Citizens For Legitimate Government is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.


Citizens For Legitimate Government™
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.

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December 2009 Archives

Obama reaffirms Bush opposition to verifying stockpiles of anthrax, smallpox --In 2001, the Bush administration abruptly withdrew from lengthy negotiations to create a verification regimen. 09 Dec 2009 The Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Wednesday to curb the spread of biological weapons, but it will reaffirm the Bush regime’s opposition to an international regimen for verifying stockpiles of anthrax, smallpox and other agents. The policy, to be disclosed in a speech in Geneva by the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, Ellen O. Tauscher, will focus on increasing health security to reduce the impact of outbreaks of infectious disease, whether natural or man-made, administration officials said Tuesday. The United States, these officials said, will pledge to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, a 1975 treaty barring the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. But Ms. Tauscher will declare that the Obama administration does not support efforts to create a mechanism for monitoring compliance with the treaty because, a senior administration official said, supplies of biological weapons are "too difficult to verify."

US rushing troops, supplies to Afghanistan By Dan De Luce 10 Dec 2009 Engineers are working furiously to prepare for a surge of troops and supplies into Afghanistan to carry out President Barack Obama's war plan, the top US military officer said. "The debate is over. The decision has been made. It is time to execute," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a press conference in Washington. Hundreds of Marines would be in southern Helmand province next week, tonnes of supplies were due to be delivered and the military was "accelerating deployment plans for the rest of the extended surge forces," Mullen said.

Petraeus predicts intensified combat in Afghanistan 10 Dec 2009 'Progress' will come more slowly from the U.S. troop escalation in Afghanistan than it did during a similar move in Iraq, the top American commander in the Middle East told Congress on Wednesday, predicting intensified combat in coming months. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, said Afghanistan was beset by problems that would challenge the new U.S. strategy, including government corruption, 'insurgent' sanctuaries along the Pakistani border and the strength of the Taliban movement.

Top U.N. official in Afghanistan to leave his post --The United Nations says Kai Eide's contract is expiring and that his exit is unrelated to a clash with his U.S. deputy over corruption in the Afghan government. 11 Dec 2009 The top United Nations official in Afghanistan, under criticism of not being tough enough with President Hamid Karzai over the issue of corruption, will not seek reappointment when his contract expires in March, the U.N. said today Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide is following through on his previous intention to leave when his two-year contract is finished, said U.N. spokesman Dan McNorton.

Wartime US President Picks Up His Peace Prize 10 Dec 2009 Honored for peace in a time of war, President Barack Obama is formally becoming a Nobel laureate under such odd circumstances that even he will make a point of it. In a ceremony in Oslo, the president on Thursday will receive his Nobel Peace Prize medal and diploma for his work to reshape the way the United States deals with the world. Yet he does so under the long shadow of Afghanistan, where he is ordering 30,000 more troops to war.

Special essay on the 'Obama Effect' by CLG Founder: 'They are war criminals in complicity with other war criminals.' The Obama Effect: The Demise of the Democratic Party and a Gift to the Country --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 11 Dec 2009 Every last tissue of belief in the Democrats should by now be shred and cast aside. The Democrats are no less the corporate bailers and militarists than the Republicans. They hand trillions to the banks and brokerage firms; they dissolve union contracts and send the workers to the dogs; their unmanned drones bomb Pakistan, killing and maiming innocents and displacing tens of thousands; they sell the same lies about the wars-that they have to do with terrorism or democracy rather than oil and other resources-as their predecessors; they fund the very enemy that they claim to fight; they keep up the same contracts with Blackwater and its successors; they vote for the same war funding; they carry out the same secret renditions; they sanction and continue the same spying on US citizens; they exonerate torturers and war criminals from the previous administration; they are war criminals in complicity with other war criminals.

President Obama 'creating torture impunity' 11 Dec 2009 A US civil rights group says that President Barack Obama by creating impunity is following his predecessor into allowing torture policies to continue in the country. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Thursday that the US president has failed to provide accountability on torture. Director of ACLU's National Security Project Jameel Jaffer said "the Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture and now the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity." "We're frustrated by the growing gap between (the) Obama administration's rhetoric on accountability and the reality," Jaffer added.

War criminals we can believe in: White House wants suit against Yoo dismissed 08 Dec 2009 The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush regime attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues. Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose "the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military's detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict," Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Blackwater, 'CIA's partner in secret operations' 11 Dec 2009 The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has recruited private security guards from Blackwater for clandestine operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a report says. The New York Times cited statements by former company employees and intelligence officials as evidence that Blackwater guards participated almost nightly in "snatch and grab" raids on suspected militants during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006.

Blackwater Guards Tied to Covert Raids by the C.I.A. 11 Dec 2009 Private security guards Mercenaries from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities -- clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials. The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency between 2004 and 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called "snatch and grab" operations, the former employees and current and former intelligence officers said.

Mission accomplished! Big Oil Jumps for Licenses in Iraq 10 Dec 2009 Foreign oil executives are flocking to Iraq as it prepares to open some of its untapped oil assets to Western oil companies... Iraq's second oil-licensing round, to be held Friday and Saturday, has elicited substantial interest from Big Oil. The most tempting prizes are the Majnoon and West Qurna-Phase 2 fields, each of which contains more than 12 billion barrels of proven reserves. The fields have been in the majors' sights for decades.

Seven killed in Baghdad bomb attacks 11 Dec 2009 Iraqi officials say attacks in and around Baghdad have taken the lives of seven people, including three police officers and two soldiers. A car bomb rocked the town of Yusufiyah, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of the capital at around 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Friday, leaving six people killed, AFP quoted an Interior Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another US soldier loses life in Iraq 11 Dec 2009 The United States military says another American soldier has lost his life due to non-combat injuries in conflict-stricken Iraq. "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier died Dec. 10, of non-combat related injuries," according to a US military statement issued on Thursday.

Israeli vandals attack West Bank mosque 11 Dec 2009 Israeli extremists have attacked a mosque in the occupied West Bank, vandalizing the property and desecrating the holy book of Islam, the Qur'an. Suspected hardline Israeli settlers stormed the holy site in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf at night, set fire to the mosque's library and sprayed hate messages on the building.

Islamabad says bin Laden not in Pakistan 11 Dec 2009 Pakistan has rejected reports claiming the al-Qaeda leadership is "definitely" hiding in the country's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. "Even US leaders have lately accepted that we do not know about the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leadership and we have seen statements to this effect," Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said on Thursday.

Pakistan to Deport U.S. Terror Suspects After Inquiry 11 Dec 2009 Pakistan will accept U.S. requests to deport six Muslim Americans arrested this week on suspicion of seeking training as jihadist guerrillas, after an inquiry into the case, a provincial minister said. "It’s quite clear that the next step for these men is to be deported to their home country, America, but we will do so only after a full investigation is complete," Punjab province Home Minister Rana Sanaullah said today in a telephone interview from Lahore, the provincial capital.

Five Put on Leave Over Internet Posting 10 Dec 2009 Five employees of the Transportation Security Administration have been placed on administrative leave since the discovery that sensitive guidelines about airport passenger screening had been posted on the Internet. The assistant secretary of homeland security, David Heyman, told senators that the employees had been taken off duty until a full investigation is completed.

Private Contractor Posted Secret TSA Screening Manual Online 09 Dec 2009 ...Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that her department is conducting a review to determine how the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) air passenger screening manual ended up online. Napolitano also confirmed that a private contractor had posted the manual online. The most sensitive parts of the Standard Operating Procedures manual were redacted in a way that computer-savvy individuals easily overcame, revealing sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials, and that only 20 percent of checked bags at airports are to be hand searched for explosives.

Indiana City Threatens $2500 Fines for Challenging Traffic Tickets --Lawyer sues traffic and parking courts in Indianapolis, Indiana over threatened $2500 penalty for contesting a ticket in court. 09 Dec 2009 Motorists who receive minor parking or traffic tickets in Indianapolis, Indiana are being threatened with fines of up to $2500 if they attempt to take the ticket to court. A local attorney with the firm Roberts and Bishop was so outraged by what he saw in Marion County traffic court that he filed a class action suit yesterday seeking to have the practice banned as unconstitutional.

Batch of H1N1 Vaccine Pulled Due to Severe Allergic Reactions 10 Dec 2009 Health officials across Canada are being asked to hold back a batch of [deadly] swine flu vaccine that appears to be causing higher rates of severe allergic reactions. The vaccine's manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, is asking governments to stop using vaccine doses from one particular lot shipment issued in late October.

House Votes to Tighten Regulation of Wall Street 12 Dec 2009 The House on Friday approved a Democratic plan to significantly tighten federal regulation of Wall Street and the financial sector, advancing a far-reaching Congressional response to the financial crisis still reverberating through the economy. After three days of floor debate, the House voted 223 to 202 to approve the measure. It creates a new agency to oversee consumer lending, establishes new rules for transactions that contributed to the meltdown, and seeks to reduce the threat that one or two huge companies on the verge of collapse could bring down the economy.

Treasury Pay Czar Limits Pay At Automakers, Banks --Other Payouts Delayed 11 Dec 2009 The Obama administration's pay czar is limiting the cash compensation for executives at companies that received the largest taxpayer bailouts to $500,000. The 25th through the 100th top earners at Citigroup, GMAC, American International Group and General Motors also must take more than half their compensation in stock, and at least half must be delayed for three or more years, said Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury Department's Special Master for Executive Compensation.

Americans Want Government to Spend for Jobs, Send Bill to Rich 10 Dec 2009 Americans want their government to create jobs through spending on public works, investments in alternative energy or skills training for the jobless. They also want the deficit to come down. And most are ready to hand the bill to the wealthy. A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Dec. 3-7 shows two-thirds of Americans favor taxing the rich to reduce the deficit.

Max Baucus gave girlfriend $14K raise 11 Dec 2009 Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty.

Impeachment drama over, Jenny Sanford files for divorce 11 Dec 2009 First Lady Jenny Sanford issued a statement this morning saying she is filing for divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford. In a two-page filing made this morning in Charleston County family court, Jenny Sanford asked for a divorce on grounds of adultery. The news comes the same week as Gov. Sanford (R) was censured but spared impeachment by a House subcommittee investigating allegations that Sanford misused campaign money, and state planes and other assets.

Text of divorce statements from SC first lady, gov 11 Dec 2009 Here is the text of a statement released Friday by South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford on filing for divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford months after he publicly confessed an affair with an Argentine woman.

Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after 'Danish text' leak --Developing countries react furiously to leaked draft agreement that would hand more power to rich nations, sideline the UN's negotiating role and abandon the Kyoto protocol 08 Dec 2009 The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations. The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

Ocean acidification rates pose disaster for marine life, major study shows --Report launched from leading marine scientists at Copenhagen summit shows seas absorbing dangerous levels of CO2 10 Dec 2009 The world's oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 55m years, threatening disaster for marine life and food supplies across the globe, delegates at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen have been warned. A report by more than 100 of Europe's leading marine scientists, released at the climate talks this morning, states that the seas are absorbing dangerous levels of carbon dioxide as a direct result of human activity.

Mercury in Arctic food affects polar bears 09 Dec 2009 U.S. and New Zealand-led researchers say environmental threats such as mercury pollution, as well as global warming, are threatening polar bears' existence. New research led by biogeochemists Joel Blum of the University of Michigan and Travis Horton of the University of Canterbury, located in Christchurch, New Zealand, focused on assessing the effects of mercury deposition and climate change on polar bears.

Polar Bears Can't Wait -- Take Action Now --Two-thirds of all polar bears -- including all bears in Alaska -- will be extinct by 2050 if current trends continue. (Center for Biological Diversity) 11 Dec 2009 In response to extensive political and legal pressure from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Obama administration has finally proposed designating more than 200,000 square miles of Arctic coastline and sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear. But despite the proposal, earlier this month the Interior Department gave the go-ahead for Shell Oil to begin drilling three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, a move that opens the door for offshore oil and gas production in the Arctic. The administration is seeking comments on its proposed critical habitat now. Please tell the Obama administration that the proposed critical habitat is essential to the survival of polar bears and must be protected. [Polar bears are getting hammered -- global warming, pea-brained sociopaths who want to shoot them (Sarah Palin, etc.) mercury and pesticides n their food, and noise pollution. Save the polar bear.]

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John Prescott expresses doubt over British support for Iraq invasion --We all know George Bush is crap, former deputy prime minister tells New Statesman 09 Dec 2009 John Prescott has become the latest senior Labour politician to voice open doubts about his own support for Tony Blair's decision in 2003 to place British military forces behind the American-led invasion of Iraq. In a wide-ranging interview with the New Statesman magazine the former deputy prime minister asks himself: " I do wonder, looking back now, having the privilege of discussing with Tony about all this, how did I go along [with it]?" Listening to some of Blair's video-conferences with George Bush was, he admits, a hair-raising experience. "Bush is crap, you know it, I know it, the party knows it," he tells the magazine.

127 dead as bombers aim for heart of government --Five devices including three suicide bombs bring carnage to Baghdad ministries on the day national 'elections' are announced 09 Dec 2009 Car bombers yesterday killed as many as 127 people in Baghdad in a series of attacks that left the city's streets strewn with the wreckage of burning vehicles and the charred bodies of the dead. The five bombs, including three that were detonated by suicide bombers, exploded in succession across the Iraqi capital over the course of an hour yesterday morning, targeting a mosque, a market, a government ministry, an educational college and a court. Some 425 people were wounded.

Iraq to auction vast oilfields despite bombs 08 Dec 2009 The threat of bombs and violence will compete with the lure of some of the world's most promising oilfields when oil majors fly into Baghdad this week to bid in Iraq's second auction of contracts since the U.S. invasion. The risks, nearly seven years after U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein, were on display on Tuesday when a series of car bombs killed 112 people in the capital, rattling the windows of the Oil Ministry where the Dec. 11-12 auction will be held.

Baghdad's security chief sacked over bombings 09 Dec 2009 Baghdad's security chief has been sacked over a series of massive bombings in the city which killed over 120 people. Prime Minister "Nouri al-Maliki, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, ordered the removal of Lieutenant General Abboud Qanbar from his post" on Wednesday, a statement by the Premier's Office said.

US to punish anti-American TV in ME 09 Dec 2009 The US House of Representatives has adopted a bill asking the country's president to report agitation resulting to anti-American violence on media outlets. The measure was passed in a decisive 395-3 vote on Tuesday. US Lawmakers claim some Middle Eastern television networks repeatedly publish or broadcast violence against the United States and Americans. The bill reads that such incitement poses danger to American soldiers and civilians in the region and at home, adding that they must be stopped. It also calls for punitive measures for networks deemed to be fueling terror. [Too bad there's no 'punitive measures' for those (i.e., Blackwater) actually *carrying out* the terrror.]

Iran pinpoints five sites for new nuclear plants 09 Dec 2009 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that Iran has finalized sites for five of the 10 new nuclear enrichment plants it seeks to build to expand its nuclear program. The president, quoted by the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), said on Wednesday that five other sites are being studied for the remaining plants.

Petraeus: Wait until December 2010 to gauge U.S. success in Afghanistan 09 Dec 2009 Coalition forces can attain "success" [keeping opium and gas pipelines flowing, overfunding Blackwater and KBR] in Afghanistan, but U.S. officials should wait until December 2010 before they can measure the progress of the troop surge, a top U.S. commander told a Senate committee Wednesday. Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, predicted the surge will be met by an increase in violence in spring 2010 and a rise in "security incidents" in the summer.

Cheney: KSM Trial in NYC Will Make Him 'a Hero in Certain Circles' 08 Dec 2009 The outspoken former vice president [sic] predicts in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity that trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City will make the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks "as important or more important than Osama bin Laden." "He’ll be able to go in whenever he’s up on the stand and proselytize, if you will, millions of people out there around the world including some of his radical Muslim friends and generate a whole new generation of terrorists," Cheney tells Hannity, according to highlights of the interview released by Fox News.

Accused 9/11 plotters may face NY "Guantanamo" 09 Dec 2009 If the men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks wonder what conditions they might face when they are moved to New York from Guantanamo Bay for trial, they can expect solitary confinement, 23-hour-a-day lockdowns, constant video surveillance and almost no visitors. U.S. That has been the experience in New York of one American student, Syed Fahad Hashmi, accused of minor acts of aiding al Qaeda. Those conditions have drawn criticism from human rights advocates who protest outside the Manhattan jail where Hashmi has spent 2-1/2 years in solitary confinement awaiting trial.

Five U.S. men arrested in Pakistan, says embassy 09 Dec 2009 Five American men were arrested in Pakistan this week and are being investigated for alleged links to extremist groups, the Pakistani embassy in Washington said on Wednesday. The five men, students in their 20s from northern Virginia, were picked up from Sargodha in Punjab province in Pakistan on Tuesday, said embassy spokesman Imran Gardezi. He did not give further details on the circumstances of their arrest, their names or where they were being held. "The reasons for their visit to Pakistan are being investigated," said Gardezi. "They are being investigated for alleged links to extremist groups."

Five missing Americans probed for terror links 09 Dec 2009 Five young Americans captured in Pakistan are under investigation for possible links to terrorism after their families found a disturbing farewell video the missing men left behind showing scenes of war and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended. Frantic relatives and worried FBI agents have been searching for the five men for more than a week, since their disappearance in late November.

F.B.I. Sets New Review of Shootings at Ft. Hood --F.B.I. reviewer would coordinate his work with DoD investigation and criminal prosecution in the case 09 Dec 2009 The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday named a former director, William H. Webster, to conduct an independent review of the bureau’s handling of information about the Army major charged with murder in the Fort Hood shootings. The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has asked Mr. Webster to examine how the bureau dealt with information about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan before the Nov. 5 shootings in which he is accused of killing 13 people.

U.S. to investigate leak of airport security manual 09 Dec 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has sought disciplinary action against people responsible for posting online a manual of security measures at U.S. airports, and has called for a probe into the leak. U.S. The 93-page Transportation Security Administration document was posted on a federal procurement website last spring and included procedures and technical details for screening operations, metal detectors and explosives detection systems at U.S. airports.

TSA officials put on leave over airport security breach 09 Dec 2009 US transport officials have been placed on administrative leave after details of security procedures at US airports were mistakenly posted online. Assistant Homeland Security secretary David Heyman said a full investigation of the incident was under way. The existence of the document, which detailed security screening procedures, was revealed on Sunday by a blog.

Big Pharma inside the WHO: confidential analysis of unreleased WHO Expert Working Group draft reports 09 Dec 2009 This is a confidential pharmaceutical industry trade association dossier about the WHO Expert Working Group (EWG) on R&D Financing. The compilation of documents shows the influence of "Big Pharma" on the policy making decisions of the WHO, the UN body safeguarding public health. These confidential documents were obtained by the drug industry before their public release to WHO member states (scheduled to be released May 2010).

Family: Clarksville woman sick after H1N1 vaccine 09 Dec 2009 (TN) A Clarksville woman is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Stallworth Rehabilitation Center from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an illness she says is connected to taking the H1N1 vaccination. A suspected connection between the H1N1 vaccine and GBS was evaluated by the Institute of Medicine in 2003. The institute reviewed the 1976 national campaign to administer the H1N1 vaccine, also known as swine flu vaccine.

U.S. interest in seasonal flu shots may be waning --Only a third of U.S. adults have had shot - survey 09 Dec 2009 Americans are getting [deadly] seasonal flu shots at about the same rate as last year despite heightened awareness of the risks of influenza inspired by the swine flu pandemic, a survey released on Wednesday showed. As of the middle of November, about 32 percent of all U.S. adults and 37 percent of adults who are recommended to get a flu shot against seasonal flu had gotten one.

Roche's Tamiflu Not Proven to Cut Flu Complications, Study Says 09 Dec 2009 Roche Holding AG’s antiviral drug Tamiflu may not prevent complications from influenza in healthy adults, according to a review by an independent research group that reversed its previous findings that the medicine warded off pneumonia and other deadly conditions linked to the disease... The report raises questions about how drugs are reviewed, approved and distributed, Fiona Godlee, the British journal’s editor in chief, wrote in an editorial. The studies originally used to establish the benefits of Tamiflu were written by Roche employees and paid consultants, under-reported serious side effects and failed to clearly identify all the authors, she wrote.

House Panel to Subpoena White House Gate-Crashers 09 Dec 2009 Congress decided to subpoena the White House gate-crashers to testify about how they got into a state dinner without an invitation. Lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee voted Wednesday to authorize issuance of subpoenas to compel the attention-hungry couple to answer questions about the Nov. 24 incident. Tareq and Michaele Salahi have said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to answer questions.

Geithner Extends $700 Billion TARP Bailout Program Until October 2010 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that the Obama administration is extending the $700 billion financial[Wall Street]-rescue program until next October, saying the U.S. must hold on to the money in case of new financial shocks. In a letter to congressional leaders, Geithner said the administration doesn’t expect to deploy more than $550 billion of the funds.

Exodus of the bankers 09 Dec 2009 The president of Britain's second largest bank has issued a veiled threat that the country's elite financiers could join a mass exodus from the City of London if the Government pushes ahead with a bonus supertax today. The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, is widely expected to use his pre-Budget report to introduce a one-off windfall tax on banking bonuses to help assuage public anger over six- and seven-figure pay-outs just months after the Government's multibillion-pound bailout of the banks. Bob Diamond, the president of Barclays and head of investment bank Barclays Capital, said businesses and individuals could desert the City if new taxes were imposed. [OMG! Good riddance, a**holes! Actually, people should issue a 'veiled threat' if they *stay!*]

More Easy Money for Wall Street By William Greider 08 Dec 2009 The sale pitch for financial-reform legislation pending in the House claims it would put an stop to "too big to fail" bailouts for the leading banks. The reality is the opposite. The federal government would instead be granted unlimited authority to spend whatever it takes to prop up the big boys when they get in trouble. Only in the next crisis, Congress won't have to be asked for the money. The financial rescues will be funded by the secretive Federal Reserve, not the Treasury, with money the Fed itself creates.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Obama still hopes for bipartisan support on jobs 09 Dec 2009 Despite Republican opposition on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he's still hoping for bipartisan support for his efforts to use financial bailout money to help small businesses and bring down double-digit unemployment. "I am absolutely committed to working with anybody who is willing to do the job to make sure we rebuild our economy," Obama [the conciliating sycophant] said after emerging from a White House meeting with a group of Republican and Democratic congressional leaders.

Senate may drop public option --Private-sector alternative 09 Dec 2009 DemocRATic Senate negotiators struck a tentative agreement Tuesday night to drop the government-run insurance plan from their overhaul of the healthinsurance-care system, hoping to remove a last major roadblock preventing the bill from moving to a final vote in the chamber. Under the deal, the government plan preferred by liberals would be replaced with a program that would create several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees health policies for federal workers.

Old-hen meat fed to pets and schoolkids 09 Dec 2009 "Spent-hen" meat is tough, stringy and far less appealing than the more tender meat of broiler chickens. But that didn't stop the government from using the National School Lunch Program as an outlet for egg producers struggling to find a market for 100 million egg-laying hens culled each year. From 2001 though the first half of 2009 [Thanks, Bush!], USA TODAY found, the government spent more than $145 million on spent-hen meat for schools -- a total of more than 77 million pounds served in chicken patties and salads.

Danish police raid Copenhagen climate campaigners' rooms --Police detain 200 activists at their Copenhagen accommodation and seize items they claim could be used for acts of civil disobedience 09 Dec 2009 Danish police last night raided a climate campaigners' accommodation centre in Copenhagen, detaining 200 activists and seizing items which they claimed could be used for acts of civil disobedience. About 200 police arrived at the shelter on Ragnhild Street, in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, at 2.30am. They locked activists into the building for two hours, and searched some of the nearby properties. Campaigners say they took away various items including a power drill, an angle grinder, and some wooden props.

Climate policy experts respond to outcry over Danish text 09 Dec 2009 Behind the raw passions that only a sketchy leaked document can unleash, what impact does this have on the negotiations, and the prospects for a deal? The chair of a conference is supposed to help countries explore areas of compromise, to help them strike a deal. Indications are that the Danish government has taken several shots at this - that the leaked document is one of several Danish proposals, albeit from the prime minister's office.

Copenhagen Summit: wealthy nations accused of 'carbon colonialism' 09 Dec 2009 Britain and its partners at the Copenhagen climate summit were accused of 21st century "carbon colonialism" today over a draft agreement that developing nations say would discriminate against them. The so-called "Danish text" was leaked yesterday and prompted an angry reaction from the G77 bloc of developing nations, which warned that its members would not sign an "inequitable" deal when the conference ends with a summit of world leaders next Friday.

Copenhagen: Leaked draft deal widens rift between rich and poor nations --Climate talks are in disarray barely days into the summit, putting at risk international unity to fight global warming 09 Dec 2009 Three hours after the "Danish text" had been leaked to the Guardian, Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77 plus China, spelt out exactly why the poor countries he represents were so incensed. "The text robs developing countries of their just and equitable and fair share of the atmospheric space. It tries to treat rich and poor countries as equal," said the diplomat. The text is a draft proposal for the final political agreement that should be signed by national leaders including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown at the end of the Copenhagen summit on 18 December. It was prepared in secret by a group of individuals known as "the circle of commitment" but understood to include the US and Denmark.

Copenhagen climate change conference: world 'has 10 years to reverse trends' 09 Dec 2009 The world has just ten years to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control before the damage they cause become irreversible, the Met Office has warned. Should nations fail to tackle the issue, giant mirrors in space, artificial trees and other so called "geo-engineering solutions" will be the only way to prevent disastrous overheating of the planet, the researchers warned. More than 190 countries are gathered in Copenhagen for UN climate change talks aimed at keeping global temperature rise below 3.6F (2C).

Transcript: NBC's Mitchell interviews Al Gore --Gore talks climate change, jobs in an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell 09 Dec 2009 GORE: Well, the scientific community has worked very intensively for 20 years within this international process, and they now say the evidence is unequivocal. A hundred and fifty years ago this year was the discovery that CO-2 traps heat. That is a -- a principle in physics. It's not a question of debate. It's like gravity; it exists.

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Was Iraqi cabbie the source of the dodgy dossier? MP's report claims 'intelligence' on Saddam's WMDs came from back of a taxi 09 Dec 2009 The Iraq inquiry will probe in secret claims that an Iraqi taxi driver who peddled false gossip was one of Britain's top spies before the war. Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said the Daily Mail's revelation yesterday that the cabbie may have been the source of claims that Saddam Hussein could fire chemical weapons at British targets in 45 minutes was 'relevant to' his work. But he refused to quiz Sir John Scarlett about the claims, made in a report by Tory MP Adam Holloway, on grounds of national security. Instead the Chilcot Inquiry will hold further hearings on the issue in private in the new year. Senior intelligence officials have told the MP that the cabbie falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had acquired long-range missiles after listening to Iraqi commanders chatting in his taxi two years before the invasion. The driver, who worked near Iraq's border with Jordan, was allegedly the 'sub-source' of a senior Iraqi military officer who told MI6 that Saddam had battlefield chemical weapons ready to deploy at 45 minutes' notice.

UK believed Iraq weapons were dismantled 08 Dec 2009 British intelligence believed Iraq had dismantled its chemical and biological weapons in the run-up to the 2003 invasion but said it was possible they could be reassembled. John Scarlett, who headed Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that a report issued March 7, 2003 said "Iraq had no missiles which could reach Israel and none which could carry germ or biological weapons."

$10 million is smuggled out of Afghanistan daily, official says --The culprits are drug cartels and corrupt officials and businesses, Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal says. U.S. and Afghan officials believe much of the cash is going to the Taliban. 07 Dec 2009 An estimated $10 million a day is smuggled out of Afghanistan, most of it through Kabul's international airport, rather than through secret routes over the mountains or across the desert, the country's finance minister said Sunday. The amount of corruption, both by public officials and officials of private companies, makes him embarrassed to acknowledge while traveling that he is an Afghan, Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said. Much of the hot cash ends up funding the Taliban insurgency, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

US drone strike kills three in N Waziristan 08 Dec 2009 Missiles fired from a US drone have killed three people and left three others wounded in a village in the lawless tribal district in Pakistan's northwest. Security and intelligence officials said the early morning attack hit Aspalga village, some 12 kilometers (seven miles) southeast of Miranshah in North Waziristan tribal district.

US raid kills 12 civilians in east Afghanistan 08 Dec 2009 More than a dozen people have been killed in a nighttime raid by US forces on a civilian house in Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman, witnesses say. The attack took place on Monday night when US soldiers stormed a house at Armal locality in the provincial capital Mehtar Lam, witnesses told Press TV correspondent.

Blackwater is a busy little bee! 118 killed, 197 injured in Baghdad blasts 08 Dec 2009 At least 118 people have been killed and 197 others sustained injuries as multiple bomb-rigged cars exploded in quick succession ripped through Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Three bomb-rigged cars exploded in quick succession on Tuesday, striking the Labor Ministry, a court complex and the new site of Iraq's Finance Ministry whose previous building was destroyed in an August blast.

Parliament 'misled over rendition of militants captured in Iraq' 07 Dec 2009 The government has been accused of misleading parliament over the rendition of two alleged [Pakistani] militants captured in Iraq and then turned over to the Americans to be secretly sent to Bagram in Afghanistan. One of the men has allegedly gone mad and is being treated for mental problems, according to the legal charity, Reprieve. The Ministry of Defence has refused to identify the two men, saying to do so would be a breach the Data Protection Act.

Court rebuffs Guantanamo prisoner review 07 Dec 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to take charge of the case of a Guantanamo prisoner still held after apparently being cleared for release. Without comment, the justices refused a request by Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi that they issue an original habeas writ -- take original jurisdiction -- in his case and force a federal judge to rule on his ongoing confinement, despite his apparent status, SCOTUSBLOG.com reported. Al-Ghizzawi is a prisoner at the detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Law School Study Finds Evidence of Cover-Up After Three Alleged Suicides At Guantanamo In 2006 By Scott Horton 07 Dec 2009 On the night of June 9-10 in 2006, three prisoners held at the Guantánamo prison's Camp Delta died under mysterious circumstances. Military authorities responded by quickly ordering media representatives off the island and blocking lawyers from meeting with their clients. The first official military statements declared the deaths not just suicides -- but actually went so far as to describe them as acts of "asymmetrical warfare" against the United States. Now a 58-page study prepared by law faculty and students at Seton Hall University in New Jersey starkly challenges the Pentagon's claims. It notes serious and unresolved contradictions within a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) report -- which was publicly released only in fragmentary form, two years after the fact -- and declares the military's internal investigation an obvious cover-up. [Too bad NCIS agents Gibbs and DiNozzo weren't assigned to the case: They'd have produced a more realistic report. --LRP]

Two US Navy petty officers face abuse charges 08 Dec 2009 Two US Navy SEALs accused of mistreating a suspect in the March 2004 killing of Blackwater contractors have appeared before a military court. Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas appeared before a military court in Norfolk, Virginia on Tuesday... The men allegedly attacked Ahmed Hashim Abed, who was accused of planning the ambush in which four Blackwater contractors were killed in Fallujah, Iraq in March 2004.

Israel razed 14 homes in Jerusalem Al-Quds in Nov. 08 Dec 2009 Israel demolished 14 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem Al-Quds last month as part of Tel Aviv's Judaization campaign targeting the holy city. According to the Land Research Center, the Jerusalem Al-Quds Municipality demolished 14 Palestinian homes in the city in November.

Chavez prepares Venezuela for 'US-provoked war' 08 Dec 2009 President Hugo Chavez says Venezuela must be ready to defend itself against what he called the US and Colombia's gearing up for initiating a military conflict. Chavez who accused Washington and Bogota of planning to stage war against his country announced that thousands of Russian missiles and rocket launchers were being received by Venezuela as the country is preparing for a possible military conflict. "They are preparing a war against us," Chavez was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "Preparing is one of the best ways to neutralize it."

Army mentoring deals bypass ethics law 08 Dec 2009 The Army used a loophole in federal ethics law to award lucrative contracts to two recently retired generals, departing from its standard practice for hiring senior advisers, according to public records and interviews. During the past two years, the Army wanted to bring back two former generals, John Vines and Dan McNeill, to advise commanders as part of its "senior mentor" program. But the service's program is run by a defense contractor, Northrop Grumman, and federal ethics law prohibits newly retired senior employees from representing a company before their former agency for one year.

Feds say they will use unmanned Predator aircraft drones to hunt ocean smugglers 07 Dec 2009 U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday took delivery of its first Predator aircraft drone to scan U.S. waters for smugglers. The Predator B is expected to begin testing in early 2010 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida and be used in the Caribbean to combat drug trafficking. The plane has an enhanced radar system compared to the Predator B that has been used to 'combat' drug smuggling and movement of illegal immigrants on land borders for four years.

Massive TSA Security Breach As Agency Gives Away Its Secrets --Online Posting Reveals a "How To" for Terrorists to Get Through Airport Security 08 Dec 2009 In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers. The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operating Procedures manual were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame. The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate.

Yahoo Issues Takedown Notice for Spying Price List By Kim Zetter 04 Dec 2009 Shortly after Threat Level reported this week that Yahoo had blocked the FOIA release of its law enforcement and intelligence price list, someone provided a copy of the company’s spying guide to the whistleblower site Cryptome. The 17-page guide describes Yahoo’s data retention policies and the surveillance capabilities it can provide law enforcement, with a pricing list for these services. ...[I]t appears to be Yahoo’s lawyers alone who have issued a DMCA takedown notice to Cryptome demanding the document be removed.

Man Chucks Tomatoes at Sarah Palin at MOA --The man misses and hits an officer instead [!] 07 Dec 2009 A man was arrested for throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin during her book signing on Monday at the Mall of America. Jeremy Olson, 33, allegedly threw two tomatoes from the second balcony, however did not come close to hitting Palin.

Democrats Reach Deal to Drop Public Option --Alternatives to Public Option Discussed 08 Dec 2009 After days of secret talks, Senate DemocRATs tentatively agreed Tuesday night to drop a government-run insurance option from sweeping health care legislation a corporaterrorist giveaway, several officials said, a concession to party moderates whose votes are critical to passage of President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to provide any details at a mid-evening news conference where he told reporters a "broad agreement" had been reached between liberals and moderates on the controversial issue.

Senate Rejects Tougher Abortion Restrictions 08 Dec 2009 The Senate on Tuesday rejected an effort by abortion opponents to tighten restrictions in the health care overhaul bill corporaterrorist giveaway on taxpayer dollars for the procedure, but it was unlikely to be the last word on the divisive issue. By a vote of 54-45, the Senate sidetracked an amendment by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah that would ban any insurance plan getting taxpayer dollars from offering abortion coverage. The restrictions mirrored provisions in the House-passed health care bill.

Flu pandemic could be mildest on record 08 Dec 2009 With the second wave of H1N1 infections having crested in the United States, leading epidemiologists are predicting that the pandemic could end up ranking as the mildest since modern medicine began documenting influenza outbreaks. Experts warn that the flu is notoriously unpredictable, but several recent analyses, including one released late Monday, indicate that the death toll is likely to be far lower than the number of fatalities caused by past pandemics.

Corporate employers got scarce flu vaccine 07 Dec 2009 When the swine flu vaccine was most scarce, health officials gave thousands of doses to corporate clinics at Walt Disney World, Toyota, defense contractors, oil companies and cruise lines, according to a USA TODAY review of vaccine distribution data from three states. USA TODAY examined how state health departments distributed H1N1 vaccine after public outcry last month over Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs receiving doses while doctors and hospitals encountered shortages. The data show other companies got the vaccine in October and early November. [On the upside, maybe the defense contractors and Goldman Suchs executives received Baxter's batch.]

Millions in U.S. Drinking Dirty Water, Records Show 08 Dec 2009 More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004 [under Bush], the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.

Offshore oil drilling gets go-ahead in Alaska's Arctic 07 Dec 2009 The Interior Department today gave the go-ahead for Shell Oil to begin drilling three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, a move that opens the door for production in a new region of the Arctic. The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service signed off on a plan that allows Shell to drill up to three exploration wells during the July-to-October open-water drilling season. The Bush regime's five-year plan for oil and gas exploration off the U.S. coast is under review by the Obama administration. [There's as much chance of Obomba overturning Bush regime policy as a cat with a long tail in a room filled with rockers.]

Hudson Bay jail upgraded for wayward polar bears 07 Dec 2009 Manitoba is spending more money to upgrade a polar bear jail in Churchill. Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie says the province is spending $105,000 to improve the jail’s walls and main entrance. The compound is used to house wayward polar bears that get too close to the town or return to the community after being scared away.

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U.S. leaves millions' worth of gear in Iraq --Pentagon eases rules 07 Dec 2009 Even as the U.S. military scrambles to support a troop surge in Afghanistan, it is donating passenger vehicles, generators and other equipment worth tens of millions of dollars to the Iraqi government. Under new authority granted by the Pentagon, U.S. commanders in Iraq may now donate to the Iraqis up to $30 million worth of equipment from each facility they leave, up from the $2 million cap established when the guidelines were first set in 2005. The new cap applies at scores of posts that the U.S. military is expected to leave in coming months as it scales back its presence from about 280 facilities to six large bases and a few small ones by the end of next summer.

'We're going to be in the region for a long time.' No Firm Plans for a U.S. Exit in Afghanistan 07 Dec 2009 The Obama administration sent a forceful public message Sunday that American military forces could remain in Afghanistan for a long time... In television interviews, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top administration officials said that any troop pullout beginning in July 2011 would be slow and that the Americans would only then be starting to transfer security responsibilities to Afghan forces under Mr. Obama’s new plan. "We have strategic interests [opium and gas pipelines] in South Asia that should not be measured in terms of finite times," said Gen. James L. Jones, the president’s national security adviser, speaking on CNN’s "State of the Union." "We’re going to be in the region for a long time."

Pentagon urges 16,000 troops to start surge 07 Dec 2009 The Pentagon says about 16,000 U.S. troops will go into Afghanistan in the first wave of the new surge approved by President Barack Obama. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman announced Monday that about 1,500 Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina will leave for Afghanistan later this month. Military sources have said the first troops are expected to arrive by Christmas.

'Taliban' bombs fan Pakistan distrust of US --The US embassy issued statements denying reports of a Blackwater presence. 06 Dec 2009 Clawing at debris after a massive bomb pulverised a busy market in Pakistan's northwest capital Peshawar on October 28, Umar Hayat could find no trace of his eldest son, 11-year-old Mohsin. "Soon after burying my brother, I came back to the bomb site. I found my son's body at midnight. The next day, in the afternoon, we found my nephew's body," Hayat told AFP. But rather than feeling disgust at Taliban fighters blamed for an attack that killed 125 people, Hayat holds the United States responsible, reflecting a deep-seated distrust felt throughout Pakistan. "I appeal to America, please leave us be. Please stop this game, this war on terror. Osama (bin Laden) is just a smokescreen to attack Muslims," Hayat said. "Stop it. How many more lives will you take in revenge for the World Trade Centre? Do you want to destroy the whole of Pakistan?" ..."What did my father do? Why did somebody do this to us?" said Rashid Javed, who lost his father and two cousins on October 28. "I think America, Israel and India are involved. The Taliban can't do this -- they used to target only police and army men." [See: The Obusha AfPak Money Pit.]

Pakistan huge blast rocks Peshawar 07 Dec 2009 At least five people have been killed and 49 others wounded in a blast outside a court building in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar. The explosion occurred Monday following recent attacks in Peshawar that lies on the edge of Pakistan's tribal belt. Senior police official Mohammad Karim Khan confirmed the casualties to AFP. The cause of the blast [Blackwater?] was yet to be determined, Khan added. Earlier on Saturday, an explosion in Peshawar left four people dead.

US National Security Adviser: 'Clock is Ticking' on Iran --The U.S. national security adviser says Washington is still open to nuclear negotiations with Iran, but the picture is not a "good one." 06 Dec 2009 The U.S. national security adviser says Washington is still open to nuclear negotiations with Iran, but the picture is not a "good one." Jim Jones said Sunday the "clock is ticking" toward the end of the year, when President Barack Obama plans to review U.S. diplomatic efforts with Iran. Senior U.S. officials have proposed pursuing new sanctions at the U.N. Security Council if Iran does not cooperate with the international community on its nuclear program. [Why is it the US (and Israel) can impose 'ticking clocks' on other countries (usually those with lots of oil)? Maybe another nation will declare a 'ticking clock' on the US.]

US sounds fresh warning to Iran again 07 Dec 2009 While the Western powers have been pressuring Iran to accept a US-backed proposal over Iran's nuclear fuel supply, the White House says it is still open to nuclear negotiations with Tehran but the time is running out. US National Security Advisor Jim Jones said on Sunday that the White House is "still open to nuclear talks" with Tehran, but "the clock is ticking" towards the end of the year.

Senior officer urged Blair to delay Iraq invasion 07 Dec 2009 A senior British officer today described how he urged Tony Blair to delay the invasion of Iraq two days before the start of the conflict because preparations for dealing with the aftermath were not in place. Major General Tim Cross - who was attached to the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (Orha) set up by the US to manage the aftermath - told the official inquiry into the conflict that the preparations were "woefully thin".

It's OK to waterboard, but: MoD 'did not want to breach privacy of detainee' 07 Dec 2009 The Government misled MPs over Britain's role in the rendition of two men arrested by the UK and then imprisoned by the Americans for five years in Afghanistan, it is claimed today. Ministers are also accused of conspiring in the men’s unlawful imprisonment by refusing to disclose their identities and providing false information about the allegations against them. The Ministry of Defence wrote to the law charity Reprieve, saying that the two terror suspects captured by British forces in Iraq in 2004 could not be identified because it would be a breach of their rights under the Data Protection Act. [!?!] But a six-month investigation by Reprieve has identified one of the men, a Pakistani, and found evidence of his unlawful detention and possible torture.

Gordon Brown snubbed by soldiers' 'curtain' protest 06 Dec 2009 Gordon Brown was snubbed by badly injured Afghan veterans when they closed curtains round their beds during a hospital visit and refused to speak to him. More than half the soldiers being treated at the Selly Oak hospital ward in Birmingham either asked for the curtains to be closed or deliberately avoided the prime minister, according to several of those present.

8 journalists in Arroyo ally massacre buried 04 Dec 2009 A funeral procession for eight journalists among 57 people massacred in the Philippines' worst political violence was showered with flowers Friday, as security forces confiscated an entire armory from a powerful clan suspected in the carnage. Thirty journalists and their staff -- the highest number of reporters slain in a single attack anywhere in the world -- were killed in an ambush Nov. 23 together with the family and supporters of a candidate contesting the Ampatuan clan's iron-fisted control of impoverished Maguindanao province. The Ampatuan clan, notorious for running a large private army, has been allied with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who received crucial votes from the region during stole the 2004 elections.

Dr David Kelly: doctors start legal action for new inquest --Six senior doctors have begun legal action to force a new inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, the scientist who died days after being exposed as the source of a controversial BBC story on the Iraq war. 05 Dec 2009 The action is being taken because six doctors are convinced that the original verdict of suicide is unsafe and should be overturned. Some suspect that Dr Kelly was murdered shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC story which alleged that evidence against Iraq had been "sexed up" by the Government in order to justify the 2003 invasion. The body of Dr Kelly, who was a UN weapons inspector, was found more than six years ago in woods near his Oxfordshire home after he went out for a walk.

Brussels gives CIA the power to search UK bank records 06 Dec 2009 The CIA is to be given broad access to the bank records of millions of Britons under a European Union plan to fight terrorism. The Brussels agreement, which will come into force in two months’ time, requires the 27 EU member states to grant requests for banking information made by the United States under its terrorist finance tracking programme. In a little noticed information note released last week, the EU said it had agreed that Europeans would be compelled to release the information to the CIA "as a matter of urgency". Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "This looks like yet another example of lopsided post-9/11 compromise and of the ease with which temporary emergency measures are foisted on us permanently."

Chicago man charged over Mumbai terror attacks 08 Dec 2009 A Chicago man already accused of plotting to kill employees of a Danish newspaper was today charged with taking part in the planning of the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said. David Coleman Headley conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the attack on India's largest city that killed about 170 people, the DoJ said in a statement. Mr Headley, 49, was charged with six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim persons in India and Denmark, to provide material support to foreign terrorist plots, and to provide material support to Pakistani-based terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was also charged on six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India.

U.S. sees homegrown Muslim extremism as rising threat --This may have been the most dangerous year since 9/11, anti-terrorism experts say. 07 Dec 2009 The Obama administration, grappling with a spate of recent Islamic terrorism cases on U.S. soil, has concluded that the country confronts a rising threat from homegrown extremism. Anti-terrorism officials and experts see signs of accelerated radicalization among American Muslims, driven by a wave of English-language online propaganda Blackwater and reflected in aspiring fighters' trips to hot spots such as Pakistan and Somalia... "You are seeing the full spectrum of the threats you face in terrorism," former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said. "Radicalization is clearly happening in the U.S.," said Mitchell Silber, director of analysis for the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department.

Subway airflow tests to prepare T for possible terror attacks 05 Dec 2009 A team of researchers convened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began a series of tests today at 20 MBTA stations to determine how airborne contaminants would spread in a terrorist attack on Boston's subway system. Boston is the second subway system in the country chosen for the testing by Homeland Security. Testing was already done on the subway in Washington DC.

The Secrets of 9/11 (truTV Network) Jesse Ventura, takes on America's most controversial Conspiracy Theory: The attacks of Sept 11th, 2001... Many believe airplanes alone could not cause the Twin Towers to tumble. Does the discovery of thermite residue in the debris point to explosives being used to bring down the buildings? Why wasn't that fact ever mentioned in the official report? The FBI claims the flight recorders from Ground Zero were never found, but one recovery worker tells Jesse a very different tale. Might those missing black boxes hold evidence that 9/11 was an inside job? Ventura is digging deep, talking to witnesses no one has heard from, storming Hangar 17 (where 9/11 evidence is stored) and asking the U.S. government questions few have dared to ask and almost no one is willing to investigate.

Secret Service counts 91 breaches --2003 report has been used as training tool 07 Dec 2009 Long before a pair of gate-crashers penetrated a White House state dinner, the Secret Service had detailed for its internal use a lengthy list of security breaches dating to the Carter administration -- including significant failures in the agency's protection of the president. A summary of a secret 2003 report obtained by The Washington Post, along with descriptions of more recent incidents by federal homeland security officials, [reveals individuals] identified by the Secret Service as defeating its checkpoints at least 91 times since 1980.

US High Court Questions Constitutionality of Accounting Board -- Sarbanes-Oxley was lawmakers' response to accounting scandals at Enron Corp. and Worldcom. 07 Dec 2009 Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared willing Monday to question the constitutionality of how the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley accounting law handles appointments to an independent overseer. Free-enterprise groups and a Nevada accounting firm sued to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission from naming members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was set up by Congress to oversee public company accountants.

At Scalia's urging, high court to take up corruption law --Law key to prosecution of Abramoff, Enron executives 07 Dec 2009 The Supreme Court this week will consider whether to apply the brakes to what [rightwing] critics have called a vague and limitless law that has proved essential to federal prosecutors going after corrupt politicians and greedy corporate executives. The court has taken the unusual step of accepting three cases that raise challenges to a federal anti-fraud provision that has been key to the prosecutions of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Illinois governor George Ryan (R) and executives involved in the collapse of Enron. The flexible standard has been part of the law for more than 20 years, but lately it has been subject to... criticism, not the least of which has come from Justice Antonin Scalia.

Goldman Sachs bankers on course for $19bn pay and bonuses --Remuneration after bumper year looks set to spark controversy 06 Dec 2009 Goldman Sachs will ignite a storm of controversy in the new year when it reveals that its bankers are on course to collect pay and bonuses worth $19bn (£11.4bn), despite 2009 being the worst year for the US economy in 30 years. The news comes as banks in Britain find themselves in the firing line after it emerged that 5,000 bankers stand to collect more than £1m each, sparking criticism from ministers who accused financiers of being out of touch as millions are thrown out of work amid recession. [See: Britain faces return to Victorian levels of poverty 30 Nov 2009.]

Ad Jabs at Lieberman Over 'Public Option' 07 Dec 2009 A liberal advocacy group is broadcasting a new television ad accusing Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut Israel, of ignoring his constituents’ needs by opposing the creation of a new government-run health insurance plan -- the so-called public option. Mr. Lieberman has voiced staunch opposition to the public option, which many Democrats support and is included in both the health care legislation passed last month by the House and the bill now being debated on the Senate floor.

Meeting on Climate Opens With Calls for Urgent Action 08 Dec 2009 A much-anticipated global meeting of nearly 200 nations -- all seeking what has so far been elusive common ground on the issue of climate change -- began here on Monday with an impassioned airing of what leaders here called the political and moral imperatives at hand. "The clock has ticked down to zero," said the United Nations’ climate chief, Yvo de Boer. "After two years of negotiation, the time has come to deliver."

Climate e-mails were hijacked 'to sabotage summit' 07 Dec 2009 UN officials have likened the theft of e-mails from university climate researchers to the Watergate scandal, after claiming computer hackers were probably paid by people intent on undermining the Copenhagen summit. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that the theft from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was not the work of amateur climate sceptics, but was a sophisticated and well-funded attempt to destroy public confidence in the science of man-made climate change. He said the fact that the e-mails were first uploaded to a sceptic website from a computer in Russia was an indication that the culprit was paid.

Polar bear protection appeal rejected 05 Dec 2009 A federal appeals court has rejected a claim from environmental groups that regulations covering oil exploration in the Beaufort Sea lacked proper protection for polar bears and walrus. The regulations, issued in 2006, allow the federal Fish and Wildlife Service to issue annual permits that give exploration some elbow room regarding potential impact to bear and walrus habitat.

Polar Bears Poisoned by Pesticide Pollution: Lawsuit Filed Against EPA to Protect Arctic From Pesticide Contamination 03 Dec 2009 Today the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in Seattle against the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to consider impacts to the polar bear and its Arctic habitat from toxic contamination caused by pesticide use in the United States. The EPA did not respond to the Center’s notification of intent to sue for these failures, sent in June of this year. Pesticides approved by EPA for use in the United States are known to be transported long-distance via various atmospheric, oceanic, and biotic pathways to the Arctic.

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Pakistan legal plea to search US embassy for Blackwater weapons, explosives --Interior secretary issued notice in Blackwater plea 05 Dec 2009 Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif served notice on the Interior secretary for not replying to a petition against the alleged activities of Blackwater in the federal capital... The CJ also called a detailed report from the Foreign Ministry on a plea to order the search of the US Embassy to recover illegal weapons. The counsel also said that the Sihala Police Training Centre commandant had also complained that explosives were being heaped in the centre and he was not allowed to visit the sites. Seeking search of the US embassy, Barrister Zafarullah [the petitioner’s counsel] said the day Blackwater had stepped into Pakistan, terror acts and suicide attacks had been scaled up. The counsel also alleged that in the US embassy illegal arms and ammunition were being stored, which were being used for "sabotage acts" in the country.

At least 40 killed in Pakistan attack --Blasts erupt at mosque Latest in string of assaults in garrison city 05 Dec 2009 At least 40 people were killed and scores were injured Friday when a pair of 'suicide bombers' [Blackwater?] stormed a crowded mosque in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, joined by assailants who hurled grenades and sprayed gunfire among the worshipers. Police and soldiers sealed the area and launched a major search after the attack, but the remaining assailants were still at large as of early evening. At least 64 people were injured, officials said.

Several killed in Pakistan blast 05 Dec 2009 At least three people are reported to have been killed in an explosion in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. Officials initially said the blast, near a KFC restaurant, was caused by a bomb, but later reports suggested it was an accidental explosion. The explosion came a day after 35 people were killed in a militant attack on a mosque near the Pakistani army's headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Erik Prince, head of US security firm Blackwater, 'was CIA operative' 05 Dec 2009 In private, Erik Prince [as founder of the Blackwater security company] was a CIA operative, with his own file as a "vetted asset" at the agency’s headquarters, and a mission to build "a unilateral, unattributable capability" to hunt down and kill al-Qaeda militants for the US Government wherever they could be found... Mr Prince, aside from his work in Iraq, set up America’s closest forward operating base to the Pakistani border in Afghanistan, and helped to train a CIA assassination team that hunted an alleged senior al-Qaeda financier in Germany, and included A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, on its list of targets, according to Vanity Fair magazine.

Obama 'to expand drone strikes' in Pakistan --The unpopular strikes were initiated under the George W Bush administration in 2006. 04 Dec 2009 The administration of the Nobel peace laureate, President Barack Obama, has authorized an expansion of drone attacks on Pakistan's troubled tribal regions, a new report says. The New York Times report also says US and Pakistani officials are discussing the possibility of CIA operated drone strikes in Pakistan's Baluchistan province for the first time.

At least 7,000 fresh NATO troops to bolster war 04 Dec 2009 NATO allies will bolster the American troop surge in Afghanistan by sending at least 7,000 soldiers of their own, officials said Friday in pledges that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described as crucial to turning the tide in the stalemated war. The promised increase came as U.S. Marines and Afghan troops launched the first offensive since President Barack Obama announced a 30,000-troop American increase.

Neo-Cons Get Warm and Fuzzy Over "War President" By Eli Clifton 04 Dec 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama's plan for a 30,000-troop surge and a troop withdrawal timeline beginning in 18 months has caught criticism from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers. But a small group of hawkish foreign policy experts - who have lobbied the White House since August to escalate U.S. involvement in Afghanistan - are christening Obama the new "War President".

Iraq war inquiry sees fingers pointed at US 04 Dec 2009 The Iraq inquiry has produced another week of compelling evidence. We are beginning to understand how and why Iraq ended up in such a parlous state after the 2003 invasion. A number of witnesses have pointed a finger of blame at the United States for the chaos that ensued. Sir David Manning, Tony Blair's former foreign policy adviser, set the tone with a withering attack on the Americans for their post-war planning.

Ex-Iraq ambassador gets Bush post at A&M 04 Dec 2009 A career diplomat who most recently served as ambassador to Iraq was named Friday to lead the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University... As ambassador and now, Ryan Crocker [of sh*t] has argued that the U.S. must remain in place for the long haul. "I am reasonably positive about developments in Iraq, but this ... will require our engagement for years," he said.

Iran says it needs 20 uranium enrichment sites 04 Dec 2009 The Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) of Iran says the country needs 20 enrichment sites to fulfill its total electricity demand. "We are in need of 20 thousands megawatts that means 20 [times the amount the] Natanz [facility can produce]," Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali-Akbar Salehi said in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Friday.

'Viva Palestina' will head to Gaza 04 Dec 2009 An international aid convoy is scheduled to take humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip from London, marking the first year anniversary of Israel's three week war against Gazans. The Viva Palestina convoy of 250 vehicles will deliver medical, humanitarian and educational aid to Palestinians who are suffering a long-running Israeli blockade on their territory since Hamas took control of the region in June 2007.

Americans say US should mind own business: Poll 04 Dec 2009 A new poll suggests that nearly half of Americans think that Washington should "mind its own business internationally" and step out of other countries' affairs. The poll released on December 3, was conducted by the Pew Research Center for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a policy group whose members have dominated US foreign policy since World War II. The finding marks the first time in four decades that such a large number of Americans oppose US foreign policies.

Doctors' bid to open David Kelly inquest 05 Dec 2009 Six doctors are to take legal action in a bid to reopen the inquest in to weapons inspector Dr David Kelly. The scientist, 59, was found dead in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003, after being named as the source that claimed the Government had "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. An inquiry by Lord Hutton concluded Dr Kelly, a Ministry of Defence advisor, had died from cuts to his wrist and an overdose of powerful painkillers. But a group of six doctors want the case re-examined, claiming there is insufficient evidence to prove he committed suicide.

Homeland Security to study dispersion of biological weapons in Boston subway [Let's hope the maggots don't go live, as they did on 9/11.] 04 Dec 2009 The U.S. Homeland Security Department has announced that it will release harmless gases and dye tracers into Boston's subway system next week to study the circulation of airborne contaminants through public transit networks in the event of a biological or chemical attack. The planned study, which will examine how both smoke and airborne toxins move throughout the transit system, is expected to assist experts in developing future chemical-agent monitoring while also providing guidance for future improvements in air-purification systems, evacuation plans and emergency-response protocols for transportation systems.

Police told: stop this abuse of terror law --Urgent warning issued to all English forces after Independent revelations of photographers suffering harassment 05 Dec 2009 Police forces across the country have been warned to stop using anti-terror laws to question and search innocent photographers after The Independent forced senior officers to admit that the controversial legislation is being widely misused. The strongly worded warning was circulated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) last night. In an email sent to the chief constables of England and Wales's 43 police forces, officers were advised that Section 44 powers should not be used unnecessarily against photographers.

Revision of Va. Tech shooting report corrects timeline 04 Dec 2009 Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is releasing a revised version of the investigative report on the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. The addendum released Friday corrects the timeline of events on the morning of April 16, when [Manchurian-style] shooter Seung Hui Cho began the rampage that resulted in the deaths of 32 students and teachers and the injuries of several others.

Revised Va. Tech Report Shows Response Gaps --The president's office, two academic buildings were also shut down 'well before' general alert 04 Dec 2009 Some Virginia Tech officials warned their own families and the president's office was locked down well before a campus-wide alert was issued in the 2007 slayings of 32 people, according to a revised state report that details new fumbles in the response to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. At least two officials with a crisis response team called their family members after the first shootings at a dorm and about 90 minutes before the all-campus alert was issued at 9:26 a.m. The president's office was locked down at 8:52 a.m. and two academic buildings were also shut down before the general alert. The revisions... also added details about troubling behavior by Seung-Hui Cho and includes information from his mental-health records.

Warning over second child swine-flu jab --High fever, drowsiness and loss of appetite are side-effects, say regulators 05 Dec 2009 Children having their second dose of the swine flu jab may develop a high fever, European regulators have warned. Parents and doctors are being urged to keep watch on a child's temperature after research found they were more likely to suffer a fever above 38C (100F) after the second dose compared with after the first. Children were also more likely to suffer soreness at the site of injection as well as drowsiness, irritability and loss of appetite after the second dose. Experts at the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) said the "findings were unexpected, as they were not seen with the mock-up vaccine".

Schools to get masks, gloves to help prevent spread of flu --Millions of them, purchased with federal grants, will be distributed throughout California for use by ill students and the nurses who examine them. 04 Dec 2009 Millions of protective masks and gloves will be distributed to schools throughout California to prevent the spread of swine and seasonal flu, state and county officials announced Friday. Purchased with federal grants, the 23 million masks and gloves will be used by ill students as well as the nurses who examine them.

Aide: Baucus Named Girlfriend For Fed Post --Senator Was in Relationship With Woman He Nominated for U.S. Attorney Post; She Later Withdrew From Consideration 05 Dec 2009 Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus was romantically involved with a former staffer when he recommended her earlier this year to become the next U.S. attorney for Montana, a spokesman said. The Montana Democrat and his former state office director Melodee Hanes began their relationship in the summer of 2008 after Baucus separated from his wife, Ty Matsdorf told The Associated Press late Friday.

As Obama opens jobs summit, he faces limited options for growth --Many ideas that would greatly increase deficit are likely to be rejected 03 Dec 2009 Creating jobs is a political and economic imperative for President Obama, who is holding a high-profile jobs summit Thursday that aides hope will demonstrate his concern for the plight of everyday Americans. Obama has summoned 130 corporate executives, economists, small-business owners and union leaders to the White House to sound out ideas for accelerating job growth during the worst labor market in a generation.

US economy remains devastated despite improved jobs figures By Andre Damon 05 Dec 2009 The US economy lost fewer jobs in November than in any other month since the recession [Bush Depression] began, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department. But overall economic conditions continue to worsen for the majority of the population, with wages falling and no return to normal job conditions in sight... The last time the US economy added jobs was in December 2007. About 100,000 jobs need to be added per month to keep up with new entrants into the labor force.

Environmental group sues EPA on polar bear pesticides --Suit links pesticides to damaging bioaccumulation in Arctic 03 Dec 2009 An environmental group announced today that it is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for "failing to consider" the affect of pesticides on polar bears and their Arctic habitat. The Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit in Seattle on Thursday, Dec. 3. "The pesticide crisis is a silent killer that threatens not only polar bears but the entire Arctic ecosystem," said staff attorney Rebecca Noblin in a statement.

Melting polar bear ice sculptures to raise climate awareness 04 Dec 2009 A polar bear sculpted out of an 11-tonne block of ice will be unveiled in Copenhagen Saturday, then left to melt to raise awareness about global warming during the UN climate summit, organisers said. The life-size sculpture will feature a polar bear skeleton made of bronze inside the ice. "A pool of water and a polar bear's skeleton is going to be all that remains at Kongens Nytorv in the heart of the city -- a reminder of the challenges we face concerning our climate," the organisers said in a statement.

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Gates: 'No deadlines' on troop withdrawal --Afghanistan drawdown could take 2 to 3 years, defense secretary says 04 Dec 2009 The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin in July 2011, will "probably" take two or three years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday, although he added that "there are no deadlines in terms of when our troops will all be out." The Pentagon, meanwhile, quietly acknowledged slippage on the front end of the 30,000-troop deployment that President Obama authorized for the first half of 2010. [There is no deadline on when the troops will be out, but hopefully there *will* be one on when this Administration is out. And that will be November 2012. We need an actual progressive to run for president in 2012. --LRP]

Obama's speech on Afghanistan: A compendium of lies By Alex Lantier 03 Dec 2009 In his December 1 speech at West Point announcing the deployment of 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama attempted to justify a major escalation of a deeply unpopular war on the basis of lies and distortions. That he had to resort to such falsifications reflects both the reactionary character of his policy and the fact that it is being imposed in violation of the popular will. To justify the escalation, Obama recycled the Bush administration’s myths about the "war on terror." He cynically presented the US as an altruistic power, forced into a global war for democracy by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As he sought to frame US imperialist policy within the template of the "war on terror," however, his speech descended into utter incoherence. ['His speech descended into utter incoherence.' It began there. Then, it descended into deeper strata of incoherence.]

Hillary Clinton expects Nato Afghanistan troop pledges 04 Dec 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is confident Nato countries will pledge extra troops to help efforts in Afghanistan. "The response has been positive," Mrs Clinton said as she headed to Brussels, where she is joining Nato talks. Nato officials said on Thursday that more than 20 countries plan to send more troops following a US decision to deploy an extra 30,000 in Afghanistan. But several European nations have been reluctant to commit more forces.

C.I.A. Is Expanding Drone Assaults Inside Pakistan [So is Blackwater.] 04 Dec 2009 The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.’s [killer] drone program in Pakistan’s tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Baluchistan for the first time... The drone program has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and was escalated by the Obama administration in January. More C.I.A. drone attacks have been conducted under President Obama than under President [sic] George W. Bush. The political consensus in support of the drone program, its antiseptic, high-tech appeal and its secrecy have obscured just how radical it is. For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war.

Blackwater founder says he aided secret programs --CIA asset Erik Prince carried out secret missions as recently as two months ago 03 Dec 2009 The founder of Blackwater Worldwide acknowledged in an interview published Wednesday that he had helped the CIA with secret programs targeting top al-Qaeda leaders, a role he says was intended to give the agency "unattributable capability" in sensitive missions. Erik Prince, owner of the military contractor now known as Xe Services, told Vanity Fair magazine that he performed numerous "very risky missions" for the spy agency, some of which were improperly exposed in leaks to the news media. The magazine... said the former Navy SEAL had served a dual role for the CIA as both a contractor and an "asset," or spy, who carried out secret missions as recently as two months ago, when the Obama administration terminated his contract.

'It was designed to make punishment inevitable.' Military tribunals quietly resume at Guantanamo Bay 04 Dec 2009 Military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, which President Obama suspended amid much fanfare immediately after taking office, quietly resumed this week with new signs of the legal complexities of the cases and the challenges for prosecutors. The military court had to grapple with determining where a defendant, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi -- and by extension other detainees prisoners -- stand under the new military commissions law enacted in October to provide more due process for detainees. Under the old system, Qosi and other detainees were called "unlawful enemy combatants," but the new law refers to them as "alien unprivileged enemy belligerents," a moniker that military prosecutors said is more in line with the Geneva Conventions. [During the Bush regime, detainees were called "unlawful enemy combatants." Under Obama, the law refers to them as "alien unprivileged enemy belligerents." See? that's change we can believe in!]

Gitmo judge denies request to expand case 03 Dec 2009 A judge in Guantanamo Bay's war crimes court has denied a request by military prosecutors to expand their case against a Sudanese detainee prisoner accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. Prosecutors wanted more specifications to be added to charges of conspiracy and providing support for terrorism against Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, who was one of the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo in 2002.

Hoon 'banned armed forces from preparing for Iraq war' --Ministers wanted public kept in dark over likelihood of invasion, Lord Boyce says 04 Dec 2009 Geoff Hoon held back military preparations for the Iraq invasion when he was Defence Secretary, because he wanted to keep the plans secret from the public, his armed forces chief has revealed. Admiral Lord Boyce, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said that he was blocked from ordering equipment and mobilising troops for several months in the run-up to the Iraq war. Instead, he was limited to top secret "high-level" planning within the Ministry of Defence, meaning he was left with "some very short timelines" in which to prepare troops for the invasion.

US 'did not believe Britain would refuse to send forces to Iraq' --Former defence chief tells Iraq inquiry that US generals believed Britain would commit troops even if there were no attempts to solve the crisis through the UN 03 Dec 2009 The US believed that Britain would take an active part in the Iraq war even if there were no attempts to solve the crisis through the UN, the inquiry into the conflict heard today. During the first evidence so far from senior military and defence ministry figures, Admiral Lord Boyce, the chief of the defence staff from 2001 to 2003, told the inquiry panel that US generals and America's then-defence secretary [war criminal], Donald Rumsfeld, seemingly refused to countenance the possibility that Britain would not commit troops.

Clare Short's post Iraq war staff 'told to do nothing' 03 Dec 2009 UK development experts were told to sit in their tents and "not do anything" in the aftermath of the Iraq war, former defence chief Lord Boyce has claimed. He told the Iraq inquiry soldiers did much of the reconstruction, with the international development department "particularly unco-operative". They were not sure the Iraqis "were poor enough to deserve aid", he said. International Development Secretary Clare Short quit in protest at the lack of UN involvement in Iraq.

Iraq violence kills eight, including senior anti-terror cop 03 Dec 2009 Attacks in Iraq on Thursday killed eight people, including a senior anti-terror officer who led a key fightback against 'Al-Qaeda' in his province, police said. Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed al-Fahel, the head of the Saleheddin province anti-terror squad, and at least three of his bodyguards were among five people killed by a suicide bomber in Tikrit.

U.S. falls short in bid to gain support for Israel's settlement freeze 12 Dec 2009 The United States fell short in its efforts to gain a declaration of international support for Israel's temporary settlement construction freeze. The Americans were hoping that its partners in the Quartet - Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - would agree to such a declaration, but Moscow expressed a series of reservations and foiled Washington's effort.

Homeland Security chief warns of threat from al-Qaeda sympathizers in U.S. 03 Dec 2009 Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] followers are inside the United States and would like to attack targets here and in other countries, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday night. The secretary's comments... came one day after President Bush Obama, in announcing his decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, warned that extremists have been "sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit more acts of terror." "Home-based terrorism is here. And like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront," Napolitano, addressing the American Israel Friendship League in New York, said. "Individuals sympathetic to al-Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as those inspired by the group's ideology, are present in the U.S., and would like to attack the homeland or plot overseas attacks."

U.S. likely to miss cargo deadline --Napolitano says officials will seek more time for screening systems 03 Dec 2009 The Department of Homeland Security is likely to miss a 2012 deadline to screen all cargo entering the United States by ship unless Congress devotes enormous new resources to the assignment, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told senators Wednesday. Concerns were raised after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that a nuclear device or other weapon of mass destruction could be smuggled into the country by sea. In response, Congress ordered that all cargo be screened before being placed on U.S.-bound ships.

Yahoo, Verizon: Our Spy Capabilities Would 'Shock', 'Confuse' Consumers By Kim Zetter 01 Dec 2009 Want to know how much phone companies and internet service providers charge to funnel your private communications or records to U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies? That’s the question muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed a few months ago. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public. Yahoo writes in its 12-page objection letter, that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it "to 'shame' Yahoo! and other companies -- and to 'shock' their customers."

Secret Service agents could be fired for White House breach --3 agents placed on administrative leave 03 Dec 2009 Secret Service chief Mark Sullivan told a Congressional committee Thursday morning that the agents who admitted Tareq and Michaele Salahi through a White House checkpoint at last week's state dinner have been placed on administrative leave and could lose their jobs. Sullivan's testimony came during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, at which he took full responsibility for the security failure. He said the agents face a range of disciplinary actions, including the possibility of being fired.

Nearly 800 in California hospitalized with H1N1 flu --It's the largest one-week total since flu cases began escalating this fall, state officials say. 04 Dec 2009 Nearly 800 people in California were hospitalized with the H1N1 flu last week, the largest one-week number of hospitalizations since flu cases began escalating this fall, state officials said Thursday. The number indicates that H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, continues to be widespread throughout California and remains a significant threat to public health. Health experts have said there could be a second wave of cases in the coming months.

Third inmate dies of swine flu in Calif prisons 03 Dec 2009 Health officials say a central California inmate who died last week was the prison system's third death from swine flu. The first two inmates died in mid-November at prisons in central and Southern California. The third inmate died Nov. 27. The receiver in charge of prison medical care says tests show the H1N1 virus killed all three inmates.

Palin: Obama birth certificate 'a fair question' 03 Dec 2009 Speaking to the conservative talker Rusty Humphries today, Sarah Palin left the door open to speculation about President Obama's birth certificate. "Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?" she was asked. "I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers," she replied. "Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?" Humphries persisted. "I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," Palin said.

GOP Senator blocks TSA confirmation over union dispute 03 Dec 2009 The nation's 50,000 airport baggage screeners - upgraded to "federal transportation officers" under the Bush administration - could get another title under the Obama administration: Union members. But not without a fight. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-Nuts-South Carolina, is blocking the confirmation of Erroll Southers to head the Transportation Security Administration, saying Southers would permit screeners to seek full union representation, a move DeMint says would weaken the effectiveness of the agency.

Watchdog Group Says Ties to Health Insurance Companies Make Sen. Joe Lieberman An 'Insurance Puppet' --Online advertising campaign in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. asks if health insurers are pulling the strings 02 Dec 2009 Public Campaign Action Fund, a national campaign finance watchdog group, named Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn. Israel) its second "Insurance Puppet" in an online advertising campaign targeting Connecticut and Washington, D.C. "Senator Lieberman has received $448,066 in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry during his time in Washington," said David Donnelly, Public Campaign Action Fund's national campaigns director. "With so much money from the industry filling his campaign coffers, it's not surprising that Lieberman has spent the last year parroting any and all insurance industry talking points he could find."

£850bn: official cost of the bank bailout (and still RBS is demanding another £1.5bn in bonuses) 04 Dec 2009 Government support for Britain's banks has reached a staggering £850bn and the eventual cost to taxpayers will not be known for years, the public spending watchdog says today. The National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that £107m will be paid to City advisers called in to work on the rescue because the Treasury was too "stretched" to cope with the sudden financial crisis which broke in the autumn of last year. [See: Britain faces return to Victorian levels of poverty 30 Nov 2009.]

Bernanke defends Fed's leadership before Senate 03 Dec 2009 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday defended his record at the helm of the U.S. central bank before a skeptical Senate that is considering stripping the institution of its regulatory powers. At a hearing on his nomination for a second term as Fed chief, Bernanke admitted to some lapses in oversight but said maintaining hands-on expertise on bank supervision was crucial to the Fed's role as a custodian of financial stability. [I was hoping for a treason trial.]

Obama tells business leaders they are key to job growth 03 Dec 2009 President Obama kicked off a much-anticipated jobs summit Thursday, telling 130 business leaders and others summoned to the White House for the afternoon-long session that private business, not government, holds the key to future job growth. "Ultimately, true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector," Obama said. Obama is hosting the forum amid increasing calls from lawmakers of his own party to develop a plan to combat the nation's highest unemployment rate in 26 years.

House votes to keep current estate tax rate 04 Dec 2009 The House approved a measure Thursday that would make the current estate tax rate permanent, setting it at 45 percent for individual estates worth more than $3.5 million. The bill passed 225 to 200, with 26 Democrats joining all Republicans present in voting no. If Congress does not act, the estate tax will disappear in 2010, then return in 2011 under the higher rates -- 55 percent and a $1 million exemption -- that existed before President [sic] George W. Bush took office.

Judge ends Enron shareholder lawsuit against banks 03 Dec 2009 Exactly eight years after Enron Corp filed for bankruptcy protection, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by investors against banks they accused of helping the energy company commit fraud. U.S. Wednesday's dismissal by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon in Houston federal court came after Enron investors had already obtained $7.2 billion of settlements, a record for U.S. class-action litigation according to Cornerstone Research.

Copenhagen targets not tough enough, says Al Gore 04 Dec 2009 Even if a deal is reached at the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen next week it will only be the first step towards the far more radical cuts that are needed in global carbon emissions, Al Gore, the former US Vice-President, told The Times last night. Mr Gore said that to avoid the worst ravages of climate change world leaders would have to come together again to set more drastic reductions than those now planned.

Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist --World's leading climate change expert says summit talks so flawed that deal would be a disaster 02 Dec 2009 The scientist who convinced the world to take notice of the looming danger of global warming says it would be better for the planet and for future generations if next week's Copenhagen climate change summit ended in collapse. In an interview with the Guardian, James Hansen, the world's pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch. "I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it's a disaster track," said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

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President Obama's Secret: Only 100 al Qaeda Now in Afghanistan --With New Surge, One Thousand U.S. Soldiers and $300 Million for Every One al Qaeda Fighter 02 Dec 2009 As he justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year, President Barack Obama's description Tuesday of the al Qaeda "cancer" in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] fighters in the entire country. A senior U.S. intelligence official told ABCNews.com the approximate estimate of 100 al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan reflects the conclusion of American intelligence agencies and the Defense Department. The relatively small number was part of the intelligence passed on to the White House as President Obama conducted his deliberations. [The *real* cancer is Blackwater and KBR.]

Taliban vow to resist US surge in Afghanistan 02 Dec 2009 The Taliban vows to boost attacks against the US forces in Afghanistan, following Barack Obama's pledge to deploy thousands more troops to the war-torn country. Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahamdi said in a statement on Wednesday that such moves would "provoke stronger resistance." "Obama will witness lots of coffins heading to America from Afghanistan," AFP quoted Ahamdi as saying. The statement also emphasized that the Americans would face the same fate as the Soviet troops when they retreated in defeat in the 1980s. "This is a colonizing strategy which is securing the colonizing interests of American investors, and it shows that America has dirty plans not only for Afghanistan but for the region," the statement read. [You know you're in trouble when... you realize that the Taliban makes much more sense than the US Government. --LRP]

Out-Bushing Bush: US to increase troops in Afghanistan by 40% 02 Dec 2009 The US president has decided to raise the number of American troops in Afghanistan by some 40 percent, a move that would see Washington deploy another 30,000 soldiers. In a live televised speech at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York on Tuesday, Barack Obama said the troops would be deployed in the first part of 2010. "As commander in chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan," he told the cadets.

President Obama orders 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in major escalation of war 02 Dec 2009 President Barack Obama has ordered a major but temporary escalation of the war in Afghanistan, sending an additional 30,000 US troops within six months while pledging to a sceptical American public that he would begin bringing forces home in July 2011... The troop buildup will begin almost immediately, with 9,000 US marines expected to be in place by Christmas in Helmand for an offensive alongside British forces against Taliban strongholds, according to officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

NATO pledges 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan 02 Dec 2009 NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance will send at least 5,000 more troops to fight militancy in Afghanistan. On Wednesday, Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels that the NATO member states were ready to throw their support behind US President Barack Obama's new Afghan strategy.

Canada's area of Afghan operations expands 02 Dec 2009 A river runs through it. So do the Taliban. And the rough, dust-blown Arghandab district north of Kandahar city now belongs to Canada. It's a gift from NATO, which has extended Ottawa's area of operations and put it in military command of some 1,600 U.S. and Afghan troops. The forces, already in the country, will have Canada at the helm in the new year and may be reinforced by another contingent.

Rudd to send more police and aid workers 02 Dec 2009 Australia will send more police trainers and aid workers to Afghanistan to help with civilian reconstruction, a core pillar of Barack Obama's new military strategy. Kevin Rudd, who met the President in Washington on Monday, ruled out sending more troops and did not give a number of police and aid workers.

Hoyer Says Bush Officials 'Turned Tail' in Afghanistan 01 Dec 2009 As President Barack Obama prepared to deliver a major speech on Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) lashed out at the Bush regime’s handling of the country, accusing Bush officials of prematurely abandoning the effort there. "Frankly, they turned tail," Hoyer told reporters. "That’s pretty tough language, but I get angry when I hear Vice President [sic] Cheney talking about a job that they started but didn’t finish, and was worse in 2008 in December than it was six years previous, with a resurgent Taliban and a resurgent al Qaeda and a very difficult situation in Pakistan."

Guantanamo Detainee Seeks Dismissal of Charges, Cites Torture 01 Dec 2009 Lawyers for the first detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to face prosecution in the U.S. asked a federal judge on Tuesday to dismiss the criminal charges against him, saying his lengthy detention overseas and the use of interrogation techniques "amounting to torture" violated his constitutional rights. In a motion Tuesday, lawyers for Ahmed Ghailani said the U.S. government made a "conscious and deliberate" decision to house him for two years at secret Central Intelligence Agency "black sites" and subject him to so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" in an effort to make him an intelligence asset, rather than bring him to the U.S. in a timely manner to face trial.

Officials: Iraq likely to postpone election 02 Dec 2009 Iraq's scheduled January 'elections' may be postponed by more than a month because of a dispute over an election law, officials said Wednesday, a delay that could threaten the planned U.S. withdrawal of combat troops. It is unclear what a long delay would mean for the United States, which is scheduled to end combat missions in August. Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who heads a small bloc in parliament, said a preliminary proposal from various political factions calls for moving the election to Feb. 27, but it also could be further pushed to March 1.

US military: airstrike kills 1 in northeast Iraq 02 Dec 2009 The U.S. military says an American airstrike killed one gunman after a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol was attacked northeast of Baghdad. The military says five gunmen attacked the patrol Wednesday as it was searching a building in the town of Sadiyah in the volatile Diyala province.

US Dept of Defense - Iraqi Police Arrest 8 Terror Suspects 02 Dec 2009 Iraqi police arrested eight terrorism suspects today... military officials in Iraq reported. A Salahuddin provincial police unit and U.S. advisors searched two buildings in a rural area north of Baghdad for a suspected al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Iraq member coordinating suicide bombings in the region. Based on preliminary questioning and evidence discovered, police arrested four criminal suspects. In a separate operation near Sadiyah, northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi police arrested four suspected al-Qaida in Iraq members.

Iraq sees alarming rise in cancers, deformed babies --The use of depleted uranium in U.S. and coalition weaponry in the 1991 war and the 2003 Iraq invasion is well documented. 01 Dec 2009 ...The spotlight is on a stealth killer likely to stalk Iraqis for years to come. Incidences of cancer, deformed babies and other health problems have risen sharply, Iraqi officials say, and many suspect contamination from weapons used in years of war and accompanying unchecked pollution [depleted uranium] as a cause. "We have seen new kinds of cancer that were not recorded in Iraq before war in 2003 [when the US arrived], types of fibrous (soft tissue) cancer and bone cancer. These refer clearly to radiation as a cause," said Jawad al-Ali, an oncologist in Iraq's second city of Basra.

'In terms of size and potential, the Basra region remains one of the most attractive areas of future growth for the international oil industry.' Oil Companies Look to the Future in Iraq 01 Dec 2009 More than six and a half years after the United States-led invasion here that many believed was about oil, the major oil companies are finally gaining access to Iraq’s petroleum reserves. The companies seem to have calculated that it is worth their while to accept deals with limited profit opportunities now, in order to cash in on more lucrative development deals in the future, oil industry analysts say. [Why is Iraq's (real) insurgency allowing this corporaterrorism to continue? In Afghanistan, the US wants the opium and gas pipelines. In Iraq, it's all about the oil.]

Blackwater founder cutting ties with company 02 Dec 2009 The man who built Blackwater USA into one of the world's most respected and reviled defense contractors will no longer be involved in the company's operations. A spokeswoman for the company, now called Xe, said Wednesday that Erik Prince will relinquish involvement in its day-to-day operations and give up some of his ownership rights. Prince had appointed a new president and chief operating officer in a management shake-up earlier this year.

Erik, Prince Of Spies: CIA Targeted Al Q in Germany Without Telling Germany by Marc Ambinder 02 Dec 2009 In a new Vanity Fair article, Blackwater CEO Erik Prince... offers details on the targeted assassination program that CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated earlier this year... According to Prince, the Blackwater team traveled to Germany, surveilled Al Qaeda financier Mamoun Darkazanli, and prepared to assassinate him. The CIA did not inform its own station chief that the team was in the country, and they did not inform the host country. What Prince describes is a serious violation of NATO intelligence sharing arrangements -- and certainly provides an example of why the CIA's association with Blackwater became so controversial within the agency... As recently as two months ago, Prince and a team were overseeing intelligence missions in one of the Axis of Evil countries -- Iran, probably -- from a location inside the United States.

Iran releases five British yachtsmen 02 Dec 2009 Iran has released five British nationals who were detained by Iranian naval forces after their yacht strayed into southern Persian Gulf waters. "Five Britons, who have been detained after their illegal entrance into the waters of the Islamic Republic near Siri island, were freed a few hours ago," Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Wednesday.

Minot Missile wing now in Global Strike Command 02 Dec 2009 The men and women of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base became part of Air Force Global Strike Command Tuesday. Global Strike Command is the Air Force's newest major command and will oversee all of its nuclear forces. The nuclear-capable assets the intercontinental ballistic missiles of Air Force Space Command come under Global Strike Command as of Tuesday.

High court makes "historic" terrorism evidence ruling --The decision is another judicial defeat for ministers over security measures, beefed up after the September 11 attacks. 01 Dec 2009 London's High Court ruled against the British government on Tuesday over the use of secret evidence to deny terrorism suspects bail in what campaigners called an "historic" judgement. The government expressed disappointment at the "unhelpful" verdict, handed down over the case brought by two men suspected of terrorism-related activities... The court ruled that a person could not be denied bail solely on the basis of secret evidence.

Feds 'Pinged' Sprint GPS Data 8 Million Times Over a Year By Kim Zitter 01 Dec 2009 Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with customer location data more than 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009, according to a company manager who disclosed the statistic at a non-public interception and wiretapping conference in October. The manager also revealed the existence of a previously undisclosed web portal that Sprint provides law enforcement to conduct automated "pings" to track users. Through the website, authorized agents can type in a mobile phone number and obtain global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the phone.

Heads up! HHS lunatics want billion$ for US pharmaterrorists to make new vaccines using dog cells and genetically engineered E.Coli. U.S. health-threat response to be reviewed 02 Dec 2009 Citing the balky swine flu vaccination campaign and other shortcomings in the nation's medical defenses, a top Obama administration official has announced a major review of the government's efforts to develop new protections against pandemics, bioterrorism and other health threats. "Today, we face a wider range of public health threats than ever before in our history," Sebelius said. "It could be [Fort Detrick] anthrax delivered in an envelope. It could be a [Blackwater] dirty bomb set off in a subway car. It could be a new [Baxter] strain of flu that our bodies have no immunity to." [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009. See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004.]

New US vaccine production techniques: Genetically modified insect cells, E. coli, caterpillar ovaries 24 Nov 2009 Spurred by $487 million in federal funding, a sprawling new vaccine factory is opening in North Carolina Tuesday that will produce shots using dog cells instead of chicken eggs. A Connecticut biotech company has also applied to sell a vaccine employing a radically different approach involving a genetically engineered virus infecting insect cells... Baxter International won approval last month to sell an H1N1 vaccine in Europe that uses a decades-old line of African green monkey kidney cells, and it is working on a vaccine for the United States. Protein Sciences of Meriden, Conn., has applied to the FDA for approval to sell a vaccine made by genetically engineering flu genes into a worm virus, which then infects cells from caterpillar ovaries to produce the necessary proteins to make vaccine. VaxInnate of Cranbury, N.J., for example, produced an experimental H1N1 vaccine using genetically engineered E.coli bacteria, and Vical of San Diego just won a $1.25 million contract from the Navy to develop an H1N1 vaccine that involves injecting DNA sequences from the virus directly into people.

The reality behind the swine flu conspiracy By Irina Galushko 26 Nov 2009 ...[T]he WHO may find itself coughing up explanations, as more and more scientists and health researchers, and even journalists, are starting to question the organization’s motives behind raising the alert so quickly. According to the Danish Daily Information newspaper, the WHO and pharmaceutical companies are suffering from the profit bug. Or, to put it simply, the chief health care organization in the world has teamed up with the drug makers to create a phantom monster -- and to rake in cash by selling a remedy for it.

Conn. AG probes flu drug prices 01 Dec 2009 Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has begun asking major pharmacies for details about their Tamiflu pricing policies as part of an investigation into complaints of erratic and excessive prices for the flu drug. Blumenthal has asked CVS Caremark Corporation, Rite Aid Corporation and Walgreen Co., for immediate information, including details about their current prices and prices pre-dating the current H1N1 flu pandemic and ensuing Tamiflu shortage.

Fort Hood Suspect Faces 32 More Charges --Charges Added to 13 Counts of Attempted Premediated Murder Already Filed Against Hasan 02 Dec 2009 The Army has charged the Fort Hood shooting suspect with 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. These charges are added to the 13 premeditated murder charges filed against Maj. Nidal Hasan in the wake of the Nov. 5 shooting massacre at Fort Hood. The Army said the attempted murder charges filed Tuesday were related to the 30 soldiers and two civilian police officers injured in the shooting at a soldier processing center on the central Texas post.

Seattle police shoot man suspected of killing police officers --Suspect shot and killed days after four officers died in execution-style ambush 01 Dec 2009 A lone policeman on routine patrol today shot and killed an accused child rapist at the centre of a huge manhunt after the murder of four other police officers in a Seattle-area cafe. Maurice Clemmons, 37, managed to elude the police for two days as law enforcement officials laid siege to an empty house and trawled the Seattle area. He was eventually confronted by an officer patrolling a working-class district of the city who spotted a stolen car in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

$24 million settlement reached over disabled parking permits --Texas settles class action lawsuit filed against Department of Transportation 02 Dec 2009 The State of Texas will pay $24 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed against the Department of Transportation more than a dozen years ago claiming that the $5 fee the state charged for disabled parking placards violated federal law. The settlement represents one of the largest -- if not the largest -- single checks the state has written to settle a legal claim, according to the comptroller's office.

Britain faces return to Victorian levels of poverty 30 Nov 2009 Labour's strategy for tackling poverty has reached the end of the road and Britain risks a return to Victorian levels of inequality, according to a major two-year study seen by The Independent.

FDIC: Quarter of U.S. households have limited or no access to banks 02 Dec 2009 One-quarter of American households -- about 60 million people -- have limited or no access to banks or other traditional financial services, with low-income and black families among the hardest hit, according to a government report released Wednesday. The report [a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey] found that nearly 22 percent of black households and 71 percent of families earning less than $30,000 do not use banks.

New York state lawmakers vote against gay marriage 02 Dec 2009 New York state lawmakers voted against legalizing gay marriage on Wednesday, dashing hopes of gay rights activists that it would become the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex couples to wed. The New York state senate voted down the legislation 38 votes to 24. Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat who supports gay marriage, had said he would sign the bill into law if it were passed.

America's Hottest Species: New Report Highlights America's 10 Most Global-warming Endangered Species as Decision-makers Gather in Copenhagen 01 Dec 2009 America’s top 10 endangered wildlife, birds, fish, and plants affected by global warming are highlighted in a new report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, America's Hottest Species, demonstrates ways that our changing climate is increasing the risk of extinction for 11 species on the brink of disappearing forever. "Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence," said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Quick action! Help Polar Bears Protect their Home--Support Critical Habitat (NWF) 02 Dec 2009 The federal government just proposed designating more than 200,000 square miles of sea, ice and land as critical polar bear habitat. This could give polar bears a fighting chance against the global warming that's pushing this iconic species towards extinction. But, the U.S. Department of the Interior may allow more oil and gas drilling to occur in the same area, disturbing the habitats that polar bears need to raise their young, and increasing the risks of devastating oil spills. Send the message to the Department of the Interior to make sure they keep their commitment to protect polar bears!

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CLG: A Tiger Woods-free zone --By Lori Price 01 Dec 2009 Instead of covering, oh, I don't know... the Chilcot Inquiry or the Af/Pak troop/KBR/Blackwater surge, we're talking about a busted window on the SUV of this corporate butt-kisser. That and the two bimbos who wormed their way into a White House dinner because a moron in the Secret Service wants to send the world a message that you can *get* to President Obama. Now, imagine if the sinewy blonde was an overweight male Muslim. My God! The guy would already be on death row. I can just see the lower-thirds on Faux News: 'Muslim Terrorist Inches From Obama at White House Dinner.'

Barack Obama to order 34,000 troops to Afghanistan 01 Dec 2009 President Obama will announce today the deployment of an extra 34,000 American troops to Afghanistan, according to sources briefed since the President issued new orders to his military commanders. The figure, reported last night by The Washington Post, was close to previous estimates and will take the total US troop strength in Afghanistan to more than 100,000.

British troops in Afghanistan to increase to over 10,000 --Gordon Brown announces extra 500 soldiers to be deployed next month 30 Nov 2009 Gordon Brown announced today that Britain's total military effort in Afghanistan is to increase to over 10,000 troops. In a detailed Commons statement, the prime minister confirmed that all the conditions had been met to allow an extra 500 troops to be deployed in December - taking the force level to 9,500. But he also disclosed that when special forces were included, the "total military effort" in Afghanistan would be in excess of 10,000 troops.

US urges France to send more troops to Afghanistan 01 Dec 2009 The US has asked France to send an additional 1,500 troops to join the coalition forces in Afghanistan as Washington is expected to send at least 30,000 more reinforcements. On Monday, The daily Le Monde published a report on its website, saying US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the request on Thursday in a telephone call to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Body of US soldier found after 27 days in NW Afghanistan 30 Nov 2009 The body of a U.S. soldier who along with his colleague went missing in Badghis province northwest of Afghanistan early this month was found after 27 days, a private television channel Tolo broadcast Monday. "The body of American soldier was found after 27 days from a river in Badghis province," the television said.

Chilcot inquiry hears Bush began Iraq war drumbeat three days after 9/11 --Blair foreign policy adviser David Manning says US president [sic] talked up possible links between Saddam and al-Qaida 30 Nov 2009 George Bush tried to make a connection between Iraq and 'al-Qaida' in a conversation with Tony Blair three days after the 9/11 attacks, according to Blair's foreign policy adviser of the time. Sir David Manning told the official inquiry into the war that Bush, speaking to Blair by phone on 14 September 2001, "said that he thought there might be evidence that there was some connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida."The prime minister's response to this was that the evidence would have to be very compelling indeed to justify taking any action against Iraq," Manning said. Blair followed up the conversation with a letter stressing the need to focus on the situation in Afghanistan, where the attacks originated. But by the time Blair went to visit Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002 the British were "very conscious that Iraq would be on the agenda", Manning said.

Iraq inquiry: Blair told Bush he was willing to join, 11 months before war --Adviser tells of crucial moment at Texas ranch --Chilcot panel attacked for failure to press questions 30 Nov 2009 Tony Blair made it clear to George Bush at a meeting in Texas 11 months before the Iraq invasion that he would be prepared to join the US in toppling Saddam Hussein, the inquiry into the war was told today. The prime minister repeatedly told the US president that British policy was to back United Nations attempts to seek Iraq's disarmament, Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser, told the inquiry. However, Blair was "absolutely prepared to say he was willing to contemplate regime change if [UN-backed measures] did not work", Manning said. If it proved impossible to pursue the UN route, then Blair would be "willing to use force", Manning emphasised.

Rep. Hinchey: Bush Purposely Let Bin Laden Escape to Justify Iraq War 30 Nov 2009 Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) claimed on MSNBC this afternoon that the Bush administration purposely let Osama bin Laden get away in 2001 so they could use al-Qaeda as an excuse to invade Iraq. "Look what happened with regard to our invasion into Afghanistan, how we apparently intentionally let bin Laden get away. How we intentionally did not follow the Taliban and al-Qaeda as they were escaping," Hinchey said. "That was done by the previous administration because they knew very well that if they would capture al-Qaeda, there would be no justification for an invasion in Iraq." When host David Shuster pushed back, Hinchey stood by his claim. "There's no question that the leader of the military operations of the U.S. called back our military. Called them back from going after the head of al-Qaeda," he said. "I don't think [the theory] will strike a lot of people as crazy. I think it'll strike a lot of people as accurate," Hinchey said. "That's exactly what happened."

Terrorist attacks claim more lives in Iraq 01 Dec 2009 At least two people have been reported killed and twelve others injured in separate terrorist attacks across violence-ridden Iraq. In the first incident, eleven persons -- including five policemen and six civilians -- were injured Monday evening when two thermal bombs exploded at the crowded artists' syndicate in Kirkuk's al-Hawijah district.

Soldier in suit over KBR chemical is dead --Guard commander said exposure to carcinogen in Iraq caused his cancer 01 Dec 2009 A funeral is set today for a retired Indiana National Guard commander who testified in October that exposure to a lethal carcinogen in Iraq caused his cancer. Lt. Col. James C. Gentry, of Williams, Ind., died of lung cancer Wednesday. Gentry, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, last spring joined a federal lawsuit filed in December 2008. It accuses Texas-based KBR and several related companies of concealing the risks faced by 136 Indiana National Guard soldiers potentially exposed to a cancer-causing agent, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Supreme Court Overturns Decision on Detainee Photos 01 Dec 2009 The Supreme Court on Monday set aside a lower court’s order that called for the release of photographs of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan being abused tortured by American military personnel. The high court told the lower court to re-examine the issue. The justices sent the case back to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, which ruled in 2008 that the pictures should be released to the public. But at the request of the Obama administration, the Second Circuit later postponed its own order, setting the stage for the administration to take the case [Department of Defense v. A.C.L.U., No. 09-160] to the Supreme Court.

Israel constructs 25 new units in West Bank 01 Dec 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has okayed the construction of 25 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Keidar despite international calls to the contrary. During a phone conversation with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday, Netanyahu instructed Barak to stop preventing the construction of the new units in the West Bank, claiming the units do not fall under the cabinet's decision to halt settlement construction activities for 10 months.

Iran threatens 'serious' measures against captured British sailors 01 Dec 2009 Iran has threatened to take "serious" measures against five detained British sailors if it finds they had "evil intentions" when they strayed into the country's coastal waters. A close aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the five, who were sailing from Bahrain to Dubai to take part in a race, would be put through the due legal process. "Judiciary will decide about the five," Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, the president's head of staff, told the Iranian news agency Fars. "Naturally our measures will be hard and serious if we find out they had evil intentions."

Iran confirms detaining British nationals 01 Dec 2009 Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has confirmed that it has detained several British nationals in the Persian Gulf waters. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement on Monday that five British nationals were detained on November 25 in the Persian Gulf after their yacht reportedly trespassed on Iranian waters. He said the yacht was en route from Bahrain to Dubai when Iranian forces arrested the Britons.

U.S. won't sign anti-land mine treaty 25 Nov 2009 A review of U.S. land mine policy has not produced changes needed to join an international effort to ban the weapons, a State Department spokesman says. Ian Kelly told reporters Tuesday that the Obama administration examined the U.S. policy on land mines and that they will remain in place, CNN reported.

Honduran vote held amid repression, mass abstention By Bill Van Auken 01 Dec 2009 Sunday’s national elections in Honduras were marked by systematic repression against opponents of the country’s coup regime and reports of record abstention. Nonetheless, the Obama administration in Washington hailed the results as a "very important step forward for Honduras" and a "legitimate way out" of the crisis that began with the military overthrow of the country’s elected President Manuel Zelaya on June 28. The election was held just a day after the coup’s five-month mark, with Zelaya still trapped in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, where he sought refuge two months ago after staging a clandestine return to Honduras.

Pirates Hijack Oil Super Tanker Headed for U.S. [Insert eye-roll here.] 30 Nov 2009 Somali pirates seized a tanker carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States in the increasingly dangerous waters off East Africa, an official said Monday, an attack that could pose a huge environmental or security threat to the region. The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was hijacked Sunday about 800 miles off the coast of Somalia, said Cmdr. John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force. Harbour said there were 28 crew members on board the 300,000-ton ship. [LOL! Blackwater will soon be trolling for a big Obusha contract to 'keep our oil safe' from those 'increasingly dangerous' East African waters. --LRP]

Agencies reporting to White House on Ft. Hood --Review expected to cite data sharing, limits on reporting threats 01 Dec 2009 A preliminary review of the federal government's handling of intelligence before the shooting at Fort Hood is on its way to the White House, and sources said they expect the final result to address the limits of the Pentagon's ability to monitor potential threats within the armed forces and information sharing by the FBI. The deadline for various agencies involved in the case to submit reports to Obama homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan fell Monday, but administration officials said it would be a week or more before they offer recommendations for changes in the wake of the attack.

Report: FBI paid blogger accused of threatening judges in Chicago 30 Nov 2009 A New Jersey blogger about to stand trial on charges he made death threats against three federal judges in Chicago apparently was paid by the FBI in its battle against domestic terrorism, according to a published report. The Record of Bergen County reported Sunday that Hal Turner received thousands of dollars from the FBI to report on neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups and was sent undercover to Brazil. Turner also claims the FBI coached him to make racist, anti-Semitic and other threatening statements on his radio show, but the newspaper also found many federal officials were concerned that his audience might follow up on his violence rhetoric.

Police killed in 'ambush' outside US Air Force base --Perimeter security tightened at McChord AFB 30 Nov 2009 Four police officers were shot dead in a cold-blooded ambush at a coffee shop on the edge of a US Air Force base in America’s Pacific Northwest on Sunday. The four uniformed officers were gunned down while working on their laptop computers as they prepared for work around 8:30am local time. They were all wearing bullet-proof vests and their marked patrol cars were parked outside. The shooting took place at the Forza coffee shop, just across the street from the McChord Air Force Base outside Tacoma, Washington state. The killings immediately stirred fears of a repeat of the shooting spree that killed 13 people at the US Army base at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5. A spokesman at McChord Air Force Base said, however, that its 4,100 personnel had not been "locked down," although perimeter security had been tightened.

Man sought in deadly ambush had prison sentence commuted 30 Nov 2009 The man wanted for questioning in the fatal shooting of four police officers at a coffee shop had his 95-year prison sentence commuted by then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, authorities said late Sunday. The sheriff's office in Pierce County, where the ambush occurred Sunday morning, have not identified Maurice Clemmons as a suspect, but said it is looking for him as part of its investigation. Arkansas officials told the sheriff's office that Clemmons is the same person who received clemency from Huckabee in 2001, said sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer. Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate in 2008, is considering a run for president in 2012. [Isn't it amazing? In one hour, the whole GOP path just magically cleared for Sarah Palin. --LRP]

Salahis sought gala access through a Pentagon door --Couple asked Defense official for entree to state dinner via e-mail 01 Dec 2009 E-mails turned over to the Secret Service show that Tareq and Michaele Salahi had sought a top Defense Department official's help to gain access to last week's White House state dinner. People familiar with the inquiry into how the Salahis were able to attend Tuesday's gala, even though they weren't on the official guest list, said the Salahis exchanged e-mails with Michele S. Jones, special assistant to the secretary of defense and the Pentagon-based liaison to the White House.

Secret Service Agents Interview Intruders 30 Nov 2009 As part of a broadening inquiry into presidential security, Secret Service agents have interviewed the Virginia couple who sneaked into a White House state dinner last week, a senior federal official involved in the investigation said Sunday. The interviews, which took place Friday and Saturday, were conducted in a neutral location, neither the home of the couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, nor the Secret Service’s downtown offices, the official said.

EU approves data-sharing SWIFT agreement with US authorities --European Union countries have agreed on a deal that would allow the United States continued access to European citizens' financial transaction data for anti-terror investigations. 30 Nov 2009 Germany, Austria, Greece and Hungary abstained from the vote on Monday, allowing the controversial measure to pass. It allows American justice authorities to access data from SWIFT - the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, a cooperative of banks and other financial institutions that facilitates trillions of dollars in daily international transactions. Its members include almost 8,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries.

Bank of England made secret £62 billion loans to bankrupt banks 30 Nov 2009 Bank of England governor Mervyn King has revealed for the first time that in October 2008 the Bank had lent Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) £62 billion. These loans, issued at the height of the international banking crisis, were to prevent the collapse of not only the two banks but the entire banking sector.

Sabotage suspected in Indian nuclear plant radiation leak 30 Nov 2009 Workers at a nuclear plant in southern India have fallen ill after radioactive heavy water contaminated their drinking water. An unspecified number of workers at the Kaiga plant, in the southern state of Karnataka, have been advised to visit doctors for excessive exposure to radiation since November 25. The plant director said on Sunday that the incident appears to be an act of sabotage rather than caused by an accidental leak.

Reid 'confident' Senate will pass health care bill 30 Nov 2009 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is "confident" the Senate will pass a health care bill corporaterrorist giveaway, but it will take extra work on weekends in December to get it done. "The health care debate is historic. It's the most important thing any of us here has ever been involved in," Reid told USA TODAY in an interview Monday.

U.S. finds pandemic H1N1 virus in turkey flock 30 Nov 2009 The pandemic H1N1 flu virus was confirmed in a flock of breeder turkeys in Virginia -- the first U.S. case involving turkeys, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday. USDA said infections of turkeys have been reported in Canada and Chile. "This is the first detection of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza in turkeys in the United States," said a USDA spokesperson.

Dogs diagnosed with swine flu in China: report 29 Nov 2009 Two dogs in Beijing have tested positive for swine flu in the second case of animals catching the disease in China along with pigs in the northeast, Chinese media said Sunday. The A(H1N1) virus detected in the dogs was 99 percent identical to the one circulating in humans, the state-run Beijing Times reported, quoting China's agriculture ministry.

Mega barf alert! Two-thirds of broiler chickens contaminated: group 30 Nov 2009 Two-thirds of 382 fresh broiler chickens purchased from grocers by a U.S. consumer group were contaminated with one or both of the bacteria that cause most cases of food-borne illness, the group said on Monday. The Consumers Union said the figure was an improvement from the 80 percent found in tests in 2007 but "still far too high." It urged the government to issue stricter food-safety rules.

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Iraq Inquiry bombshell: Secret letter to reveal new Blair war lies 29 Nov 2009 An explosive secret letter that exposes how Tony Blair lied over the legality of the Iraq War can be revealed. The Chilcot Inquiry into the war will interrogate the former Prime Minister over the devastating 'smoking gun' memo, which warned him in the starkest terms the war was illegal. The Mail on Sunday can disclose that Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wrote the letter to Mr Blair in July 2002 - a full eight months before the war - telling him that deposing Saddam Hussein was a blatant breach of international law. It was intended to make Mr Blair call off the invasion, but he ignored it. Instead, a panicking Mr Blair issued instructions to gag Lord Goldsmith, banned him from attending Cabinet meetings and ordered a cover-up to stop the public finding out. He even concealed the bombshell information from his own Cabinet, fearing it would spark an anti-war revolt. The only people he told were a handful of cronies who were sworn to secrecy.

Lord Goldsmith 'warned Tony Blair Iraq war could be illegal' in 2002 --Tony Blair was warned by his Attorney General eight months before the invasion of Iraq that war would be illegal, it has emerged. 29 Nov 2009 In a personal letter to the Prime Minister in July 2002, Lord Goldsmith said that he did not believe military action to depose Saddam Hussein could be justified in international law. The letter, which has been passed to Chilcot Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the 2003 invasion, angered Downing Street and led to the Government’s chief law officer being sidelined, it was claimed.

Illegitimate president, illegitimate war: Iraq inquiry: war 'not legitimate', Sir Jeremy Greenstock tells inquiry 27 Nov 2009 The Iraq war was not "legitimate" because Britain and the US failed to win international support for the 2003 invasion, Sir Jeremy Greenstock has told the official inquiry into the war. Sir Jeremy, who was Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations between 1998 and 2003, believed the war was legal under the terms of successive UN resolutions, but did not have "democratic backing", he told the Iraq Inquiry. He favoured delaying the invasion until October 2003 to give weapons inspectors more time to establish whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But the determination of the US to invade Iraq in March 2003 was "much too strong" for Britain to influence, he said.

Ba'ath supporters launch TV Channel 29 Nov 2009 A group of the banned Iraqi Ba'ath Party's supporters have launched a TV station to broadcast the life story and speeches of Iraq's former president Saddam Hussein. The founders of Al-Arabi TV station claimed that the station had been launched to thwart what he termed as attempts to tarnish the image of Ba'ath Party leaders, including Saddam Hussein and others who were in prison with him, Aljazeera television reported Saturday. According to the report, the TV station was to be named Saddam Hussein originally but its name was changed due to political pressure.

US taxpayers fund Afghan stimulus: Afghan security forces get 40% pay hike 29 Nov 2009 Afghanistan yesterday increased the pay of police and soldiers by nearly 40 per cent as Western countries aimed to increase the size and quality of Afghan security forces so their own troops can go home. Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said monthly salaries would increase by $45 to about $165 for a new recruit. At present, there are about 95,000 Afghan soldiers and 93,000 police – a fraction of the number needed to 'fight' the Taleban. Afghanistan depends on funds from the US and other Western countries for large budgetary expenses, such as military and police salaries. [If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.]

Up to 9,000 Marines set to start deployment to Afghanistan --Troops will double size of U.S. force in southern province of Helmand 29 Nov 2009 Days after President Obama outlines his new war strategy in a speech Tuesday, as many as 9,000 Marines will begin final preparations to deploy to southern Afghanistan and renew an assault on a Taliban stronghold that slowed this year amid a troop shortage and political pressure from the Afghan government, senior U.S. officials said. The extra Marines will be the first to move into the country as part of Obama's escalation of the Bush's eight-year-old war.

Scientists in scramble to devise groin protector for soldiers 29 Nov 2009 British scientists are urgently trying to find a way of protecting the most sensitive part of soldiers’ anatomy from Taliban bombs. The body armour used by US soldiers has a groin protection plate, but the Osprey armour issued to UK troops in Afghanistan does not protect the area, a shortcoming that is causing great concern. Doctors at the field hospital in Camp Bastion in Helmand province are seeing 60% more cases of serious injuries to the groin -- including complete loss of genitalia -- among UK troops than among US forces.

Pakistan must step up action against al Qaeda-Brown 29 Nov 2009 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on Pakistan to take tougher action against 'al Qaeda' and step up its efforts to track down the group's leader Osama bin Laden. Brown said the efforts of British and coalition forces in Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban insurgency needed to be matched by more effective action by the Pakistan government and forces on their side of the border.

U.S. had Osama Bin Laden in their grasp but failed to strike, says Senate report 29 Nov 2009 Osama bin Laden was cornered by American troops in the Afghan mountains in 2001 but U.S. leaders did not deploy enough troops to kill or capture him, according to a U.S. report. A Senate Foreign Relations Committee study to be released tomorrow will reveal the military failings in the bid to capture the terrorist mastermind behind [used by the Bush regime for] the attacks on the World Trade Center in America on September 11, 2001. And its says the failure to kill or capture the al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader has had massive consequences that has left the American people 'vulnerable' to terrorism. The report blames U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. military commander General Tommy Franks for the blunder.

Rumsfeld decision allowed Bin Laden to escape: Senate report 29 Nov 2009 Osama bin Laden was "within the grasp" of US forces in late 2001 but escaped because then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected calls for reinforcements, a US Senate report says. Dated for release Monday, the hard-hitting study comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce a major escalation of the Afghan conflict, now in its ninth year, with the expected deployment of some 34,000 more US troops.

9/11: Pentagon Aircraft Hijack Impossible --Flight Deck Door Closed For Entire Flight (PilotsFor911Truth) Newly decoded data provided by an independent researcher and computer programmer from Australia exposes alarming evidence that the reported hijacking aboard American Airlines Flight 77 was impossible to have existed. A data parameter labeled "FLT DECK DOOR", cross checks with previously decoded data obtained by Pilots For 9/11 Truth from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) through the Freedom of Information Act.

Teenagers report US abuse in Afghanistan jail --Human rights workers have reported similar abuses at Bagram jail in the past. 28 Nov 2009 US reports about alleged abuses in the secretive Bagram jail in Afghanistan, have angered human rights workers. A report in The Washington Post published Saturday has quoted two Afghan teenagers who said they were beaten by interrogators while being held at the Bagram air base jail this year. They also say they suffered sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation.

Afghan teenagers allege beatings, sleep deprivation at U.S. black site 28 Nov 2009 Two Afghan teenagers held in U.S. detention north of Kabul this year said they were beaten by American guards, photographed naked, deprived of sleep and held in solitary confinement in concrete cells for at least two weeks while undergoing daily interrogation about their alleged links to the Taliban. The accounts could not be independently substantiated. But in successive, on-the-record interviews, the teenagers presented a detailed, consistent portrait suggesting that the abusive treatment of suspected insurgents has in some cases continued under the Obama administration, despite steps that President Obama has said would put an end to the harsh interrogation practices torture authorized by the Bush regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The two teenagers -- Issa Mohammad, 17, and Abdul Rashid, who said he is younger than 16 -- said in interviews this week that they were punched and slapped in the face by their captors during their time at Bagram air base, where they were held in individual cells. Rashid said his interrogator forced him to look at pornography alongside a photograph of his mother.

Switzerland votes "yes" to minaret ban 29 Nov 2009 Far-right Swiss politicians [terrorists] rejoice after the majority of voters supported a referendum proposing a ban on the building of minarets in Switzerland. A clear majority of 57.5 percent of the population and 22 out of 26 cantons (provinces) favored the ban on construction of the symbolic towers -- a distinct architectural feature of Islamic mosques from which Muslims are called to prayer. Far-right politicians pushing for the ban in the past few months have portrayed the minaret as a 'symbol of radicalism,' but the government officially opposed the ban over concerns that it would harm Switzerland's image.

Iran gives go-ahead to build 10 new nuclear plants --Government orders work to begin on five sites, with locations for a further five to be found 29 Nov 2009 Iran today sent a defiant signal to the international community by announcing plans to build 10 uranium enrichment plants days after it was condemned by the UN for concealing activities that are feared may be designed to produce an atomic bomb. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government said the plants would be the same size as the main enrichment complex at Natanz, central Iran, and work would begin within two months.

US warns Iran against ten new enrichment plants 29 Nov 2009 Hours after Iran's announcement of building ten new enrichment plants, the United States warns the Islamic Republic against the decision. After a cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Iranian government tasked the country's Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) with building ten more nuclear enrichment sites. Meanwhile a State Department spokesman reacted to the announcement, accusing Iran of breaking international laws if it carries out its new nuclear plan.

Venezuela to Open Embassy In Palestine --Chavez: Venezuela is Palestine and Palestine is Venezuela 28 Nov 2009 Popular Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Friday his country would open an embassy in Palestine and upgrade ties to ambassadorial level... Reuters reported. 'We have decided to designate an ambassador and open an embassy in Palestine,' Chavez told reporters after a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas. 'We now have a charge d'affaires; we will name an ambassador in coming days as part of accords to boost our bilateral relations,' he said. Venezuela also provided scholarship for 20 Palestinians to study medicine in Venezuela.

Israel may start importing books published in enemy states 29 Nov 2009 Books translated in "hostile countries" will soon be allowed to be sold in Israel, after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided on Sunday to support a bill overturning a World War II-era law aimed at blocking information from enemy states. This will allow the Arabic translations of best-selling children's books like "Harry Potter" and "Pinocchio," as well as Arabic versions of prominent Israeli authors, to be sold here.

New Minot AFB commanders vow perfection 29 Nov 2009 The sign over the main gate at Minot Air Force Base brags, ''Only the Best Come North.'' It's been a questionable claim over the past two years at the North Dakota base following a rash of nuclear-related mistakes that spurred no mushroom clouds but embarrassed the military and cost several officers their positions. The new base commander said the foul-ups - including a cross-country flight from Minot of a B-52 bomber mistakenly armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles - stemmed from lax attitudes in maintaining the arsenal there. ''We had a compliance problem,'' Col. Douglas Cox told The Associated Press in an interview last week at the base. [Yeah, like Cheney trying to strike Chicago with a 'missing' Minot nuke.]

Secrecy we can believe in: Release of secret reports delayed --Spy agencies foil Obama plan for transparency 29 Nov 2009 President Obama will maintain a lid of secrecy on millions of pages of military and intelligence documents that were scheduled to be declassified by the end of the year, according to administration officials. The missed deadline spells trouble for the White House’s promises to introduce an era of government openness, say advocates, who believe that releasing historical information enforces a key check on government behavior.

4 Police Officers Shot Dead Near McChord Air Force Base 29 Nov 2009 Four police officers were shot dead in a targeted ambush at a Lakewood, Wash., state coffee house, a sheriff's official said Sunday. The attack occurred at Forza Coffee Co., east of McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, Wash., about 35 miles south of Seattle. Officers are now searching for one male suspect who opened fire in the shop before fleeing on foot [?], q13Fox.com reported. Police have not yet ruled out an accomplice.

US police 'shot dead in ambush' in Washington state --US police said officers were 'targeted' 29 Nov 2009 Four police officers have been shot dead in an ambush at a coffee shop in Washington State, police say. Officials said at least one gunman walked into a coffee shop in Parkland, near the McChord Air Force Base, and opened fire. A sheriff's spokesman said the officers had been targeted and it was not believed to have been a robbery. Other customers were in the coffee shop at the time but no-one else was injured in the attack.

Updates from Parkland-area crime shooting scene 29 Nov 2009 Noon (PST) Update: Reporter Mike Archbold reports there are roughly 75 marked and unmarked police cars at the scene. The Pierce County Search and Rescue have arrived on the scene. The suspect came into the coffee shop and opened fire. The slain officers were wearing bulletproof vests. Rebecca Radcliffe, manager of the Subway Shop on the corner of 112th and Steele streets, said four officers would often come in on Sunday and stay two to three hours.

The newest of the deadly vaccines - designed to be a "COMBO" for viral strains that don't even exist yet?!?!?!?! Now THAT'S quite a feat of modern medicine, considering how utterly ridiculous and impossible this idea is….. H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, and H5N1 Combo DNA Influenza Vaccine Ready to roll out. By Alex 29 Nov 2009 Pardon my French, folks, but this is total bulls**t. These manufacturers are now packaging and advertising a vaccine that aims to protect against ALL the contributing donors to future variant recombinant strains based on these original donors, which were all part of the original viral bioweapon design. I can see right away the first thing they will go after is the new D225G strain and claim that because the D225G contains donor DNA from any or all of the four source strains, this new vaccine will then be effective against any substrain based on the four sources H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, and H5N1.

U.S. Will Push Mortgage Firms to Reduce More Loan Payments 29 Nov 2009 The Obama administration on Monday plans to announce a campaign to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners, as evidence mounts that a $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at stemming foreclosures is foundering. "The banks are not doing a good enough job," Michael S. Barr, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial institutions, said in an interview Friday. "Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be." [Not doing a good enough job?' They've been ****ing us, six ways to Sunday.]

Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades 29 Nov 2009 With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Canadian researcher says arctic ice is thinning 27 Nov 2009 The permanent Arctic sea ice that is home to the world's polar bears and usually survives the summer has all but disappeared, a Canadian researcher said Friday. University of Manitoba Arctic researcher David Barber said experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding, but the thick, multiyear frozen sheets have been replaced by thin ice that cannot support the weight of a polar bear.

Warming will 'wipe out billions' 29 Nov 2009 Most of the world's population will be wiped out if political leaders fail to agree a method of stopping current rates of global warming, one of the UK's most senior climate scientists has warned. Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only around 10 per cent of the planet's population - around half a billion people - will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C.

ExxonMobil shills rejoice: Climate change data dumped 29 Nov 2009 Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years. The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

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