Nigeria: Government Drops Charges Against Cheney, Halliburton

Nigeria: Government Drops Charges Against Cheney, Halliburton --Halliburton agreed to pay about N20 billion as criminal penalty, while promising to liaise with US govt to recover outstanding $132 million, currently frozen in Switzerland 13 Dec 2010 The Federal Government's effort at prosecuting former US Vice President [sic] Richard Bruce 'Dick' Cheney and other officials of Halliburton paid off, following payment of huge sums of money to the coffers of Nigeria, as Nigeria has reportedly agreed to drop charges against Cheney and Halliburton. The development followed agreement reached between Nigerian officials in the negotiating team and top officials of the US and Halliburton in a meeting held in London, weekend.

Air Force Blocks Media Sites

Air Force Blocks Media Sites --Air Force said it blocked more than 25 websites 14 Dec 2010 The U.S. Air Force is blocking its personnel from using work computers to view the websites of the New York Times and other major publications that have posted classified diplomatic cables, people familiar with the matter said. Air Force users who try to view the websites of the New York Times, Britain's Guardian, Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde or German magazine Der Spiegel instead get a page that says, "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored," according to a screen shot reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The notice warns that anyone who accesses unauthorized sites from military computers could be punished.

Gunman Paints 'V for Vendetta' Sign, Opens Fire at Fla. Board Meeting

Gunman Paints 'V for Vendetta' Sign, Opens Fire at Fla. Board Meeting --Shooting breaks out at Panhandle school board meeting; 1 reported dead 14 Dec 2010  A man reportedly spray-painted a red "V" on the wall of the Panama City school board offices during a board meeting, then pulled out a handgun, according to multiple media reports. The man was later seen being taken from the school board offices on a stretcher after having been shot dead, according to the News Herald, The Associated Press and other media accounts. A News Herald reporter said former School Board member and district security chief Mike Jones shot the gunman. No citizens were reported to have been injured. WJHG TV 7 reported that the man let women and children in the room go before taking the remaining people at the meeting hostage. ['Video' Shooter allegedly shot himself.]

Arlington man charged with terror threat

Arlington man charged with terror threat 15 Dec 2010 A 25-year-old Arlington County man was arrested after threatening on his Facebook page to use explosives in the Washington area, writing that he could put pipe bombs on Metro cars or in Georgetown at rush hour, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Virginia. Court papers do not indicate that Awais Younis, also known as Mohhanme Khan and Sundullah Ghilzai, ever acted on the threats. He has been charged with communicating threats via interstate communications.

House Dems introduce standalone measure to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

House Dems introduce standalone measure to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' 14 Dec 2010 A House Democrat on Tuesday will introduce standalone legislation to repeal the military's ban on openly gay service members in a last-ditch attempt to get rid of the policy. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) -- a longtime supporter of repeal -- will introduce the legislation, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced at his daily press briefing and on Twitter. Hoyer also said he would co-sponsor the bill.

Judge Who Ruled Health Care Reform Unconstitutional Owns Piece of GOP Consulting Firm

Judge Who Ruled Health Care Reform Unconstitutional Owns Piece of GOP Consulting Firm --Since 2003, according to the disclosures, Hudson has earned between $32,000 and $108,000 in dividends from his shares in the firm. (Gawker) 13 Dec 2010 Henry E. Hudson, the federal judge in Virginia who just ruled health care reform unconstitutional, owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform. You don't say!

Risk of war rising in Korean peninsula: Adm. Mullen

Risk of war rising in Korean peninsula: Adm. Mullen 14 Dec 2010 Admiral Mike Mullen, the top US military officer, has warned that the danger of war or hostilities is rising in the Korean peninsula. The warning of Mullen, who is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has come following North Korea's threat that cooperation between its southern neighbour and the United States could trigger a nuclear war. According to Fox News [sic], Mullen told troops in Baghdad that North Korea is preparing for a combat with South Korea amid preparations for Kim Jong Il to pass power to his son.

Russian Armed Forces on High Alert Over North Korea

Russian Armed Forces on High Alert Over North Korea 14 Dec 2010 Russia announced Tuesday that its armed forces in the east are on high alert. This comes in light of what it calls an "inadequate situation" on the Korean peninsula as tensions have increased in recent weeks between the North and South. The head of Russia's military said they continue to follow what is happening and have taken measures to raise the forces' combat readiness. 

GOP National Chairman Michael Steele to run again

GOP National Chairman Michael Steele to run again [LOL!] 13 Dec 2010 Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he will run for a second term. The news was posted on the Twitter account of Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan GOP party chairman who is among several candidates seeking to oust Steele. The RNC will pick its chairman next month.

WikiLeaks: 'Donations Were Never as Strong as Now'

German Foundation on Funding WikiLeaks: 'Donations Were Never as Strong as Now' 13 Dec 2010 Even though key payment channels have been blocked, donations for WikiLeaks keep flowing in. Hendrick Fulda is a board member of Germany's Wau Holland Foundation, one of the whistleblowing platform's main funding channels. He spoke to SPIEGEL about WikiLeaks' internal finances, PayPal's recent payment block and how support for the organization is booming.

Funding illegal Israeli settlements? Priceless.

Funding illegal Israeli settlements? Priceless. By Bernard Keane 13 Dec 2010 Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law. It appears at least one of the major credit cards also enables donations to an extremist Jewish group that has placed a bounty on the lives of Palestinians. All three have in the last week ceased enabling donations to WikiLeaks... This is the third occasion on which PayPal has suspended payment services for WikiLeaks.

Relatives of Spanish cameraman killed in Baghdad use WikiLeaks to press for justice

Relatives of Spanish cameraman killed in Baghdad use WikiLeaks to press for justice --After years of delays, the family of a Spanish journalist killed in a 2003 US attack on a Baghdad hotel turns to WikiLeaks documents that suggest the US and Spain colluded to prevent legal action. 13 Dec 2010 In what could be the first legal case to use filtered WikiLeaks documents as evidence, the family of a Spanish cameraman killed in 2003 by a US tank shell during the battle for Baghdad filed a complaint Monday. They seek to open an investigation into whether high-ranking officials here colluded with the US Embassy to stop charges being filed against three American soldiers, including a colonel.

Kuwait shuts down Al Jazeera office

Kuwait shuts down Al Jazeera office 13 Dec 2010 Kuwaiti authorities have closed the office of Al Jazeera over coverage of a police crackdown on a public gathering. "Today, I received a phone call from the information ministry informing me that the office has been closed immediately and our accreditations have been withdrawn," Saad al Saeedi, al Jazeera's bureau chief in Kuwait City, said. Ministry officials had delivered the office a letter that stated the reason for the closure was "the latest developments and your interference in Kuwait's internal affairs," Saeedi said, quoting the letter.

US-led soldier killed in Afghan war

US-led soldier killed in Afghan war 14 Dec 2010 Another foreign soldier operating under the International Security Assistance Force has been killed in southern Afghanistan. NATO says the soldier was killed in a roadside bomb, but did not give further details about the incident. It comes hours after NATO said a bomb explosion injured one Danish soldier in the volatile south.

Unauthorized US strike kills 4 Pakistanis

Unauthorized US strike kills 4 Pakistanis 14 Dec 2010 At least four people have been killed during a non-UN-sanctioned US drone attack in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, security officials say. A CIA-operated drone fired two missiles into Spalga village, 15 km south of city of Miranshah, in the northwest Pakistan's North Waziristan on Tuesday. "It was a US drone strike, which targeted a militant's vehicle, killing four rebels," a senior local security official told AFP.

WikiLeaks' Assange Wins U.K. Bail in Sweden Extradition Case

WikiLeaks' Assange Wins U.K. Bail in Sweden Extradition Case 14 Dec 2010 Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks whistleblower website, was granted bail by the U.K. judge overseeing his extradition fight with Sweden over allegations of rape and molestation. Assange, 39, will be released after posting bail of 240,000 pounds ($378,480), Judge Howard Riddle said at a hearing today. Assange’s lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, said Assange would stay with a friend in Suffolk, north east of London, to address Riddle’s concerns at a hearing last week that his client was a flight risk.

Sweden to appeal WikiLeaks founder's bail

Sweden to appeal WikiLeaks founder's bail 14 Dec 2010 Swedish authorities said Tuesday they will appeal a British judge's decision to grant bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The decision means the 39-year-old Australian will remain behind bars for at least another 48 hours. Britain's High Court will now hear the Swedish appeal, although it is not clear when.

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange granted £200,000 bail

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange granted £200,000 bail (but Swedish court may block his release) --Swedish authorities likely to appeal decision, which will keep him in custody --Protesters cheer as decision is announced 14 Dec 2010 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted bail at court today on condition of a £200,00 surety put up by a group of celebrities. After his initial application was refused, Assange attended a second hearing this afternoon, where a group of celebrities once again united to provide financial backing. The conditions of Assange's bail are that he has to wear an electronic tag, surrender his passport and obey a curfew. The granting of bail means he can now consult freely with his lawyers, but if the Swedish authorities appeal today's decision on the grounds that they fear Assange is a flight risk, the WikiLeaks chief will remain in custody until that appeal can be heard, with a likely eight to ten weeks until that happens.

'Don't ask, don't tell' challenged in US lawsuit

'Don't ask, don't tell' challenged in US lawsuit 13 Dec 2010 Three US military veterans who were discharged under the law that prohibits gay people from serving openly in uniform sued the government today. They are requesting to be reinstated and putting pressure on lawmakers to repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy before a new Congress is sworn in. The lawsuit filed in the district court in San Francisco seeks to declare the ban on openly gay troops as unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

UK academics hold joint cuts protest

UK academics hold joint cuts protest 14 Dec 2010 British academics fear the government's plans for cuts will have a negative impact on the north of the county and are to unite to fight against the plan. The staff and students at Tresham College in Kettering are to unite for a peaceful protest to call for the Education Maintenance Allowance for the poor.

Walmart joins anti-terror effort

Walmart joins anti-terror effort --Store videos urge customers to report suspicious activity 14 Dec 2010 Walmart has bought into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "If you see something, say something" campaign to thwart terrorism. Within a month, all of the chain's 588 U.S. stores with video screens at checkout counters will show a public service announcement featuring DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano encouraging customers to report suspicious activity in the store or parking lot to local police. [Another reason to boycott Walmart!]

TIME Readers Pick Wikileaks' Julian Assange as Person of the Year

TIME Readers Pick Wikileaks' Julian Assange as Person of the Year 13 Dec 2010 The controversial founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has won an online vote to be TIME Magazine's Person of the Year. Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear, TIME reported. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey.

Give Polar Bears a Home for the Holidays

Give Polar Bears a Home for the Holidays By SOP newswire2 13 Dec 2010 Our polar bears are running out of time. Please urge President Obama to protect polar bear habitat and stop devastating drilling in the places they need to hunt and rear their young. Year after year, Big Oil continues its campaign for destructive drilling in vital polar bear habitat... The noise and disruptions caused by drilling in the Arctic Refuge could cause polar bear mothers to abandon their cubs to die. And offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea risks a cataclysmic oil spill from which these bears may be unable to recover. Help protect polar bears from Big Oil. Urge President Obama to secure vital habitat for these iconic sea bears. We need to send a strong message to the Obama administration. Help us send 45,000 messages to President Obama by this Friday (December 17th).

Operation Payback Manifesto from Anonymous

Operation Payback Manifesto from Anonymous --A Letter from Anonymous: Our Message, Intentions, and Potential Targets 09 Dec 2010  Our intention is just: The intention of Anonymous is to protect free flow of information of all types from the control of any individual, corporation, or government entity. We will do this until our proverbial, dying breath. We do this not only for our selves, but for the citizens of the world. We are people campaigning at this very moment for your freedom of information exchange, freedom of expression, and free use of the Internet.

Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees 10 Dec 2010 The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.

Richard Holbrooke, noted diplomat, is dead at 69

Richard Holbrooke, noted diplomat, is dead at 69 13 Dec 2010 Richard C. Holbrooke, the high-octane diplomat who spearheaded the end of the Bosnian war and most recently served as the Obama administration's point man in the volatile Afghan-Pakistani war zone, has died, officials said. The 69-year-old diplomat died Monday at George Washington University Hospital. He was admitted last Friday after feeling ill. Doctors performed surgery Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta. One of the world's most recognizable diplomats, Holbrooke's career spanned from the Vietnam War-era to the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Party revolt growing over Prime Minister Gillard's WikiLeaks stance

Party revolt growing over Prime Minister Gillard's WikiLeaks stance --More Labor MPs supporting WikiLeaks work 14 Dec 2010 Julia Gillard is confronting a growing backlash within her own party, with more Labor MPs yesterday attacking the Prime Minister's language and declaring their support for WikiLeaks's founder Julian Assange and free speech. Ms Gillard said the latest WikiLeaks information dump was based on an illegal act, but Canberra has since insisted that was a reference to the original theft of the material by a junior US serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange. However, Labor Left MP Maria Vamvakinou from Melbourne yesterday told The Australian the government had read the public mood wrongly on the issue and said she supported the release of the classified material.

Senate Has Enough Votes to Advance Bush-Obama Tax-Cut Plan

Senate Has Enough Votes to Advance Bush-Obama Tax-Cut Plan 13 Dec 2010 The U.S. Senate has enough votes to advance an $858 billion tax-cut compromise between President Barack Obama and Republicans as a top House Democrat predicted Congress will pass the measure. More than 70 senators have voted to advance the measure in a tally that is remaining open for several hours to allow lawmakers time to return to Washington. Approval by 60 senators will clear the way for final passage of the bill tomorrow.

Published: Papers which could finally force full inquest into death of Dr David Kelly

Published for the first time, the papers which could finally force full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly --The memorial argues that Dr Kelly’s death was not sufficiently investigated and claims that there are a large number of irregularities surrounding it. 13 Dec 2010 Today, the Daily Mail publishes for the first time the legal document which could trigger a full coroner's inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. The document, formally known as a memorial was written by group of campaigning doctors who have been trying to secure an inquest since 2004. It lists the sequence of events which led up to Dr Kelly's death and the legal reasons they believe an inquest ought to be held.

Health Care Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Health Care Law Ruled Unconstitutional 14 Dec 2010 A federal district judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first court in the country to invalidate any part of the sprawling act and ensuring that appellate courts will receive contradictory opinions from below. Judge Henry E. Hudson, who was appointed to the bench by President [sic] George W. Bush, declined the plaintiff’s request to freeze implementation of the law pending appeal, meaning that there should be no immediate effect on the ongoing rollout of the law. In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement [originally, a GOP proposal] that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

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CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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