December 2008 Archives
Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage: West funding insurgency in Afghanistan with Taleban payoff system --"We estimate that approximately 25 per cent of the money we pay for security to get the fuel in goes into the pockets of the Taleban." 12 Dec 2008 The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country. Contracts to supply British bases and those of other Western forces with fuel, supplies and equipment are held by multinational companies. However, the business of moving supplies from the Pakistani port of Karachi to British, US and other military contingents in the country is largely subcontracted to local trucking companies. The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British taxpayers, are given to the Taleban.
Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion 12 Dec 2008 The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs, most created during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression. "In its considered judgment and in view of current circumstances, it would be a dangerous step to release this otherwise confidential information," Jennifer J. Johnson, the secretary for the Fed’s Board of Governors, said in a letter e-mailed to Bloomberg News.
Pentagon approves Iraq weapons sales worth up to $6 billion 10 Dec 2008 The U.S. 'Defense' Department on Wednesday said it had approved the sale to Iraq of weapons valued at up to $6 billion, including 400 Stryker wheeled vehicles, military radios, training aircraft, 20 coastal patrol boats and 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks. [Mission accomplished!]
UN chief slams "heinous" bomb attack in Iraq 13 Dec 2008 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday strongly condemned Thursday's "heinous" [Blackwater?] bomb attack in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, which killed dozens of people, including children. "No cause can justify such inhumane and indiscriminate violence," Ban said in a statement issued by his press office.
toy guns part of US mission in Iraq
12 Dec 2008 Two boys approached a U.S. soldier, pulled out a pistol
and handed it over... American soldiers have a new mission in this
blames White House, not soldiers, for abuse
12 Dec 2008 The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration
detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad
guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released
Thursday. The Senate Armed Services Committee report concludes that
Pack of Liars By Dan Froomkin 12 Dec 2008 Yesterday's bipartisan Senate report on the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere doesn't just lay out a clear line of responsibility starting with President [sic] Bush, it also exposes the administration's repeated explanation for what happened as a pack of lies.
U.S. tries to reassure Karzai with visit to warship 12 Dec 2008 Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited a U.S. aircraft carrier this week as the U.S. military tried to reassure him about air strikes he has bitterly denounced for causing civilian casualties. Karzai paid a visit Thursday to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which launches bombing missions on 'insurgent' targets in Afghanistan from the Indian Ocean, the U.S. Navy said.
Japan extends Afghan mission 12 Dec 2008 The Japanese parliament has approved a year-long extension of the country's support for the US-led military operation in Afghanistan. The bill has proved controversial in Japan, with opponents claiming it contravenes the pacifist constitution.
Ah, then came the dawn. Now we know why Bush wants to control Pakistan: 30 trillion cubic feet gas lying trapped in Tight Reservoirs of Pakistan 11 Dec 2008 The natural gas in excess of 30 Trillion Cubic Feet may be lying trapped in the Tight Reservoirs of Pakistan. There is a need to further develop local and foreign exploration and production companies and service sector to further strengthen the oil and gas producing capacity of the country, said a senior official sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.
Pakistan turns screw on charity linked to Mumbai attacks 12 Dec 2008 Pakistan Friday tightened the screw on an Islamic charity linked to militants behind the Mumbai massacre, freezing its assets after it was listed by the United Nations as a terror group. Islamabad's move follows intense international pressure to act against militant organisations on its soil in the wake of last month's deadly attacks in India which left 172 people dead, including nine gunmen. Police began closing the offices of Jamaat-ud-Dawa across Pakistan following orders issued by the central government.
Only Six Of 14 Belgian Terror Suspects Charged 12 Dec 2008 Belgian prosecutors have charged six of the 14 terror suspects arrested Thursday, but had to release the other eight. Five suspects are men between 20 and 30 years old. All are Belgian nationals. Investigating magistrates decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed against the remaining eight.
Belgium Jails Six Suspected Al-Qaeda Members on Terror Charges 12 Dec 2008 Belgian prosecutors jailed six suspected al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] members, after the arrest yesterday of 14 Islamic terrorist suspects that led authorities to consider calling off a summit of European leaders.
WH Tells Obamas, No Room at the Blair House 12 Dec 2008 The Bush administration has denied President-elect Barack Obama's request to move early into an official guest house across from the White House, citing previously scheduled commitments, a transition official said today. The Obamas wanted to move into Blair House before Jan. 5, so that daughters Malia and Sasha could start classes on time at Sidwell Friends School in Washington.
Illinois Attorney General Seeks to Remove Blagojevich 12 Dec 2008 Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state’s Supreme Court for permission to seek the temporary removal of Governor Rod Blagojevich following his arrest this week on corruption charges. If the court grants her request, Madigan said she’ll file a lawsuit seeking Blagojevich’s temporary replacement by Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and an order barring Blagojevich from naming a replacement U.S. senator for President-Elect Barack Obama.
Al Franken gets boosts in Minnesota Senate recount 12 Dec 2008 Democrat Al Franken won a pair of victories Friday before the state board overseeing the Senate recount, including a decision that as many as 1,500 incorrectly rejected absentee ballots should be included. The board also opted to recommend use of election night results in a Franken-leaning Minneapolis precinct where 133 ballots went missing, a decision that could have cost him 46 votes if it had gone the other way.
Protesters scrawled graffiti warning about a looming "insurrection." Riots Spread From Greece Across Europe 12 Dec 2008 The unrest that has gripped Greece is spilling over into the rest of Europe, raising concerns the clashes could be a trigger for opponents of globalization, disaffected youth and others outraged by the continent's economic turmoil and soaring unemployment. Protesters in Spain, Denmark and Italy smashed shop windows, pelted police with bottles and attacked banks this week, while in France, cars were set ablaze Thursday outside the Greek consulate in Bordeaux, where protesters scrawled graffiti warning about a looming "insurrection."
Dropping like flies: Sanderson State Bank of Sanderson, Texas fails: 25th of year 12 Dec 2008 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said late Friday that the Sanderson State Bank of Sanderson, Texas, was closed by the Texas Department of Banking, making it the 25th U.S. bank failure of the year. The Pecos County State Bank of Fort Stockton, Texas, will assume all of Sanderson's deposits.
Haven Trust Bank of Duluth, Ga. fails; 24th of year 12 Dec 2008 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said late Friday that Haven Trust Bank of Duluth, Ga., was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. The failure not only marks the 24th bank failure of the year, but the fifth in the Atlanta area. The FDIC was named receiver, and Branch Banking & Trust of Winston-Salem, N.C. will assume the deposits.
White House says mulling TARP funds for automakers 12 Dec 2008 The White House said on Friday it was considering tapping a $700 billion financial industry bailout fund to prevent a collapse of ailing U.S. automakers, a move that would mark a dramatic policy reversal.
Senate rejects auto bailout 11 Dec 2008 A White House-backed bailout for ailing automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night, pushing General Motors Corp. closer to almost certain bankruptcy absent a major intervention by the Treasury Department. The 52-35 roll call fell well short of the 60 needed to cut off debate, and appeared to doom any chance of legislative action until a new Congress convenes in January. "We’re not going to get to the finish line," said Majority Leader Harry Reid. "I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow (Friday). It's not going to be a pleasant sight."
GM board hired advisers to consider bankruptcy 11 Dec 2008 General Motors Corp hired outside advisers to weigh bankruptcy, but the board determined that a filing was not an option for the struggling automaker, a GM spokesman said on Thursday.
Senate to Middle Class: Drop Dead By Michael Moore 12 Dec 2008 ...[T]he Senate said, we'll give you the loan only if the factory workers take a $20 an hour cut in wages, pension and health care. That's right. After giving BILLIONS to Wall Street hucksters and criminal investment bankers -- billions with no strings attached and, as we have since learned, no oversight whatsoever -- the Senate decided it is more important to break a union, more important to throw middle class wage earners into the ranks of the working poor than to prevent the total collapse of industrial America... These Senate vampires wanted blood. Blue collar blood. You see, they weren't opposed to the bailout because they believed in the free market or capitalism. No, they were opposed to the bailout because they're opposed to workers making a decent wage. In their rage, they were driven to destroy the backbone of this country, not because the UAW hadn't given back enough, but because the UAW hadn't given up.
Madoff alleged $50 bln fraud hits other investors 12 Dec 2008 Investors scrambled on Friday to assess potential losses from the $50 billion fraud allegedly perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, a day after the arrest of the prominent Wall Street trader. Prosecutors and regulators accused the former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market of masterminding a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions through a hedge fund he ran. Investors entrusted him with billions of dollars. Federal agents arrested Madoff at his apartment on Thursday after prosecutors said he told senior employees that his money management operations were "all just one big lie" and "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme."
again, it's Bush's Friday afternoon environmental bad news dump! EPA
'They are basically saying public be damned.' Environmentalists blast changes to Endangered Species rules 12 Dec 2008 The Bush regime cleared the way Thursday for federal agencies to skip consultations with government scientists when embarking on projects that could impact endangered wildlife, the interior secretary said. The final regulations to the Endangered Species Act take effect before President [sic] Bush leaves office in January, but wildlife conservation groups say undoing the damage could take months.
FDA Draft Report Urges Consumption of Fish, Despite Mercury Contamination 12 Dec 2008 The Food and Drug Administration is urging the government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat, saying that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury. The FDA's recommendations have alarmed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, who in internal memos criticized them as "scientifically flawed and inadequate" and said they fell short of the "scientific rigor routinely demonstrated by EPA."
World Health Organization Sets Outlandish "Safe" Level for Melamine Consumption By Mike Adams 11 Dec 2008 Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's setting of a "safe" level of melamine in foods, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its own safety level of 0.2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day... That's a lot of melamine. It's almost like a nutritional supplement dose. And the scary part about all this is that neither the WHO nor the FDA has any science whatsoever to back up this "safe" consumption guideline.
No Indictment in Ronnie White's Jailhouse Death --The state medical examiner ruled White's death a homicide, finding he had likely been strangled. 12 Dec 2008 A Prince Georges County Grand Jury has declined to indict anyone in the jailhouse death of accused cop killer Ronnie White, ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 has confirmed. Sources tell ABC 7/NewsChannel 8's Brad Bell the Grand Jurors did not find sufficient evidence to bring any charges against the correctional officers who had been named as focal points of the investigation. White, 19, was found dead in his jail cell June 29, just three days after he was arrested in connection with the murder of Prince George's County Police Sergeant Richard Findley in Laurel.
Fears of human bird flu cases rise in India's Assam 12 Dec 2008 India is sending bird flu experts to the northeastern state of Assam and setting up isolation units to treat up to 90 people showing signs of the virus, health authorities said on Friday. Health workers have yet to confirm any human cases of H5N1, but they said some patients were suffering from fever and respiratory infections, which are symptoms of the virus in humans.
Northeast ice storm leaves 1.25M without power --Storm wreaked havoc from Maine to Pennsylvania 12 Dec 2008 An ice storm to compare with some of the Northeast's worst made a mess of the region Friday, leaving 1.25 million homes and businesses in seven states without power as it forced schools to close and toppled ice-laden trees and power lines onto slippery roads. Most of the outages were in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York, and it was expected to take several days to completely restore electricity.
Senate report ties Rumsfeld to Abu Ghraib abuse
11 Dec 2008 Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior
U.S. officials share much of the blame for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of
a report released on Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The report's executive summary, made public by the committee's Democratic
chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and its top Republican Sen. John
McCain of Arizona, said Rumsfeld contributed to the abuse by authorizing
Bipartisan Report: Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse --Senate Committee Finds Officials Made Decisions That Led to Offenses Against Prisoners 11 Dec 2008 A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary [war criminal] Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere.
Minot launch component 'remains missing' --Minot AFB officer to face court-martial 10 Dec 2008 A Minot Air Force Base officer accused of stealing a missile launch control device will face a court-martial, the military said. Capt. Paul Borowiecki, who was a missile combat crew member assigned to the base’s 91st Missile Wing, is accused of taking the launch control device in July 2005, rather than destroying it as required when it was no longer in use. The Air Force also said Borowiecki told officials that another officer had lied in saying he destroyed a launch component. That device remains missing. That other officer, whose name has not been released, has not been charged. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' Updated 12 Dec 2008.]
Guantanamo commander says base will not close soon 10 Dec 2008 Guantanamo Bay's commander believes that the detention centre will not close anytime soon after President-Elect Barack Obama takes office. Rear Adm David Thomas said he expected "rigorous debate" in America before the 250 detainees are flown out, pouring cold water on speculation that the military's offshore prison might close within days after Mr Obama is sworn in on Jan 20. Mr Thomas, who took command six months ago of the Joint Task Force that runs the prison camps, said no member of Mr Obama's transition team had visited the base or is scheduled to do so. [Hello, Barack? Are you going to *do* anything in January - or continue to be the closeted conciliator you always were? I am starting to think that you were 'allowed' to win the election so that you could serve as a vent to let off steam and thus prevent genuine change -- which was surely on the way after the 'final blow' -- the $750 billion giveaway to Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies.]
U.S. keeps silent as Afghan ally removes war crime evidence --The fact that U.S. special forces and CIA operatives were working closely with Dostum in late 2001, when the killings took place, has fueled suspicions that the warlord got a free pass. 11 Dec 2008 Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with the human cargo of suspected Taliban and al Qaida members who'd surrendered to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime. When the trucks arrived at a prison in the town of Sheberghan, near Dostum's headquarters, they were filled with corpses. Most of the prisoners had suffocated, and others had been killed by bullets that Dostum's militiamen had fired into the metal containers. Dostum's men hauled the bodies into the nearby desert and buried them in mass graves, according to Afghan human rights officials. By some estimates, 2,000 men were buried there... A McClatchy reporter visited the site last month and found three additional smaller pits, which apparently had been dug since June.
Thousand more soldiers committed to Afghanistan 11 Dec 2008 The United States Government has confirmed that thousands of soldiers will be sent to war-ravaged Afghanistan to bolster the 8,000-strong British contingent. US commanders have said they would like to almost double the number of American troops in Afghanistan, an increase from about 32,000 to 60,000, to keep Taliban-led 'insurgents' at bay.
Gates: More brigades to Afghanistan by summer 11 Dec 2008 The Pentagon is moving to get three of the four combat brigades requested by commanders into Afghanistan by summer, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday as he traveled here to meet with military leaders. In his most specific comments to date about how soon he will meet the call for up to 20,000 more troops in Afghanistan, Gates said he will not have to cut troop levels further in Iraq to free up at least two of those three brigades for Afghan duty. [Thanks, Obama! Afghanistan is an even bigger quagmire than Iraq - but there's lot$ to be made on the opium and gas pipeline routes, so the US will continue its illegal occupation.]
At least 55 killed in Iraq restaurant bombing 11 Dec 2008 A suicide bomber struck a popular restaurant Thursday in northern Iraq where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders, killing at least 55 people and wounding about 120, police said.
Armed forces are put on war alert --While Indian Air Force (IAF) fighters have been mounted with bombs and kept in a state of readiness to take off within minutes, almost the entire western naval fleet is aggressively patrolling the Arabian Sea. 10 Dec 2008 In the sort of "high alert" last seen during Operation Parakram, launched after the December 13, 2001, attack on Parliament, the armed forces, especially the air force and the navy, have been kept in a state of war readiness. There has been no massive mobilisation of troops on the border, though.
Mumbai Attack Militants Targeted With UN Sanctions 11 Dec 2008 A United Nations Security Council panel placed sanctions on four members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group blamed for last month’s Mumbai attack, and named an Islamic charity as one of its front organizations.
U.S. indicates to put DPRK back on terrorism list 11 Dec 2008 The United States does not rule out the possibilities of putting back the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Cops foil Brown 'bomb plot' 11 Dec 2008 Fourteen suspected al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] terrorists were detained in Brussels today before Gordon Brown was due to meet EU leaders. The sweep came just hours before a summit brought together the heads of the 27 EU countries in Brussels. One of the suspects is believed to be a suicide bomber mounting an operation "from which he was not expected to come back". It is thought a terror attack was being planned – but the target has not been revealed.
14 al-Qaida suspects held as Europe's leaders gather in Brussels --Probable terrorist attack prevented, say ministers 12 Dec 2008 Belgian police detained 14 people alleged to have links to 'al-Qaida' in Brussels yesterday as the EU summit got under way. The arrests took place during a series of raids in Brussels and included suspects who had been under surveillance for more than a year and had previously travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The police action came just hours before the heads of 27 countries assembled in Brussels for the summit, although there was no evidence that the meeting itself had been specifically targeted. During the course of Wednesday night and yesterday morning, about 250 police officers raided 16 locations in the capital and one in Liège.
Governors appeal to Congress for economic aid 11 Dec 2008 As a severe downturn spreads through the U.S. economy, a trio of state governors on Thursday pleaded to Congress for emergency funds to avert further cuts in health, education and law enforcement spending. The governors of New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin detailed the severe budget constraints their states face to the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, which next month is expected to advance a major economic stimulus bill that will include money for roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
Auto bailout prospects revived in Senate 11 Dec 2008 Prospects for an auto industry bailout revived in the U.S. Senate on Thursday as surprise negotiations on a compromise moved forward and a vote was possible later in the day. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that the deal, if struck, "would overwhelmingly pass" the chamber that just hours ago seemed resigned to sending the automakers back to Detroit empty-handed.
House Passes Auto Rescue Plan 11 Dec 2008 The House voted on Wednesday to approve a $14 billion government rescue of the American automobile industry, but the bailout plan, which would provide emergency loans to General Motors and Chrysler, was in jeopardy because of strong Republican opposition in the Senate. The House approved the rescue plan by 237 to 170, mostly along party lines... Voting against were 150 Republicans and 20 Democrats.
Jobless claims jump to 573,000, a 26-year high --Continuing claims spike by 338,000 to 4.43 million 11 Dec 2008 The U.S. labor market weakened further last week, with the number of first-time filings for state unemployment benefits jumping by 58,000 to a 26-year high of 573,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
New unemployment claims surge unexpectedly --New unemployment claims rise more than expected as layoffs continue amid recession 11 Dec 2008 New claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, exceeding even gloomy expectations for an economy stuck in a recession that seems to be deepening.
Bank of America to cut 35,000 jobs --Bank follows Citigroup, Credit Suisse and UBS in slashing jobs 11 Dec 2008 Bank of America has announced that it is cutting up to 35,000 jobs as it becomes the latest financial institution to implement sweeping cost savings. The Charlotte-based bank joined Citigroup, Credit Suisse and UBS in preparing to axe thousands of people from its payroll today as it cited the economic downturn and a $50bn merger with Merrill Lynch as the reasons for the move.
Sit-In at Factory Ends With 2 Loan Agreements 11 Dec 2008 The occupation of a window-manufacturing plant here by employees who were laid off last week ended Wednesday after a six-day standoff that brought them to national attention amid growing anxiety about the plight of workers in the deteriorating economy. Bank of America, which had cut off financing for the company, Republic Windows and Doors, said it would lend the company $1.35 million to help it meet the demands of the disgruntled workers. In addition, JPMorgan Chase, which owns 40 percent of the windows company, pledged an additional $400,000.
Russian Venture Capitalist Costs Workers Jobs and Income During Economic Meltdown 10 Dec 2008 Russian billionaire Sergei A. Plastinin has served himself a self-styled economic bailout by leaving the US with unpaid bills owed to construction firms and workers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, says Robert Carlton of TRC, Inc. in Harmony, Pennsylvania.
Effort to Relax Pollution Limits Is Dropped 11 Dec 2008 The Bush administration said Wednesday that it was abandoning its pursuit of two proposed regulations relaxing air-pollution standards for power plants, surprising both industry and environmentalists by ending its pursuit of one of the last remaining goals set out by Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001.
New rule undermines endangered species protections, environmentalists say 12 Dec 2008 In a move environmental groups says strikes at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, the Bush regime on Thursday announced a new rule that would let federal agencies decide on their own whether their projects harm endangered species, instead of requiring them in many cases to get a second opinion from federal wildlife experts.
Bush blocks crucial polar bear protections --Scientists: Polar bears could disappear from Alaska within next 50 years 11 Dec 2008 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced today that it will deny the polar bear the appropriate and necessary protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). "This rule makes a mockery of the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most important wildlife protection law," said Defenders of Wildlife executive vice president, Jamie Rappaport Clark "The polar bear doesn't have time for political maneuvers. Its habitat is melting away, its food is becoming scarce and the science is clear that the cause is global warming - yet the rule this administration released today affirms that little will be done to save the species from sure extinction."
Bush revises protections for endangered species 11 Dec 2008 Just six weeks before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, the Bush dictatorship issued revised endangered species regulations Thursday to reduce the input of federal scientists and to block the law from being used to fight global warming. The changes, which will go into effect in about 30 days, were completed in just four months. But they could take Obama much longer to reverse. The Bush regime also finalized on Wednesday a special rule for the polar bear, a species that was listed as threatened in May because of global warming. The rule would allow oil and gas exploration in areas where the bears live, as long as the companies comply with the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Daschle Named Obama's 'Leading Architect' for Health 11 Dec 2008 Tom Daschle will be a "leading architect" of efforts to revamp the U.S. health-care system, President-elect Barack Obama said today in announcing the former Senate Democratic leader as his pick to head the Health and Human Services Department. Daschle also will oversee a new White House entity, the Office of Health Reform, that will coordinate overhaul efforts.
Obama makes pick for energy chief, sources say 10 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama is likely to name Steven Chu, a physicist who runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as his energy secretary, three Democratic officials close to the transition said. The three officials said the announcement is expected next week in Chicago, Illinois, and that Obama will also name Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration, as the newly created "climate czar" inside the White House.
Canada's 'dirty oil' challenge 11 Dec 2008 In April this year, about 500 migrating ducks on their way north landed in what looked like a large lake in western Canada. It was not a lake, but a tailings pond - a store for toxic waste from the oil sands extraction process, made up of water, clay, sand, residual bitumen and heavy metals. Most of the ducks died, killed by the slick of oil on the water's surface.
U.S. to spend $850 million for Kandahar Air Field expansion [Gee, if only U.S. infrastructure was in Kandahar, we'd be golden!] 09 Dec 2008 The New York Times reported this weekend that the first brigade of new troops for Afghanistan will go north to protect Kabul, the capital city, but a massive new program of base construction shows the United States preparing to send a bigger share of its additional forces to Kandahar in the south. Engineers say they're planning an $850-million (U.S.) expansion of Kandahar Air Field in the coming year, approximately doubling the population of the sprawling facility to make it the largest military base in Afghanistan.
U.S. declines to free Reuters photographer in Iraq 09 Dec 2008 The U.S. military in Iraq is not obliged to obey an Iraqi court order to release a freelance photographer working for Reuters news agency and will hold him into 2009, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled on November 30 that there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered the U.S. military to release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport, where he has been detained since September.
Second Circuit Hears Argument in Extraordinary Rendition Case 10 Dec 2008 The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Tuesday heard the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen arrested in New York in 2002 and secretly sent to Syria for interrogation and torture. Arar is the case that first brought to light the United States' program of "extraordinary rendition," by which U.S. authorities have sent prisoners to other countries for interrogation, even though (or because) those countries are known to interrogate suspects under torture.
Canadian tortured in Syria victim of US conspiracy: lawyer 09 Dec 2008 A Canadian man wrongly accused of terrorism and sent to be tortured in Syria was the victim of a high level US conspiracy, his lawyer told a court in New York. The full 12-judge panel of the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals heard Maher Arar's lawyer outline accusations that top officials were behind the 2002 deportation of the Syrian-born Canadian software engineer. "There was an intentional conspiracy to subject (Arar) to torture and there was an intentional conspiracy to keep him from having access to the courts," attorney David Cole said.
Musicians tell UN to ban using songs as torture --A new anti-torture initiative called Zero dB is hoping to bring an end to the controversial interrogation techniques used by US forces 10 Dec 2008 The list of bands whose music is used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay reads like a grim roll call of American pop culture. ...The tunes have all been blasted into cells at Camp X-Ray, with the intention of traumatising and destabalising its inhabitants. But a new anti-torture initiative called Zero dB is hoping to bring an end to the technique by gathering the support of musicians whose songs are used in controversial interrogation techniques by US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
'Stop using rock music as weapons' 10 Dec 2008 Rock musicians have joined British activists to demand US military interrogators stop using their songs as weapons to disorient terror suspects and other prisoners. A campaign organised by UK law group Reprieve has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour.
September 11 families denounce Guantanamo trials 10 Dec 2008 Two dozen people who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks issued a statement on Wednesday denouncing the Guantanamo war crimes trials as illegitimate, shameful and politically motivated. "These prosecutions have been politically motivated from the start, are designed to ensure quick convictions at the expense of due process and transparency, and are structured to prevent the revelation of abusive interrogations and torture engaged in by the U.S. government," said the 24 relatives who signed Wednesday's statement, which was distributed through the American Civil Liberties Union.
Berkeley Council urges war crimes prosecution 10 Dec 2008 After an emotional, rancorous debate over torture and academic freedom, Berkeley's City Council passed a measure late Monday night imploring the United States to prosecute Berkeley resident and former White House official John Yoo for war crimes. Yoo, a tenured professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, wrote the legal memos justifying torture during the interrogation of terrorism suspects when he served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Bush regime in 2001-03.
Any govt supporting terrorists would be held to account: Bush 10 Dec 2008 US President [sic] George W Bush on Tuesday warned countries not to harbour or support terrorists or else they would be overthrown from power like the Taliban [?] in Afghanistan. Following the Mumbai terrorist attack, the US has been pushing Pakistan to take strong action against those involved in it. News reports in the US said that the Bush regime had given Islamabad 48 hours to nab those responsible for it.
Oops! US Forces Mistakenly Kill 6 Afghan Police 10 Dec 2008 United States forces killed six Afghan police officers and one civilian on Wednesday during an assault on the hide-out of a suspected Taliban commander, the authorities said, in what an American military spokesman called a "tragic case of mistaken identity." Thirteen Afghan officers were also wounded in the episode.
5,000 US troops to help British with Taleban stalemate in Afghanistan 11 Dec 2008 America is planning to send at least 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan's Helmand province to help out beleaguered British troops, according to defence sources in Washington and Kabul. Ministers are expected to examine early next year whether British reinforcements will also be sent to boost the present force of 8,100 troops in the British-controlled province.
Britain to withdraw most troops from Iraq by June 10 Dec 2008 Britain announced Wednesday it will withdraw all but a handful of its 4,000 soldiers from Iraq next year, ending a mission that was unpopular at home and failed to curb the rise of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in the south.
'Int'l court should try Israeli leaders' 10 Dec 2008 A UN expert says the International Criminal Court should prosecute Israeli leaders over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. In a statement on Tuesday, Richard Falk, the UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories said Israel's policies against people living in the Gaza Strip amounted to a "crime against humanity."
Vote shifts Israel's Likud Party sharply right --In a blow to party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, members select a slate of hard-liners for upcoming national elections. 10 Dec 2008 Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a blow to his efforts to present a moderate face for his Likud Party after members elected a hard-line slate of candidates at the expense of more moderate names that the former prime minister had championed. The primary results, which were announced Tuesday morning, set up an even starker than expected choice for Israeli voters in national elections scheduled for Feb. 10.
Pakistan goes on military alert against India 10 Dec 2008 The Pakistan Air Force has been put on alert over what it has called India's aggression. A PAF spokesman has said the airforce is focused on the Indian situation and is ready to defend the security and safety of its airspace. A Pakistan Navy spokesman also said the navy was put on alert to closely watch Indian Navy's movements at sea.
Pakistan to freeze terror assets 10 Dec 2008 Bowing to pressure from the international community, especially India, Pakistan has announced it will take action against the leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashker-e-Taiba groups for their roles in the Mumbai terror attack. Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said the action would include freezing the assets of the group.
Pakistan arrests suspected terror leader 10 Dec 2008 Pakistan has put the suspected terrorist leader, Masood Azhar under house arrest after he was linked to Mumbai's attacks, media say. Pakistan's Defense Ministry on Wednesday announced Azhar's detention in a move to show the country's determination for hunting the organizers of last month's deadly rampage in Mumbai. It is for the second time over the past ten years that Azhar is put under house arrest.
Fort Dix witness cites terrorism threat 10 Dec 2008 U.S.-based Muslim terror groups don't need to be sophisticated to be effective, says a prosecution witness at the terrorism trial of five New Jersey men. The five are accused of plotting to enter the Fort Dix U.S. Army base in New Jersey and kill as many soldiers as they could, but defense attorneys say the naturalized Muslim immigrants never carried out any planning unless goaded to by a paid FBI informant who had infiltrated their group.
Supreme Court hears case on Ashcroft, Mueller immunity 10 Dec 2008 The US Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday on whether cabinet-level officials could be held accountable for controversial tactics President [sic] George W. Bush ordered as part of the US-led "war on terror." The nine Supreme Court justices are set to make a ruling by June 2009. Former attorney general John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller have sought immunity from the charges in a lawsuit filed by Javaid Iqbal, a Pakistani national. Iqbal was among more than 700 Muslim men from the New York City area rounded up after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
FBI reviewing allegations involving Norm Coleman ally, source says --Source: Inquiry involves alleged attempt to steer money toward senator 10 Dec 2008 Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a longtime friend and benefactor tried to steer money to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R), the Pioneer Press has learned. Agents with the FBI have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Jackson Denies Involvement in Ill. Senate Seat Scheme 10 Dec 2008 Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) today denied any "involvement whatsoever" in a corrupt scheme to secure appointment to President-elect Barack Obama's newly vacant Senate seat and called for the resignation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the wake of the governor's arrest yesterday on charges he was trying to sell the appointment.
Officials Say Jackson Was 'Candidate 5' in Case 11 Dec 2008 Federal authorities on Wednesday identified Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois as the potential United States Senate candidate who was portrayed in court papers made public Tuesday as being the most deeply enmeshed in the alleged scheme by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to benefit from his appointment of a new senator to the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Obama Calls for Governor Under Siege to Step Down 11 Dec 2008 The political fortunes of the besieged governor of Illinois unraveled further on Wednesday, after President-elect Barack Obama joined a near-unanimous chorus of political leaders calling for him to resign. A day after the governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, was arrested and accused of putting Mr. Obama’s vacant United States Senate seat up for bid, politicians from Washington to Chicago to the plains of Illinois made it clear that they wanted Mr. Blagojevich gone as soon as possible.
Reid Prefers Senate Appointment to Special Election --The entire Senate Democratic caucus has signed the Reid letter to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 10 Dec 2008 The momentum for a special election to replace President-elect Barack Obama ran into a major hurdle late this afternoon in the form of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) who penned a letter today to scandal-tarred Gov. Rod Blagojevich making clear he would prefer the incumbent step aside and let Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn make the appointment.
Ill. lawmakers can't move up action on Senate seat 10 Dec 2008 Illinois lawmakers won't meet until next week to consider removing his power to fill the seat despite worries about Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plans for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. Lawmakers plan to convene Monday and vote on filling the vacancy by special election. Legislative aides said Wednesday that it's not possible to convene sooner.
Assault Inquiry Brings Charges for 3 Officers 10 Dec 2008 A New York City patrolman used his baton to sodomize a man in a subway station, and two complicit colleagues helped him cover it up, the Brooklyn district attorney charged on Tuesday as he unsealed indictments against three police officers.
Deaths Reported After Merck's Gardasil Vaccine Administered --At last report on Aug. 31, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System had received reports of 27 deaths among girls or women who had been injected with Gardasil. 25 Nov 2008 A vaccine intended to prevent a type of cancer in young women still has some people questioning its safety. The Gardakill vaccine has been given to millions of girls and young women, and assurances have been made that it is safe. But WBAL TV 11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller spoke with a mother whose daughter died only a few weeks after receiving the shot.
AIG owes $10 billion for soured trades: report 10 Dec 2008 American International Group, once the world's largest insurer, owes around $10 billion to other financial services firms for trades that have gone sour, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Tuesday. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, says the trades have not been explicitly disclosed before, and are not covered by terms of a current $150 billion U.S. government rescue package.
Vote on Auto Bailout in Limbo as GOP Resists Measure 10 Dec 2008 A $14 billion bill to bail out and restructure the U.S. auto industry cleared initial procedural hurdles in the House today but ran into stiff Republican opposition in the Senate, jeopardizing a plan the White House called "a good conceptual agreement" with congressional Democrats.
Worsening Spending Slump Paces 'Scary' U.S. Recession 10 Dec 2008 The biggest slump in U.S. consumer spending since 1942 will extend the recession and push the jobless rate to the highest level in a quarter century, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Household spending will drop 1 percent in 2009, the biggest decline since after the attack on Pearl Harbor, according to the median estimate of 51 economists surveyed Dec. 4 through Dec. 9.
NYC Comptroller: City May Lose 165,000 More Jobs 09 Dec 2008 The economic downturn has not yet found a bottom, according to New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., who says huge job losses still lie ahead for the city. "We’re projecting over the next two years probably about 165,000 jobs may be lost--of that probably about 35,000 on Wall Street," he said.
TV producers rip NBC's Leno move 10 Dec 2008 NBC's decision to keep [GOP troll] Jay Leno at the network by giving him a weeknight 10 p.m. talk show generated some scathing commentary from some of Hollywood's top TV producers on Tuesday. "I'm wondering if NBC is publicly transforming itself into AM radio," said James Duff, creator/executive producer of TNT's "The Closer."
Fears for baby polar bear after twin dies 10 Dec 2008 Concerns were growing Wednesday for a polar bear born last month at a German zoo after its twin died and was possibly eaten by its mother.The young polar bear died Monday, less than two weeks after it was born, Nuremberg Zoo said. The surviving twin was doing well, the zoo said, but added that it was concerned the mother may not be able to care for it properly.
Former ISI Chief: Mumbai and 9-11 Were Both Inside Jobs Posted by ewrh78 07 Dec 2008 Pakistan's former Intelligence Chief, General Hamid Gul, speaks with CNN's Fareed Zakaria about the Mumbai attacks and 9/11 being an inside job. (Video) [Guess what happens next? Pakistan ex-spy chief: U.S. wants him on terror list 07 Dec 2008 A former head of the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, said Sunday the United States wants him (Gul) on a U.N. list of people and organizations linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.]
Reports planted by US, says former ISI chief 08 Dec 2008 Dismissing reports that Pakistan had decided to hand him over to Indian authorities in connection with the investigations into last week’s Terror attacks in Mumbai, former ISI chief General Hamid Gul on Sunday such reports were being "planted" by the United States to malign him.
Pakistan: We're ready for war with India 09 Dec 2008 Pakistan warned it is ready for war with India if it is attacked following the strike by the Mumbai terrorists. The remarks by Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who also insisted he would not hand over any suspects in the Mumbai attacks, come amid mounting tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours. India has said it is keeping all options open following last month's carnage by the Mumbai terrorists, who killed more than 170 people.
'Mastermind of Mumbai' is arrested in raid on Kashmir militant camp 09 Dec 2008 Pakistani security forces have arrested the alleged mastermind of last month's Mumbai attacks in a raid on a training camp used by the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), government officials revealed yesterday. A Pakistani official told The Times that among the eight militants arrested in the raid was Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, LeT's operations chief, whom Indian officials have accused of organising the Mumbai attack.
Mumbai attacks: India 'names Pakistani gunmen' 09 Dec 2008 Investigators have confirmed that all the suspected militants who attacked Mumbai last month were Pakistani citizens, Indian authorities said. Mumbai's chief investigator Rakesh Maria released photographs of eight of the dead gunmen, along with identity card images. Police withheld photographs of a ninth body, which was badly burned.
calls for another troop surge, this one in Afghanistan
09 Dec 2008 Arizona Republican Sen. John McInsane now thinks both
the United States and its allies must bolster troop deployments in
Afghanistan. And he'll make that recommendation to President-elect
Barack Obama. The loser in the Nov. 4 presidential election is
on a long pre-holiday
Military seeks new MRAPs for Afghanistan 09 Dec 2008 The Pentagon is fast-tracking a multibillion-dollar competition to outfit ground forces in Afghanistan with new, off-road terrain vehicles that protect against rocket-propelled grenades and explosive devices. The military says it needs hybrid armored vehicles to provide the same type of protection as mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, while being far more agile, lighter and providing increased maneuverability to handle Afghanistan's rocky terrain, according to a request for bids released late Monday.
Those destroying the vehicles are the same 'people' poised to make a killing by providing the replacements. Second night of raids on Nato supplies 09 Dec 2008 Taliban militants [Blackwater?] launched a second raid in as many days on Nato supplies in Pakistan setting fire to nearly 100 more vehicles destined for occupation forces in Afghanistan. The latest attack on a container terminal near the northwest city of Peshawar came a day after Taliban militants launched the biggest such raid to date, destroying nearly 200 vehicles in the area. This time [LOL - they didn't guard them after the *first* attack?], the attackers set nearly 100 vehicles alight including jeeps and 20 supply trucks after dousing them with petrol, police said.
Warlords show determination in Afghanistan 09 Dec 2008 Taliban warlords in Pakistan's remote tribal regions have said that they are determined to cut off supply lines for NATO and US forces through Pakistan's Khyber Pass. A little known warlord [LOL!] by the name of Mustafa Kamal Kamran, from Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, has taken it upon himself [!] to prevent supplies getting through to NATO and American forces.
Plot to kill Afghan governor foiled, U.S. says 08 Dec 2008 A militant was detained in a plot to assassinate a provincial Afghan governor, the U.S. military said Monday. Afghan commandos, assisted by occupation forces, launched a raid Saturday on a Taliban safe house in Jalalabad and seized a militant identified as Zia Rahman. The operation was undertaken after local officials told the U.S. military about an assassination plot against Gul Agah Sherzai, governor of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.
Pentagon faulted for not preparing for roadside bomb threat 09 Dec 2008 The US Defense Department knew years before 'insurgent' actions began in Iraq of the threat posed by roadside bombs but failed to take available steps to mitigate the risk to US troops, a Pentagon audit concluded Tuesday. The US Marine Corps asked the Pentagon's inspector general to perform the audit after coming under fire for setting aside an urgent request from field commanders in 2005 for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles.
Report: IED threat known before war 09 Dec 2008 Military leaders knew the dangers posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war but did little to develop vehicles that were known to better protect forces from what proved to be the conflict's deadliest weapon, a report by the Pentagon inspector general says. The Pentagon "was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) … and of the availability of mine resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003," says the 72-page report, which was reviewed by USA TODAY.
Blackwater security guards charged with killing 14 Iraqis 08 Dec 2008 Five mercenaries from US security firm Blackwater Worldwide, a State Department contractor in Iraq, were charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades at a busy Baghdad intersection last year. A sixth mercenary pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter for the September 16, 2007 shooting in Nisur Square, the US Department of Justice said Monday.
Power failure blamed in crash of Marine jet in San Diego --The pilot had been told to make an 'arrested landing' at Miramar Air Station. 09 Dec 2008 The Marine fighter plane that crashed into a residential San Diego neighborhood Monday had suffered power failure, a local member of Congress said today. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Liar-Alpine), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said an initial investigation has found no link [?!?] to the structural problems that caused the F/A-18 fleet at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to be grounded briefly in October.
Military jet crashes in San Diego suburb, three dead 09 Dec 2008 Three people were killed and one remained missing after a US F/A-18 fighter jet slammed into a densely populated neighborhood in California, officials said. The accident occurred shortly before midday (2000 GMT) on Monday when the two-seater plane spiraled out of control and crashed into two homes in the University City suburb of San Diego, officials said.
Gag me with a chainsaw: President-Elect Obama May Keep Mike Hayden as Director of the CIA 05 Dec 2008 As President-elect Barack Obama continues to build his national security staff, now focused on intelligence, it is possible that he might ask CIA Director Mike Hayden to stay on for a while, intelligence sources say.
Sen. Craig loses appeal in airport sex sting case 09 Dec 2008 Idaho Sen. Larry Craig (R) has lost his latest attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in the Minneapolis airport men's room sex sting that effectively ended his Senate career. A three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the Republican's bid to toss out his disorderly conduct conviction.
Illinois Governor in Corruption Scandal 09 Dec 2008 Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday morning on corruption charges, including an allegation that he conspired to effectively sell President-elect Barack Obama’s seat in the United States Senate to the highest bidder. Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor "golden," and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of health and human services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said in a 76-page affidavit by the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois.
Illinois Gov. arrested on corruption charges 09 Dec 2008 Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were charged in a federal complaint with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Both were taken into custody at their homes in Chicago.
Illinois Threatens Bank Over Sit-In 09 Dec 2008 The layoff of 250 workers last week at Republic Windows and Doors on the North Side with only three days’ warning and without pay the workers say is owed to them had, by Monday, drawn the attention by politicians, numerous union and workers’ rights groups and scores of people, who arrived at the plant offering families toys, food and money. Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, who met with the workers Monday morning, said the State of Illinois was suspending its business with the Bank of America, Republic Windows’ lenders, and that the Illinois Department of Labor was poised to file a complaint over the plant closing if need be.
Treasury Bills Trade at Negative Rates as Haven Demand Surges 09 Dec 2008 Treasuries rose, pushing rates on the three-month bill negative for the first time, as investors gravitate toward the safety of U.S. government debt amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Treasury sold $27 billion of three-month bills yesterday at a discount rate of 0.005 percent, the lowest since it starting auctioning the securities in 1929. The U.S. also sold $30 billion of four-week bills today at zero percent for the first time since it began selling the debt in 2001.
Fed approves Chinese bank CCB to open office in US 08 Dec 2008 The US Federal Reserve said Monday it had authorized China Construction Bank, a leading Chinese state bank, to operate in the United States. The proposed New York City branch of CCB "would engage in wholesale deposit-taking, lending, trade finance, and other banking services," the Fed said in a statement.
Suspicious White Powder Letters Received Around the United States 09 Dec 2008 Robert E. Casey Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Dallas FBI, announces during the last 24 hours, at least seven letters containing a suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of governors around the country. The white powder substance has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The white powder substance has been forwarded to local laboratories for further testing. To date, all letters have been postmarked from Dallas, Texas and were received by governors’ offices in Rhode Island, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Minnesota, Montana, and Missouri.
Manhunt on for ex-cop charged in two new rapes 09 Dec 2008 Considered an armed and dangerous serial rapist, a manhunt is under way to find a former York City Police officer who is now charged with two more rapes, this time in York city. Michael L. Johnson Jr. of Penn Township, Pennsylvania, was charged by city police today with two counts each of rape, impersonating a police officer and indecent assault for two alleged rapes that happened in York in September. Just last week, Johnson was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, kidnapping and raping a then-21 year old woman in Baltimore on Nov. 2.
Hong Kong raises bird flu alert after H5 cases 09 Dec 2008 Hong Kong health authorities raised the city's bird flu alert level to "serious" Tuesday after the H5 virus killed dozens of chickens at a farm, prompting the cull of 80,000 birds. Laboratories in the city were now trying to determine the precise identity of the virus. A leading expert said it was likely to turn out to be the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, which turns up regularly in flocks in Asia, parts of Europe and Africa.
Hong Kong reports bird flu outbreak 09 Dec 2008 Three dead chickens tested positive for bird flu in Hong Kong, prompting the city to suspend poultry imports for 21 days and begin slaughtering 80,000 birds, an official said Tuesday. "We feel that Hong Kong is facing a new alert for bird flu," said York Chow, secretary for food and health.
Alarm bells ring after Bird Flu hits Assam 09 Dec 2008 The state health department has put all the districts on high alert after receiving confirmation of a Bird Flu outbreak in Assam a few days ago. On 1 December, a letter was issued to all the chief medical officers of health (CMOHs) in the state by the joint director of public health. Hospitals in the state have been asked to keep tabs on influenza cases.
'The time for delay is over, the time for denial is over.' Obama says climate change a matter of urgency 09 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday attacking global climate change is a "matter of urgency" as he talked about the problem with former Vice President Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the issue. Seated with Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Obama told reporters: "All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over."
Court: No review of Obama's eligibility to serve 08 Dec 2008 The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth. The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election.
Satire: Named Top General In War On Christmas, Bill O'Reilly Calls For Surge By R J Shulman 09 Dec 2008 Recently named top general in charge of defending against the so-called war on Christmas, Bill O’Reilly called for the "mother of all crusades to defend all that we hold dear and sacred. Just like the surge won the war in Iraq." General O’Reilly said, "we need all good Christian soldiers to help vanquish this despicable enemy..." O'Reilly outlined a battle plan that calls for preemptive strikes against those who he says are "planning to use weapons of mass destruction against everything that is Christmas." (Satire)
Halliburton accused of supplying rotten food to U.S. forces --Halliburton and KBR--the companies that were controlled by Dick Cheney until he became vice president [sic]--are facing a mountain of lawsuits over their past and present activities in Iraq and elsewhere. 08 Dec 2008 U.S military contractor KBR, a former subisidary of Halliburton, is facing a number of lawsuits over its activities in Iraq, and elsewhere. KBR is the largest contractor for the United States Army and a top-ten contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. In one class-action suit Joshua Eller, a civilian who worked for the U.S. Air Force in 2006 at the Balad air force base northeast of Baghdad, alleges KBR 'knowingly and intentionally supplied to U.S. forces and other individuals food that was expired, spoiled, rotten, or that may have been contaminated with shrapnel, or other materials'.
Oops! Another Bush whore caught overbilling US taxpayers: DOJ: L-3 Communications to Pay $4 Million to Settle Army's Overbilling Claim 08 Dec 2008 An L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL) unit agreed to pay $4 million to the U.S. government in a settlement over overbilling claims by the U.S. Army for hours worked to support military operations in Iraq. The settlement with company subsidiary L-3 Vertex Aerospace involved allegations that L-3 submitted false time records and inflated claims of hours worked by the company's employees at Camp Taji in Iraq from March 2004 through August 2005, according the Justice Department.
Blackwater used grenades on unarmed Iraqi schoolchildren
08 Dec 2008 Blackwater Worldwide
Blackwater charges: 14 counts of manslaughter 08 Dec 2008 U.S. prosecutors say Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries used machine guns and grenade launchers in an attack on unarmed Iraqi civilians, some of whom had their hands up. Prosecutors unsealed a 35-count indictment against the five alleged terrorists Monday for a 2007 shooting in Baghdad. The mercenaries surrendered in Utah, where they will argue the case should be tried. The Justice Department charged the men with manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and using a machine gun in a crime of violence. A sixth guard admitted in a plea deal to killing at least one Iraqi in the shooting.
Blackwater mercenaries 'charged with manslaughter' over Iraqi deaths 08 Dec 2008 America is preparing to reveal criminal charges against several Blackwater mercenaries over a shooting incident in Baghdad last year that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, including children, and triggered outrage across Iraq. Relatives of the victims are demanding the death sentence. Five of the mercenaries are expected to face charges including manslaughter and using a machinegun in a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory 30-year prison term.
kid was absolutely traumatized and mistreated by U.S. government authorities
and now the U.S. government is trying to continue to cover that up.'
says witness in Omar Khadr trial withdrawn to 'cover up' abuse
07 Dec 2008 The American government has withdrawn a witness against
Omar Khadr in an effort to hide evidence of its
Tired of torture, US show trials: September 11 defendants ask to plead guilty 08 Dec 2008 The self-styled mastermind of the September 11 attacks and four co-defendants sent a note to a military judge at Guantanamo on Monday saying they wanted to confess and plead guilty. The judge said he would question the five, including [waterboarded] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected planner of the September 11 attacks, to ensure that was their wish. Judge Army Col. Steven Henley read from the note, which said all five wished to plead guilty and withdraw any pending motions filed by their military-appointed lawyers, whom they do not trust and have tried to fire.
Mumbai terror attacks similar to 1993 New York Landmarks plot 07 Dec 2008 The meticulous planning and execution of the Mumbai terror attack, which has left the country's security agencies scurrying for cover, might not be as original as it is presumed to be, because of its eerie resemblance to the 1993 New York Landmarks Plot, hatched by Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh].
Arrests made in Mumbai terror attack, but one may be Indian undercover officer, igniting controversy --Police were still investigating how the 10 gunmen obtained the SIM cards. 06 Dec 2008 Senior police officers in Indian Kashmir, which has been at the heart of tensions between India and Pakistan, demanded the release of arrested officer Mukhtar Ahmed, saying he was one of their own and had been involved in infiltrating Kashmiri militant groups. The implications of Ahmed's involvement -- that Indian agents may have been in touch with the militants and perhaps supplied the SIM cards used in the attacks -- added to the growing list of questions over India's ill-trained security forces, which are widely blamed for not thwarting the attacks. Earlier Saturday, Calcutta police announced the arrests of Ahmed and Tauseef Rahman, who allegedly bought SIM cards by using fake documents, including identification cards of dead people.
Mumbai militants used Pakistani soil: Rice 07 Dec 2008 Pakistani territory was used to stage recent attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday, as she again urged Islamabad to help bring perpetrators to justice. Pakistan has called for India to back up its charges of Pakistani involvement with proof. But in interviews with U.S. television networks, Rice said there was no doubt the militants behind the Mumbai attack had operated from Pakistani soil, although she said probably "non-state" actors [CIA] were involved.
Pakistan raids camp of group blamed for Mumbai 07 Dec 2008 Pakistani security forces on Sunday raided a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), two sources said, in a strike against the militant group blamed by India for last month's deadly attacks on Mumbai. Local man Nisar Ali told Reuters the operation began in the afternoon in Shawai on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani side of disputed Kashmir region.
Hoax call to Zardari "put Pakistan on war alert" 06 Dec 2008 Pakistan put its forces on high alert after someone pretending to be India's foreign minister made a phone call to President Asif Ali Zardari threatening war after the Mumbai attacks began, Dawn newspaper said on Saturday. "It's true," a diplomat with knowledge of the exchanges told Reuters when asked whether the report was correct.
Mumbai 'Oddities' By Lori Price 08 Dec 2008
Pakistan ex-spy chief: U.S. wants him on terror list 07 Dec 2008 A former head of the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency said Sunday the United States wants him on a U.N. list of people and organizations linked to 'al Qaeda' and the Taliban. Long retired, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul told Reuters the U.S. moves against him began several weeks ago, pre-dating the latest controversy surrounding the ISI. Gul, a vocal critic of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan [the actual reason the US wants him on the terror (aka dissenter) list], said Pakistani foreign ministry officials had confirmed to him the United States was trying to put him on the U.N. list.
Supply trucks hit in brazen attack in Pakistan 07 Dec 2008 In one of the biggest and most brazen attacks of its kind to date, suspected Taliban insurgents with heavy weapons attacked two truck stops in northwest Pakistan early today, destroying more than 150 vehicles carrying supplies bound for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. The predawn attack on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar left the grounds of the truck terminals littered with the burned-out shells of Humvees and other military vehicles.
Taliban in Pakistan set fire to 100 Nato lorries bound for Afghanistan 07 Dec 2008 Hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed a crucial Nato depot outside the Pakistani city of Peshawar yesterday, destroying more than 100 lorries which would have taken supplies to American and British forces in Afghanistan. The gunmen overpowered and disarmed the security guards, before setting fire to the vehicles, many of which were laden with Humvee armoured cars intended for Western forces.
Taliban in 72 pct of Afghanistan, think-tank says 08 Dec 2008 The Taliban hold a permanent presence in 72 percent of Afghanistan, a think-tank said on Monday, but NATO and the Afghan government rejected the report, saying its figures were not credible. The findings by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) come in the wake of a series of critical reports on Western-led military and development efforts to put an end to the seven-year Taliban 'insurgency' in Afghanistan.
Commander sees 'tough fight' in Afghan war ['Ya think?] 08 Dec 2008 The top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan said Sunday that 2009 will be a "tough fight" in Afghanistan and the United States will need nearly twice as many troops for up to four years to 'stabilize' the country. In an interview with USA TODAY at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters, Gen. David McKiernan said increasing U.S. troop levels from about 32,000 to 55,000 or 60,000 is "needed until we get to this tipping point where the Afghan army and the Afghan police have both the capacity and capability to provide security for their people." The Afghan army has 78,000 troops and is building to 134,000.
After Israel objects, Qatar gives up plan for Gaza aid shipment 07 Dec 2008 Israel is taking steps to discourage Arab and Muslim nations from challenging its economic siege of the Gaza Strip by sending aid ships to ease the desperate circumstances of the 1.5 million Gaza Palestinians. In recent days, Israel prodded Qatar, a pro-Western Persian Gulf nation, into calling off a delegation that was preparing to transport aid from Cyprus to Gaza, according to officials who were briefed on what they said were high-level talks. Hours before a Qatar aid group was scheduled to board a boat Thursday with $2 million in cancer medication, they abruptly pulled out of the trip.
Obama Picks Shinseki to Lead Veterans Affairs 07 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama today will introduce retired Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as his nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, bringing to his Cabinet a career military officer best known for running afoul of the Bush regime by questioning the Pentagon's Iraq war strategy.
Journalists become targets in Mexico's drug war 07 Dec 2008 "We should wear ski masks, like the police," said photographer Hector Dayer, a father of two who works for the newspaper El Norte. "We are so public. Everyone can see us and identify us." Mexico is the deadliest place in the Americas to be a journalist, and among the deadliest in the world. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 24 have been killed since 2000, and seven have vanished in the past three years. Many of the victims had recently reported on police ties to cartels.
Drone lands in ND in preparation for border patrol 07 Dec 2008 After two failed tries, an unmanned aircraft expected to be the first to patrol the northern U.S. border completed a flight from Arizona to North Dakota. U.S Customs and Border Protection officials said the Predator B drone touched down Saturday at the Grand Forks Air Force Base after a six-hour flight from Libby Army Airfield in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
F-18 fighter jet crashes near San Diego 08 Dec 2008 A US military fighter jet has crashed into residential homes close to the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, California. (Video)
Panel to Call for Review of Illegal Wiretapping of Scholar --Indications: Bush regime tried to hide full extent of government's illegal spying in case. 08 Dec 2008 A Congressional oversight panel plans to ask the National Security Agency to start an investigation into new evidence that the agency illegally wiretapped a Muslim scholar in Northern Virginia and concealed the eavesdropping during a 2005 trial in which the scholar was convicted on terrorism charges. Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, said in an interview that he planned to ask the inspector general of the N.S.A. to open what would be the first formal investigation by the agency into whether its eavesdropping program had improperly interfered with an American’s right to a fair trial.
Spying on pacifists, environmentalists and nuns --An undercover MD State Police trooper infiltrated nonviolent groups and labeled dozens of people as terrorists. 07 Dec 2008 An undercover Maryland State Police trooper, between 2005 and 2007, infiltrated more than two dozen rallies and meetings of nonviolent groups. Maryland officials now concede that, based on information gathered by "Lucy" and others, state police wrongly listed at least 53 Americans as terrorists in a criminal intelligence database -- and shared some information about them with half a dozen state and federal agencies, including the National Security Agency. Among those labeled as terrorists: two Catholic nuns, a former Democratic congressional candidate, a lifelong pacifist and a registered lobbyist.
Heads up! Bio and Agro Lab Relocating from Plum Island to Manhattan, Kansas --Homeland Security selects Kansas as site for National Bio and Agro Defense Lab 04 Dec 2008 Kansas State University in Manhattan is the site that the Department of Homeland Security recommends for the building of a new National Bio and Agro-'Defense' Facility to replace the aging national laboratory at Plum Island, N.Y. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was one of the lawmakers who obtained a copy of the final draft of the environmental impact statement prepared by DHS.
Merrill's Thain seeking 2008 bonus of $10 million: report 08 Dec 2008 Merrill Lynch & Co Chief Executive John Thain has suggested to directors that he get a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, but the battered company's compensation committee is resisting his request, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation. [See: Arming the Left: Is the time now? By Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003.]
Obama vows strong new financial regulations 07 Dec 2008 U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Sunday he would put strong financial regulation at the center of his economic recovery program to force more accountability on the banking industry.
Auto Bailout Deal Advances as Democrats Offer Draft Bill 08 Dec 2008 An agreement between the White House and Congressional Democrats over the shape of a rescue plan for the auto industry advanced on Monday, with Congressional Democrats calling for a taxpayer-financed plan that would be directed by one or more appointees of President [sic] Bush. [In other words, the DemocRATs were absof*ckinglutely *useless,* as usual.]
GM says it "disappointed" and "betrayed" consumers 08 Dec 2008 General Motors Corp on Monday unveiled an unusually frank advertisement acknowledging it had "disappointed" and sometimes even "betrayed" American consumers as it lobbies to clinch the federal aid it needs to stay afloat into next month.
Dodd Calls for Firing GM's Wagoner, Chrysler Merger 07 Dec 2008 Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Richard Wagoner should be replaced as a condition for federal aid and Chrysler LLC may have to merge to survive. "You’ve got to consider new leadership," Dodd said on CBS’s "Face the Nation." Wagoner, he said, "has to move on."
Tribune Files for Bankruptcy 08 Dec 2008 The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection in a federal court in Delaware on Monday, as the owner of The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Cubs baseball team struggled to cope with rising debt and falling ad revenue.
Times Co. to Borrow Against Building 08 Dec 2008 The New York Times Company plans to borrow up to $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building, to ease a potential cash flow squeeze as the company grapples with tighter credit and shrinking profits.
Fears of a million layoffs a month in corporate America 07 Dec 2008 As many as a million American jobs could be lost every month by next spring as businesses struggle to raise capital in financial markets consumed by fear, according to a new analysis. November was the worst month in the US labour market since the oil crisis of 1974, as more than 500,000 US workers were laid off, according to official figures released on Friday.
Democrats pick up a House seat in central Ohio 07 Dec 2008 Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy came from behind Sunday to snatch a central Ohio seat from House Republicans after elections officials tallied provisional ballots. Kilroy's victory by a little more than 2,000 votes over Republican Steve Stivers put the 15th Congressional District seat into Democratic hands after the retirement of Republican [sociopath] Deborah Pryce.
McCain warns Pakistan of Indian strikes 07 Dec 2008 US Senator John McCain has said he believes that if Pakistan does not act against individuals and groups linked to the Mumbai Terror attacks, it could be a "matter of days" before India carries out surgical strikes against such elements. There is enough evidence of the involvement of former Inter-Services Intelligence officers in the planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks and terrorist training camps are still operational in Pakistan, McCain told a small group of senior Pakistani journalists at an informal lunch in Lahore on Saturday.
Mumbai attack: Act now, or we'll act, America warns Pakistan 06 Dec 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told Pakistan that there is ‘irrefutable evidence’ of involvement of elements in this country in the Mumbai Terror attacks and it had no option but to act urgently and effectively to avert a strong international response. Rice ‘pushed’ the Pakistani leaders to move against the perpetrators of the terror strikes warning that ‘otherwise, the US will act,’ the 'Dawn' reported on Saturday.
Hoax call during Mumbai siege threatened war on Pakistan --Pakistan's air force was on highest alert after a man claiming to be the Indian foreign minister called the president. 07 Dec 2008 A hoax caller claiming to be India's foreign minister threatened Pakistan's president with war during the final hours of the Mumbai attacks, prompting Islamabad to put its air force on its highest alert for nearly 24 hours, a news report said Saturday. Meanwhile, Indian authorities reported the first arrests since the end of last month's siege in India's commercial and entertainment capital, which killed more than 170 people.
Arrested cop was deputed to sneak into Lashkar 07 Dec 2008 The trail of the SIM cards recovered from terrorists in Mumbai has led to a J&K policeman who was arrested by police in New Delhi, taking the lid off an undercover operation that had successfully sneaked deep inside Lashkar ranks. Mukhtar Ahmed--a 'follower' in District Special Branch of J-K police in Srinagar district--had been deputed for an undercover operation. It is learnt that a Lashkar operative needed SIM cards for their men and sought Ahmed’s help, who contacted Tausif Rehman based in Kolkata. And when the police found out that a SIM card recovered from a Mumbai attack site was one of the 22 Rehman sold to Ahmed, they immediately arrested both.
Pakistani militants set ablaze Humvees for western forces 07 Dec 2008 Pakistani militants set on fire 96 trucks carrying Hamvees and military vehicles for Western forces in Afghanistan in an attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday, police said. "It happened at around 2:30 (4:30 a.m. EDT). They fired rockets, hurled hand grenades and then set ablaze 96 trucks," senior police officer, Azeem Khan, told Reuters.
Bomb Kills at Least 29 and Wounds 90 in Pakistan 06 Dec 2008 A powerful bomb struck the crowded alleyways of a central bazaar in the chaotic city of Peshawar on Friday, killing at least 29 people and wounding more than 90, Pakistani officials said.
to Decide Legality of Indefinite Detention --Case of Qatari National,
Held Without Formal Charges, Is Test of
Five Blackwater Guards to Face Massacre Charges Next Week --Guards Told to Surrender to the FBI by Monday on Manslaughter, Assault Counts 05 Dec 2008 Five Blackwater mercenaries have been told to surrender to the FBI by Monday to face federal manslaughter and assault charges connected to the shooting deaths of 17 civilians at an traffic circle in Iraq last year, ABC News has learned. Law enforcement officials say the grand jury hearing the case was in session Thursday in Washington, D.C. and was expected to have voted on the indictments.
Iraq translators' mask ban dropped 06 Dec 2008 The Pentagon has rescinded a controversial decision that banned Iraqi interpreters working for US troops in Baghdad from protecting their identities by wearing ski-masks. The ban was meant to reflect the improved security situation - in which interpreters were no longer afraid of retaliation. But that is not the case.
Police: bombs and shootings kill 6 in Iraq 06 Dec 2008 Bombers and gunmen targeted Iraqi police recruits and U.S.-allied Sunni guards in a series of attacks Saturday that killed at least six people and wounded dozens, officials said. The deadliest attack on Saturday was an ambush on a checkpoint manned by members of an armed Sunni group that has joined forces with the United States against 'al-Qaida' in Iraq.
US to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan 06 Dec 2008 The US military is preparing for a build-up of as many as 20,000 troops next year in Afghanistan to step up the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] insurgency, a top US commander said Friday.
Bush: America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon 06 Dec 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush reiterated his pledge that the United States will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons in a wide-ranging speech on the Middle East Friday. "For the safety of our people and the peace of the world, America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," Bush said at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
Ex-House leader advises Israel on war on Iran 06 Dec 2008 Former House speaker Newt Gingrich says it is foolish to want Israel not to prepare for military action against Iran's nuclear program. "The Israeli government probably would be best served if they created a deadline of sometime next fall," Gingrich said in an appearance on Fox News.
Jewish settlers in Hebron shoot Palestinian men 05 Dec 2008 The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has released graphic video footage showing settlers fighting with Palestinians in Hebron and shooting two men at close range in the hours after a settler house was evacuated by police yesterday. The film, recorded by a Palestinian resident in Hebron, shows settlers attacking his house, which was in a valley close to the three-storey building where dozens of settlers were evicted by Israeli riot police.
Israeli "Auto Kill Zone" Towers Locked and Loaded By Noah Shachtman 05 Dec 2008 On the U.S.-Mexico border, the American government has been trying, with limited success, to set up a string of sensor-laden sentry towers, which would watch out for illicit incursions. In Israel, they've got their own set of border towers. But the Sabras' model comes with automatic guns, operated from afar. The Sentry Tech towers are basically remote weapons stations, stuck on stop of silos.
On His Way Out, Bush Leads Others In 07 Dec 2008 On Tuesday alone, Mr. Bush hired 18 people "to serve in his administration," a White House news release said. The appointments and nominations mostly involved multiyear terms to small boards and commissions that most Americans have never heard about. All told, Mr. Bush has made roughly 30 personnel moves since the November election, some in nominations that will require Senate approval, and others in direct appointments that will last well into President-elect Barack Obama's term and beyond.
Justice Dept. Says Pentagon Must Comply With EPA Cleanup Orders 05 Dec 2008 The Justice Department dealt a blow to the Pentagon this week, saying it has no legal authority to resist orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade in Maryland and two other military sites that have been contaminated by chemicals. In a Dec. 1 letter obtained by The Washington Post, Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general at Justice, said that the Pentagon had no legal grounds to resist the cleanup orders from the EPA. The letter was celebrated by critics of the Pentagon, the nation's largest polluter.
Feds OK rule allowing loaded weapons in national parks 05 Dec 2008 Some visitors to the nation's parks and wildlife refuges will be allowed to carry loaded weapons beginning in January under a plan given final approval Friday by the Bush regime. As expected, the Interior Department decided to scrap its longtime ban on loaded weapons. Under the new regulation, individuals will be allowed to carry loaded, concealed weapons in parks or wildlife refuges if they have state permits to carry concealed weapons in the state in which the national park or refuge is located.
George Bush buys new home in Billionaire's Row 06 Dec 2008 There goes the neighbourhood. President [sic] Bush has taken another step towards leaving the White House by buying a home in one of the richest enclaves in America: the exclusive Preston Hollow neighbourhood in Dallas, Texas. His wealthy new neighbours will include the billionaire Ross Perot and T. Boone Pickens, the Texan oilman behind the Swift Boat advertisements that ruined the presidential bid of John Kerry in 2004. The neighbourhood has numerous other members of the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans and local sport heroes.
Satire: Bush Finds Obscure Law That Allows Him a "Do-Over" By R J Shulman 06 Dec 2008 President [sic] Bush has mentioned to several friends that, in reflecting on his presidency, he would have liked to have done some things differently. Now, thanks to a little known law, his wish may come true. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that will take the lead in reviewing Bush's pleading. "We installed that twerp to begin with," Thomas said, "so maybe we can redeem ourselves by giving him a change to fix the mess he has made." (Satire)
3 Palin Stylists Cost Campaign More Than $165,000 06 Dec 2008 Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign spent more than $165,000 over the course of nine weeks on a trio of stylists for Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, equivalent to what a Hollywood studio might invest in preparing an A-list actress for a movie premiere or publicity campaign, other stylists said. Besides the payments to the stylists, the new reports, for the period of Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, showed additional purchases on Ms. Palin’s behalf, significantly beyond the $150,000 already reported that was spent by the party at luxury stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
Voters Oust Indicted Congressman in Louisiana 07 Dec 2008 Representative William J. Jefferson was defeated by a little-known Republican lawyer here Saturday in a late-running Congressional election, underscoring the sharp demographic shifts in this city since [Bush killed so many poor people and minorities in the aftermath of] Hurricane Katrina and handing Republicans an unexpected victory in a district that had been solidly Democratic. [Heckova job, Brownie -- mission accomplished!]
Source: Illinois State Senator to Likely to Fill Obama's Senate Seat 06 Dec 2008 Illinois Senate President Emil Jones has become the front runner to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the United States Senate, a source told FOX News. Jones, 73, served in the House of the Illinois General Assembly for 10 years until 1983 before joining the state Senate, where he's been ever since.
Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale 07 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama committed Saturday to the largest public works construction program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.
Democrats, White House Said to Agree on Automaker Aid 06 Dec 2008 Democrats in Congress reached an agreement in principle with the Bush administration on providing funds to prevent a collapse of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, a congressional aide said. Details of the legislation that will be voted on next week are still to be worked out, including the total amount of aid to be offered, the Democratic aide said. Still, the accord ends a dispute over the source of the funds that stalled congressional action for weeks.
Laid-off workers occupy Chicago factory --'We're doing something we haven't since the 1930s,' labor organizer says 06 Dec 2008 Workers laid off from their jobs at a factory have occupied the building and are demanding assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay that they say they are owed. About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began their sit-in Friday, the last scheduled day of the plant's operation.
Feds: Boston Homeland Security honcho harbored illegal alien 05 Dec 2008 A U.S. Homeland Security director [Lorraine Henderson] charged with keeping illegal aliens from entering New England ports was busted this morning for allegedly employing a Brazilian housekeeper who snuck into the United States unlawfully, federal prosecutors charged.
Bird flu spreads to two more districts in Assam 06 Dec 2008 Nine days after bird flu was first reported from Hajo in Kamrup (rural) district of Lower Assam, the authorities on Friday confirmed that the killer avian disease had spread to Nalbari and Barpeta districts too, with Rapid Reaction Teams fanning out to the new areas to carry out culling operations.
Climate protesters demand swifter U.N. action 06 Dec 2008 Thousands of climate protesters, some dressed as polar bears, devils or penguins, demanded on Saturday swifter action from the United Nations to combat global warming. Outside U.N.-led talks in Poland aimed at pushing 187 countries toward stiffer targets to fight global warming, some 1,000 demonstrators said governments were risking the planet's future by delaying action to squabble over who was to blame.
Police: Mumbai gunman's mobile SIM card possibly from New Jersey 04 Dec 2008 The sole Mumbai gunman [Azam Amir Kasab] to be taken alive has said he was paid 150,000 Pakistani rupees – about £1,300 or $1,900 – for his part in the attacks that killed nearly 200 people, according to police. Police are also investigating a possible link to the United States – a mobile SIM card found with the terrorists which possibly came from New Jersey. Police interrogators have told The Times that they are poised to settle the matter of Kasab's background through the use of "narcoanalysis" – a controversial technique, banned in most democracies, where the subject is injected with a "truth serum". Deven Bharti, a deputy police commissioner in Mumbai and one of the interrogators, said that there was "no doubt" that Kasab will be subjected to "narcoanalysis". The drug – probably sodium pentothal – will be administered through a drip and will lull Kasab into a trance-like state.
Mumbai attacks: Indian operative 'helped Pakistani militants' 05 Dec 2008 A Pakistani militant group used an Indian operative as far back as 2007 to scout targets for the elaborate plot against India's financial capital, authorities have said. The discovery is a blow to Indian officials who have blamed the deadly attacks entirely on Pakistani extremists. As investigators sought to unravel the attack on Mumbai, stepping up questioning of the lone captured gunman, airports across India were put on high alert amid fresh warnings that terrorists planned to hijack an aircraft.
Mumbai: Was it Indeed an Islamic Terror Attack? Were Muslims even Involved? By Julaybib 05 Dec 2008 If the Mumbai terrorists' background was consistent with the single captured survivor, then the terrorist actions were not performed by Muslims, but by mercenaries, that is soldiers of fortune, hired criminals, paid to murder and terrorize, for non-religious reasons, and funded by unknown criminal gangs for purposes also unknown... This certainly suggests that the criminal gangs who hired the mercenary terrorists in Mumbai, were like their soldiers, motivated also by financial gain, as criminal gangs tend to be so engaged, and that the gangs themselves were hired by perhaps non-Pakistani actors, with ambitions for control of the government of Pakistan.
Can the president order the indefinite military detention of people living in the United States? Justices Take Case on President's Power to Detain --Man arrested December 2001 in Peoria, Ill., has been held without charge in isolation for more than five years 06 Dec 2008 The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the most fundamental question yet concerning executive power in the age of terror: Can the president order the indefinite military detention of people living in the United States? The case concerns Ali al-Marri, the only person on the American mainland being held as an enemy combatant, at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. Mr. Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was legally in the United States when he was arrested in December 2001 in Peoria, Ill., where he was living with his family and studying computer science at Bradley University.
US justices to rule on terror suspect's detention 05 Dec 2008 The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that it would decide whether President [sic] George W. Bush can order the indefinite imprisonment in the United States of an al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] suspect without charging him. In the latest test of Bush's war-on-terrorism policies, the nation's highest court agreed to hear an appeal by a Qatari national, Ali al-Marri, the only foreign national currently being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant."
Suit claims Halliburton, KBR sickened base 05 Dec 2008 A Georgia man has filed a lawsuit against contractor KBR and its former parent company, Halliburton, saying the companies exposed everyone at Joint Base Balad in Iraq to unsafe water, food and hazardous fumes from the burn pit there. Joshua Eller, who worked as a civilian computer-aided drafting technician with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said military personnel, contractors and third-country nationals may have been sickened by contamination at the largest U.S. installation in Iraq, home to more than 30,000 service members, Defense Department civilians and contractors.
KBR Sued for Giving Soldiers Ice with 'Traces of Body Fluids and Putrefied Remains' by ZP Heller 04 Dec 2008 As former KBR Water Purification Specialist Ben Carter described in this clip from Iraq for Sale and in his Congressional testimony, KBR failed to provide adequate water safety, resulting in toxic drinking and bathing water. This war profiteer also failed to manage a medical incinerator properly, instead disposing medical waste and human remains in an open air burn pit. Eller claims that at one point, he saw a wild dog running around the base with a human arm in its mouth that KBR had dumped into the pit. And the grizzly kicker, the suit accuses KBR of using mortuary trucks that "still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice" later served to U.S. troops.
preparing for troop buildup in Afghanistan
05 Dec 2008 The military is beginning a big building effort in Afghanistan
to house the roughly 20,000 additional troops who are expected to
begin pouring in early next year, a top military officer said Friday.
Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, deputy commander for operations for U.S.
forces in Afghanistan, could not quantify
the number of buildings or
Pentagon plans troop surge in Afghanistan 05 Dec 2008 The Pentagon has begun a massive building operation to construct new barracks and facilities in Afghanistan for 20,000 extra US troops that will pour into the country early next year. The surge of additional forces... comes amid growing tensions between the US and Britain over the possible deployment of extra UK troops - and the performance of British soldiers already there.
Afghanistan deaths bring Canada soldiers' toll to 100: media 05 Dec 2008 Three Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, bringing the overall death toll of Canadian military service members killed in the war-torn country to 100 so far, the CBC said Friday.
Afghan roadside bomb kills 3 Canadians 05 Dec 2008 A roadside bomb in Afghanistan killed three Canadian soldiers and seriously injured two others Friday near Kandahar, military officials said. The troops were on patrol in an armored vehicle around 9 a.m. when they hit the device, U.S. Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, the deputy chief of staff of U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, told reporters in a teleconference call.
mulls downing U.S. drones --Says attacks destabilize the country;
wants policy change 04 Dec 2008 Pakistani officials are urging
the incoming Obama administration to stop air attacks on Pakistani
territory and even are hinting that they might shoot down U.S. drones
that have hit
Bush: Iraq war longer, more costly than expected 05 Dec 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush said Friday that the fight in Iraq has been longer and more costly than expected, but he defended the U.S.-led invasion, saying the world could not have risked leaving Saddam Hussein's power unchecked. [Too bad the world left George W. Bush's power unchecked.]
2 US soldiers killed in Iraq suicide attack 04 Dec 2008 The U.S. military says two American soldiers have been killed in a suicide attack in Mosul. Lt. Col. Dave Doherty says the two soldiers were killed Thursday afternoon when a driver detonated a car near a checkpoint. Military officials also say preliminary reports from the scene indicate nine civilians were wounded in the attack.
U.S. says missile defense test 'successful' --Boeing Co is prime contractor for system, called ground-based midcourse defense 05 Dec 2008 The U.S. military conducted a successful test of its system built to knock out long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran, the Pentagon said on Friday. The target missile for the test over the Pacific was launched from Kodiak, Alaska and an interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, officials said. The intercept took place at 3:29 p.m. EST (2029 GMT).
US mulls unusual tactic as Blackwater charges loom 04 Dec 2008 Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly Baghdad shooting of Iraqi civilians in 2007 could face mandatory 30-year prison sentences. People close to the case say the Justice Department could prosecute the mercenaries under an anti-drug law, even though drugs were not involved. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 law calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not.
Guard Sergeant Acquitted of Murdering Two Officers in Iraq 05 Dec 2008 A soldier in the New York Army National Guard was acquitted of murder on Thursday in the bombing deaths of two superiors in Iraq, triggering outbursts and gasps from the slain officers’ families. A military jury found the soldier, Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez, not guilty on two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Capt. Phillip T. Esposito of Suffern, N.Y., and First Lt. Louis E. Allen of Milford, Pa.
Israeli Troops Evict Settlers in the West Bank 05 Dec 2008 Israeli troops forcibly evicted about 200 hard-line Jewish settlers from a contested building in this volatile biblical city on Thursday, the first serious clash in what seems to be a spiraling confrontation between the government and defiant settlers. The operation, carried out by 600 soldiers and policemen with stealth and efficiency, took half an hour and resulted in two dozen relatively light injuries. ...Young settlers then rampaged through Palestinian fields and neighborhoods, setting olive trees on fire and trashing houses.
Israel criticized at top U.N. human rights 04 Dec 2008 Israel drew fire regarding its human rights record on Thursday at a United Nations forum where its neighbors accused it of committing systematic violations against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Delegations from Syria, Egypt and Iran raised concerns about Israel's security wall, its detentions of young Palestinians, and what they called "illegal" Jewish settlements during the regular review by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
legal team meets with anti-torture generals 04 Dec 2008
A dozen retired generals met with President-elect Barack Obama's
top legal advisers Wednesday, pressing their case to overturn some
of the Bush regime's terrorism-
CPJ's 2008 prison census: Online and in jail 04 Dec 2008 Reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary, more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, released today, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ's prison census.
'The revision of the rule eliminates all references to Congressional authority.' Interior Dept. Changes Rule to Remove Congress Veto 05 Dec 2008 In another regulatory action in the waning days of the Bush dictatorship, the Interior Department on Thursday unveiled a new rule that challenges Congress’s authority to prevent mining planned on public lands. Congress has emergency power to stop mineral development, and has used it six times in the last 32 years. The most recent was in June, when it put a three-year moratorium on uranium mining on one million acres near the Grand Canyon. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has ignored that Congressional directive, saying it was procedurally flawed. The revision of the rule eliminates all references to Congressional authority.
Malls boost security as shopping season starts 05 Dec 2008 Malls across the country have boosted security in recent months, adding rooftop observation posts, parking lot cameras and more patrols to keep shoppers safe. A handful of violent incidents occurred at malls this week as shoppers mobbed stores for deals at the start of the holiday shopping season.
New England border protection chief charged with hiring illegal immigrants 05 Dec 2008 The regional director of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection was charged today with repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants to clean her Salem home after one cleaner wore a wire during an undercover investigation. Lorraine Henderson is the director of the Port of Boston, overseeing 190 armed federal officers who patrol major airports and shipping terminals in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Obama raised $104 million toward election's close 05 Dec 2008 Barack Obama's presidential campaign raised $104 million in the weeks around Election Day, a grand finale to a successful bid that shattered fundraising records. Overall, Obama raised nearly $750 million during his odyssey to the presidency, and his spending in the eight weeks before the election vastly outpaced that of his Republican rival John McCain, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. [People were terrified of getting McInsane and sociopath Sarah Palin.]
House joins Senate in voicing skepticism about auto bailout 05 Dec 2008 Detroit's Big Three auto executives pressed their case for $34 billion in federal aid to the House of Representatives on Friday, but found the same kind of lukewarm, often discouraging reception they'd gotten a day earlier from the Senate. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., painted a dire picture of the U.S. economy to illustrate why the carmakers need urgent help.
U.S. jobless rate climbs to 6.7% 05 Dec 2008 The U.S. economy lost more than half a million jobs last month as the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent. The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls in November fell by 533,000, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest level since 1993.
Employers cut 533K jobs in Nov., most in 34 years 05 Dec 2008 The government says employers axed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent. It was dramatic proof the country is careening ever deeper into [Bush's] recession.
More polar bears go hungry in the spring 04 Dec 2008 Climate change is already starting to bite in the Arctic. Rising temperatures and melting ice shelves are leaving polar bears hungry, a new study shows. Filling up during the spring months is important for polar bears, helping them to survive the leaner summer months, when the sea ice has retreated and seals are harder to catch. However, new research shows that polar bears are now struggling to find enough food during the spring.
IDF preparing options for Iran strike 04 Dec 2008 The IDF is drawing up options for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities that do not include coordination with the United States, The Jerusalem Post has learned. While its preference is to coordinate with the US, defense officials have said Israel is preparing a wide range of options for such an operation. "It is always better to coordinate," one top Defense Ministry official explained last week. "But we are also preparing options that do not include coordination."
Israel 'prepared to attack' Iran nuclear plants 04 Dec 2008 Israel is drawing up plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and is prepared to launch a strike without backing from the US, it has been reported. Officials in the Israeli Defence Ministry told the Jerusalem Post that while they prefer to act in consultation with the US, they were preparing plans that would allow them to act in isolation.
Air Force plans to create fourth B-52 squadron at Minot by 2010 04 Dec 2008 The Air Force will stand up a fourth operational B-52 squadron, likely at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., by late 2009 or early 2010, according to Air Combat Command. "Each of the four operational squadrons would consist of 11 combat-coded aircraft," said Air Combat Command spokeswoman Maj. Michelle Coghill.
Terrorists could mount nuclear or biological attack within 5 years, warns Congress inquiry 04 Dec 2008 An investigation by the US Congress into weapons of mass destruction published yesterday made a chilling prediction of terrorists mounting an attack using biological or nuclear weapons within the next five years. The six-month inquiry mentioned Pakistan as one of the likeliest sources of such an attack. The target could be the US or some other part of the world. The report, by the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, said "unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013".
Alarm raised on threat of mass assault 04 Dec 2008 Terrorist organisations would succeed in using weapons of mass destruction within five years unless the world community "acts decisively", according to a congressionally mandated commission set up to scrutinise WMD after the September 11 attacks. "It is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013," according to the report, released yesterday by the commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism.
Slew of Warnings on Nuclear, Biological Terrorism Prompt Worries of Fearmongering 03 Dec 2008 After a series of dire new warnings about possible terrorist threats--capped by a government commission's report that terrorists are likely to stage a biological or nuclear attack somewhere in the world during the next five years--some experts are urging officials "to retire the fear card," as California Rep. Jane Harman puts it.
Iraq's presidency council OKs security pact as 10 dead in Fallujah 04 Dec 2008 Iraq's presidency council has approved a security accord with the United States that paves the way for a complete U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of 2011, a spokesman for the council said on Thursday. The pact was approved by the Iraqi parliament last month after protracted negotiations. It is supposed to be put to a public referendum next year.
Bomb strikes minibus in Baghdad, killing 1 03 Dec 2008 Iraqi police say at least one civilian has been killed and five others wounded when a bomb attached to a minibus exploded in eastern Baghdad. Police and hospital officials say the explosion Wednesday appeared to target employees of Iraq's Ministry of Education who were on their way to work.
Bomb attacks kill 31 in Iraq cities 02 Dec 2008 Bomb attacks targeting Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and a US patrol in Mosul left at least 31 dead and dozens more injured yesterday. The US military said 15 policemen died and 35 police and civilians were injured in the Baghdad attack. In Mosul, a suicide bomber struck a US military patrol.
Italian judge suspends CIA kidnapping trial 03 Dec 2008 A Milan judge on Wednesday suspended the high-profile trial of U.S. and Italian agents suspected of a CIA kidnapping after Prime Minister [Bush troll] Silvio Berlusconi authorized witnesses to invoke state secrecy. Judge Oscar Magi said Berlusconi had made it extremely difficult to know what evidence should be allowed in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of kidnapping a terrorism suspect in Milan in 2003.
Ex-prosecutor says Guantanamo is "stain on America" --Tribunals 'defiled U.S. Constitution' 02 Dec 2008 U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay are a "stain on America" that risk convicting innocent people because judicial standards are so low, a former senior prosecutor at the prison said on Tuesday. Darrel Vandeveld, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who left his post at the base in Cuba earlier this year on ethical grounds, told the BBC that it was impossible to guarantee fair trials there.
Gunmen Storm Afghan Security Buildings --Officials: Casualties Unclear As Gun Battle Still Ongoing 04 Dec 2008 Two suicide bombers simultaneous attacked the headquarters of Afghanistan's Intelligence Agency (NDS) and its counternarcotics building in the eastern city of Khost Thursday morning, reported CBS News. The bomb blasts were followed by a group of armed men in military uniform storming the NDS building, according to an employee of a mercenary firm which provides protection for non-governmental organizations and NATO coalition convoys in the region.
Double suicide attacks kills five in Afghanistan: official 04 Dec 2008 Two suicide attacks against a 'counter' narcotics office and the intelligence agency Thursday killed at least five people and wounded ten others in eastern Afghanistan, an official said. A suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden Toyota pick up truck into the entrance of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Khost city, the capital of Khost province, killing two agency employees.
Report: India Warned of Airborne Attacks --New Intelligence Puts Indian Airports On High Alert, Unexploded Grenade Found At Hospital 04 Dec 2008 Local media reports quoted the Indian air force chief Thursday as saying authorities had received warnings of a possible airborne terrorist attack. Major airports across the country were put on high alert after receiving the information from intelligence agencies about possible aerial strikes.
Rice tells Pakistan to act against militant threat --US Secretary of State calls for 'resolve and urgency' 04 Dec 2008 Pakistan came under renewed pressure yesterday to respond to accusations over the Mumbai terror attacks when the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, called for "resolve and urgency" in bringing those responsible to justice.
Explosives found, defused at Mumbai railway station: police 03 Dec 2008 Indian police on Wednesday discovered and defused explosives at Mumbai's main railway station, left by militants [planted ?] who struck the city last week. The situation was "under control" and a bomb disposal unit had defused the devices, anti-terrorism chief K.P. Raghuvashi told AFP.
Nato snubs US by resuming Russia contacts 03 Dec 2008 The US suffered a setback yesterday when their west European Nato allies forced a resumption of contacts between the alliance and Russia and stalled Nato-membership bids from Georgia and Ukraine. A meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels agreed to reopen contacts with Moscow, frozen in protest at Russia's invasion and partition of Georgia last August. [<g>]
Nations sign cluster bomb treaty 03 Dec 2008 The first of more than 100 countries have begun signing a treaty to ban current designs of cluster bombs, at a conference in Oslo, Norway. Campaigners are hailing the treaty as a major breakthrough. But some of the biggest stockpilers, including the US, Russia and China, are not among the signatories.
Special Forces Get Stealth Robocopter 03 Dec 2008 This month, U.S. Special Forces Command is quietly taking delivery of a radical new drone: the Boeing A160T Hummingbird, which rewrites the rules for helicopters. ...The Hummingbird can go further, longer, higher – and quieter – than anything else around. According to Jane's, 10 Hummingbirds are supposed to be delivered this month, under a joint SOCOM-DARPA program known as the Special Operations Long Endurance Demonstration (SLED).
Panel Rules Jail Stabbing Constituted Terrorism 03 Dec 2008 A reputed former leader of Al Qaeda who is serving 32 years in prison for stabbing a jail guard in 2000 must be resentenced, a federal appeals panel in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday, because a judge wrongly concluded that the man’s crime did not meet the legal standard for terrorism.
The Big Brother state – by stealth --Personal information detailing intimate aspects of the lives of every British citizen is to be handed over to government agencies under sweeping new powers. 04 Dec 2008 Personal information detailing intimate aspects of the lives of every British citizen is to be handed over to government agencies under sweeping new powers. The measure, which will give ministers the right to allow all public bodies to exchange sensitive data with each other, is expected to be rushed through Parliament in a Bill to be published tomorrow. The new legislation would deny MPs a full vote on such data-sharing. Instead, ministers could authorise the swapping of information between councils, the police, NHS trusts, the Inland Revenue, education authorities, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, the Department for Work and Pensions and other ministries.
Behavioral screening -- the future of airport security? --Israeli companies have become leaders in developing security technology 02 Dec 2008 Security experts say focus is shifting from analyzing the content of carry-ons to analyzing the content of passengers' intentions and emotions. "We are seeing a needed paradigm shift when it comes to security," says Omer Laviv, CEO of ATHENA GS3, an Israeli-based security company. "This 'brain-fingerprinting,' or technology which checks for behavioral intent, is much more developed than we think."
EU court annuls EU's new Iran terror list move 04 Dec 2008 A European Union court on Thursday annulled a new move by the bloc to freeze the assets of an exiled Iranian opposition group in the latest in a string of legal setbacks to its blacklist of suspected terrorist groups. The European Court of First Instance already threw out last month a 2007 move to freeze the assets of People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), the group which exposed Iran's covert nuclear programme in 2002.
Richardson Appointed Commerce Secretary 03 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former political opponent, to be commerce secretary this morning. Obama said Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and international negotiator, will be "a leading economic diplomat for America." He will also be a domestic strategist as Obama wrestles with the declining U.S. economy, Obama said.
Bush administration ignored clear warnings --Under pressure from banking industry, U.S. government eased lending rules 01 Dec 2008 The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.
Bush Issues Order to Deny 8,600 Federal Workers Bargaining Rights 02 Dec 2008 President [sic] Bush issued an executive order on Monday that denies collective bargaining rights to about 8,600 federal employees who work in law enforcement, intelligence and other agencies responsible for national security. Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said that employees at the alcohol, tobacco and firearms agency had just "had their collective bargaining rights stripped away for no justifiable reason."
EPA to gut mountaintop mining rule that protects streams 02 Dec 2008 The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush regime that will allow coal companies to bury streams under the rocks leftover from mining... Government figures show that 535 miles of streams were buried or diverted from 2001 to 2005, more than half of them in the mountains of Appalachia. Along with the loss of the streams has been an increase of erosion and flooding.
Coal Mining Debris Rule Is Approved 03 Dec 2008 The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President [sic] Bush’s last weeks in office.
Oops! Obama Drops Windfall Profits Tax for Oil and Gas Industry 02 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama has removed any reference of his promise to implement a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry from the Obama-Biden Transition Team website. During the course of the 2008 presidential election, the Obama campaign called for a windfall profits tax on the oil industry as a means of subsidizing a $1,000 "emergency" rebate for consumers struggling with surging gas prices. However www.change.gov, which houses the Obama-Biden transition agenda, was recently cleansed of any mention of such a tax.
AT&T to Cut 12,000 Jobs 04 Dec 2008 AT&T Inc. said it will cut about 12,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of its workforce. The company will take a charge of about $600 million in its fourth quarter to pay severance.
Marine life faces 'acid threat' 25 Nov 2008 Man-made pollution is raising ocean acidity at least 10 times faster than previously thought, a study says. Researchers say carbon dioxide levels are having a marked effect on the health of shellfish such as mussels. They sampled coastal waters off the north-west Pacific coast of the US every half-hour for eight years.
NSW holiday for Adelaide Zoo flamingo bashing accused 04 Dec 2008 Taxpayers will pay for one of the alleged Adelaide Zoo flamingo bashers to travel to New South Wales to visit his mother. The 17-year-old [sociopath] appeared briefly in Adelaide Youth Court today on a charge of aggravated ill-treatment of an animal. The youth is one of four teens charged over the attack on the half-blind flamingo at Adelaide Zoo last month. The flamingo, believed to be about 78 years of age and one of the oldest in the world, suffered injuries to its head in the daylight attack.
U.S. military contractor in Iraq holds foreign workers in warehouses 02 Dec 2008 About 1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work. Najlaa International Catering Services, a subcontractor to KBR, an engineering, construction and services company, hired the men who are from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. On Tuesday, they staged a march outside their compound to protest their living conditions.
Blackwater holding anti-piracy meetings in London --Blackwater: At least 70 companies have contacted them about protection services 02 Dec 2008 Private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide is meeting with shipping and insurance companies this week to describe what the company can do to protect vessels traveling through the volatile Gulf of Aden. Blackwater is holding meetings in London from Tuesday to Thursday.
Pentagon hires British scientist to help build robot soldiers that 'won't commit war crimes' --A British robotics expert has been recruited by the US Navy to advise them on building robots that do not violate the Geneva Conventions. 01 Dec 2008 The American military is planning to build robot soldiers that will not be able to commit war crimes like their human comrades in arms. The US Army and Navy have both hired experts in the ethics of building machines to prevent the creation of an amoral Terminator-style killing machine that murders indiscriminately. By 2010 the US will have invested $4 billion in a research programme into "autonomous systems", the military jargon for robots.
U.S. soldiers charged for abusing Afghans 02 Dec 2008 Two U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been charged with the abuse [torture] of Afghan prisoners, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. Any suspicion of abuse by U.S. soldiers is likely to further erode public support for international troops, now fighting a war in Afghanistan that has entered its eighth year.
Dozen killed in Iraq blasts 02 Dec 2008 Three bombs have killed at least 14 people across Iraq, officials said. A bomb hidden in a cart exploded outside a school in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing four people, including two children and wounding 12 others, police said.
President Bush 'unprepared for war' and regrets false Iraq intelligence 02 Dec 2008 President [sic] Bush has acknowledged that he was "unprepared for war" when he arrived in the White House at the start of an administration that would largely be defined by terror attacks at home and military conflict abroad.
Spain 'authorised' CIA rendition flights 01 Dec 2008 An investigation has been launched after it emerged that the former conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar allowed controversial CIA flights to land on Spanish soil. Spain has previously denied all knowledge of "secret stopover" flights by CIA planes transporting terror suspects to the US military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But a "top secret" document leaked to Spanish daily newspaper El Pais shows that permission was sought by the US from Spain's Foreign Ministry in early 2002.
Gates Stresses Nuclear Responsibility at Minot Air Force Base 02 Dec 2008 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday urged Air Force personnel at a troubled military base to step up their care over the installation's nuclear weapons. He spoke on the day that President-elect Barack Obama announced that Gates would remain in his job when the new administration takes office in January.
Taliban ready to defend Pakistan against India By Robert Birsel and Zeeshan Haider 02 Dec 2008 Pakistan’s Taliban have indignantly criticised what they said were India’s "unfounded" threats against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai assault and they vowed to rally to the defence of the country in the event of an Indian attack. "If they dared to attack Pakistan then, God willing, we will share the happiness and grief with all Pakistanis," said Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar.
US presses Pakistan over Mumbai 03 Dec 2008 The US secretary of state has called on Pakistan to give its "total" co-operation in finding those responsible for last week's deadly attacks on Mumbai as India demanded Pakistan hand over 20 suspects.
US warned India 'twice' about sea attack on Mumbai: Report 02 Dec 2008 United States intelligence agencies had warned India "twice" about a potential maritime attack on Mumbai at least a month before audacious terror strikes that has left about 200 people dead and scores injured, media reports said. "The United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week's massacre in Mumbai," the CNN quoted a US counter-terrorism official as saying.
Mumbai attackers were 'non-state actors' 01 Dec 2008 Pakistan’s ambassador Husain Haqqani told ABC in an interview on Sunday that those who staged the Mumbai attacks were 'non-state actors' and this is no time for India and Pakistan to blame each other but to work together to fight terrorism. In answer to a question, Haqqani said if India moves its forces to the border with Pakistan, it will leave his country no option but to take steps to defend itself.
Search for Mumbai gunman's roots only deepens mystery 01 Dec 2008 (Faridkot, Pakistan) For the past three days Pakistani intelligence agents and police have been combing this sleepy village in search of clues to the identity of the lone gunman captured in the Mumbai terror attacks, residents said on Monday. Indian officials and news media officials identified him variously as Ajmal Amir Kamal, Azam Amir Kasav, or Azam Ameer Qasab... Local residents, however, are bewildered and alarmed. They said there was no one of that surname in this village, and no missing resident who fit the pictures and description shown in the Indian news media.
Three killed, 30 wounded in Assam train blast 02 Dec 2008 Three people were killed and more than 30 wounded on Tuesday in a blast that ripped through a passenger train in Assam, police officials said. One person died on the spot and two succumbed to their injuries at a local hospital. The explosion occurred shortly after the train arrived at Diphu railroad station, about 200 miles (300 kilometers) south of Guwahati, said District Magistrate M C Sahu.
Political coup in Canada; Dion to replace Harper as new PM 02 Dec 2008 In a political coup, Canada's three opposition parties have joined hands to oust the just elected minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a deal signed by the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) and backed by the separatist Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa on Monday, the first two parties will form a new government, with the third supporting them from outside.
Panel warns biological attack likely by 2013 --Study chairman: Contagious diseases -- like the flu strain that killed 40 million at the beginning of the 20th century -- are looming threats. That virus has been recreated in scientific labs [by the US, not 'al-Qaeda.' See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004], and there remains no inoculation to protect against it if is stolen and released. [I've been calling attention to US Flu 'Oddities' for years! Obush's Gates is prepping 20,000 soldiers for 'homeland defense' in the event of a 'domestic catastrophe.' --LRP] 01 Dec 2008 The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study being briefed Tuesday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden. It suggests the Obama administration bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists. [See: Military command casts broad net with homeland security operations 09 Nov 2008, Elite combat brigade for homeland security missions raises ire of ACLU 02 Nov 2008, DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack 11 May 2007, HHS Declares 'Health Emergencies' to Limit Legal Liability for Anti-terrorism Vaccines, Drugs 19 Oct 2008.]
Nuclear, bioterror attack called likely 01 Dec 2008 The United States and other nations need to act urgently to prevent a nuclear or biological terrorism attack in the near future, a bipartisan panel says. A report to be released Monday by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism says urgent security measures need to be taken soon or the world is likely to undergo an incident of terrorism using weapons of mass destruction within the next five years, The New York Times reported.
Pharma-terrorists are making a *killing* on US bioterror threats: Canada Orders Smallpox Vaccine 01 Dec 2008 Canada has ordered 20,000 doses of a next-generation smallpox vaccine, Danish manufacturer Bavarian Nordic announced today. The order is scheduled for delivery next year and could be followed by a request for another 180,000 doses of Imvamune.
Nearly 200 vehicles halted in police work 29 Nov 2008 (MO) Local law enforcement agencies stopped almost 200 vehicles Wednesday as part of a special traffic enforcement [?] focusing on increased traffic because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Authorities stopped 189 vehicles between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday for a total of 214 violations, Columbia police Sgt. Shelley Jones said in a news release. Ten people were arrested, including one on suspicion of felony drug trafficking and another on suspicion of misdemeanor marijuana possession. The other arrests included five for driving with a revoked or suspended license and three on outstanding warrants.
Indictments of Cheney, others tossed 02 Dec 2008 (TX) Indictments alleging a chain of corruption stretching from Willacy County to the White House were summarily dismissed Monday after a judge found the grand jury hadn't properly convened. Presiding Judge Manuel Bañales said District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra "failed to comply with the law" in obtaining the eight indictments handed up Nov. 17... "Motions to quash and dismiss must be granted," Bañales said. The indicted included Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, two state judges, two special prosecutors, a prison company and a district clerk.
White House Won't Hang Christmas Impeachment Ornament 02 Dec 2008 That controversial ornament calling for President [sic] Bush's impeachment? Won't hang in the White House after all. "Oh, dear," said Seattle-based artist Deborah Lawrence, who created the red and white ornament that salutes Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and his support for a resolution to impeach the president.
Chambliss Wins in Georgia, Blocks Democratic Quest for 60 Votes 02 Dec 2008 Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss won a 'second' term [Chambliss stole his first term] and blocked Democrats from gaining a 60-seat Senate majority by defeating challenger Jim Martin in a runoff election in Georgia. Chambliss received 60.2 percent of the vote to 39.8 percent for Martin with 60 percent of the precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
Franken may get lift from 171 'found' ballots By David Brauer 02 Dec 2008 After what has been a bad 24 hours at the recount tables, Al Franken got a bit of seemingly good news. According to MPR's Curtis Gilbert, Ramsey County found 171 uncounted ballots in a Maplewood's Sixth precinct. Apparently, an optical scanner broke down [!] and ballots weren't run through the replacement. The Strib's Curt Brown reports that Coleman officials say Franken picked up 37 votes, receiving 91 of the 171 to Coleman's 54.
Obama to name Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary 02 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama will Wednesday nominate New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as commerce secretary, in the latest addition to his rapidly filling cabinet, a Democratic official said. Obama is set to roll out Richardson, a former diplomatic troubleshooter and ex-envoy to the United Nations at a news conference in Chicago, two days after announcing a heavy-hitting national security team.
Schwarzenegger warns California is almost broke 02 Dec 2008 Govenor [Enron/KBR troll] Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) declared a fiscal emergency yesterday and called the state's politicians into a special session to address California's $11bn (£7.4bn) deficit. The state's revenue gap is expected to hit $28bn over the next 19 months without bold action.
GM Seeks $4 Billion to Survive '08, $18 Billion Total 02 Dec 2008 General Motors Corp. said it will run out of money to pay its bills this month unless Congress gives it access to $4 billion immediately and is seeking $18 billion total as a worsening economy forces the automaker to use more cash. GM asked for $12 billion in loans and an additional credit line of $6 billion.
Ford seeks $9 bln line, aims to break even in 2011 02 Dec 2008 Ford Motor Co on Tuesday asked Congress for up to $9 billion in a government credit line to support its restructuring, saying it expects to break even or be profitable in 2011.
Dow Plunges 680 Points as Recession Is Declared --2008 has now been officially declared to be in recession. 02 Dec 2008 December blew in with a mighty chill on Wall Street. In six and a half hours on Monday, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined nearly 9 percent -- the type of collapse that, historically, has taken years to occur.
Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security --New homeland emphasis threatens to undermine Posse Comitatus Act 01 Dec 2008 The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials. The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said. [See: Military command casts broad net with homeland security operations 09 Nov 2008, Elite combat brigade for homeland security missions raises ire of ACLU 02 Nov 2008, and DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack 11 May 2007.]
Shock as top Indian Army officer arrested over bomb attack 08 Nov 2008 The Indian Army has been shocked by the arrest of a senior Military Intelligence officer on suspicion of involvement in a bomb attack by Hindu extremists in western India in September. Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit is the first serving officer in India's Army to be arrested on terrorism charges. His detention is prompting calls for a ban on Hindu nationalist groups accused of stirring political violence, before national elections next year. It may also force Indian authorities to investigate whether Hindu radicals were behind other recent bomb attacks, many of which have been blamed on Islamic extremists backed by Pakistan's intelligence service.
LT denies link to Mumbai terrorism 30 Nov 2008 The banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT) denied its involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks even as US media and intelligence speculated about the group’s possible role in the attacks that left over 200 people, including several foreigners, dead in India’s financial capital, Mumbai.
U.S. Sees No Evidence Pakistan Government Tied to India Attacks 01 Dec 2008 The U.S. has no reason to believe Pakistan’s government was involved in last week’s terrorist attacks in India, and the Bush administration trusts Pakistan to investigate the issue, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Pakistan may pull back troops from Afghan border --Defence officials say Pakistan could shift focus on more immediate threat 30 Nov 2008 Tensions with India would force Pakistan to pull nearly 100,000 troops from its western borders, Defence sources said on Saturday. The officials said Pakistan had already made it clear to the US and NATO that in case of mounting escalation with India, Pakistan’s priority on the 'war on terror' would shift and it would to take care of the more immediate threat to its security.
Britain could be a terror magnet during Olympics 01 Dec 2008 The British Home Secretary and other ministers of the Gordon Brown government have said that the country needs to overhaul its anti-terror plans. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the UK had to learn from the Mumbai attacks and revise plans to protect crowded places.
Arab-Americans say new laws will target them 01 Dec 2008 In the US, Arab-Americans have expressed concern over new FBI counter-terrorism powers they say might end up being used to target innocent US citizens. In a last-minute rule change before vacating the Oval Office, President [sic] George Bush has amended US Department of Justice guidelines to allow agents to interview people without identifying who they are and to spy on suspects without clear evidence of wrongdoing.
NPR journalists narrowly escape Iraq car bomb --The bomb appeared to have been a "sticky bomb" -- devices attached by magnets, usually to the driver's side of a vehicle, a common assassination tool in Iraq 01 Dec 2008 A team of journalists working for U.S. media company National Public Radio narrowly escaped a car bombing in Baghdad after Iraqi soldiers warned them a device had been attached to the bottom of their armoured car, NPR said. NPR correspondent Ivan Watson, Iraqi producer and translator Ali Hamdani, and two Iraqi drivers who did not want to be named, had stopped on Sunday to conduct interviews in a kebab shop, a few yards from an Iraqi army checkpoint, NPR said. The incident involving NPR was a reminder that Western journalists remain a target [of the US] in Iraq.
Iraqi court orders U.S. to free Reuters photographer 30 Nov 2008 An Iraqi court on Sunday ordered the release of a freelance photographer working for Reuters news agency who has been held by U.S. forces since early September. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered that the U.S. military release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport.
Bodies, some tortured, found in Iraq graves, police say --Police commander estimated they had been buried over the past two years 30 Nov 2008 Iraqi police recovered at least 38 bodies from a mass grave Saturday and Sunday, and expect to find more as they continue digging, police officials said. The bodies showed signs of torture, and some were blindfolded with their hands tied, police said. Some had been decapitated. They all appeared to be the bodies of adult men, and some were wearing what appeared to be Iraqi Security Forces uniforms, CNN video showed. Police said they believed most of the victims were civilians kidnapped at fake checkpoints in the area.
Bombings in Iraq Kill at Least 31 01 Dec 2008 Bombing attacks Monday targeting Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and a U.S. patrol the northern city of Mosul left at least 31 people dead and dozens more injured, Iraqi officials said.
Iraq civilian death toll up in November 01 Dec 2008 The number of civilians killed in Iraq rose last month after a series of Baghdad bombings, but the U.S. military death toll fell to its lowest level since the war began in 2003, data showed. Iraqi government figures showed 296 civilians died violent deaths in November, up from 238 in October.
Award to Halliburton Worker Upheld 01 Dec 2008 A federal judge [U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage] has refused to overturn an arbitrator's award in favor of a former Halliburton worker who claimed he was fired from a job in Iraq because of a sexual harassment complaint that the company never investigated. [See: Edward Harris v. Kellogg Brown & Root Technical Services Inc.]
Suicide blast kills 8 Afghan civilians, 2 police 01 Dec 2008 A suicide bomber killed eight civilians and two policemen in an attack on a police convoy in a crowded bazaar in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province on Monday, the local police chief said.
Military brass to visit Minot base 30 Nov 2008 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, are scheduled to visit the Minot Air Force Base on Monday. Schwartz was appointed by President [sic] Bush this summer during leadership changes following the mishandling of nuclear weapons and equipment by the Air Force, including at Minot.
Mega barf alert! Obama vows to continue to invest in military 01 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama vowed on Monday to continue to invest to strengthen the U.S. military, increase ground forces and ensure success against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Announcing his national security team, Obama said Defense Secretary [war criminal] Robert Gates had agreed to remain in office, and reiterated his intention to announce a new mission as soon as he took office to end the war in Iraq.
Hillary Clinton not giving up Senate job until she is confirmed as secretary of state 01 Dec 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton isn't giving up her current day job until her secretary of state gig is all the way in the bag. "Sen. Clinton intends to remain in office through confirmation," said Philippe Reines, Clinton's Senate adviser. That means the earliest Clinton could resign is Jan. 20, after a new Senate convenes and gives its approval for her to become Barack Obama's top diplomat.
Clinton wants to be part of Obama's 'exciting adventure' 01 Dec 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton decided to join her one-time rival's team because she wanted to be part of the "greatest adventure of our century," she said Monday after President-elect Barack Obama named her as his nominee for secretary of state. During the news conference, Obama called Clinton a woman of "extraordinary intelligence and toughness" who will "command respect in every capital."
Obama names Clinton, Gates to lead foreign policy 01 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama named former rival Hillary Clinton as secretary of state on Monday and said Robert Gates would remain defense secretary in a national security team charged with recasting America's leadership role in the world. Along with Clinton and Gates, Obama named retired Marine Gen. James Jones as national security adviser and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as head of the homeland security department. He also named former Justice Department official Eric Holder as attorney general and Susan Rice, a foreign policy adviser to his presidential campaign, as U.N. ambassador, which he will make a Cabinet-level position.
AP: US diluted loan rules before crash 01 Dec 2008 The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents. "Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories," California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job. Bowing to aggressive lobbying... regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.
It's Official: [Bush] Recession Started One Year Ago 01 Dec 2008 It’s official: for the last year, the United States economy has been in recession. The evidence of a downturn has been widespread for months: slower production, stagnant wages and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. But the 'nonpartisan' National Bureau of Economic Research, charged with making the call for the history books, waited until now [!] to weigh in. In a statement released Monday, the members of the group’s Business Cycle Dating Committee said that the economy entered a recession in December 2007.
Down we go again: Fourth-worst drop ever for Dow 01 Dec 2008 The stock market suffered one of its worst days since the financial meltdown Monday, slicing 680 points off the Dow Jones industrial average as Wall Street snapped out of its daydream of a rally and once again faced the harsh reality of a recession. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, one of the broadest market gauges, lost nearly 9 percent.
Schwarzenegger Calls Fiscal Emergency in California 01 Dec 2008 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), saying his state is going broke, declared a fiscal emergency and ordered the incoming class of lawmakers into a special session to fix a widening $11 billion deficit. Schwarzenegger wants lawmakers to raise taxes [on the poor] and cut spending to narrow the gap that is projected to swell to $28 billion over the next 18 months. [Enron/KBR whore Schwarzenegger needs to stop privatizing fire'fighting,' etc.]
US House to push $500 billion stimulus bill 01 Dec 2008 U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi met leading governors on Monday to discuss the size and shape of an economic stimulus package that one Democratic aide said was likely to cost around $500 billion.
Democrats may tax health benefits 01 Dec 2008 In the last month of the presidential campaign, it was one of Barack Obama and Joe Biden's strongest attack lines: John McCain, they warned, would "tax your healthcare benefits for the first time ever." But now, some key Democrats are talking about limiting the benefit for workers, so that those with higher incomes or more generous health benefits might pay taxes on some portion of the income they use to pay for their health premiums.
Indictments against Cheney, Gonzales dismissed 01 Dec 2008 A judge has dismissed the indictments brought by a South Texas prosecutor against Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Administrative Judge Manuel Banales ruled Monday that eight indictments, including those involving Cheney and Gonzales, were improperly returned by a Willacy County grand jury last month. The indictments against Cheney and Gonzales centered on the alleged abuse of inmates at private prisons in the county.
DA in Cheney case 'cutting the head off the snake' [Hopefully, like a hot knife through butter!] Guerra bucks odds --Willacy DA wades into uncharted waters with high-profile indictments 30 Nov 2008 Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra... is confident that his "Operation Goliath" will prevail. For now, Guerra has identified his witnesses, along with other people assisting him in the inquiries into public officials, as angels and names them after messengers from God. Biblical references pepper his comments. He is most interested in "cutting the head off the snake - which is cutting off what Gonzales and Cheney are doing," Guerra told The Brownsville Herald on Wednesday. [Update: Indictments against Cheney, Gonzales dismissed 01 Dec 2008.]
High alert in Orissa after bird flu hits Assam 01 Dec 2008 Orissa government has directed all officials to be on alert and take measures to prevent an outbreak of bird flu in the state after the disease hit areas in Assam, officials said Monday.
Expert: Small Ark. earthquakes could be warning 28 Nov 2008 A series of small earthquakes that rattled central Arkansas in recent weeks could be a sign of something much bigger to come... "The potential for generating a high-magnitude earthquake is real," said Haydar Al-Shukri, director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "It is abnormal. It is significant," he said. "We need to carefully watch this activity."
Press and Psy Ops to merge at NATO Afghan HQ: sources --Psy Ops includes so-called "black operations," or outright deception. 29 Nov 2008 The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with "Psy Ops," which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance's policy, three officials said. The move has worried Washington's European NATO allies -- Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan -- and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public. U.S. General David McKiernan, the commander of 50,000 troops in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ordered the combination of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), Information Operations and Psy Ops (Psychological Operations) from December 1, said a NATO official with detailed knowledge of the move. "This will totally undermine the credibility of the information released to the press and the public," said the official, who declined to be named.
SecDef calls for Congress to mandate that Guard, Reserves have lead in DoD homeland ops --Gates: Active force, reserves must integrate 26 Nov 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates took a giant step Monday toward more tightly blending the active-duty military and reserve components into an "integrated total force," calling for wide-ranging personnel policy changes, codifying the reserves’ homeland defense role and adequately funding oft-overlooked reserve equipment requirements... Gates also called upon Congress to "mandate that the National Guard and Reserves have the lead role in and form the backbone of DoD operations in the homeland." Congress, the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves it chartered and the Pentagon, Gates wrote in his 41-page memo, "all recognize that the National Guard and the Reserves are integral to the Total Force and have assumed a greater operational role in today’s force."
'Somehow these terrorist cells always miraculously escape intelligence and burst onto the scene completely unexpectedly.' It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a false flag terrorist attack in which innocent people are murdered in cold blood By daily.pk 29 Nov 2008 To make it look good and provide a little cover… It happens on a major holiday... Despite their bags of almond snacks, the terrorists kill mostly innocent bystanders. Confusion reigns about whether or not the high-value (ie: British, American and Jewish) hostages have been released. Keep on worrying everyone. Naturally, Al Qaeda immediately rises to the top of the suspects list. The responsible group, however, has never been heard of before. Somehow these terrorist cells always miraculously escape intelligence and burst onto the scene completely unexpectedly. Which is weird, you know, that they're so good at avoiding surveillance but yet they suck at the nuts and bolts of carrying out an effective terrorist attack. Hmm. But we know that these terrorists are vicious young Islamic extremists and Muslim militants. What other explanation can there possibly be?
The International Backers of the Mumbai Attacks By daily.pk 29 Nov 2008 Reuters describes them, "The previously unknown or little known group sent an email to news organisations claiming responsibility." This is a familiar attribution to "terrorist attacks" which, because the organisation is "unknown", no one can prove otherwise. CNN TV states emphatically, "This is definitely an international attack using domestic terrorists". We have no doubt that the latter statement is true but the question is, "Who are those international backers of these attacks?" Modern criminal investigation still rests on the Aristotile's 3 equally important causal factors: Means, Method and Motivation.
'No regrets': Captured terrorist's account of Mumbai massacre reveals plan was to kill 5,000 01 Dec 2008 During two days of questioning, Kashmiri-born Azam Amir Kasav, who used the alias Ajmal Kasab, told police: 'I have no regrets'. He is said to have told officers the cell was to seek out 'white targets, preferably British and American'. Kasav revealed that the ten terrorists, who were highly trained in marine assault and crept into the city by boat, had planned to blow up the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after first executing British and American tourists and then taking hostages. He then added that their intention was to kill 5,000 people.
Indian security chief resigns over Mumbai attacks 30 Nov 2008 The fallout from a three-day rampage that killed nearly 200 people in Mumbai threatened on Sunday to unravel India's improving ties with Pakistan and prompted the resignation of India's security minister [Home Minister Shivraj Patil].
FBI helps in Mumbai investigation 29 Nov 2008 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents are on their way from the US to India to 'help' in the investigation of Mumbai terror attacks. President [sic] George Bush pledged India full support over the Mumbai crisis and the FBI, which is charged with tracking international and domestic terrorists, has sent a team of investigators.
Pakistan offers full co-op in probe of Mumbai terror attacks 29 Nov 2008 Pakistan will stand by India in the difficult times after the Mumbai terrorist attacks and would like to offer India full cooperation in the probe of the incident, the foreign office said in a statement on Saturday.
Iraqi court orders U.S. to free journalist 30 Nov 2008 An Iraqi court on Sunday ordered the release of a freelance photographer working for Reuters news agency who has been held by U.S. forces since early September. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered that the U.S. military release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport.
Iraq, Iran swap remains of 1980-1988 war dead 30 Nov 2008 Iraq and Iran on Sunday exchanged the remains of 241 soldiers killed during an eight-year war between the two countries -- the latest sign of increased cooperation between the neighboring nations that were fierce rivals under Saddam Hussein.
German general breaks silence on Afghanistan 30 Nov 2008 Breaking with a military tradition of keeping silent about policy, a top German general has branded his country's efforts in Afghanistan a failure, singling out its poor record in training the Afghan police and allocating development aid. The comments came from General Hans-Christoph Ammon, head of the army's elite special commando unit, or KSK, whose officers are in Afghanistan fighting alongside U.S. forces against Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and the Taliban.
bombing kills U.S. mercenary in S Afghanistan 30 Nov 2008 Roadside
bombing targeting one U.S.
2 Australians wounded in Afghanistan 30 Nov 2008 An Australian soldier and a defence force worker have been wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan. The soldier and civilian were travelling in the same vehicle when it was struck by the bomb in Oruzgan province yesterday.
Bolivia readies terrorism charges against rightwing leader 30 Nov 2008 Bolivia's leftist [as opposed to rightist, an adjective the AP forgets to use when discussing rightwing governments] government said on Sunday it was preparing to charge a top leader of an autonomy movement with "terrorism" after violent protests in September. The government of President Evo Morales said Branko Marinkovic, who helped lead an autonomy push by Bolivia's four richest provinces, would be charged for instigating attacks in which at least 17 people were killed. Twenty people, including a governor and another civic leader, are already behind bars for the violence that erupted in four opposition-controlled regions when anti-Morales protesters stormed government buildings, sabotaged natural gas pipelines and battled with the president's supporters.
Evidence suggests CIA funded experiments at state hospital 30 Nov 2008 Vermont doctor, Robert W. Hyde, was involved in one of the nation’s darkest chapters in medical science: In the 1950s, Hyde conducted drug and psychological experiments at a Boston hospital through funding that apparently originated with the CIA. Later, he became director of research at the Vermont State Hospital... In addition to patient Karen Wetmore's claim, new evidence, though incomplete, suggests that such tests might have been conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.
Obama's first problem is US war crimes --The president-elect has to take a stand on Bush's dark legacy By Andrew Sullivan 30 Nov 2008 How does he [Barack Obama] deal with the legacy of criminal actions of his predecessor’s administration when it comes to detention, interrogation, abuse and torture of terror suspects? That has long hovered in the back of the minds of those of us who supported Obama, in large part because he alone had the moral authority to draw a line underneath the criminality of the George Bush-Dick Cheney years and restore credibility and hon-our to America’s antiterror policies.
Obama to roll out national security team Monday 30 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama will announce his national security team -- including Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state -- at an event Monday morning, according to two officials.
Clinton to Be Introduced as Part of Obama Security Team 01 Dec 2008 President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will seal their rapprochement when he announces her nomination as his secretary of state, Democrats close to the process said Sunday.
Bill Clinton to Reveal Names of Donors 30 Nov 2008 Former president Bill Clinton has agreed to make public 200,000 donors to his presidential library and foundation as part of an agreement with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team designed to allow his wife -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- to be named secretary of state, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.
Economic rescue could cost $8.5 trillion --Heavy spending to battle the financial crisis is unlikely to abate soon. Analysts say next year's deficit could top $1 trillion. 30 Nov 2008 With its decision last week to pump an additional $1 trillion into the financial crisis, the government eliminated any doubt that the nation is on a wartime footing in the battle to shore up the economy. The strategy now -- and in the coming Obama administration -- is essentially the win-at-any-cost approach previously adopted only to wage a major war.
Obama criticised for economic team's link to failed bank chief --Presidential advisers are protégés of director of Citigroup, the bank accused of reckless sub-prime investments that led to its near-collapse 30 Nov 2008 The first notes of dissent over the President-elect's choices are being heard across America. The loudest complaints concern his economic team's ties to Citigroup, the banking behemoth that all but collapsed last weekend. In particular, criticisms are mounting over the role to be played by Robert Rubin, a director at Citigroup and President Clinton's former treasury secretary.
Who is Paul Volcker? Obama appoints a longtime enemy of the working class By Patrick Martin 29 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday the appointment of former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker to head a White House advisory board to oversee the new administration's policies for stabilizing financial markets.
Credit-Card Fees Targeted by Retailers Who Say Banks Overcharge 29 Nov 2008 The subprime mortgage crisis is giving department and convenience stores and gas stations a new argument in asking Congress for power to negotiate the fees banks charge them to process credit-card transactions. Retailers such as Target Corp. say banks make so much money from the fees that they give credit cards to people who can’t pay their debts, just as they provided mortgages to homeowners who can’t afford them.
Poverty spreading in suburbs: study 28 Nov 2008 Poverty in the United States is spreading from rural and inner-city areas to the suburbs, according to a study, a situation that can worsen as the economy confronts what may be a protracted recession. The study by the Federal Reserve's Community Affairs department and the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program found that poverty levels in the world's richest nation were on the rise.
The Worst Is Yet to Come: Anonymous Banker Weighs In On the Coming Credit Card Debacle Posted by Joe Nocera 25 Nov 2008 Today, we are bailing out the banks because of their greedy and deceptive lending practices in the mortgage industry. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. More is coming, I’m sorry to say. Layoffs are being announced nationwide in the tens of thousands. As people begin to lose their jobs, they will not be able to pay their credit card bills either. And the banks will be back for more handouts.
Bush Aides Rush to Ease Regulations of Toxic Substances Before Obama Takes Office 30 Nov 2008 The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job. The rule, which has strong support from business groups, says that in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze "industry-by-industry evidence" of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives.
90 Percent of U.S. Infant Formula May Be Contaminated with Melamine; FDA Abruptly Declares Chemical Safe for Babies By Mike Adams 29 Nov 2008 Up to 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States may be contaminated with trace amounts of melamine, the toxic chemical linked to kidney damage, according to recent tests. The FDA's test results, which the agency hid from the public and only released after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that Nestle, Mead Johnson and Enfamil infant formula products were all contaminated with melamine.
FDA Draws Fire Over Chemicals In Baby Formula 27 Nov 2008 Public health groups, consumer advocates and members of Congress blasted the Food and Drug Administration yesterday for failing to act after discovering trace amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in baby formula sold in the United States. "This FDA, this Bush administration, instead of protecting the public health, is protecting industry," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FDA budget. In an interview, DeLauro said she wants the agency to disclose its findings and to develop a plan to remove melamine from formula. [See: FDA Hid Names of Melamine Contaminated Infant Formula Products from the Public By Mike Adams 27 Nov 2008.]
Analyst: Senate may decide Minn. election 30 Nov 2008 A statement by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes it more likely the Senate could intervene in a Minnesota election, an analyst says. The Minnesota U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman [who stole the election in 2002] and Democratic challenger Al Franken is undergoing a recount, with the candidates separated by less than 300 votes out of 2.9 million cast. But a controversial decision by the state's Elections Canvassing Board could end up throwing the election into the lap of the Senate itself, a scholar told Minnesota Public Radio.
Official: MSNBC pundit may seek Pa. Senate seat 29 Nov 2008 MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews may be considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010, a Pennsylvania Democratic party leader says. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported that Matthews met with state party leaders this past week in Washington to discuss a possible bid to unseat Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.
'Armed police would not fire back. – I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera.' --Terrifyingly professional gunmen 'wore Western style clothes' --Jerome Taylor talks to the photographer 29 Nov 2008 Sebastian D'Souza, a picture editor at the Mumbai Mirror, whose offices are just opposite the city's Chhatrapati Shivaji station, heard the gunfire erupt and ran towards the terminus. "I ran into the first carriage of one of the trains on the platform to try and get a shot but couldn't get a good angle, so I moved to the second carriage and waited for the gunmen to walk by," he said. "They were shooting from waist height and fired at anything that moved. I briefly had time to take a couple of frames using a telephoto lens. I think they saw me taking photographs but they didn't seem to care." The gunmen were terrifyingly professional, making sure at least one of them was able to fire their rifle while the other reloaded. By the time he managed to capture the killer on camera, Mr D'Souza had already seen two gunmen calmly stroll across the station concourse shooting both civilians and policemen, many of whom, he said, were armed but did not fire back. "I first saw the gunmen outside the station," Mr D'Souza said. "With their rucksacks and Western clothes they looked like backpackers, not terrorists, but they were very heavily armed and clearly knew how to use their rifles.
Taj Mahal hotel owner: We had warning --Tata surprised at level of planning, familiarity with hotel shown by attackers 29 Nov 2008 The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, temporarily increased security after being warned of a possible terrorist attack, the chairman of the company that owns the hotel said Saturday. But Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said those measures, which were eased shortly before this week's terror attacks, could not have prevented gunmen from entering the hotel... "It's ironic that we did have such a warning, and we did have some measures," Tata said in an interview with CNN, without elaborating on the warning or when security measures were enacted.
Pointed intelligence warnings preceded attacks --Weaknesses in police infrastructure facilitated the attack, government sources say 30 Nov 2008 India’s intelligence services had delivered at least three precise warnings that a major terrorist attack on Mumbai was imminent, highly-placed government sources have told The Hindu. On November 18, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intercepted a satellite phone conversation, in which a so-far unidentified caller notified his handlers that he was heading for Mumbai along with a certain cargo.
Britons are among those detained, official claims 29 Nov 2008 Britons were among the militants arrested for the Bombay attacks, a senior Indian official said yesterday. Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, in which Bombay lies, made the claim on an Indian television station. Patrick Mercer, MP, a former Conservative security spokesman, told The Times that he had been given information that at least two of the terrorists had credit cards and other identifying documents that linked them to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Other reports last night claimed that men from Leeds and Bradford were among the terrorists.
NYPD Guards Against Mumbai-Like Terror Attacks 29 Nov 2008 (NY) A Brooklyn rabbi and his wife were found among the dead in a series of terrorist attacks in India that have claimed more than 150 lives. In response to the attacks, the NYPD beefed up patrols around large hotels and Jewish centers, including the Lubavitch headquarters, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. The department already was on alert because of a warning earlier this week of a possible al-Qaida plot to strike the city's rail systems over the holidays.
Pakistan pledges action on any group involved in Mumbai attacks 29 Nov 2008 Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a press conference on Saturday that Pakistan will take action against any group within its borders if it was involved in the Mumbai attacks. "Any entity or group involved in the ghastly act, the Pakistani government will proceed against it," he told reporters in a televised press conference.
Pakistan rejects UK proposal on terror war 28 Nov 2008 Pakistan rejects a British proposal for joint military operations against 'al-Qaeda' and Taliban militants on its soil near Afghan border. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband suggested that Pakistani army must launch a joint drive with the US and British forces to flush out the militants from its troubled tribal region bordering Afghanistan, Press TV correspondent reported Friday. However, Pakistan's military leadership and civilian leaders turned down the demand and instead urged the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan to respect Islamabad's sovereignty.
Iran 'perfectly capable' of closing Hormuz 29 Nov 2008 Iran says it is "perfectly capable" of blocking the Strait of Hormuz, after NATO dismissed the possibility of closing the waterway. After NATO naval forces commander Vice Admiral Maurizio Gemignani dismissed the Iranian warning about blocking the Strait of Hormuz, chief Iranian navy commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Iran has strategic planning and has done necessary groundwork to ensure the success of such a measure.
Rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone kills 2 --An earlier rocket hit the U.S. military compound Camp Victory. 29 Nov 2008 A rocket today slammed into a compound near the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, killing two people in an attack that seemed to reflect the anger of Shiite Muslim militias over a new U.S.-Iraqi security pact. Another rocket hit Camp Victory, the main U.S. military compound in Baghdad, late Friday, the military announced.
UN contractors killed in Iraq 29 Nov 2008 Two foreign contractors working for the UN have been killed and 15 wounded in a rocket attack on Baghdad's high-security Green Zone, the UN says. The Green Zone houses government offices and many foreign embassies. It is not known who carried out the attack, which comes just days after the Iraqi parliament approved a new security pact with the United States.
Suicide bombing at Iraqi mosque 28 Nov 2008 A suicide bomber has killed nine people and wounded 15 in an attack on a Shia mosque during Friday prayers, Iraqi police say. Reports say the bombing took place in the town of Musayib, 80km (50 miles) south of the capital, Baghdad. The attack comes a day after the Iraqi parliament backed a deal regulating the future presence of US troops.
Ally Lists Were Altered, Study Shows
25 Nov 2008 Before [illegally] invading Iraq in 2003, the Bush regime
mounted a significant diplomatic offensive to rally international support,
and officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department went
to great lengths to trumpet those nations that joined what they termed
"the coalition of the willing" ['the coalition of the bribed'].
But historians researching those early alliance-building efforts say
they are troubled by what
Secrets of Iraq's death chamber --Prisoners are being summarily executed in the government's high-security detention centre in Baghdad. By Robert Fisk 07 Oct 2008 Like all wars, the dark, untold stories of the Iraqi conflict drain from its shattered landscape like the filthy waters of the Tigris... The Independent has learnt that secret executions are being carried out in the prisons run by Nouri al-Maliki's "democratic" government. The hangings are carried out regularly – from a wooden gallows in a small, cramped cell – in Saddam Hussein's old intelligence headquarters at Kazimiyah. There is no public record of these killings in what is now called Baghdad's "high-security detention facility" but most of the victims – there have been hundreds since America introduced "democracy" to Iraq – are said to be insurgents, given the same summary justice they mete out to their own captives.
Nonfiction review: 'Big Boy Rules' 28 Nov 2008 Big Boy Rules -- America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq By Steve Fainaru --"By 2008, there were an estimated 190,000 contractors of all stripes in Iraq; they outnumbered American troops by 30,000." "The total cost of these private contracts since the start of the war was $85 billion, or one-fifth of the U.S. government's overall spending on the war." "From 2004 to 2007, the U.S. military paid $548 million to just two British companies ... to protect the (U.S. Army) Corps (of Engineers) on reconstruction projects. That was over $200 million more than was originally budgeted." "If the Iraq war had an official sponsor, like the Olympics, it would have been Blackwater. By the end of 2007, the company had made a billion dollars off the war."
Official: Taliban kill 13 Afghan troops in ambush 28 Nov 2008 Taliban 'insurgents' killed 13 Afghan troops in an ambush of their convoy in northwestern Afghanistan, while NATO-led troops fired on insurgents inside Pakistan, officials said Friday. More than 300 militants attacked the Afghan forces' convoy, which was transporting 47 vehicles for their units in Bala Murghab district of Badghis province late Thursday, said Naeem Khan, a border police official.
Bases brace for surge in stress-related disorders --Military bases brace for surge in stress-related disorders among returning war veterans 29 Nov 2008 Some 15,000 soldiers are heading home to this sprawling base after spending more than a year at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and military health officials are bracing for a surge in brain injuries and psychological problems among those troops.
Egyptian-Born Scientist Leaves U.S. After Losing Suit 29 Nov 2008 (Pittsburgh) An Egyptian-born nuclear physicist who said his rights were violated when the Department of Energy revoked his security clearance has returned to his native Egypt. The scientist, Abdel Moniem Ali el-Ganayni, had filed a lawsuit in June saying he was being punished for criticizing the Iraq war and President [sic] Bush’s treatment of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The lawsuit was dismissed Tuesday by Judge Terrence F. McVerry of Federal District Court here.
Police state Britain: MPs want protection after arrest of Tory for telling truths Labour didn't want you to know 29 Nov 2008 MPs demanded protection from a 'police state' last night after the heavy-handed arrest of a Tory frontbencher shocked Westminster. Extraordinary details of four simultaneous raids on immigration spokesman Damian Green's homes and offices raised urgent questions about the independence of Parliament. The Oxford-educated father of two girls, who denies any wrongdoing, was fingerprinted and required to give a DNA sample before being released on bail after nine hours.
Obama to Name Defense Secretary on Monday 28 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama is expected to announce his pick for secretary of defense on Monday, a senior Pentagon official told FOX News. FOX News and other news agencies have reported that current Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to accept an offer to remain in the post for at least one year. The senior Pentagon official did not confirm those reports.
Oops! Looks like the FDA won't be part of 'change.' Former Bush interviewee possible Obama candidate to run FDA 28 Nov 2008 Dr. Robert Califf may have a second shot at running the Food and Drug Administration. The respected Duke University cardiologist and head of the Duke Clinical Research Institute is among people mentioned as possible candidates for FDA commissioner in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. Nobody from the Obama transition team has contacted him to confirm he's a candidate, Califf said this week. Califf, 57, who has spent more than 30 years at Duke, was considered for the job by the Bush administration eight years ago. He was invited to the White House for interviews in March 2001 but didn't make the final cut.
FDA sets 'safe' levels for melamine in baby formula --Melamine, cyanuric acid 'not of concern' in levels below 1,000 parts per billion 28 Nov 2008 After first saying that they could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula, Food and Drug Administration officials said Friday that trace amounts are safe. On Friday, an FDA official said it was still not possible to determine a safe level for infant formula containing both melamine and cyanuric acid compounds, but officials "believe that at very low levels there should not be any health concerns." [Oh, then Bush: Drink up!]
Pharmaceutical companies "delaying cheaper drugs" 28 Nov 2008 The European Commission has accused leading pharmaceutical companies of delaying and impeding the entry of generic drugs to the market, denying the public access to cheaper medicines. Neelie Kroes [European Commissioner for Competition] - whose inquiry began in January with raids at some of Europe's largest drugs companies, including GlaxoSmithKline in the UK – warned that the EC may now launch anti-trust proceedings against individual companies.
SEC Investigates Two of Its Own After Suspicious Volume of Trades 29 Nov 2008 The Securities and Exchange Commission, the top U.S. cop for insider trading, is examining whether two of its employees broke agency rules or tapped nonpublic information while making a high volume of trades. SEC Inspector General David Kotz said his office has reviewed more than two years of brokerage records to see if the investments were approved, properly reported and held for required amounts of time.
A tale of two bailouts By Bill Van Auken 25 Nov 2008 ...[W]hile Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress demanded that the auto companies submit "a plan for future viability" before they receive a dime, no such plan was forthcoming from Citigroup. All that has been released to the public is a half-page joint memo from the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and FDIC which announces the government bailout while committing Citigroup to nothing. How is this blatant double standard and hypocrisy to be explained? Some have suggested that the Big Three deserve to fail because of gross mismanagement. But what can one say of the management at Citibank, which managed to lose more than 90 percent of the company's value--from $244 billion to $20.5 billion--in the space of two years?
Citigroup says gold could rise above $2,000 next year as world unravels 27 Nov 2008 Gold is poised for a dramatic surge and could blast through $2,000 an ounce by the end of next year as central banks flood the world's monetary system with liquidity, according to an internal client note from the US bank Citigroup.
Early data shows strong Black Friday shopping 29 Nov 2008 The nation's retailers got a much-needed sales boost during Black Friday's traditional shopathon as consumers, lured by deep discounts, spent nearly 3 percent more than they did last year.
Guerra Reveals Evidence 26 Nov 2008 District Attorney Juan Guerra says his investigation took him all the way to the top, to the Vice President [sic] of the United States. He showed NEWSCHANNEL 5 records that he says could be used to prove Dick Cheney is guilty of criminal activity. The charges against the Vice President stem from the Willacy State Jail in Raymondville and from the inmate, Gregorio De La Rosa, Jr., who was killed there by a fellow inmate in 2001. Guerra says that the elected officials let the jail get away with murder so that they can keep making money. "Greed will get you discovered and arrested every time, and that's what happened to Cheney," Guerra said.
Bush's Last Days: The Lamest Duck By Joe Klein 26 Nov 2008 In the end, though, it will not be the creative paralysis that defines Bush. It will be his intellectual laziness, at home and abroad. Bush never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and regulation that was necessary to make markets work. He never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and equity that was necessary to maintain the strong middle class required for both prosperity and democracy. He never considered the complexities of the cultures he was invading. He never understood that faith, unaccompanied by rigorous skepticism, is a recipe for myopia and foolishness.
New rifts form on Antarctic ice shelf 29 Nov 2008 Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf that could lead to it breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula, the European Space Agency said. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a large sheet of floating ice south of South America, is connected to two Antarctic islands by a strip of ice. That ice "bridge" has lost about 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles) this year, the ESA said.
Terrorists could strike Britain by infecting country with bird flu 27 Nov 2008 Terrorists could strike Britain by infecting the country with bird flu or Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a leading group of security experts has warned. A commission led by Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, identified 27 countries where terror organisations could become a threat to the UK. The report by the Institute of Public Policy Research warns that one of the biggest emerging threats comes from terrorists turning to biological warfare. [Lets nip the 'al-Qaeda-bird flu-link' lie in the bud. It's not 'al-Qaeda' that's trying to get the pandemic party started. See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 UK Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice. Animals exposed to this composite were dying within days of symptoms similar to those found in human victims of the 1918 pandemic. See: Indonesian Minister: Rich nations creating "new viruses" to create markets for drug companies to sell vaccines --Supari says US using bird flu virus to develop biological weapons 06 Sep 2008. See: HHS Declares 'Health Emergencies' to Limit Legal Liability for Anti-terrorism Vaccines, Drugs 19 Oct 2008 The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt, has declared a series of 'public health emergencies' -- due to risk of a bioterrorism attack -- that continue through 2015.]
Al-Zawahri is back from the dead again, giving interviews! Zawahiri blames global financial crisis on 9/11 in latest al-Qaeda video 28 Nov 2008 Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said in a new internet video that the international financial crisis is the result of a US war on Muslims and the Sept 11 attacks. Zawahiri also claimed the recent security gains made by US forces in Iraq were only temporary and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's offers to negotiate with Taliban elements were a sign of his regime's weakness. [See: Al-Qaeda No. 2 May be Injured, Possibly Re-killed By Lori Price 02 Aug 2008 Updated]
DoD Computers Penetrated In Cyber-Attack 28 Nov 2008 A cyber-attack on Defense Department computers this past week was so severe and widespread that military leaders decided to brief President [sic] Bush. The attack was aimed at networks in the U.S. Central Command, the group that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the DoD, the attack was successful in penetrating at least one highly protected classified network.
U.S. sending terror investigators to India 28 Nov 2008 The government ordered FBI agents Friday to fly to India to investigate the bloody Mumbai attacks that killed at least five Americans. U.S. citizens still in the city were warned their lives remain at risk. Intelligence officials looked urgently for clues about the identity of the attackers, a crucial unknown as Indian officials charged, without giving details, that "elements in Pakistan" were involved.
anti-terrorism officer in Bombay was a specialist in 'encounter killings'
28 Nov 2008 The death of Bombay’s top antiterrorist officer is a devastating
blow to a police force struggling to confine a burgeoning Islamist 'threat.'
Hemant Karkare, the chief of the Maharashtra 'Anti'-Terrorism Squad,
was shot three times in the chest as he led his men at the Taj Mahal
Palace, one of the two luxury hotels overrun by heavily armed terrorists.
India has a tradition of promoting police officers who specialise in
"encounter killings" – a controversial form of
Navy official will not rule out Somali pirates' role 27 Nov 2008 A top Indian naval official in Kochi on Thursday said he would not rule out the role of Somali pirates in the terror strikes in Mumbai in view of the recent action by the Navy against the sea bandits in the Gulf of Aden. Asked whether there can be any connection between the pirates and the attacks in Mumbai, Vice Admiral Sunil K Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, said such a thing cannot be ruled out.
Pakistan FM asks India not to point finger for Mumbai attacks 27 Nov 2008 Pakistan's foreign minister on Thursday asked India to wait for proof from an investigation before blaming anyone for involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks that have killed over 100 people. The statement was a response to a televised speech by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he said that those behind coordinated attacks against Mumbai were based "outside the country" and warned "neighbours" who provide a haven to anti-India militants.
Iraq says Kurdish contracts not legal 28 Nov 2008 Oil contracts signed by the Kurdish regional government (KRG) with foreign oil companies are not recognised by central government in Baghdad, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Shahristani said on Friday. The comments come despite an initial agreement on Thursday between the central Iraqi oil ministry and the largely autonomous Kurdish authorities to allow exports from Kurdistan to Turkey.
Mega barf alert of 2008, possibly since 2000: Bush wants history to see him as a liberator of millions 28 Nov 2008 George W. Bush hopes history will see him as a president [sic] who liberated millions of Iraqis and Afghans, who worked towards peace and who never sold his soul for political ends. "I'd like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace," Bush said in excerpts of a recent interview released by the White House Friday... Bush added that every day during his eight-year presidency he had consulted the Bible and drawn comfort from his faith.
Bomber Kills 12 in Iraq Before March Against Pact 29 Nov 2008 A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up just inside the courtyard of a Shiite mosque in a town south of Baghdad on Friday, killing 12 people and wounding 19, according to witnesses and security officials. The attack took place in Musayyib, a town about 50 miles south of Baghdad, as about 700 people were attending Friday Prayer and preparing to hold a peaceful march to protest the Iraqi Parliament’s ratification on Thursday of a new security agreement with the United States.
Iraq's Parliament Sets U.S. Troop Pullout Deadline --U.S.-Iraq accord lets troops stay for now, but says they must be out by the end of 2011 28 Nov 2008 While Americans celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, the Iraq government rejoiced over its own "historic day," in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's words, with Parliament ratifying a security agreement to have U.S. troops leave by the end of 2011.
Afghan Leader Demands Plan For Foreign Forces' Departure 27 Nov 2008 Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sharply criticized the United States and NATO, demanding a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces. Karzai's comments came late Tuesday in a speech to a U.N. Security Council delegation visiting Kabul, the capital, this week. Karzai has complained bitterly about mounting civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan and has called for a halt to NATO raids on Afghan villages.
Barack Obama plans 20,000 troop surge to boost Afghan effort 27 Nov 2008 Barack Obama is preparing to send at least 20,000 more US soldiers into Afghanistan in a "surge" similar to the deployment that contributed to [temporary] security improvements in Iraq. The President-Elect's intention to shift the focus of the fight against terrorism to Afghanistan has been bolstered by Robert Gates agreement to stay on as Defence Secretary. Mr Gates is a strong believer in an Afghan surge, which would not only put thousands more boots on the ground but involve negotiations with malleable branches of the Taliban.
Britain to consider Obama request to send more troops to Afghanistan 28 Nov 2008 Britain will carefully examine any request from the incoming U.S. administration to send more troops to Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in an interview published Friday. The U.K. government had previously said it should first be up to other allies to provide additional personnel as NATO seeks to increase its forces in Afghanistan. But Miliband and Defense Secretary John Hutton said separately that Britain -- which boosted its force in Afghanistan in June -- could be prepared to offer more troops.
The Gates appointment: Obama slaps antiwar voters in the face By Patrick Martin 28 Nov 2008 The agreement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain at the Pentagon under the incoming Democratic administration--widely reported in the US media over the past 24 hours--is the starkest and most brazen rebuff given by President-elect Barack Obama to the tens of millions who voted for him based on the false promise that he would bring "change" to Washington.
Russia to deploy missile to counter US missile shield next year 28 Nov 2008 Russia will, from December 2009, deploy its new RS-24 intercontinental missile, designed to counter defence systems like the controversial US missile shield, the military has announced. The announcement of the deployment of the multiple-warhead, nuclear-capable missile, came amid continued disagreement between Moscow and Washington over US missile defence plans.
Report suggests CIA covered up role in missionary's death 27 Nov 2008 A top-ranking Republican said he will call for a new federal inquiry into an alleged CIA cover-up in the 2001 military attack on a small plane in Peru that killed an American missionary and her infant child. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said the attack that killed Veronica and Charity Bowers can be traced to a reckless CIA-sponsored drug interception program that already had downed numerous other planes.
Canada's Opposition Parties May Topple Government 28 Nov 2008 Opposition parties said Friday they may seek to topple the Conservative government and form a ruling coalition [Awesome!] because it isn't doing enough to rescue Canada from the impact of the global economic crisis. The opposition Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois are discussing the option despite a national election last month that the Conservatives won, said Karl Belanger, a spokesman for NDP leader Jack Layton.
Tory shadow minister Damian Green arrested after obtaining leaked documents 28 Nov 2008 Conservative shadow minister Damian Green has been arrested after obtaining leaked Whitehall documents. Mr Green, who is the shadow immigration minister, was arrested at his home in Kent by counter-terrorism police officers. The arrest follows a series of leaks to the Conservatives about Government policy, including a sensitive memorandum from the Home Office's most senior official on crime figures earlier this month.
Military Appeal Process Is Challenged 28 Nov 2008 If Congress returns to Washington in early December, it may consider legislation that would give service members the right to petition the Supreme Court. Supporters say increasing access to the Supreme Court for court-martialed service members could be a first step in updating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which went into effect in 1951 and has not been changed by Congress in major ways in the last 25 years.
Ex-terrorism prosecutor flags flaws at tribunal 28 Nov 2008 Like many human rights observers, Anthony Barkow has harsh words about the government's treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But Barkow offers a unique perspective: He's the only observer who successfully prosecuted terrorist sympathizers in his former life as an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
Feinstein wants Guantanamo Bay closed 26 Nov 2008 U.S. Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, poised to become the first female chair of the powerful
intelligence committee, said Tuesday that she wants to see the closure
of Guantanamo Bay within one year and to outlaw "once and for all" the
nation's use of torture. Feinstein, meeting with reporters in her San
Francisco office, said she also wants to prohibit
Ky. Law Requires Homeland Security to Credit God 28 Nov 2008 A lawmaker says the state's Homeland Security office should be crediting God with keeping the state safe. State Rep. Tom Riner [D-Louisville], a Southern Baptist minister who was instrumental in establishing that requirement in 2006, disapproves of the fact that Homeland Security doesn't currently mention God in its mission statement or on its Web site. The law passed under former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who prominently credited God in annual reports to state leaders.
Olmert 'to be charged' with corruption 26 Nov 2008 Israel's Attorney General announced today that he was planning to bring criminal charges against Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Prime Minister, for fraud, abuse of confidence and falsification of documents. Mr Olmert is also suspected of steering tens of millions of pounds’ worth of state funds towards a company owned by his former law partner, Uri Messer, and unlawfully accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from a US businessman.
Full copies of the Cheney indictments 21 Nov 2008 Action 4 News has posted a full and unedited copies of a Willacy County indictments filed against Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others. [2008-CR-0128-A Richard B. Cheney, Alberto Gonzales -- Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity]
CEOs "cashed out" prior to economic crisis By Tom Eley 28 Nov 2008 Balzac’s maxim that "behind every great fortune lies a great crime" may yet prove a fitting epitaph for American capitalism. A recent survey by the Wall Street Journal reveals that CEOs at major US financial and real estate firms converted tens of millions of dollars of overvalued stock into cash prior to the eruption of the current financial crisis, even as many of their corporations approached the precipice.
Obama's OMB Head Would Cut Social Security By Matthew Rothschild 25 Nov 2008 Barack Obama’s choice to head the budget office is on record favoring a reduction in Social Security benefits. On Tuesday, Obama picked Peter Orszag to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Orszag believes that Social Security benefits should be cut back to help balance the Social Security Trust Fund over the next 75 years.
Hurricane season jumped gun, set plenty of records 28 Nov 2008 The 2008 hurricane season just kept coming, and wound up making history. This is the first year since records began being kept in 1851 to feature hurricanes with 111 mph winds or greater in five consecutive months. It began with a tropical storm that formed even before hurricane season officially started June 1, Arthur, and closed with the second-most powerful hurricane ever recorded in November, Paloma.
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