iraq raids 19 Dec 2007 U.S. intelligence shared with Turkey led to the weekend raids in northern Iraq on Kurdish militants, Turkey's ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday. "There is no doubt that this operation was possible due to, of course, the information shared by the United States of America," Turkey's Ambassador Nabi Sensoy told reporters.

Probe: Friendly-fire killed 2 soldiers 19 Dec 2007 Two U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq in February were killed by friendly fire, according to a military investigation that said poor training and planning were to blame. The families of the two soldiers were initially told they were killed by enemy fire.

More soldiers for some Army bases 19 Dec 2007 The Pentagon will send six new combat brigades to bases in Texas, Georgia, and Colorado in the coming years as part of an extensive plan to increase the size of the Army. As the Army moves to grow by 74,000 soldiers by 2010, officials Wednesday mapped out decisions to add the combat brigades and eight support units around the country, as well an agreement to delay moving two brigades out of Germany until 2012-2013.

Dennis Kucinich's brother found dead 19 Dec 2007 Perry Kucinich, 52, was found dead in his home in the 4100 block of East 71st Street. His brother Larry found him about 9 a.m. There were no signs of violence, officials said. The Cuyahoga County Coroner is performing an autopsy this hour. Their brother, Dennis Kucinich, is a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 10th District. He is running for president.

Fire erupts at one of Cheney's offices 19 Dec 2007 A fire erupted this morning in the vicinity of Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House. Thick, black smoke billowed out of the windows and balcony doorway of an adjacent office. The century-old stone building on Pennsylvania Avenue was evacuated. [Perhaps VP's shredder overheated? --CLG reader 'adem.']

Fire erupts in building on White House grounds --Hundreds evacuated after blaze breaks out close to VP's ceremonial office 19 Dec 2007 A fire broke out near Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's ceremonial office in a building next to the White House on Wednesday, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. Cheney was in the White House with President [sic] Bush when the blaze began, and everyone inside the building was evacuated safely, White House officials said.

Explosion at Fla. Chemical Plant Hurts 7 19 Dec 2007 An explosion and fire at a chemical plant injured at least seven people Wednesday and sent flames and debris into the sky, officials said. Six people were initially missing at the plant of T2 Laboratories Inc., but three were found, said Tom Francis, a fire rescue spokesman. He did not say what their condition was.

Explosion at chemical plant kills two 19 Dec 2007 A chemical plant explosion in Jacksonville has killed two people according to Fox News. Flames and billowing clouds of black smoke are rising into the air. The fire is at the plant of a company that makes chemical solvents and fuel additives.

U.S. to Limit Flights at Kennedy and Newark 19 Dec 2007 The United States transportation secretary announced on Wednesday that her department has negotiated an agreement with the airlines to ease congestion at Kennedy International Airport by capping the number of flights per hour.

Pakistan says no threat of bird flu pandemic 19 Dec 2007 Pakistan said on Wednesday there was no threat of a pandemic from bird flu, as World Health Organization experts visited the country's northwest which reported the first human death from the virus. Pakistani authorities confirmed at the weekend eight human bird flu cases, including the one death, that the WHO said were likely a combination of infections from poultry and limited person to person transmission due to close contact.

Inside a GOP effort to rig the 2002 New Hampshire elections 18 Dec 2007 A former GOP political operative who ran an illegal election-day scheme to jam the phone lines of New Hampshire Democrats during the state's tight 2002 U.S. Senate election said in a new book and an interview that he believes the scandal reaches higher into the Republican Party.

Huckabee and Giuliani tied in 2008 Republican race 19 Dec 2007 Mike Huckabee has surged into a virtual tie with front-runner Rudy Giuliani in the national 2008 Republican presidential race two weeks before the first contest, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Mega barf alert! Bloomberg Eyes '08 Team --Aides Sound Out Advisers For Run 18 Dec 2007 [New York City] Mayor Bloomberg's aides have been reaching out to consultants from his past campaigns about whether they are free for a possible 2008 White House bid - including one who helped make his slick mayoral TV spots, The Post has learned.

Slave labour that shames America --Migrant workers chained beaten and forced into debt, exposing the human cost of producing cheap food 19 Dec 2007 Three Florida fruit-pickers, held captive and brutalised by their employer for more than a year, finally broke free of their bonds by punching their way through the ventilator hatch of the van in which they were imprisoned. Once outside, they dashed for freedom.

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"When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross." --Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), quoting Sinclair Lewis regarding Mike Huckabee's subliminal 'floating cross' ad entitled, 'What really matters.,' on Fox & Friends 18 Dec 2007 (video)

250 former Iraq prisoners claim torture in new US lawsuit 18 Dec 2007 More than 250 people once held in Iraqi prisons, including the notorious Abu Ghraib, have filed suit against a US military contractor for their alleged torture, attorneys said Tuesday. The Center for Constitutional Rights said a lawsuit was filed in US federal court on Monday asking for millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages against CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Virginia.

UK Guantanamo detainee near suicide after years of torture, doctors warn 18 Dec 2007 A British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay may be close to suicide after five years of captivity and torture at the hands of the Americans, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been warned in a medical report sent to the Government this week.

Judge Orders Hearing on CIA Videotape Destruction 18 Dec 2007 A U.S. judge, in a rebuff to the Bush regime, ordered a Dec. 21 hearing on whether the CIA violated a court ruling by destroying videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects. U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy granted a request by attorneys representing inmates at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The lawyers say the Bush administration violated a 2005 court order requiring all evidence related to the prisoners' treatment be preserved.

House passes $516 billion spending bill 18 Dec 2007 The House Monday approved a $516 billion measure funding for troops in Afghanistan and funding 14 Cabinet agencies, setting the stage for a year-end budget deal with the White House. President [sic] Bush has signaled he'll ultimately sign the measure -- assuming up to $40 billion more is provided by the Senate for the Iraq war -- despite opposition from GOP conservatives. The Senate is expected to approve the bill after substituting $70 billion in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. The result would be a twin defeat for DemocRATs, who had vowed not to allow additional Iraq war funding without conditions and had spent months on legislation to add $27 billion to domestic programs, an almost 7 percent increase.

Iraqi Oil Tanker Company launches first ship in 27 years 18 Dec 2007 The Iraqi Oil Tanker Company is launching its first oil tanker Monday in 27 years. 'Dijla' is the first oil tanker in a fleet that the oil ministry plans to build. The second tanker is expected to be delivered in two weeks and the third oil tanker within a few months.

United Nations votes to extend US-led force in Iraq for 1 year 18 Dec 2007 The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq for one year, a move that Iraq's prime minister said would be his nation's "final request" for 'help.'

Troop pullouts to leave only US in Iraq 17 Dec 2007 Nearly five years into the occupation of Iraq, the 'coalition of the willing' is about to lose two of its key supporters. The British handover to Iraqi forces is seen as the beginning of the end for Britain, which plans to cut its troop numbers dramatically. With Australia planning to withdraw its combat troops, the United States will soon be the only country left.

22 killed in Iraq attacks: officials 18 Dec 2007 'Insurgents' killed at least 22 people in Iraq on Tuesday in a series of bomb attacks, including a suicide attack that killed 16 people in a cafe near the restive city of Baquba, police and medics said. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe in the town of Al-Abbara, in the province of Diyala, killing 16 people and wounding 24, police Lieutenant Colonel Najim al-Sumadaie from Baquba told AFP.

Psychiatric hospital manager assassinated in Baghdad 11 Dec 2007 Unknown [US] attackers have assassinated the manager of Al-Rashad Psychiatric Hospital in eastern Baghdad, Iraqi security sources said Tuesday. The sources said two gunmen on a motorcycle opened a volley of bullets on Dr. Ibrahim Mohammad Ajeel in Al-Baladiyat area in eastern Baghdad on Monday night.

New York Times in Iraq: "Blackwater shot our dog" 18 Dec 2007 The U.S. embassy in Iraq is investigating another deadly shooting incident involving its Blackwater bodyguards -- this time of the New York Times's dog. Staff at the newspaper's Baghdad bureau said Blackwater bodyguards shot Hentish dead last week before a visit by a U.S. diplomat to the Times compound. [Why are Blackwater's HQ still standing - in the US and in Iraq? We need to deep-six Blackwater's terrorists, rapists and animal-killers.]

FOX News Becomes Almost Silent As Violence Escalates All Across Iraq By Bill Corcoran 16 Dec 2007 FOX News has fallen back into their pre-"surge" days when finding news about the Iraq war was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. A few months back, the "surge" started to show signs of improving conditions in Iraq and suddenly FOX News discovered there really was a war going on in Iraq. However, in the past week the violence has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, thus making arguments about the "success" of the Bush policies harder to justify. Some might even say there has been a news blackout on the Iraq war at FOX News, except for a few mentions...

Taliban ambush kills 15 Afghan security guards 18 Dec 2007 Taliban militants killed 15 Afghan guards working for a private U.S. security firm U.S. mercenaries [US Protection and Investigations (USPI)] in an ambush in the west of the country on Tuesday, the provincial governor said. Violence has surged in Afghanistan over the last year, up around 25 percent from 2006.

Russia starts nuclear fuel deliveries to Iran --Tehran just months from finishing power station --Move might put Moscow against US government 18 Dec 2007 Iran passed a significant milestone in its quest for nuclear power status yesterday when it received a first delivery of enriched uranium from Russia, allowing for the completion of a long-delayed reactor at Bushehr. The head of Iran's atomic energy organisation, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, announced that 80 tonnes of fuel had been received, with further consignments expected in the next two months.

Did Bush Get New Iran Intel Last Winter? 17 Dec 2007 White House officials have now admitted that George W. Bush was told that the intelligence assessment on a covert Iranian nuclear programme might change last August, but they have avoided answering the question of when the president [sic] was first informed about the new intelligence that led to that revised assessment. That evasion is necessary, it now appears, to conceal the fact that Bush likely knew about that intelligence as early as February or March 2007.

Bush to visit Israel, W.Bank on Jan. Mideast trip 18 Dec 2007 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush will visit Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East next month to help advance the revived Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the White House said on Tuesday.

U.S. still unprepared for disaster: report 18 Dec 2007 The United States remains unprepared for disasters ranging from [Bush-engendered] biological attacks to a flu pandemic, and funding for preparedness is falling, according to a report released on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate postpones consideration of spy bill 17 Dec 2007 U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, facing stiff opposition, on Monday abruptly postponed until next month consideration of a measure to give immunity to telephone companies that participated in President [sic] George W. Bush's warrantless domestic spying program. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) returned to Washington to lead the charge against immunity. "I thank all my colleagues who joined me in fighting and winning a stay in the rush to grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies," said Dodd, who took the floor for nearly 10 hours to denounce the bill and oppose any effort to swiftly consider any action.

Telecom Immunity Issue Derails Spy Law Overhaul --Reid Pulls Legislation, Citing Insufficient Time Before Recess 18 Dec 2007 Amid deep and growing divisions among Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) last night abruptly withdrew legislation that would have changed surveillance law and granted the nation's telecommunications companies retroactive immunity from lawsuits charging they had violated privacy rights.

Congress moves to ease access to records 18 Dec 2007 Congress is moving to reverse one area of the Bush regime's trend toward secrecy since the 2001 terrorist attacks by expanding the Freedom of Information Act, increasing penalties for noncompliance and making records held by government contractors subject to the law.

Police accused of firing Taser into head of innocent man 18 Dec 2007 Police fired a 50,000-volt Taser into the head of a 45-year-old company director [Daniel Sylvester] who later proved to be unarmed and innocent. The incident was part of Operation Neon, a crackdown on guns on London's streets by using armed response units to stop and search cars.

FCC Relaxes Media Ownership Rule 18 Dec 2007 The Federal Communications Commission relaxed a 32-year-old ban preventing a newspaper from owning a radio or television station in the same city today during an unusually contentious hearing. The partial lifting of the ban would allow a newspaper to merge with one radio or television station in the nation's top 20 media markets (Washington, D.C., is included), as long as the television station is not one of the top-four-rated in that city.

British Government Admits Losing Data of 3 Million Student Drivers 18 Dec 2007 British Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has admitted that a government contractor has lost personal data belonging to three million student drivers. Kelly told parliament Monday that a private contractor reported in May that a hard drive containing the names, addresses and other details of the would-be drivers were lost in the midwestern U.S. state of Iowa.

Ohio e-voting system security bashed in new state report --Problems threaten the integrity of future elections, officials say 17 Dec 2007 E-voting in Ohio faces a host of potential security, equipment and process changes following the release of an 86-page report that criticizes the existing e-voting systems used in the state. The report concludes that security shortcomings in Ohio's e-voting systems are a continuing danger to the accuracy of elections there.

Statement on Lieberman Endorsement of McCain 17 Dec 2007 2006 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Ned Lamont issued the following statement today on Sen. Lieberman’s endorsement of John McCain for President: During our debate last year, Senator Lieberman intoned that he wanted to "elect a Democratic President in 2008," and that my election would "frustrate and defeat our hope of doing that." With his endorsement of John McCain today, it is now clear that Joe Lieberman is the one working to defeat our hopes. [It's additionally clear that GOPedophile Joe is a liar.]

Greenspan urges 'disaster relief' for US homeowners 18 Dec 2007 The US government should hand cash to struggling mortgage borrowers in a "disaster relief" effort to prevent a wave of repossessions, the former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has suggested. A government bail-out would be better than the Bush administration's current plan to freeze interest rates for struggling homeowners, the retired chairman said in a television interview addressing the credit crisis.

Unindicted Duke LAX players sue Duke University 18 Dec 2007 In a filing Tuesday in Federal Court, unindicted Duke Lacrosse players are suing Duke University, the City of Durham, Duke University professors, Mike Nifong and the DNA lab involved in the case. The suit also names doctors and nurses who treated the alleged victim the night she claimed she'd been raped at a party. The players are also suing City Manager Patrick Baker and former Durham Police Chief Stephen Chalmers.

Flood threat on a par with terrorism, says expert 18 Dec 2007 Draconian measures to limit flooding, including bans on tarmac drives and impermeable patios, were accepted in principle by the government yesterday after a report on last summer's disaster ranked the future threat of flooding alongside terrorism or a flu pandemic.

U.S. government may decide fate of iconic species By Harry Fuller 17 Dec 2007 The U.S government as it now exists holds the immediate fate of the polar bear in its hand. Alaska is one of the best habitats for the polar bear so what the U.S. decides to do really matters... The IFAW, International Fund for Animal Welfare, says the difference between Endangered and Threatened status under U.S. law is crucial. Threatened would allow continued trophy hunting... This is a highly political decision because the polar bear is more photogenic than the President [sic], the Veep [sic] or any of the Cabinet… so expect the ruling late on a Friday night, say right before New Year’s when all the real news anchors are on vacation.

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Armed group wants to blow up Mosul Dam 15 Dec 2007 Security officials say scores of [US] armed men have entered the Province of Nineveh with orders to detonate Mosul Dam. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province and the dam is 60 kilometers to west of the city. "Some 250 armed men have entered Nineveh Province with the aim of detonating the Mosul Dam," one source said. Another source said information was based on intelligence tips passed to provincial authorities recently. [Bush is poised to murder thousands of Iraqis and blame 'al-Qaeda' in Iraq - or Iran. But, the whole world knows that killing thousands of innocent people - that's a Bush/Cheney thing. Next, Bush will ask Congress for billions for Blackwater and KBR to 'secure' and 'repair' Iraq's infrastructure - that which they've destroyed - even though we've already paid for the destruction and 'reconstruction' of Iraq's infrastructure dozens of times. --LRP]

Truck bomb explodes near Iraq's largest dam 17 Dec 2007 A truck packed with explosives blew up on Monday close to Iraq's largest dam, partly destroying the main access bridge and killing a policeman, police said. The blast caused no damage to the Mosul Dam itself, which U.S. Army engineers have previously warned is poorly constructed and in danger of imminent collapse sabotage. An engineer at the dam, Abdul-Khalaq Dhanoon, said a section of the 250-metre long metal bridge, which is about 1 kilometre from the dam, had been destroyed in the explosion.

US Army 'loses' another 12,000 guns and trucks 17 Dec 2007 The US military in Iraq has lost track of another 12,000 weapons, including more than 800 machine-guns, and everything from 2100 new electricity generators to half a dozen garbage trucks. The latest gap in record-keeping follows a report by the US government's accountability office in the summer which revealed that 190,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and automatic pistols earmarked for Iraqi government forces had gone astray in 2004 and 2005 and could be in 'insurgent' hands. [Or, worse yet - Blackwater's.]

Pentagon plans $147 million truck sale to Britain 17 Dec 2007 The Pentagon told Congress on Monday of a potential $147 million sale to Britain of 170 trucks designed to withstand roadside bombs used against allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The main contractor for the mine-resistant, ambush- protected (MRAP) vehicles would be Force Protection Industries Inc of Ladson, North Carolina, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to lawmakers.

U.S. Troop Increase Is Urged for Afghanistan 17 Dec 2007 Some Pentagon officials are urging a further drawdown of forces in Iraq beyond that envisioned by the White House, which is set to reduce the number of combat brigades from 20 to 15 by the end of next summer. At the same time, commanders in Afghanistan are looking for several additional battalions, helicopters and other resources to confront a resurgent Taliban movement.

Iraqi Parliament Condemns Turkish Air Strikes in Northern Iraq 17 Dec 2007 Iraq's parliament has condemned Turkish air strikes on a Kurdish region in northern Iraq as a major violation of Iraq's sovereignty. Iraqi lawmakers issued the condemnation Monday in response to Sunday's raids by Turkish warplanes in Iraq's Qandil mountains.

US backed Turkish strikes: general 17 Dec 2007 The US backed Turkish air raids on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq overnight with intelligence and clearance to enter Iraqi airspace, Turkey's army chief said. "The United States gave intelligence," General Yasar Buyukanit was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as telling the private television channel Kanal D.

Turkey launches biggest bombing raid on Kurdish rebels in Iraq --Prime minister warns of further military action 17 Dec 2007 Turkey yesterday launched the biggest attack on Iraq since the US invasion in 2003, sending more than 50 warplanes to bomb suspected Kurdish insurgent bases inside Iraqi territory, accompanied by long-range artillery shelling. Kurdish officials reported at least one civilian fatality, a woman, and two others injured.

Britain bows out of a five-year war it could never have won By Patrick Cockburn 17 Dec 2007 Britain handed over security in Basra province yesterday, bringing a formal end to its ill-starred attempt over almost five years to control southern Iraq. The transfer of power was marked by a parade of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police beside the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which runs past Basra... The great majority of people in Basra were glad to see the British go. "You can see the happiness on the faces of everyone," said Adel Jassam, a teacher.

'Sleeping with the boss' common at KBR in Iraq 15 Dec 2007 "If you wanted to get a promotion you didn't necessarily have to have the qualifications," remembered Linda Lindsey, a former KBR contractor. "You just needed to be sleeping with the person who was doing the hiring." Lindsey spent two and a half years at the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq working for KBR. Though she did not know Jamie Leigh Jones, the young KBR contractor who says she was drugged and gang raped by colleagues, Lindsey said Jones’ allegations are not surprising. In a sworn affidavit for the Jones case, Lindsey said: "I saw rampant sexual harassment and discrimination."

Iran Suggests It Is Building 2nd Nuclear Plant 18 Dec 2007 Iran confirmed on Monday that it had received the first fuel shipment for its nuclear power plant at Bushehr, but also indicated for the first time that it was building a second nuclear power plant. The revelation came in comments by Iran’s Atomic Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, made to state[as opposed to corporate]-run television and reported by the semi-official Fars news agency. "We are building a 360-megawatt indigenous power plant in Darkhovein," he said, referring to a southern city north of Bushehr.

Donors pledge $7.4 billion to Palestinians 17 Dec 2007 Dozens of international donors on Monday pledged $7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinians over the next three years in support of the Western-backed government of President Mahmoud Abbas, who is negotiating peace with Israel.

Students hired to promote Israel 17 Dec 2007 An advocacy group is hiring students as on-campus promoters of Israel. StandWithUs is offering up to $1,000 a year this semester to 38 Emerson fellows, Jewish student leaders at key colleges and universities targeted by the organization. Their duties will include bringing in speakers and films that show Israel in a positive light. Officials from StandWithUs told reporters that they gave particular consideration to applicants from "problem campuses" [!?!] such as Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan, which the organization identifies as hotbeds of anti-Israel sentiment.

Michigan State SDS Reunion: Hope And History Come Together 07 Dec 2007 (East Lansing, MI) Former members of MSU SDS [Students for a Democratic Society], present day members of MDS and organizers from Ignite, the new MSU SDS chapter all came together for a counter-recruitment protest and later, a moving MSU SDS reunion.

Explosion at News Corp. NY building 17 Dec 2007 A small chemical explosion at News Corp headquarters in midtown Manhattan on Monday injured one person, a New York Fire Department spokesman said. Hundreds of employees were evacuated from floors 42 to 45 -- the top levels of the building -- during the incident, he said, adding that the person hurt received minor injuries. [It is the closest any FOX NEWS employee will ever come to being in combat. --CLG reader, Bill Corcoran]

Man jailed for terrorism offences 17 Dec 2007 A man who possessed a computer with "terrorist material" including a video on how to make a bomb vest was jailed for four years on Monday. Rizwan Ditta, 29, from Halifax in West Yorkshire, had pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to two charges of possessing records likely to be useful to terrorists, [!] police said.

House vows to pursue CIA inquiry 17 Dec 2007 The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee vowed Sunday to press ahead with the congressional investigation of the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes, despite the strenuous objections of the Justice Department. Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan said Congress would call witnesses and demand documents in order to investigate the CIA's decision to destroy videotapes of the interrogations of two suspected 'Al Qaeda' operatives.

Bush's phone immunity demand wins initial Senate vote 17 Dec 2007 President [sic] George W. Bush's demand for immunity for telephone companies that participated in his warrantless domestic spying program won an initial victory on Monday in the U.S. Senate. On a vote of 76-10, far more than the 60 needed, the Democratic-led Senate cleared a procedural hurdle and began considering a bill to grant retroactive immunity to any telecommunications company that took part in Bush's [illegal] spying program -- surveillance without court warrants of e-mails and telephone calls of people in the United States.

Immunity and Wide Spy Powers Set to Pass in Senate By Ryan Singel 17 Dec 2007 The Senate voted by a margin of 76 to 10 to limit debate on a new wiretapping bill Monday, all but ensuring that the Senate will approve amnesty for telecoms that helped the government spy on Americans without court orders and greatly expand the government's ability to spy using American telecom facilities and communication services.

Upcoming Senate vote may shield wiretap collaborators By Anne Broache 17 Dec 2007 In a preliminary victory for the likes of AT&T and Verizon, the U.S. Senate has ventured a step closer to passing a law that would crush lawsuits accusing telecommunications companies of illegal cooperation with government spying programs. By a 74-10 vote on Monday, the senators voted to cut off any attempts to filibuster--that is, delay or stall--consideration of the so-called FISA Amendments Act, which the Bush administration argues is necessary to remove supposed hurdles to snooping on foreign terrorists.

Judge: White House Logs Are Public 17 Dec 2007 White House visitor logs are public documents, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a legal strategy that the Bush regime had hoped would get around public records laws and let them keep their guests a secret. The ruling is a blow to the Bush administration, which has fought the release of records showing visits by prominent religious conservatives.

Mega barf alert! Lieberman Endorses Republican McCain for President 17 Dec 2007 Republican presidential candidate John McCain was endorsed today by Senator Joseph LieberBush, who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000.

Ex-Governor Calls '02 Election "Stolen" By the White House By Mark Crispin Miller 17 Dec 2007 ...[Here is an] interview with Don Siegelman, who spoke to Julie Sigwart of Take Back the Media on Sept. 13, 2004--months before the Governor was finally put away on trumped-up charges by the Alabama GOP... [Karl] Rove's long drive to destroy the Alabama governor resulted in the theft of the 2002 election for Republican Bob Riley. Here Siegelman describes that theft--which took place primarily in Baldwin County--and also talks about his handling of that matter... Today, the Alabama governor is not allowed to speak up on his own behalf. He's locked away inside a federal prison cell, and, for good measure, has been silenced by the Alabama courts.

Lieberman backs McCain's candidacy, citing common stance on Iraq 17 Dec 2007 Senator John McCain is getting an endorsement for his Republican presidential bid from an unusual source: a high-profile former Democratic. Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Democrats' 2000 vice-presidential nominee who now sits as an 'independent,' says intended to wait until after the primaries to make a choice for the 2008 presidential race. But LieberBush says McCain asked for his support, something no Democrat has. [Right, the Democrats reject LieberBush, and in fact, detest GOPedophile Joe.]

McCain names Broxmeyer top Jewish adviser 14 Dec 2007 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) named the chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs as the top Jewish adviser to his presidential campaign. Mark Broxmeyer, already a top fund-raiser for the McCain campaign, will serve as the chair of McCain's Jewish Advisory Committee, a campaign statement said. Broxmeyer, a New York property developer, is national chairman for JINSA, a group that promotes close Israel-U.S. security ties and that has been one of the most consistent supporters of the Bush administration's Iraq policy.

Island tax havens factor into Romney's business success 17 Dec 2007 (Second of two parts) While in private business, Mitt Romney utilized shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes, federal and state records show.

Romney and Bain Capital --A timeline of the GOP presidential hopeful's path to wealth. 17 Dec 2007 ...2003-2007: Mitt Romney's trustee continues to invest in the Cayman fund. 2006: The Cayman fund pays Romney more than $1 million in interest, dividends and capital gains. He retains a profit share in Bain Capital until 2009, as well as investments in more than 30 Bain funds. 2007: Bain Capital manages $60 billion in assets, including $23 billion in Sankaty funds.

Paul Raises $6 Million in 24-Hour Effort 17 Dec 2007 Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul's supporters raised over $6 million Sunday to boost the 10-term Texas congressman's campaign for the White House. Called a "Money Bomb," the goal was to raise as much money as possible on the Internet in one day.

Leno, O'Brien Cross Picket Line 17 Dec 2007 After two months of honoring the picket lines in the Hollywood writers' strike, [GOP trolls] Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien will return to NBC's late-night schedule Jan. 2, the network announced today.

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'We do all the extraordinary rendition flights ... the torture flights.' Ex-San Jose aviation firm worker says exec talked of torture flights 15 Dec 2007 A former employee of a San Jose aviation company that is accused in a lawsuit of helping the CIA fly prisoners to overseas torture chambers said a company executive told staff last year, "We do all the extraordinary rendition flights ... the torture flights," according to a statement released Friday by the prisoners' lawyers. American Civil Liberties Union attorneys offered the statement in court documents opposing the Bush administration's attempt to dismiss a suit filed in July against Jeppesen International Trip Planning, a San Jose subsidiary of a company owned by Boeing Co.

Attorneys for former 'ghost' detainee ask court to declare CIA tactics as torture 14 Dec 2007 Attorneys for a Guantanamo prisoner [Majid Khan] who was held in secret CIA custody for three years have asked a court to declare he was tortured during interrogation, rendering his statements inadmissible as evidence, according to documents released Friday. The motion, filed Dec. 6 with a federal appeals court in Washington, aims in part to have the government clarify its definition of torture, according to attorney Wells Dixon of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

ASIO tried to hire me as spy, says Habib 17 Dec 2007 ASIO agents twice tried to recruit Mamdouh Habib to help find a former Australian soldier who had joined al-Qaeda, according to sensational testimony by the former Guantanamo Bay inmate. The approaches were made just before he went to Afghanistan in 2001, the beginning of a journey that ended with the former Sydney cafe owner being abducted to Egypt and later held in the US military prison in Cuba.

Mukasey rejects congressional request on CIA probe 14 Dec 2007 U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday rejected a congressional request for information about a Justice Department probe into the CIA's destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations torture of suspected terrorists.

U.S. lawmakers say won't be deterred on CIA probe 16 Dec 2007 U.S. Congress members vowed on Sunday to investigate the CIA's destruction of videotapes depicting harsh interrogation torture of terrorism suspects, despite Justice Department advice that the agency not cooperate.

White House: Contempt citations futile 13 Dec 2007 U.S. Senate Democrats should know issuing contempt citations and pursuing a criminal case in the firings of U.S. attorneys is futile, the White House said. Dana Perino, White House press secretary, said Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee's issuing contempt citations against former White House adviser Karl Rove and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten is pointless because "the constitutional prerogative of the president would make it a futile effort for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys." [Start reading.]

Britain hands over last province to Iraq forces 16 Dec 2007 Britain handed over security to Iraqi forces on Sunday in the last of four provinces it once patrolled, effectively marking the end of nearly five years of British 'control' of southern Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi police and troops marked the handover with a parade along the palm-fringed embankment in Basra, the country's second-biggest city, in a show of Iraqi military force on a scale unseen since the days of Saddam Hussein.

Britain hands Basra back to the Iraqis 16 Dec 2007 Britain today formally handed control of Basra to the Iraqi government in a move that will pave the way for a dramatic reduction in the number of British troops stationed in Iraq next year.

US General Says Iraq Violence Down 16 Dec 2007 Violence in Iraq is at its lowest levels since the first year of the American invasion, finally opening a window for reconciliation among rival sects, the second-ranking U.S. general [Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno] said Sunday as Iraqi forces formally took control of security across half the country. [Really? See Turkey bombs northern Iraq 16 Dec 2007. See: 11 Killed in Attacks on Sunni Patrols and 'Security' Forces in Iraq 16 Dec 2007. US military says a soldier was killed by gunfire in northwestern Iraq 15 Dec 2007, etc.]

U.S. to keep most troops in Baghdad --The U.S. plans to keep troops concentrated in the capital are based on concerns that Baghdad could again erupt into widespread violence without an imposing American military presence. 16 Dec 2007 In a change of plans, American commanders in Iraq have decided to keep their forces concentrated in Baghdad when the buildup strategy ends next year, removing troops instead from outlying areas of the country.

Turkey bombs northern Iraq 16 Dec 2007 Turkish warplanes targeting Kurdish rebels bombed northern Iraq on Sunday, killing one woman and forcing hundreds to flee, local officials said. The Turkish military said it had attacked targets of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with the approval of U.S. occupying forces in Iraq.

11 Killed in Attacks on Sunni Patrols and 'Security' Forces in Iraq 16 Dec 2007 Bomb blasts, ambushes and gunfights across Iraq left 11 people dead on Saturday, including four members of American-backed security patrols charged with rooting out 'insurgents.' Awakening Council members are paid roughly $300 a month by American forces to act as neighborhood watchdogs death squads in areas where security forces are thin. There are at least 60,000 members of the Awakening Councils nationwide, according to the American military. Many of them are former extremists.

British troops investigated over smuggling stolen guns to the UK 16 Dec 2007 British soldiers are under investigation over the theft of a weapons cache in Iraq. The Ministry of Defence launched an inquiry after troops attempted to smuggle the weapons back to Britain.

Israel Officials in US to Discuss Iran 16 Dec 2007 Israeli intelligence officials are in the U.S. trying to convince the Bush regime that Iran is still trying to develop nuclear weapons -- contrary to the findings of a recent U.S. intelligence report, security officials said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, however, scolded a Cabinet minister on Sunday for his harsh, public criticism of the U.S. report.

Bolton: Bush must 'rein in' Rice 16 Dec 2007 US President [sic] George W. Bush's foreign policy is in free fall and puts the nation's security at risk, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told a German magazine on Sunday. Bolton, who was a leading hawk in the US regime and favored a tough stance against Iran, North Korea and Iraq, told the Der Spiegel weekly that Bush needed to rein in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Japan to Test Missile Interceptor Off Hawaii 16 Dec 2007 A Japanese navy destroyer will test Japan's missile defense capabilities on Monday. Sailors aboard the JS Kongo will try to shoot a ballistic missile out of space in the first such attempt by Japan or any U.S. ally, according to reports.

Armed forces 'superbug' menaces UK --Experts fear an infection caught by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will invade civilian hospitals 16 Dec 2007 The UK, the United States and Canada are facing growing fears over a drug-resistant 'superbug' being brought back by wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq that threatens to contaminate civilian hospitals.

Finding link to anthrax, professor set NAU apart 16 Dec 2007 One of the world's foremost anthrax researchers toils in a cramped, windowless lab at Northern Arizona University. Inside a locked room only a few can enter, he and his research team study germs so dangerous that the U.S. government considers them top bioterror threats. It was here that Professor Paul Keim made a significant discovery: the 2001 anthrax letter attack on a Florida photo editor [AND Democrats poised to vote against the Patriot Act] came from a genetic strain identical to one developed in U.S. government labs. They compared the results with their anthrax database. They found a match: a virulent type called the Ames strain. The U.S. Army developed the lab strain in the 1980s as a test for the anthrax vaccine. The anthrax-spiked letters, which sickened 22 and killed five Americans, had been "weaponized." Someone Cheney's bioterrorists had concentrated the bacterial spores to make them easier to inhale and more lethal.

Al-Qaeda 'only one of many' major security threats to UK --Globalisation and climate change are perils, says ex-spy chief 16 Dec 2007 Britian's outgoing intelligence chief [Sir Richard Mottram] believes there is a danger of exaggerating the threat posed by al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] at the expense of equally significant security issues, such as global warming.

Top British terror suspect 'escapes' 16 Dec 2007 The alleged British terrorist mastermind [Rashid Rauf] behind a plot to simultaneously blow up at least 10 transatlantic airliners in an atrocity that had the potential to dwarf 11 September was on the run last night. One of Britain's most wanted men slipped his handcuffs [?!?] and fled after appearing at a court in Islamabad, Pakistan, where his lawyers were protesting against requests for his extradition.

RCMP restricts Taser use --Stun guns have been used inappropriately, commissioner admits as he announces new rules 15 Dec 2007 The RCMP says it's restricting when its officers can use their Tasers, admitting that the stun guns have been used inappropriately on suspects in the past. Front-line Mounties were issued a new edict yesterday saying that weapons can be used only on people who are "combative" or "actively resistant."

Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed 15 Dec 2007 All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections coup d'etats toward President [sic] Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found. The study released Friday found that 'voting' machines and central servers made by Elections Systems and Software; Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold; and Hart InterCivic; were easily corrupted.

Crossing Party Lines, Lieberman to Endorse McCain 16 Dec 2007 Senator Joseph LieberBush, the Connecticut 'independent' who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, plans to endorse Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, for president tomorrow, according to both Democrats and Republicans knowledgeable about the move. The endorsement, first reported by The Weekly Standard, could help Mr. McCain among independents in New Hampshire.

Des Moines Register Endorses Clinton and McCain 16 Dec 2007 Less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses open the presidential nominating season, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton earned the Democratic endorsement of The Des Moines Register's editorial board, while Senator John McCain won the Republican endorsement.

Globe endorses McCain, Obama 15 Dec 2007 Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have been endorsed by The Boston Globe editorial board ahead of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary on Jan. 8 in New Hampshire.

Latest Poll Shows Solid Obama Lead 15 Dec 2007 On the campaign trail, the latest Iowa polls show Hillary Clinton falling further behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. The latest Quad City Times poll shows Senator Barack Obama leading with 33% of the vote. Clinton is now tied with John Edwards for second place at 24%.

Videotape shows Sharpton cutting a deal 15 Dec 2007 With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in 2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president GOP whore, spoke candidly. Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise $50,000 for politics. [See: Sleeping With the GOP --A Bush Covert Operative Takes Over Al Sharpton's Campaign 05 Feb 2004 Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president [sic] in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.]

Retailers Face an Ominous Holiday Sign 16 Dec 2007 Sales of women’s clothing, a traditional pillar of the holiday shopping season, are unusually weak so far this year, according to a major credit card company, an ominous sign for the retail industry. From high-end dresses to bargain coats, spending on women’s apparel dropped nearly 6 percent during the first half of the Christmas season, compared with the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company.

Double Digit Inflation is Here By Michael Fox 16 Dec 2007 Buried deeply within Bloomberg’s recap of November’s various and sundry economic statistics... reveals the truth... The number in question is the "wholesale price index." I won’t make you wait: it’s 3.2%. For one month. On an annualized basis, that is (without compounding) 38.4%. It is the highest increase in 34 years, and if you remember the inflation that we endured in the mid 1970s, you know that this does not bode well for next year’s consumer prices.

Floods of tears as climate change 'hard man' breaks down at summit 16 Dec 2007 After 12 exhausting days of trying to reach a worldwide agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it was suddenly all too much for the "hard man" of climate-change negotiation, Yvo de Boer. As the 200-nation Bali conference wrangled over a minor procedural matter, the Dutch diplomat in charge of the talks burst into tears and had to be led away by colleagues.

Global warming's latest victims: Pacific walruses 14 Dec 2007 In what some scientists see as another alarming consequence of global warming, thousands of Pacific walruses above the Arctic Circle were killed in stampedes earlier this year after the disappearance of sea ice caused them to crowd onto the shoreline in extraordinary numbers. The deaths took place during the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Bering Strait, which separates Alaska from Russia.

Oceans' growing acidity alarms scientists 16 Dec 2007 Seven hundred miles west of Seattle in the Pacific at Ocean Station Papa, a first-of-its-kind buoy is anchored to monitor a looming environmental catastrophe. Forget about sea levels rising as glaciers and polar ice melt, and increasing water temperatures affecting global weather patterns. As the oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they're gradually becoming more acidic. And some scientists fear that the change may be irreversible.

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'Within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans' phone usage.' Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry 16 Dec 2007 For months, the Bush regime has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President [sic] Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program... In December 2000, N.S.A. officials wrote a transition report to the incoming Bush administration, saying the agency must become a "powerful, permanent presence" on the commercial communications network, a goal that they acknowledged would raise legal and privacy issues... A lawsuit filed in federal court in New Jersey claims that in February 2001, the N.S.A. met with AT&T officials to discuss replicating a network center in Bedminster, N.J., to give the agency access to all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through it. [Since Bush bin Laden has been spying since December 2000, why wasn't he able to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks?]

Judge asked not to see CIA tapes 15 Dec 2007 The Bush regime has told a federal judge not to watch the CIA interrogation tapes and not to follow up the tapes' destruction issue. In court documents the government lawyers told the US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that asking for information about the much disputed tapes would interfere with the present investigations by the Congress and the Justice Department.

Bush administration: Back off CIA tape probe 15 Dec 2007 The Bush dictatorship wants a federal court and congressional committees not to pursue investigations into the destruction of videotapes showing CIA interrogations of two 'al Qaeda' suspects. Defense attorneys for some terror suspects have asked U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy to look into whether the tapes' destruction violated a June order. The measure requires the government to preserve evidence and information regarding prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But Friday night, the Bush administration urged Kennedy not to hold that inquiry.

Delay Is Sought by Justice Dept. on C.I.A. Inquiry 15 Dec 2007 The 'Justice' Department asked the House Intelligence Committee on Friday to postpone its investigation into the destruction of videotapes by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2005, saying the Congressional inquiry presented "significant risks" to its own preliminary investigation into the matter. The department is taking an even harder line with other Congressional committees looking into the matter, and is refusing to provide information about any role it might have played in the destruction of the videotapes.

Congress Defies Bush on CIA Tape Probe --House Will Continue Investigation Despite White House Request to Drop It 15 Dec 2007 House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes told ABC News today that he will ignore the Bush administration's request to drop its investigation of why CIA interrogation tapes were destroyed. "This is an administration that frankly does not have a good track record of policing itself," Reyes said. "We intend to go forward and issue subpoenas next week because we are a whole equal branch of government."

Ex-Worker: Air Firm Aided CIA Renditions 14 Dec 2007 A Boeing subsidiary accused of helping the CIA secretly fly terrorism suspects to be tortured in overseas prisons openly acknowledged its role in the "extraordinary rendition" program, a former employee of the smaller company said in court papers Friday. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal suit claiming Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. enabled the clandestine transportation of five terrorism suspects to overseas locations where they were subjected to "forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." The U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit on the basis that trying the case would result in the release of 'sensitive state secrets.'

Control sought on military lawyers --Bush wants power over promotions 15 Dec 2007 The Bush regime is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism. The administration has proposed a regulation requiring "coordination" with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate General corps - the military's 4,000-member uniformed legal force - can be promoted. ...In 2004 Congress enacted a law forbidding Defense Department employees from interfering with the ability of JAGs to "give independent legal advice" directly to military leaders. But when President [sic] Bush signed the law, he issued a signing statement decreeing that the legal opinions of his political appointees would still "bind" the JAGs.

Terrorism suspect held in Iraq loses legal fight 12 Dec 2007 The government won a legal battle on Wednesday which allows its military forces in Iraq to continue detaining a terrorism suspect without charge. The law lords backed earlier court rulings that the detention of Hilal al-Jedda, 48, who holds both Iraqi and British citizenship, is lawful.

Bush asks for more war cash 16 Dec 2007 US President [sic] George W Bush has asked Congress to give him more money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democratic-controlled Congress has said any more funding should be tied to planned troop withdrawals.

Militants strike Baghdad neighbourhood patrols 15 Dec 2007 Gunmen and bombers launched three attacks on U.S.-backed neighbourhood security patrols [death squads] in Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least three of the patrol members and wounding 17. Patrol members, who are paid by U.S. forces and not officially part of the Iraqi security forces, have increasingly come under attack by militants.

Iraqi policewomen are told to surrender their weapons 11 Dec 2007 The Iraqi government has ordered all policewomen to hand in their guns for redistribution to men or face having their pay withheld, thwarting a U.S. initiative to bring women into the nation's police force. The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, issued the order late last month, according to ministry documents, U.S. officials and several of the women.

US military says a soldier was killed by gunfire in northwestern Iraq 15 Dec 2007 An American soldier was killed by small-arms gunfire in northwestern Iraq, the US military said Saturday. The soldier was killed in Ninevah province, on Friday.

Two US soldiers killed in Iraq: military 14 Dec 2007 Two US soldiers were killed in Iraq on Thursday in separate incidents south of Baghdad, the military announced. One soldier was shot dead during an exchange of fire, a statement said on Friday.

New PM wants Polish troops out of Iraq by October 15 Dec 2007 Poland's new Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday he wanted the last Polish troops out of Iraq by October 2008. "The government is submitting a motion to terminate our military mission in Iraq by October 2008," Polish TV news channels showed Tusk telling reporters.

Huckabee Strikes at 'Arrogant' Bush Foreign Policy 15 Dec 2007 Mike Huckabee on Saturday gave the first detailed look at his foreign policy, sharply criticizing what he called the "Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality." In an article written for Foreign Affairs and posted on the publication’s Web site Saturday, Mr. Huckabee became the most outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy of any Republican candidate except Ron Paul, who is running on an antiwar platform.

Israel: US report on Iran may spark war 15 Dec 2007 Israel's public security minister warned Saturday that a U.S. intelligence report that said Iran is no longer developing nuclear arms could lead to a regional war that would threaten the Jewish state. In his remarks -- Israel's harshest criticism yet of the U.S. report -- Avi Dichter... cautioned that a refusal to recognize Iran's intentions to build weapons of mass destruction could lead to armed conflict in the Middle East.

Bomb explodes near Kabul police chief's office --Suicide car contained rockets, authorities say; 5 reported killed in blast 14 Dec 2007 A suicide car bomb exploded in front of the office of the Kabul police chief early Saturday, the Defense Ministry spokesman said. The car contained five 107 mm rockets rigged to explode, said Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi. He said two of the rockets detonated in the explosion and three did not.

US military propaganda team busted --Desperate disinformation from Gitmo 13 Dec 2007 Wikileaks, the website that published manuals leaked from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has caught US armed forces personnel there conducting propaganda attacks over the Internet. The proof Wikeleaks assembled includes the IP address and whois ownership record for public.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil, which is Guantanamo's Internet gateway server, google hits on that IP address, a traceroute through a satellite downlink, the whois ownership record for that downlink, links to the defaced Wikipedia entries, links to comments posted at news websites, records of approximately 140 promotions of news articles at Digg, links and quotes about three alleged US military propagandists who are stationed at Guantanamo, and fourteen links to other Wikileaks articles about Guantanamo.

Suicide bomber kills at least 5 in Pakistan --Report: Blast hits at checkpoint near army school entrance in northwest 15 Dec 2007 A suicide bomber on a bicycle killed at least two soldiers and three civilians Saturday at a checkpoint near the gate of an army school in northwest Pakistan, the army spokesman said. Six people were also wounded in the attack in the town of Nowshehra about 75 miles northwest of Islamabad, Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said.

Musharraf Lifts Emergency Rule, Pledges Free Election 15 Dec 2007 President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan lifted emergency rule martial law as promised and pledged to hold free and fair parliamentary 'elections.' Opposition leaders called on him to end remaining restrictions on courts and the media.

Pakistan and Myanmar report first human H5N1 infections as bird flu resurfaces in Asia 16 Dec 2007 Pakistan and Myanmar reported their first human cases of H5N1 bird flu as the virus continues to flare in Asia, including recent deaths in Indonesia and China. Six people were infected with the virus in northern Pakistan last month and at least one has died, the government said Saturday.

H5N1 bird flu detected in domestic chickens in eastern Germany 15 Dec 2007 Two domestic chickens in eastern Germany have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. The Brandenburg state's Agriculture Ministry regional authorities says the birds were kept with nine other chickens in the Oberhavel region, northwest of Berlin. A federal lab confirmed that they were infected with the H5N1 strain.

Judge Temporarily Quashes 'DC Madam' Subpoena of White House Records 14 Dec 2007 Newly-appointed District of Columbia Federal Judge [James Robertson] has temporarily quashed a trial subpoena issued for the White House to produce records relevant to the prosecution of to so-called 'DC Madam,' Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

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Senate Passes $696 Billion Defense Policy Bill 14 Dec 2007 The Senate on Friday passed a defense policy bill which covers the 2008 budget year, authorizes $696 billion in military spending, including $189 billion for Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would authorize Bush to spend $10 billion for ballistic missile 'defense.' Some $70 billion in [additional] war spending is expected to be attached next week to a separate government-wide spending bill. While Democrats want to tie the money to troop withdrawals, Senate Republicans are insisting the money be provided without strings attached.

Karzai 'already in talks with allies of former Taliban leader' 13 Dec 2007 The Taliban's former chief spokesman has revealed that top-level talks are being held between the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai and key lieutenants of the former Taliban leader Mullah Omar. His disclosure that the Taliban "cabinet in exile" is engaged in negotiations appeared to contradict the statement to Parliament yesterday by Gordon Brown that hardline Taliban leaders would be isolated from talks over the future of Afghanistan.

Soldiers 'hail success of talks with the Taliban' 14 Dec 2007 Secret talks between British officials and elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan have delivered significant military and strategic successes, according to senior defence sources.

Taliban militants behead 7 police in southern Afghanistan 13 Dec 2007 Taliban militants beheaded seven policemen Friday after overrunning their checkpoints in southern Afghanistan, officials said, while in a separate clash, an Australian soldier and three civilians were killed.

Gates pushes allies for Afghan war help 13 Dec 2007 Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday pushed European allies for more troops to re-energize efforts in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban 'insurgency' has increased its attacks in the 18 months since NATO took command of lost the war.

Aust to 'stay the course' in Afghanistan 15 Dec 2007 Australia's new Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has reaffirmed Australia's troop commitment in Afghanistan at talks in Edinburgh between eight countries. Mr Fitzgibbon reaffirmed Australian's commitment to Afghanistan for the long-term but he refused to say how long. "We are there for the long-term, we think this is an important campaign and we will of course stay the course," he said.

Mobile Labs to Target Iraqis for Death By Robert Parry U.S. forces in Iraq soon will be equipped with high-tech equipment that will let them process an Iraqi's biometric data in minutes and help American soldiers decide whether they should execute the person or not, according to its inventor. 13 Dec 2007 Though [Anh] Duong is best known for designing high-explosives used to destroy hardened targets, she also supervised the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities project, known as a "lab in a box" for analyzing biometric data, such as iris scans and fingerprints, that have been collected on more than one million Iraqis. The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008. Duong said the next step will be to shrink the lab to the size of a "backpack" so soldiers who encounter a suspect "could find out within minutes" if he's on a terrorist watch list and should be killed. [Iraq is the "dry run." Does anyone doubt that Blackwater will soon be using them in the US?]

UK PM Says Iran Sanctions Still Needed 14 Dec 2007 Sanctions against Iran are still necessary despite a U.S. intelligence finding that Tehran has abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Thursday. Brown, who has pushed for stronger sanctions to target Iran's oil and gas industries, said the Iranian regime has not offered a full explanation of why it is enriching uranium.

EU promises 'robust' action against Iran 14 Dec 2007 European diplomats here promised "robust" action from the European Union on Iran and said the EU will enact its own sanctions if the UN Security Council approves a weak third resolution, despite a US intelligence report saying Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

UN Won't Take Up Iran Sanctions in 2007 13 Dec 2007 The U.N. Security Council will not take up new sanctions against Iran until early next year because of serious differences between the U.S. and key European nations who want tough measures and Russia and China who don't, U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.

Navy condemned for 'embarrassing the country' in Iran hostage fiasco 14 Dec 2007 The capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard during an operation in the Gulf in March was an embarrassment to the country, a report by the Commons Defence Committee said yesterday. Royal Navy commanders involved in the mission that led to the seizure of eight sailors and seven Royal Marines were also castigated for a "lapse in operational focus" and a "widespread failure of situational awareness".

MPs attack navy over debacle in the Gulf --Iran's capture of personnel a national embarrassment 14 Dec 2007 The capture of a group of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines by Iran was a "national embarrassment" and a number of service personnel have been punished for it, a crossparty group of MPs say in a hard-hitting report today. The incident in the northern Gulf last March, and the decision to allow the hostages to sell their stories after they had been released, was "deeply damaging to the reputation of the Royal Navy", the Commons defence committee says.

Argentine leader riled by US cash charge 13 Dec 2007 Argentina's new president reacted furiously Thursday to accusations by U.S. prosecutors that an intercepted suitcase full of cash from Venezuela was meant to finance her election campaign, calling the charge "garbage in international politics." Aides to President Cristina Fernandez accused Washington of using a "vile trick" to smear her government for its close ties to Venezuela's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez.

Mukasey Rejects Call for CIA Torture Tape Details 14 Dec 2007 Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today sharply rebuffed congressional demands for details about the Justice Department's inquiry into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes. In letters to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee and others, Mukasey also reiterated his opposition to appointing a special prosecutor to the tapes investigation, saying he was "aware of no facts at present" that would require such a step.

US House presses CIA to join military in rejecting torture 14 Dec 2007 The House of Representatives has adopted a bill requiring US intelligence agencies to renounce all forms of torture by following explicit rules set out by the US military. The vote on Thursday night came amid a furor over the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing harsh interrogations torture of terror suspects with lawmakers accusing the spy agency of trying to cover-up evidence of torture.

French journalist investigated over intelligence leaks 10 Dec 2007 The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about a criminal investigation launched by French authorities against Guillaume Dasquié, a reporter for the daily Le Monde, on accusations of publishing state secrets related to the 9/11 'hijackings.' The probe against Dasquié stems from his April 16 article in Le Monde, titled "September 11: the French had long known," which said French intelligence services, the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE), had warned their U.S. counterparts of a possible terrorist plot that involved the hijacking of planes and crashing them into buildings some eight months before 9/11, according to international news reports.

U.S. Falters in Terror Case Against 7 in Miami 14 Dec 2007 One of seven indigent men charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago as part of an Islamic jihad was acquitted on Thursday, and a mistrial was declared in the prosecution of the six others after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked. The outcome was a significant defeat for the Bush regime, which had described the case as a major crackdown on homegrown terrorists. Officials had acknowledged that the defendants, known as the Liberty City Seven for the depressed section of Miami where they frequently gathered in a rundown warehouse, had never acquired weapons or equipment and had posed no immediate threat. But, the officials said, the case underscored a need for pre-emptive terrorism prosecutions. [Oops! Guess not.]

2 plead guilty in terrorist plot case 14 Dec 2007 Two members of a prison-based Islamic terrorist cell that was poised to attack military sites, synagogues and other targets across Southern California pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring to wage war against the United States. Kevin James and Levar Washington, members of the homegrown radical Islamic organization dubbed JIS, entered guilty pleas in front of U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney in federal court in Santa Ana.

Justice's voting chief is being removed 14 Dec 2007 John Tanner, under fire for allegedly letting politics influence civil rights enforcement at the 'Justice' Department, disclosed Friday that he is being removed from his job as chief of the Voting Rights Section. Tanner became the latest casualty at the scandal-plagued Justice Department, which has claimed about a dozen top officials including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in recent months.

Warrantless Spying Showdown Postponed to Monday 14 Dec 2007 Senate Majority leader Harry Reid announced Friday that he will start debate Monday on bills that will let the nation's spies use American telecom facilities and services for warrantless wiretapping, choosing to start with the most expansive bill and then letting a second version be considered as an amendment.

Nuclear company fires security firm after guards found sleeping on job 14 Dec 2007 Exelon Corp. said Friday it will replace Wackenhut Corp. with an in-house security force at its 10 nuclear power plants following the discovery earlier this year that guards at a Pennsylvania plant were sleeping on the job. The announcement came 2½ months after Exelon terminated its contract with Wackenhut at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in south-central Pennsylvania after security officers were videotaped nodding off or dozing.

Officials Unsure Why Trooper Who Arrested Journalist Was At Fire Scene 13 Dec 2007 A state trooper apparently was acting on initiative when he set up a police perimeter around a house fire in Maumelle and subsequently arrested a local journalist, police and fire officials said Wednesday. Bill Lawson, a reporter and photographer for the Maumelle Monitor, said Trooper Tom Weindruch arrested him Monday night after Lawson began taking pictures at the scene of a chimney fire on High Timber Drive.

Newspaper Reporter Arrested Covering Story 11 Dec 2007 Maumelle Monitor editor's note: This is a first-person account of Bill Lawson's arrest by a state trooper while attempting to take pictures at a house fire in Maumelle on Monday evening. (AR) Having lived 59 years, battled cancer, worn the country's uniform for 26 years and proudly worked as a journalist -- a profession I always admired -- I thought I'd seen it all. That is until Monday night, when I was arrested and charged with a criminal offense just for trying to do my job and take photos of a residential fire in Maumelle... Although I was arrested and handcuffed, not once was I read my rights.

U.S. to do health tests on Katrina victims' trailers 13 Dec 2007 Federal health experts will begin testing for formaldehyde in trailers provided to people displaced by Hurricane Katrina after complaints of health problems, U.S. officials said on Thursday. [If there *is* formaldehyde in the trailers, by all means get the Hurricane Katrina victims out of them and get Bush and Cheney into them.]

Mega barf alert! Blair makes cameo in bizarre Bush holiday video - starring Barney the White House dog 13 Dec 2007 Political commentators thought the Bush and Blair show had died when Tony Blair stepped down as British prime minister earlier this year. But you can't keep a good friendship down, and now the new Middle East envoy has made a cameo appearance in the U.S. president's [sic] bizarre annual Christmas "comedy" video - starring Barney the White House dog.

Reps. Wexler, Gutierrez, and Baldwin Call for Cheney Impeachment Hearings By Bob Fertik 14 Dec 2007 Three members of the House Judiciary Committee, Representatives Robert Wexler, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), have issued a joint editorial calling for the Judiciary Committee and Congress to immediately hold impeachment hearings for Vice President [sic] Richard Cheney. The editorial entitled "A Case for Hearings," cites significant allegations made against Vice President Dick Cheney including "deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens."

Huckabee took thousands in gifts, records show --Presents belie humble image of former governor 14 Dec 2007 A $1,000 pair of cufflinks from a supporter, tens of thousands of dollars of clothing from a wealthy Little Rock businessman and thousands in gift certificates and cash from staff and appointees were among the lavish gifts given to Republican presidential candidate and unexpected frontrunner Mike Huckabee while he was governor of Arkansas.

2008 Candidates and Their Keepsakes 13 Dec 2007 AP asked presidential candidates to name their most prized possession... Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: "Photograph in my office of the cliffs of Oahu's South Shore, where my mother's ashes are scattered." New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: "Baseball signed by Ted Williams." ...Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson: "Trophy wife."

Clinton apologies to Obama on drug remarks 13 Dec 2007 Sen. Hillary Clinton apologized to Sen. Barack Obama today for comments made by one of her campaign co-chairs about Obama's self-confessed past drug use.

Supporters of Ron Paul launch blimp in NC 14 Dec 2007 A 200-foot long blimp bearing the name of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is flying over North Carolina. Campaign spokesman Bryce Henderson said the blimp took off from Elizabeth City just before 9 a.m. It’s expected to fly over Raleigh and Greensboro in the afternoon, and over Charlotte just before nightfall. The aerial billboard is emblazoned on one side with "Who is Ron Paul? Google Ron Paul." The other side reads "Ron Paul Revolution."

Britain Overtakes U.S. as Top World Bank Donor 15 Dec 2007 Overcoming earlier misgivings about its direction and leadership, the World Bank said Friday it had raised $25.1 billion in aid for the world’s poorest countries, a record sum that includes donations by China and Egypt, nations that were once recipients of such aid.

UBS writes off further $10bn on US sub-prime losses 10 Dec 2007 UBS, the Swiss banking group, today confirmed the worst fears of investors by writing off a further $10bn (£4.9bn) on US sub-prime losses and reversing previous guidance by admitting it faced a full-year loss. It wrote off $3.4bn in the third quarter.

Consumer Prices Rise 0.8% in November 14 Dec 2007 Inflation, which has remained tame even as oil prices soared in recent months, may be on the rise. Consumers paid 0.8 percent more for a host of common retail goods in November, the biggest monthly increase since Hurricane Katrina, the government reported on Friday.

Writers file complaint against AMPTP to Labor Board 13 Dec 2007 In an unusual move that's sure to further the divide between producers and striking writers, the Writers Guild of America announced on Thursday that it has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers of refusing to bargain in good faith.

All-Star Roster Shows Up on Mitchell Report --Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Tejada Linked to Steroids 13 Dec 2007 Some of Major League Baseball's greatest stars, including pitcher Roger Clemens, are linked to the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in a report released today by former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell. The report also names pitcher Andy Pettitte, catcher Paul Lo Duca, outfielder Gary Sheffield, shortstop Miguel Tejada... and dozens of other current and former players, many of them All-Stars.

As ice thins, so does Canada's polar bear population 14 Dec 2007 Polar bears in Canada's Hudson Bay area are battling for survival, as climate change reduces the time they can hunt for food, warn environmentalists and locals in Churchill, the self-proclaimed polar capital of the world. "For many years, there were 1,600 to 2,200 of our polar bears, called the western Hudson Bay sub-population," Bonnie Chartier, a Churchill native who works as a guide for tour groups who come to this northern town to spot the world's largest bear, told AFP. "Now they're saying there are about 965. Boom! In a very short span of time, we have a much smaller population and this has been attributed to global warming," she said. [Tell the Bush regime to protect polar bears and their critical habitat.]

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U.N. rights envoy suspects CIA of Guantanamo torture 13 Dec 2007 A United Nations investigator said on Thursday he strongly suspected the CIA of using torture on terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, suggesting many were not being prosecuted to keep the abuse from emerging at trial.

House votes to outlaw CIA waterboarding 13 Dec 2007 The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on Thursday to outlaw harsh interrogation methods torture, such as simulated drowning, that the CIA has used against suspected terrorists. On a 222-199 vote, the House approved a measure to require intelligence agents to comply with the Army Field Manual, which meets the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of war prisoners and prohibits torture.

CIA boss roasted over torture tapes 13 Dec 2007 The director of the CIA faces a second day of questioning by lawmakers today after he failed to quell anger in congress over the US spy agency’s destruction of videos allegedly depicting the torture of terror suspects. The controversy over the allegations was expected to grow, with the White House insisting that the US does not practise torture even as a former interrogator told media that detainees underwent "waterboarding".

Senate widens probe of destroyed tapes --Senate Intelligence Committee has 90-minute, closed-door session with CIA director 12 Dec 2007 Lawmakers leading the Senate investigation of the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes said there were gaps in the testimony of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden on Tuesday and outlined plans to call a series of witnesses as part of an expanding probe.

Hayden Knew of Interrogation Videotapes 12 Dec 2007 CIA Director Michael Hayden knew of the terrorist interrogation torture videotapes now at the center of controversy more than a year ago, he told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Harriet Miers Knew of Destruction of Interrogation Tapes 07 Dec 2007 ABC News has learned that at least one White House official knew about the CIA's planned destruction of videotapes in 2005 that documented the interrogation of two 'al Qaeda' operatives: then-White House counsel Harriet Miers. Three officials told ABC News Miers urged the CIA not to destroy the tapes.

House passes $700 billion defense policy bill 12 Dec 2007 The House passed a defense policy bill on Wednesday that would authorize $696 billion in military programs, including $189 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure, which covers the budget year that began Oct. 1, does not send money to the Pentagon. The House vote was 370-49.

'Danger of war' exists with Iran: Sarkozy 12 Dec 2007 French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned of a risk of a war with Iran if Israel considered its security seriously threatened by Tehran's nuclear drive in a magazine interview to be published Thursday. Sarkozy also said he was ready to travel to Tehran to discuss a civilian nuclear partnership if the country steps up its cooperation with the UN atomic watchdog.

Gitmo troops vandalise Wikipedia 13 Dec 2007 US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay called Fidel Castro a transsexual and defended the prison for terrorism suspects in anonymous web postings, an internet group that publishes government documents said today. The group, Wikileaks, tracked web activity by service members with Guantanamo email addresses and also found they deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles on Wikipedia. Julian Assange, who led the research effort, said the postings amount to propaganda and deception.

Sixteen bodies found in a ditch north of Baghdad 13 Dec 2007 Sixteen dead bodies were found on Thursday in a ditch in a town north of Baghdad within Iraq's most violent province, police said. Police said the bodies found near Muqdadiya in Diyala province, all adult males, appeared to have been killed recently. Twelve of them had been beheaded, the other four shot in the head. [Looks like Blackwater has been a busy little bee!]

Britain sees role for Taliban in Afghanistan 13 Dec 2007 Britain will support deals with Taliban insurgents to give them places in Afghanistan's new government and military, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced yesterday, distancing himself from the Canadian and U.S. strategy of refusing to sit down with the Taliban. In a speech to the House of Commons announcing a new Afghanistan strategy, Mr. Brown said that Britain will join Afghan President Hamid Karzai in making money and job offers to "former insurgents."

Army recruitment stepped up in Afghanistan 13 Dec 2007 Britain will have to recruit more soldiers to sustain a prolonged military mission in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister has indicated. Gordon Brown made the admission as he outlined a new long-term strategy to "isolate and eradicate" the Taliban. Senior military figures believe that British troops could be in Afghanistan in large numbers for up to a decade, raising worries about the pressure on the over-stretched Army.

Suspected Army suicides set record 13 Dec 2007 A record number of soldiers -- 109 -- have killed themselves this year, according to Army statistics showing confirmed or suspected suicides. The deaths occur as soldiers serve longer combat deployments and the Army spends $100 million on support programs.

Data sought on veterans' suicide 12 Dec 2007 The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide and members of Congress on Wednesday questioned why there's not a comprehensive tracking system of suicide among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Lawmakers vote to hold Bolten and Rove in contempt 13 Dec 2007 The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to hold two top aides to President [sic] George W. Bush in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in its probe of fired federal prosecutors. On a largely party-line vote of 11-7, the Democratic-led panel sent contempt citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to the full Senate for consideration.

APSU mock trial rules pResident Bush "guilty" of illegal domestic surveillance 12 Dec 2007 Verdicts are in on the two day mock trial, U.S. vs. Bush. Bush was found guilty on the charges relating to illegal and unauthorized domestic surveillance and wiretapping of American citizens and violating the Separation of Powers and FISA by ordering a secret Executive Order authorizing such action.

Gonzales named lawyer of the year 12 Dec 2007 Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has won a dubious honor Wednesday from a magazine published by the American Bar Association: Lawyer of the Year. Additionally, the ABA Journal named Gonzales' successor, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, as its top lawyer for 2008 -- mostly in anticipation of how often he'll be in the media spotlight... The monthly magazine gave the awards to lawyers who made the most news, said editor and publisher Edward A. Adams. "Think about Time magazine's Person of the Year," Adams said in an interview. "In years past they've named people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin. So we're not suggesting by these awards that these are the best lawyers in any sense of the word. We are saying they are the most newsworthy -- and perhaps also the best."

U.S. says homegrown attack poses biggest risk 12 Dec 2007 The United States faces a heightened threat of terrorist attack "for the foreseeable future" but any attack will likely be homegrown, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Wednesday. Chertoff, who said over the summer that he had a "gut feeling" that the country faced a heightened risk of attack, said that assessment still stands.

Hicks to oppose control demands 14 Dec 2007 David Hicks will challenge aspects of a control order sought by federal police, including a demand that he report to authorities three times a week. Hicks, who has almost completed a prison term in Adelaide after being transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in May, is said to be mentally exhausted and will not fight the application for a control order in the Federal Magistrates Court in Adelaide next Thursday. But his father, Terry Hicks, said the provisions for reporting to police were likely to be challenged.

Democrats Bow to Bush's Demands in House Spending Bill --Billions Trimmed From New Requests 13 Dec 2007 House Democratic leaders yesterday agreed to meet President [sic] Bush's bottom-line spending limit on a sprawling, half-trillion-dollar domestic spending bill, dropping their demands for as much as $22 billion in additional spending but vowing to shift funds from the president's priorities to theirs. [Here's a big surprise: The DemocRATs bow to Bush.]

Senate Republicans Block Energy Bill 13 Dec 2007 By a narrow margin, the Senate today failed again to block a Republican-led filibuster on an energy bill as GOP leaders made a stand against a $21.8 billion, 10-year tax package that would have extended incentives for wind and solar energy and reduced some tax breaks for oil companies.

Protesters halt demolition at New Orleans public housing 13 Dec 2007 Protesters wielding bullhorns and shouting "housing is a human right" stopped demolition at a massive public housing complex Wednesday in this hurricane-ravaged city in dire need of homes for the poor. More than 30 protesters blocked an excavator from entering the fenced-off area of the B.W. Cooper complex.

Wholesale price index soars 3.2%, worst in 34 years 13 Dec 2007 The government's index of wholesale prices surged 3.2% in November, a 34-year high, on a record rise in gasoline prices, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economy ousts Iraq as top issue for US voters 13 Dec 2007 The state of the US economy has superseded Iraq for the first time as the voters' chief concern, according to a new CNN poll. The ballooning trade deficit, weak dollar and mortgage crisis have contributed to 29 per cent saying the economy was their top issue, compared to 23 per cent citing Iraq.

State accuses Blue Shield of illegal cancellations 13 Dec 2007 California's top insurance regulator has accused Blue Shield, one of the state's largest health plans, of 1,262 violations of claims-handling laws and regulations that resulted in more than 200 people losing their medical coverage. Calling the allegations "serious violations that completely undermine the public's trust in our healthcare delivery system and are potentially devastating to patients," Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said he would announce today that he would seek a $12.6-million fine.

1.2 Million Merck Vaccines Recalled 12 Dec 2007 More than a million doses of a common Merck & Co. vaccine given to babies as young as 2 months were being recalled Wednesday because of contamination risks, but the top U.S. health official said it was not a health threat. [?] The recall is for 1.2 million doses of the vaccine for Hib, which protects against contains mercury, formaldehyde, meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections, and a combination vaccine for Hib and hepatitis B.

Vaccine rule stokes fears over autism 11 Dec 2007 Children in New Jersey's public schools and day cares must get two new vaccines by September, state health authorities recommended Monday over objections by parents who fear that immunizations can cause autism. Some parents and activists criticized forced immunization as anti-American. They decried the lack of long-term studies on the vaccines' safety.

A 'Hero' CNN Won't Fight For 13 Dec 2007 CNN isn't very enthusiastic about one of the six "heroes" honored last week on its show, "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." Pablo Fajardo of Ecuador was saluted in the "Fighting for Justice" category for his lifelong effort "to force one of the world's largest oil corporations to pay more than $6 billion to clean up toxic waste in the Amazon rain forest." CNN never named Chevron, a big advertiser on CNN, as the oil company. While the CNN Web site has "How to Help" links for all the other "heroes," the link to chevrontoxico.com, the Web site of Fajardo's Amazon Defense Coalition, was removed two days before the show aired.

EU threatens to boycott US climate summit 13 Dec 2007 The EU has threatened to boycott a climate summit in Washington next month called by President [sic] Bush unless the US signs up to for cuts in CO2 emissions. Officials said there would be no point in attending the summit unless President Bush is committed to big reductions in the gases which cause global warming.

Gore: US blocking climate talks progress 13 Dec 2007 Nobel laureate Al Gore said Thursday the United States is "principally responsible" for blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, and European nations threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington compromises on emissions reductions.

Top 11 Warmest Years On Record Have All Been In Last 13 Years 13 Dec 2007 The decade of 1998-2007 is the warmest on record, according to data sources obtained by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global mean surface temperature for 2007 is currently estimated at 0.41°C/0.74°F above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.20°F.

Coral reefs threatened by rising CO2 levels: study 14 Dec 2007 The survival of the world's coral reefs will be seriously threatened by 2050 if atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the acidity of ocean waters continue to rise at the present rate, said a study published Thursday.

Twin polar bear cubs make an early Christmas present to Vienna zoo 12 Dec 2007 A White Christmas has come early to Vienna's Schoenbrunn zoo, in the form of two cubs born to polar bear Olinka. Deputy zoo director Harald Schwammer said Wednesday the baby bears were about the size of guinea pigs, judging from first grainy images snapped by the keepers. Schwammer said: 'They are still completely helpless and blind, but look round and healthy. I am really happy, as polar bears are extremely endangered in the wild.'

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CLG News Archives


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