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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May 2009 Archives, Page Two

Iraq redux? Obama seeks funds for Pakistan super-embassy 27 May 2009 The U.S. is embarking on a $1 billion crash program to expand its diplomatic presence in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, another sign that the Obama administration is making a costly, long-term commitment to war-torn South Asia, U.S. officials said Wednesday. The White House has asked Congress for -- and seems likely to receive -- $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital. The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

Occupations you can believe in: US Army prepared to stay in Iraq for a decade 27 May 2009 The Pentagon is prepared to remain in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between Washington and Baghdad that would bring all American troops home by 2012, according to the US army chief of staff. Gen George Casey said the world remained "dangerous and unpredictable", and the Pentagon must plan for extended US combat and stability operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan that could deploy 50,000 US military personnel for a decade.

May Is Iraq's Deadliest Month Since September 28 May 2009 An American soldier and four Iraqi civilians died Wednesday when a bomb exploded on a Baghdad street as a United States military patrol drove past, officials said. The death of the soldier brings to at least 20 the number of American soldiers who have died this month, the most since September 2008, when 25 service members died.

Iraq to arrest 1,000 'corrupt' officials 27 May 2009 Iraq's anti-corruption watchdog says arrest warrants have been issued for some 1,000 allegedly corrupt officials. Few details were disclosed, but the Commission on Public Integrity said at least 50 were senior figures.

Iraq deal to revive gas pipeline 17 May 2009 A consortium of oil companies plans to revive a project to supply Europe with gas from northern Iraq. Austria's OMV and Hungary's MOL have teamed up with two companies from the United Arab Emirates to extract the gas from fields in Iraq's Kurdish region.

Israel threatening Iran with 'nukes' 27 May 2009 As Israel remains adamant on blemishing the prospects of Iran-US dialogue and coaxing the White House into a war, Israel's military Chief of Staff says the regime is ready to use all options against Iran. Israel, the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has long strived to portray Iran as a regime hell-bent on starting a nuclear war through the pursuit of its nuclear program.

Tensions high ahead of Israeli drill --Lebanese forces go on high alert ahead of Israeli border exercises 27 May 2009 UNIFIL and the Lebanese army went on high alert Wednesday ahead of an Israeli military exercise scheduled for Sunday along the border with Lebanon. Meanwhile, Israeli military equipment was observed near Lebanese territory in what is dubbed Exercise Turning Point 3, which is intended to train Israeli troops in emergency response drills.

Russia fears Korea conflict could go nuclear - Ifax 27 May 2009 Russia is taking security measures as a precaution against the possibility tension over North Korea could escalate into nuclear war, news agencies quoted officials as saying on Wednesday. Interfax quoted an unnamed security source as saying a stand-off triggered by Pyongyang's nuclear test on Monday could affect the security of Russia's far eastern regions, which border North Korea.

Clinton: N. Korea to face 'consequences' 27 May 2009 North Korea threatened military action Wednesday against U.S. and South Korean warships plying the waters near the Koreas' disputed maritime border, raising the specter of a naval clash just days after the regime's underground nuclear test. In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned that Pyongyang faced unspecified consequences because of its "provocative and belligerent" acts.

US, Koreas prepare for peninsula war 28 May 2009 South Korean and US troops go on higher alert amid Pyongyang's threats of 'a powerful strike' and growing fears of a full-scale war in the peninsula. "As of 7:15 am Thursday (2215 GMT Wednesday), the US-South Korea Combined Forces Command upgraded Watch Conditions by a notch to Stage Two," Seoul's Defense Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday. "Surveillance over the North will be stepped up, with more aircraft and personnel mobilized," AFP quoted spokesman Won Tae-Jae as saying.

North Korea warns of attack if ships checked 27 May 2009 North Korea, facing international sanction for this week's nuclear test, threatened on Wednesday to attack the South after Seoul joined a U.S.-led initiative to check vessels suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction. A North Korean army spokesman also said the country was no longer bound by the armistice signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War because Washington had ignored its responsibility as a signatory by drawing South Korea into its naval initiative.

Army post shuts down for anti-suicide event --Record number of soldiers committed suicide last year, Army says 27 May 2009 A major United States military post is shutting down for three days following a rash of suicides, the post announced. Fort Campbell, home of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, is holding a three-day "suicide stand-down training event" starting Wednesday -- the second one it has held this year, a post spokeswoman told CNN. At least 11 deaths of Fort Campbell soldiers this year are confirmed or suspected suicides, spokeswoman Kelly Tyler said.

MI5 faces fresh torture allegations --The claims bring to three the number of countries in which British intelligence agents have been accused of colluding in the torture of UK nationals. 26 May 2009 The home secretary Jacqui Smith faces legal action over allegations that MI5 agents colluded in the torture of a British former civil servant by Bangladeshi intelligence officers. Lawyers for the British man, Jamil Rahman, are to file a damages claim alleging that Smith was complicit in assault, unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and breaches of human rights legislation over his alleged ill-treatment while detained in Bangladesh.

Minot Base Commander Says Bomb Wing Back on Track 27 May 2009 The bomb wing commander at the Minot Air Force Base says the wing "performed magnificently" in a surprise Air Force inspection just completed. Col. Joel Westa was assigned the base after a mistaken cross-country flight of nuclear warheads to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 2007. One of his missions was to restore the reputation of the Minot base and its 5th Bomb Wing.

Pentagon Working on Cyberwarfare Tools for GIs 27 May 2009 The U.S. military is developing easy-to-use, highly powerful hacking tools for GIs to use in case of a cyberwar, reports the Web site of Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. One prototype device shown to Aviation Week used an easy-to-understand interface to show how best to tap into any wireless communication system, then monitored how successfully a hacking attempt was going.

Network Attack Weapons Emerge --DARPA has awarded several contracts to information technology companies to design a cyberattack range. 21 May 2009 Devices to launch and control cyber, electronic and information attacks are being tested and refined by the U.S. military and industry in preparation for moving out of the laboratory and into the warfighter's backback... The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] has awarded several contracts to information technology companies to design a cyberattack range. Candidate sites include Naval Air Warfare Center's China Lake, Calif., radar cross-section facility and the U.S. Air Force radar cross-section range at Holloman AFB, N.M. Several future attack devices are being built in a U.S. cyberwarfare attack laboratory.

'New arms race' taking shape in cyberspace: Van Loan 27 May 2009 A "new arms race" is taking shape in cyberspace, Canada's security czar said Wednesday, lamenting ever bolder and more sophisticated attacks on government websites by Russia, China and others. "I really look at this area almost as the new arms race," said Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan. Cyber security is "a concern both countries share," he told a joint press conference with US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, in Canada to discuss border and other security concerns.

Lahore bombing death toll rises to 40 27 May 2009 The death toll from a bomb attack targeting the police offices in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore rises to 40 as rescue teams find more bodies under the rubble. Earlier media reports said twenty-three people were killed in the bombing that destroyed a police building and damaged nearby offices of the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the country's second-largest city. Later, city's top civil administrator, Sajjad Bhutta, said that 12 police officers were among the 40 bodies retrieved.

Pakistani militants in bomb attack on offices of police chief and spy agency --Suicide attackers stage a spectacular assault in Lahore 27 May 2009 Gun-toting suicide attackers exploded a giant bomb in the centre of Lahore today, killing at least 24 people and wounding around 300 in a spectacular assault aimed at the offices of the police chief and Pakistan's main spy agency. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, the third in Lahore in as many months. Sajjad Bhutto, a senior government official, said 100kg of explosives were used in the bomb.

Terrorism expert says LNG project lacks safeguards --Opponents of Sparrows Point terminal enlist former CIA official 27 May 2009 Opponents of a liquefied natural gas terminal in eastern Baltimore County stepped up their attacks Tuesday, hosting an appearance by a former CIA officer who said the $400 million project lacks critical safeguards and raises the specter of terrorism and piracy. "The more I looked into this project, the more I thought the company building it does not care about the safety implications," said Charles S. Faddis, who retired a year ago as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's anti-terrorism unit and is a security consultant, based in Davidsonville, and a writer who has published two books on security issues.

Leaders of Muslim charity sentenced to 65 years 28 May 2009 Two leaders of what was once the largest Muslim charity in the US have been sentenced to 65 years in jail for supporting Palestinian resistance group Hamas. The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation and five of its leaders were convicted late last year for allegedly funneling more than 12 million dollars to Hamas in the largest "terror financing" case in US history. Jurors returned guilty verdicts on 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering and tax fraud.

Database blacklist saw thousands denied jobs 27 May 2009 Thousands of workers in the construction industry were denied employment because of a secret "blacklist", a court heard today. Ian Kerr built up a database of 3,213 people which included highly sensitive and personal information as well as trade union links and employment history, Cheshire magistrates were told. He then offered the information to construction firms to vet potential employees. Kerr's organisation, the Consulting Association, in Droitwich, West Midlands, was raided by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) last March and he was charged with a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Former NYPD Commissioner Kerik Indicted --Accused of Making False Statements to White House Officials During Vetting For Homeland Security Position 27 May 2009 CBS 2 HD has learned that former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of making false statements to White House officials during his vetting for the position of [Bush's] Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The new indictment was handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington, and means Kerik will face trials in New York and Washington, D.C.

Halliburton chief denies company still tied to KBR 20 May 2009 Halliburton Co. CEO Dave Lesar today dismissed suggestions by a shareholder that the 2007 spinoff of its former subsidiary KBR was a ruse and that Halliburton’s recent agreement to pay most of KBR’s legal fines in a federal bribery case was an example of the companies’ ongoing connection. "First of all, let’s be very clear, KBR and Halliburton are legally separated," Lesar said at Halliburton’s annual shareholders meeting. [Yeah, but most people still view Cheney, Halliburton and KBR as all part of the same pile of sh*t.]

Analyst upgrades KBR, citing rising oil prices 26 May 2009 Shares of engineering and construction firms jumped Tuesday as an analyst upgraded KBR Inc. and reiterated his "Buy" ratings for three other companies, saying they are benefiting from rising oil prices. Broadpoint AmTech analyst Will Gabrielski raised his profit estimate for KBR, upgraded the engineering and construction firm to "Buy" from "Neutral" and raised his price target to $21 from $13, implying a more than 25 percent premium from its closing price Friday.

Global swine flu deaths top 100 28 May 2009 The global swine flu death toll marched past 100 on Wednesday with one new fatality reported in the United States and four more in Mexico, the two countries where the first outbreaks were reported. Prior to the latest North American deaths, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had reported the global toll at 95, with 13,398 people in 48 countries infected with the A(H1N1) virus since it was first uncovered last month.

Latest budget proposal eliminates CalWORKs, lets out inmates early 27 May 2009 ...Several of the latest cuts were eye-openers, but the largest was the wholesale elimination of the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Program, which provides grants to parents that people commonly refer to as "welfare." Nearly 1.3 million Californians received CalWORKs payments in February, almost 1 million of whom were children. The state would save $1.3 billion next year by eliminating CalWORKs but lose three times as much in federal funds. "It boggles the mind that California would be the only state in the Union without a CalWORKs-type program," said Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association. "In fact, we'd be, to our knowledge, the only state in a country in the entire First World not to have subsistence benefits for children."

Feds end prosecution of GOP organizer 27 May 2009 The federal government has ended its prosecution of a former Republican political organizer accused of making false statements to FBI agents investigating a plot to jam Democratic phone lines in New Hampshire on Election Day 2002. The case against James Tobin of Bangor came to a quiet conclusion with a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston mandate dismissing an appeal by prosecutors.

San Francisco police arrest 175 anti-Prop 8 protesters 26 May 2009 San Francisco police arrested about 175 protesters who were part of a group that blocked a major intersection for hours today in response to the state Supreme Court's ruling upholding Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Hundreds of people filled the intersection of Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue late this morning after word spread of the ruling.


Obama Integrates Security Councils, Adds Pandemic Threat Office --Aides: Doing so will improve state and local officials' access to the White House and does not require an act of Congress. 27 May 2009 President Obama announced yesterday that he will merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council to speed up and unify security policymaking inside the White House. The White House also will add new offices for cybersecurity, for terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, and for "resilience" -- a national security directorate aimed at preparedness and response for a domestic WMD attack, pandemic or natural catastrophe, officials said. Obama will preserve the Homeland Security Council's role as the main forum for government policymaking on issues such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters and pandemic influenza. [See: DoD to carry out 'military missions' during pandemic, WMD attack and DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack.]

White House merging national and homeland security --The Homeland Security Council, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will be kept as a venue for discussing issues concerning domestic security, including terrorism, WMDs, natural [some, not so much] disasters and pandemic influenza. 26 May 2009 President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he is combining White House staffs dealing with international and homeland security. Obama also is creating a new office intended to communicate more effectively with other countries about U.S. security policy. Homeland Security Council staff will be integrated into the National Security Council. The president's national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, told reporters the reorganization reflects the view that national security has both foreign and domestic components.

New York Brooklyn Slippery Slope SARS full scale bioagent exercise, 2005 24 May 2009 Slippery Slope 2005 was a full-scale bioagent response drill in Brooklyn, New York (using SARS as the infectious bioagent).

Showdown Looming On 'State Secrets' --Attorney: The document amounts to "Judge Walker's enough-is-enough order." 26 May 2009 The Obama administration has invoked the state-secrets privilege in resisting a lawsuit filed by an Oregon charity whose attorneys may have been subjected to warrantless wiretapping. Late Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker issued a terse order that raised the prospect of "sanctions" for government lawyers who have not responded to his order for a plan for how the case should proceed. Civil liberties groups and left-leaning members of Congress have used the matter to argue that Obama's approach as president conflicts with his campaign promises of transparency.

IDF chief: I'm preparing all possible measures against Iran 26 May 2009 Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told lawmakers on Tuesday he was preparing every possible measure Israel could take to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. "As chief of staff, my position is to prepare all the alternatives for dealing with the Iranian nuclear problem, which is what I am doing," Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Armored brigade chief: We're preparing for 'classic' war 26 May 2009 "Today our soldiers are better trained and more experienced; they are ready for the moment of truth, and a future conflict with Hizbullah will look differently," the outgoing commander of the 7th Armored Brigade said. In an interview with Ynet, Colonel Royi Elcabets said that despite the looming threats from the terror organizations, "we have not been neglecting our training for the possibility of a confrontation with a standard army, such as Syria's, and are investing in tank-against-tank exercises to improve our capabilities." Elcabets, who will take up his new post as the Southern Command's Chief Operations Officer in a few weeks, is convinced that in the next conflict Hamas will also fire rockets into Israel while trying to lure the IDF deep into Gazan territory by operating out of population hubs. "Despite the threat from Hamas in the south and Hizbullah in the north, we are not ruling out the possibility of a 'classic' war," he said. "Such scenarios require sophisticated preparation, and we are giving this much thought."

Netanyahu bringing Israel closer to war with Iran By Aluf Benn 26 May 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers the lifting of the Iranian nuclear threat his life's mission. Before coming to power, he had mentioned that such an operation might cost thousands of lives, but the price was justified in view of the threat's severity. His comments yesterday at the meeting of Likud's Knesset faction put to rest Ariel Sharon's doctrine that Iran is not just Israel's problem but the entire world's problem, and Israel must not be at the forefront of the struggle. Israel is now at the forefront.

Israeli delegation on the move over 'Iran threat' 26 May 2009 An Israeli government delegation has set off to London in an attempt to divert attention away from its illegal settlements and onto Iran. The delegation headed by Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor is expected to meet with US officials in the UK, a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The official, however, did not specify which US officials the delegation would meet or why London had been chosen as the venue for the talks.

3 Americans and a Civilian Die in Afghanistan Attack 27 May 2009 A suicide car bomber driving a Toyota Corolla plowed into a NATO convoy at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, killing three American soldiers and a civilian passer-by on a main road north of Kabul, according to Afghan and U.S. military officials.

Bomber kills '5 US troops' in Afghanistan 26 May 2009 A suicide bomber rams its explosive-laden vehicle into a US army convoy in north-east of the war-ravaged country, killing five US troops and injuring several others. Headquarter of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces ISAF in Kabul confirmed the incident, which occurred at around 9 am in Sayad district of Kapisa province, some 60 km north of the Afghan capital.

State Department Official Is Among 3 Killed in Iraq 27 May 2009 A roadside bomb killed three Americans traveling in Falluja on Monday, including a State Department official working at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, American officials said Tuesday. The State Department official, Terrence Barnich, was deputy director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office in Baghdad. The attack also killed an American soldier and a civilian working for the Defense Department. Two civilians working for the Defense Department were wounded, the officials said.

U.S. contractor killed in Green Zone 23 May 2009 The man found stabbed to death in the Green Zone in Baghdad has been identified as the U.S. owner of a small construction company, officials said Saturday. Another civilian, a defense department employee was killed Friday when a rocket hit his trailer, the U.S. military said.

Report: North Korea test-fires 2 more missiles 26 May 2009 North Korea reportedly tested two more short-range missiles Tuesday, a day after detonating a nuclear bomb underground, pushing the regime further into a confrontation with world powers despite the threat of U.N. action. Two missiles -- one ground-to-air, the other ground-to-ship -- with a range of about 80 miles (130 kilometers) were test-fired from an east coast launchpad, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government official.

Rumsfeld was on ABB board during deal with North Korea 24 Feb 2003 Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants. Weapons experts say waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called "dirty bombs". The Swiss-based ABB on Friday told swissinfo that Rumsfeld was involved with the company in early 2000, when it netted a $200 million (SFr270million) contract with Pyongyang.

State recruits an army of snoopers with police-style powers 26 May 2009 A growing army of private security guards and town hall snoopers with sweeping police-style powers is being quietly established, the Daily Mail can reveal. Under a Home Office-run scheme, people such as park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards receive the powers if they undergo training, and pay a small fee to their local police force. Their powers include issuing £60 fines for truancy and dropping litter, and being able to demand a person's name and address on the street.

H1N1 flu infects 13,000 people in 46 countries - WHO 26 May 2009 The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that nearly 13,000 people have been confirmed infected with the new H1N1 flu strain but the number of countries affected is stable at 46. In its latest tally, the United Nations agency said its labs have confirmed 12,954 infections with the newly discovered strain that has killed 92 people.

Anger over breach in swine flu quarantine 27 May 2009 Eight more Melburnians have been diagnosed with swine flu overnight, taking the state's total to 32. Premier John Brumby provided the update this morning as the Federal Government announced stricter health controls would be introduced at Australian ports amid concerns that dozens of people with flu-like symptoms were allowed to leave a cruise ship and travel across the country.

Swine flu scare: cruise ship quarantined 25 May 2009 Authorities have quarantined another cruise ship in Sydney because of swine flu concerns, disrupting the travel plans of around 2,000 people. A spokeswoman for P and O cruises says the Health Department is awaiting swine test results on two passengers, who returned on the cruise ship from the South Pacific this morning.

Obama names Sotomayor as Supreme Court nominee 26 May 2009 President Obama has chosen federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic and third female U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed. Obama announced the nomination Tuesday morning at the White House. Sotomayor, a 54-year-old judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was named a U.S. District Court judge by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and was elevated to her current seat by President Clinton.

Sotomayor's resume, record on notable cases --The resume and record of federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor (CNN) 26 May 2009

Judge Sotomayor's Appellate Opinions in Civil Cases By Tom Goldstein 15 May 2009 Since joining the Second Circuit in 1998, Sotomayor has authored over 150 opinions, addressing a wide range of issues, in civil cases.

Shell 'played role in activist executions' --Royal Dutch Shell is due in court on Wednesday this week to face charges of being complicit in the execution of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa 14 years ago. 26 May 2009 The Anglo-Dutch petrochemicals giant will be accused of asking Nigeria's military dictatorship to silence Mr Saro-Wiwa and other activists campaigning against ecological damage allegedly brought about by oil extraction. Mr Saro-Wiwa and eight other campaigners were executed by hanging in November 1995 after being found guilty of what were widely seen as trumped up murder charges. [Why is Shell still standing?]

Monsanto's Terminator Making a Comeback? Enter the Zombie! By Barbara H. Peterson 18 May 2009 Monsanto and its cohorts in crime promised us that they would not be using Terminator technology called GURT, or genetic use restricted technology... In spite of the [UN] moratorium, not only are they working heatedly on Terminator technology, but are getting ready to introduce Zombie technology. Terminator, and Traitor or Zombie technologies are just variations of GURT. Whereas Terminator technology produces plants with sterile seeds, Zombie technology carries this a step further by creating plants that could require a chemical application to trigger seed fertility every year. Pay for the chemical or get sterile seed. This is called reversible transgenic sterility. They have been working steadily on perfecting this technology, and are now poised to introduce it to the world as a solution to the current GMO contamination problem. [Why is Monsanto still standing?]

Obama urged to curb Buy American plan 25 May 2009 The Obama administration faces mounting pressure [from corpora-terrorists] to wind back Buy American measures passed by Congress this year amid growing concerns that they hurt some US workers they were designed to help. The measures, which were in the $787bn US stimulus bill, require any project funded with stimulus money to use only US-made steel, iron and manufactured goods.

U.S. consumer confidence soared in May --Highest level since September; a sign that economy stabilizing 26 May 2009 Consumer confidence extended its rebound in May, soaring to the highest level since last September as more shoppers are feeling the worst of the recession is behind them. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index, which had dramatically increased in April, zoomed past economists' expectations to 54.9 from a revised 40.8 in April.

California Supreme Court upholds Prop. 8; gay marriage remains banned in state 26 May 2009 The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote. By a 52-48 margin, voters approved the measure reinstating a ban on same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling last May, approved such marriages.

California Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban 26 May 2009 The state Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed. The decision Tuesday rejected an argument from gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval.

Army engineers begin building new polar bear home 26 May 2009 A group of engineers from the Army have started constructing a new home in the Scottish Highlands for Mercedes, a polar bear. Some 80 soldiers from 75 Engineer Regiment, which is based in the north-west, have begun constructing the enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie. Mercedes, who is currently the only polar bear in a British zoo, hopes to move into her new home later this year.


Hundreds 'tortured' in Iraqi prisons 25 May 2009 Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights has declared in a report that hundreds of people were tortured in Iraqi prisons last year. According to the report published in Baghdad's al-Sabbah newspaper Sunday, of the 306 cases of torture and abuse in Iraqi prisons, 107 took place in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has also declared that the torture or abuse of Iraqi prisoners is "routine and commonplace." The group said that detainees were suspended for long periods of time with their hands tied behind their back, routinely beaten with cables and metal rods and had shocks administered to their earlobes and genitals by security officers, DPA reported.

U.S. holds journalist without charges in Iraq --Reuters cameraman Ibrahim Jassam has been held since September. The U.S. military rejected a court order to release him, saying he is a 'high security threat.' 24 May 2009 The soldiers rifled through the house, confiscating Ibrahim Jassam's computer hard drive and cameras. And then they led him away, handcuffed and blindfolded. That was Sept. 2. Jassam, 31, has been in U.S. custody ever since. No formal accusations have been made against Jassam, and an Iraqi court ordered in November that he be released for lack of evidence. But the U.S. military continues to hold him, saying it has intelligence that he is "a high security threat," said Maj. Neal Fisher, spokesman for detainee affairs. [Just be sure reporters (aka convicted spies) arrested in Iran are released. But the United States of Hypocrisy can hold and torture (actual) journalists for six centuries without trial. You won't read about that in the PentaPost. --LRP]

Detainee claims abuse at Gitmo, Bagram: 'They were beating me' 24 May 2009 As a prisoner, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef was held both at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba -- spending more than three years in Guantanamo before he was released in 2006. Now free, Zaeef alleges the military engaged in abusive treatment both at Bagram and Guantanamo. He says he is still bitter about his time there. Closing Guantanamo Bay, he told CNN, is only part of the justice those detained there deserve. "It was a bad stain on American history," he said... "I didn't see a worse situation in my life than Bagram," recalled Zaeef. "They were beating me, they put me in the snow, in the cold, until I was unconscious."

Israel's war effort gains religious imperative 26 May 2009 During the Gaza war this year, Schmuel Kaufman, a military rabbi from a West Bank settlement, used to stride between the Israeli soldiers’ tents and urge them to fight what he deemed an "obligatory war" ordained by ancient scripture. "It’s a holy war to protect women and children from the south of the country after a long period of endurance on our side,” he told The Times. "The commander of the battalion asked me to blow the shofar [a ram’s horn] every time before going into the fighting. I’m blowing the shofar while 500 soldiers stand behind me praying. They went in wrapped in holiness."

'If Israel doesn't remove Iranian threat, no one will' [Can someone remove the Israeli threat?] 25 May 2009 If Israel does not eliminate the Iranian threat, no one will, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. "Israel is not like other countries," Netanyahu told his Likud faction in a meeting which came one week after his meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. "We are faced with security challenges that no other country faces, and our need to provide a response to these is critical, and we are answering the call."

Barak: U.S.-Iran nuclear talks have 'very low' chance of success 25 May 2009 Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that new diplomatic overtures made by the United States to Iran were highly unlikely to halt the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. "I believe that the chance the dialogue has of stopping Iran's nuclear efforts is very low," Barak told Army Radio. "I also believe the Americans understand this. They only think that there is logic to this, even if the chance is low... in order to contend with what needs to, or is likely to happen in the future."

Iran sends six warships, logistic vessels to Aden Gulf and high seas 25 May 2009 Iran’s Navy Force Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Monday Iran has sent six warships and logistic vessels to Aden Gulf and high seas noting the move was unprecedented in the history of Iran's navy force. The important measure represents Iran's potent military capabilities for confronting any sort of outside threat across its coasts, he said as expressing hope navy force could make more progresses on technology of arm by local experts.

UK MPs on hunger strike over no Gaza entry 24 May 2009 A group of British lawmakers en-route to the Gaza Strip have gone on a hunger strike after Egypt prevented their aid convoy from entering the besieged sliver. The Convoy of Hope was expected to cross the Rafah border-crossing on Saturday, but reports say that Egyptian authorities have delayed its entry to the territory.

Troops in Iraq, Afghanistan honor their fallen 25 May 2009 American troops on Memorial Day honored their fallen on two battlefields, one war winding down and another ramping up. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military remembered the toll so far on the troops -- more than 4,900 dead -- with the outcome still unclear. In Iraq, soldiers and Marines stood solemnly during a playing of Taps at Baghdad's Camp Victory... Thousands of miles away, in the Afghan capital of Kabul, soldiers left mementos at a similar memorial for two comrades who recently died.

Obama vows to keep US military dominance 25 May 2009 Barack Obama has vowed to keep US military dominance in the world by sending military troops to 'theater of war' when and where Washington deems 'necessary'. "We will maintain America's military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen," President Obama told graduates at the US Naval Academy on Friday.

Senate backs $91.3 billion Iraq, Afghan war bill 21 May 2009 The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion measure sought by President Barack Obama to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure meets some of Obama's key priorities but leaves out funding to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Senate approves $91 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan --Democrats back US militarism By Patrick Martin 25 May 2009 By a margin of 86-3, the US Senate voted late last Thursday to approve a $91.3 billion supplemental funding bill to finance the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September 30. The bill, which is expected to go to President Obama to sign within two weeks, brings the total expended on the two wars of aggression to more than $900 billion over eight years.

Bomb kills British soldier in southern Afghanistan, 2nd killed in two days 24 May 2009 Britain's Defence Ministry says one of its soldiers has been killed by a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan - the second British soldier to die in two days. It says a soldier from 38 Engineer Regiment was killed on Saturday while on patrol near Sangin in Helmand Province.

US: 4 al-Qaida members detained in Afghanistan 24 May 2009 U.S. coalition troops detained four suspected al-Qaida members during a raid in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, while a roadside bomb in the south killed a NATO service member, officials said. The U.S.-led troops captured the four in the city of Khost, close to the border with Pakistan, the coalition said in a statement.

North Korean Nuclear Claim Draws Global Criticism 26 May 2009 North Korea announced on Monday that it had successfully conducted its second nuclear test, in defiance of international warnings. Around the world, news of the test drew condemnation and criticism, and some governments threatened to press for tighter sanctions at a special meeting of the Security Council on Monday. President Obama said in a statement that "North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community." [Just as the US does with its illegal occupations, killer drones, and torture sites.]

North Korea tests nuclear weapon 'as powerful as Hiroshima bomb' --Country risks further international isolation as underground nuclear explosion triggers earthquake 25 May 2009 North Korea today risked further international isolation after it claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The test comes less than two months after the North enraged the US and its allies by test firing a long-range ballistic missile.

Threats to Judges, Prosecutors Soaring --Worried Court Personnel Resort to Guards, Identity Shields, Weapons 25 May 2009 Threats against the nation's judges and prosecutors have sharply increased, prompting hundreds to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals. Many federal judges are altering their routes to work, installing security systems at home, shielding their addresses by paying bills at the courthouse or refraining from registering to vote. Some even pack weapons on the bench. A high-tech "threat management" center recently opened in Crystal City, where a staff of about 25 marshals and analysts monitor a 24-hour number for reporting threats, use sophisticated mapping software to track those being threatened and tap into a classified database linked to the FBI and CIA.

London 7/7 bombing investigation a "whitewash" By Paul Mitchell 25 May 2009 Families of victims of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London have denounced a parliamentary investigation into the events as a "whitewash". They accuse Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which issued a report of its investigation last week, of covering up the failure of MI5 to stop the four suicide-bombers who killed 52 people and injured 700.

Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation --America's richest people meet to discuss ways of tackling a 'disastrous' environmental, social and industrial threat 24 May 2009 Some of America’s leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population and speed up improvements in health and education. The philanthropists terrorists who attended a summit convened on the initiative of Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change. [See: Flu 'Oddities'.]

Swine Flu Is Spreading Wider Than Official Data Show 25 May 2009 Swine flu is spreading more widely than official figures indicate, with outbreaks in Europe and Asia showing it’s gained a foothold in at least three regions. One in 20 cases is being officially reported in the U.S., meaning more than 100,000 people have probably been infected nationwide with the new H1N1 flu strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UK swine flu toll is really 30,000, says leading scientist --True extent of the outbreak is claimed to be 300 times worse than government agency admits 24 May 2009 Thirty thousand people in Britain are likely to have been already infected by swine flu, one of the country's leading authorities has told The Independent on Sunday. This would mean that the virus is 300 times more widespread than the Health Protection Agency (HPA) admits. The startling estimate by top virologist Professor John Oxford comes as leading scientists are warning that the agency's announcements on the spread of the disease are "meaningless" and hiding its true extent.

Parents asked to place children in swine-flu quarantine --Parents returning from overseas will be stopped at the airport and told of the quarantine advice. 25 May 2009 Parents of children returning from five countries heavily hit by swine flu will be asked to place their children in quarantine for a week, Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews said today. The affected countries are the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Panama. Mr Andrews said the State Government had taken the step under advice from national health experts.

Queens woman becomes second confirmed swine flu death in NYC 24 May 2009 The city's health department would only describe the victim as a Queens woman in her 50s who had an underlying health condition. She died sometime over the past few days and tested positive for H1N1 virus, officials said.

China still buying record amounts of U.S. bonds: report 25 May 2009 China's official foreign exchange manager is still buying record amounts of U.S. government bonds, in spite of Beijing's increasingly vocal fear of a dollar collapse, the Financial Times reported. In a story on its website, the FT quoted Chinese and western officials in Beijing as saying China was caught in a "dollar trap." The newspaper said China had little choice but to keep pouring the bulk of its growing reserves into U.S. Treasuries, which remains the only market big enough and liquid enough to support its huge purchases.

Government debt swells as choices get harder 24 May 2009 This year, the government is borrowing 50 cents of every dollar it spends... It is a relentless curve of red ink that will, within the decade, take U.S. debt levels to the record reached at the end of World War II, from 40 percent of the nation's output now to 80 percent, and then rapidly thereafter into the realm of banana republics. Japan has lost its AAA credit rating, the United Kingdom may soon follow, and there is talk that the United States is headed fast down the same path.

Study: Climate change affects polar bears 19 May 2009 A U.S. study refutes a publicized criticism of the negative effects of climate change on polar bears, supporting the listing of them as a threatened species. The study -- conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Universities of Alaska and Maryland, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service -- refutes point-by-point the criticism of negative polar bear population predictions. The new study is said to reinforce the U.S. Department of Interior's May 2008 decision to list polar bears as a threatened species.

Obama turns back on bears By Ian McCarthy 23 May 2009 Obama surprised many core supporters when it was announced that his interior secretary, Ken Salazar, would not repeal certain restrictions on the Endangered Species Act that had been put into place by President [sic] Bush... For Obama, a president elected on a platform of "change," reversing this policy would seem like a slam-dunk. However, in what is turning out to be a bit of a nasty habit, the president has reversed another ambiguous campaign pledge (to "review" Bush's ESA modifications), and is continuing to uphold some of the most controversial policies of his predecessor. For environmentalists, this ruling is devastating.


Obama orders Gates to update plan for Iran strike --American defense secretary tells NBC television president has instructed him to refresh plans for military action against Tehran prepared during Bush era. 22 May 2009 US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Friday that President Barack Obama had asked him to update the plans for the use of military force against Iran which were prepared during former President [sic] George W. Bush's term. In an interview to NBC television's Today show, the American defense secretary explained that "presidents always ask their military to have a range of contingency plans available to them. And all I would say is that, as a result of our dialogue with the president, we have refreshed our plans and all options are on the table."

US Military chief: Iran wants nuclear weapons --Admiral Mike Mullen tells ABC he's worried about what US intelligence doesn't know regarding Tehran 24 May 2009 President Barack Obama's top military adviser says Iran's objective is to obtain nuclear weapons -- and that threatens the region. Adm. Mike Mullen told ABC's 'This Week' he's worried about Iran and what US intelligence agencies don't know about the Tehran government. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the United States and its allies must work to engage Iran's leaders.

Iran within 3 years of nuke: U.S. military chief 24 May 2009 Iran could be within one to three years from developing a nuclear weapon and time is running out for diplomacy to defuse the problem, the top U.S. military officer said on Sunday. The assessment from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, matched that of some independent analysts but appeared to go further than recent official statements from the U.S. government.

IAF holds drill simulating all-out war 21 May 2009 Israel Air Force squadrons took part in a large scale drill simulating war on all fronts over the past four days, Channel 10 reported Thursday. Fighter jets, cargo planes and missile defense systems of the corps took part in the drill where defense from a simultaneous attack against Israel from the south and the north was simulated.

Netanyahu defies Obama on Israeli settlement freeze 24 May 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rebuffed U.S. calls to impose a freeze on all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, setting the stage for friction with President Barack Obama. "We do not intend to build any new settlements, but it wouldn't be fair to ban construction to meet the needs of natural growth or for there to be an outright construction ban," Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to officials.

Lieberman: Israel will not contract to '67 lines 24 May 2009 Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has declared that Israel will not return to its borders of before the Six-Day War in 1967. "A return to the borders of '67 today, as we are being pressured to do, would not end the conflict, would not guarantee peace or security," Lieberman told reporters ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting. "It would simply move the conflict to within the '67 borders," AFP quoted the Israel's foreign minister as saying.

Obama's AfPak war engulfs Pakistan's Swat Valley --The description of the situation in Mingora is reminiscent of Fallujah in November 2004, prior to the murderous US assault that destroyed the Iraqi city and left thousands dead. By James Cogan 23 May 2009 A humanitarian catastrophe is taking place in areas of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), as a result of the Obama administration’s expansion of the occupation of Afghanistan into the so-called "AfPak war"... Reports indicate that a three-pronged offensive is underway to trap as many militants as possible in the central Swat city of Mingora... An Al Jazeerah video shot on May 16 near Mingora showed helicopter gunships attacking highways and other targets; children playing among partially demolished homes; and the potholes caused by the controlled explosion of mines placed by militants on the roads.

British soldier shot dead on patrol in Afghanistan 23 May 2009 A British soldier has died after being shot on patrol in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence confirmed today. The soldier, part of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was shot near Sangin in Helmand Province, yesterday afternoon.

US warned of step-up in al-Qaeda activity 21 May 2009 The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said he is worried about growing ties between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Admiral Mullen said al-Qaeda should be forced to stay out of Afghanistan.

Maliki: US-backed law unleashes terrorists 24 May 2009 Iraq's prime minister says a US-backed prisoner release law that aims for sectarian reconciliation has helped insurgents and corruption suspects get back on the streets. "Regrettably, the amnesty law has been changed from the conditions written by the government, and has led to the pardoning of many (accused of) corruption," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said during a Saturday gathering of Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in Baghdad.

US military: Suicide car bomber kills 1, wounds 38 24 May 2009 A suicide attacker targeting an American convoy detonated a car bomb Sunday near a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killing one Iraqi and wounding 38 others, a U.S. official said. Sunday's attack comes as military operations are being conducted there before a June 30 deadline for U.S. forces to pull out of Iraq's cities.

Two Americans killed in Baghdad's Green Zone --Victim's hands were tied behind back, throat slashed, officials say 23 May 2009 Two Americans were killed in Baghdad's heavily fortified [apparently, not so much] Green Zone, one in a rocket attack and the other under mysterious circumstances, officials in Iraq said. An American man was found bound, blindfolded and fatally stabbed in a car Friday in the district, formally known as the International Zone, Iraqi security forces said Saturday. Also, an American civilian was killed when a rocket landed in the zone on Friday night, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

News website latest target in government's legal offensive against independent media (Reporters sans frontières) 20 May 2009 Reporters Without Borders condemns the Iraqi government’s continuing legal offensive against independent news media, which for the first time is also targeting Internet media. As a result of a lawsuit brought by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Baghdad court ordered the Iraqi news website Kitabat to pay 1 billion dinars (630,000 euros) in damages on 18 May.

'Future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.' Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars By Ralph Peters Spring 2009 More recently, though, the media have determined the outcomes of conflicts... Pretending to be impartial, the self-segregating personalities drawn to media careers overwhelmingly take a side, and that side is rarely ours. Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. Perceiving themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies... The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters. If you cannot win clean, win dirty. But win.

KBR Does It Again (The New York Times) 24 May 2009 Far from suffering for its shoddy military contracting in Iraq, Congressional investigators have found that KBR Inc. was awarded $83 million in performance bonuses... How such settings became part of harm’s way for the military was the question put to an electrical engineer hired by the Army who reported finding that 90 percent of KBR’s wiring work in Iraq was not done safely. Some 70,000 buildings where troops lived and worked were not up to code, according to the engineer, who told a Congressional hearing of "some of the most hazardous, worst-quality work I have ever inspected."

Biden links U.S. aid to Lebanon vote outcome [!] 22 May 2009 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday Washington would assess its aid to Lebanon depending on who won next month's election, but denied taking sides in a vote pitching a Western-backed coalition against Hezbollah. Lebanese vote on June 7 in a poll that pits an alliance including Hezbollah against an anti-Syrian coalition now holding a majority in parliament.

Legal fight for release of terror documents --The US had stressed that that disclosure could result in "serious damage to UK and US national security". 23 May 2009 The High Court was urged today to order full disclosure of correspondence from America setting out the Obama administration's current stance on whether US intelligence outlining its agents' treatment of former terror detainee Binyam Mohamed should be made public... The FCO announced that the Obama administration remained opposed to disclosure of the information by a British court.

Judge threatens sanctions over gov't wiretapping 22 May 2009 A federal judge on Friday threatened to severely sanction the Bush Obama Administration for withholding a top secret document he ordered given to lawyers suing the government over its warrantless wiretapping program. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ordered Justice Department lawyers to court on June 3 to tell him why he shouldn't award unspecified damages to the now-defunct Oregon arm of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation. The group alleges that government officials eavesdropped on their telephone calls without court authorization. The National Security Agency has also refused the judge's previous orders to provide security clearances to two of the charity's lawyers so they can view the top secret document.

Yet Another Bogus 'Terror' Plot By Robert Dreyfuss 22 May 2009 By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur... The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for.

U.S. Navy to conduct human clinical trials of H1N1 flu vaccine --Vical Inc. entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), a biomedical research organization within the U.S. Navy 21 May 2009 Vical Incorporated announced today that in the two weeks since launching its program to develop a vaccine against H1N1 influenza (swine flu), the company has completed development of a prototype H1 vaccine, produced an initial supply of research-grade material, and initiated immunogenicity testing in animals. Assuming a successful outcome of this testing and a commitment for program-specific external funding, the company is ready to advance directly to large-scale cGMP manufacturing of vaccine for human clinical trials to be conducted by the U.S. Navy.

18 US soldiers confirmed with swine flu in Kuwait 24 May 2009 Eighteen US soldiers have tested positive for swine flu at an American military base in Kuwait and all have now left the Gulf emirate, a Kuwaiti health official said. The health ministry announced on Saturday that swine flu cases had been detected among US soldiers who were transiting through Kuwait. Undersecretary of Health Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told the official KUNA news agency the soldiers were immediately isolated at the US base in Arifjan, 70 kilometres (about 40 miles) south of the capital.

U.S. soldiers are Kuwait's first cases of H1N1 flu 23 May 2009 U.S. soldiers have been confirmed as the first cases in Kuwait with the new H1N1 flu, the state news agency KUNA said on Saturday quoting a government official. The virus was detected in an unspecified number of soldiers on their way through Kuwait. Kuwait is a logistics base for the U.S. army in support of its troops in Iraq.

A/H1N1 flu hits Spanish military base, 500 quarantined 23 May 2009 More than 500 servicemen from the Hoyo de Manzanres Base near Madrid have been quarantined when 11 of them were found to be infected with the A/H1N1 flu virus, Spanish First Deputy Prime Minister Maria Fernandez de la Vega said on Friday. Sixty-one other servicemen are under observation, according to a report by the Spanish health ministry.

Revolution in the air By Dan Jones 22 May 2009 The anger in the air is palpable. The ordinary people hold the political class in contempt. The government is failing, as war and economic catastrophe are dealt with in increasingly unconvincing fashion by second-rate public servants. There is, for the first time in a generation, a sense of revolution brewing. This is not today's Britain. It is England in 1381, the year that witnessed one of the greatest popular risings in our history: the Peasants' Revolt... This government, like the government in 1381, has been caught out by a global crisis of unprecedented severity. In the fourteenth century it was the Black Death, which killed 40% of Europe's population. The government's reaction - to impose labour laws that stifled economic recovery but preserved the social hierarchy, was vastly unpopular, for it prevented ordinary people from improving their lives. ["Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." Or, just sit through a USAMRIID re-do. --LRP]

'Leaks have exposed Parliament's rotten core.' Ex-SAS officer is expenses whistleblower --Mr Wick passed over more than one million pages of unedited receipts to the Telegraph. 23 May 2009 A former SAS officer who passed secret details of MPs’ expenses claims to The Daily Telegraph broke cover last night to insist he had “no regrets” about the leak that has rocked Westminster. John Wick said the release of the information over the last fortnight had exposed the parliamentary expenses system to "its rotten core". Mr Wick, the head of a corporate intelligence company specialising in the release of hostages in war zones, was named as an intermediary between an anonymous parliamentary source and the Telegraph.

325 MPs to be swept away at next election --Whips expect more than 200 MPs to quit because they are unable to cope with continued public anger. 24 May 2009 At least half of the House of Commons' 646 MPs will be swept away at the general election, as voters take revenge on the political classes for the expenses scandal. The departure of 325 members of parliament as a result of forced resignations, retirement and defeat at the polls would represent the biggest clear-out of parliament since 1945.

GP surgeries audit raises vaccine fears 24 May 2009 A safety audit of every GP surgery in Scotland has revealed that hundreds of family doctors have wrongly stored vaccines used to protect children and adults against life-threatening diseases, raising fears about the effectiveness of some jabs. The study states that 148 surgeries failed to keep to the vaccine makers' storage guidelines and says that "inappropriate vaccine storage is very serious and has the potential to present a public heath problem".

Three U.S. firms to make swine flu vaccine [While Baxter makes the pandemic] 23 May 2009 The government has asked Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline to make the vaccine and is negotiating with MedImmune and CSL, an Australian company, The Washington Post reported Saturday. The order is part of a $1 billion investment in production and testing of vaccine 'against' the new strain of the H1N1 flu virus.

WHO warns of double influenza threat as south hemisphere enters winter 22 May 2009 The spread of the influenza A/H1N1 virus may pick up in the Asia Pacific region with the onset of southern winter and the threat joined by the spread of seasonal influenza might take a heavy toll on countries' health system, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) expert warned Friday.

Insider Trading Probe at SEC 16 May 2009 Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyers violated insider-trading laws, a potential scandal at an agency normally the pursuer in such cases. A report by the SEC's inspector general described multiple suspicious cases where the lawyers traded the stocks of companies around the time the companies were under investigation. The report concluded the lawyers had violated the agency's internal rules, and the case was taken up by the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Naimi Says Oil to Reach $75 a Barrel 23 May 2009 Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al- Naimi said the price of oil will climb to $75 a barrel when demand picks up. "We’ll get there eventually," al-Naimi told reporters in Rome today where he will attend meetings with energy ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

Two Illinois Banks Seized, Bringing U.S. Tally This Year to 36 22 May 2009 Two Illinois banks with combined assets of almost $1 billion were closed by regulators, pushing the toll of failed U.S. lenders to 36 this year amid the longest recession since the 1930s. Strategic Capital Bank in Champaign and Citizens National Bank in Macomb were closed and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver of both, the FDIC said. Strategic Capital’s deposits were assumed by Midland States Bank of Effingham, Illinois, and deposits at Citizens National were purchased by Morton Community Bank.

The world economic crisis, the failure of capitalism and the case for socialism --Resolution of the SEP/WSWS/ISSE regional conferences 21 May 2009 1. The capitalist system has entered the most serious crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In response to this crisis, workers must advance a socialist solution. Moreover, the crisis is international, affecting working people in every country of the world. There is no national solution to the breakdown of globally integrated capitalism. The World Socialist Web Site, the Socialist Equality Party, and the International Students for Social Equality put forward the following program as the basis for a new social and political movement of the working class.

Governor plans to completely eliminate welfare for families 21 May 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Nazi) is proposing to completely eliminate the state’s welfare program for families, medical insurance for low-income children and Cal Grants cash assistance to college and university students. The proposals to sharply scale back the assistance that California provides to its neediest residents came in testimony by the administration this afternoon at a joint legislative budget committee hearing.

Harvard study backs bottle concern --Says plastic used leaches bisphenol A 22 May 2009 A Harvard study released yesterday supports what many public health specialists have long assumed: Hard plastic drinking bottles containing bisphenol A are leaching notable amounts of the controversial chemical into people's bodies. Canada banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in 2008, but the Food and Drug Administration has said that products containing BPA are safe and that exposure levels are below those that would affect health. But the FDA's own scientific advisory board criticized agency officials for relying on industry-funded studies to declare the chemical safe.


Obama's Preventive Detention Plans Face Scrutiny 22 May 2009 The Obama administration's efforts to craft what it calls a "preventive detention" plan for suspected terrorists will face constitutional challenges similar to those raised against the Bush regime's policies. A White House task force reviewing detention policy is set to make recommendations in late July. The administration has floated with Congress a possible plan that would seek legislation allowing the government to hold suspected terrorists without trial indefinitely on U.S. soil... Civil liberties and human rights groups who criticized the Bush administration's detention policies are definitive in their opposition to Mr. Obama's plans. "It's really crossing a constitutional Rubicon," said Jonathan Hafetz, American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represented Ali al Marri.

Mancow Waterboarded, Admits It's Torture --"It is way worse than I thought it would be" 22 May 2009 And so it went Friday morning when WLS radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided to subject himself to the controversial practice of waterboarding live on his show... Turns out the stunt wasn't so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds. "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow said. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."

The Obama-Cheney "debate" and the threat of dictatorship in America By Joe Kishore 22 May 2009 Whatever his criticisms of the Bush administration's policies, Obama defends its basic aims. On domestic policy, he is continuing the massive handouts to the banks and Wall Street investors. On military policy, he is continuing the occupation of Iraq, while expanding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His argument for legality is undermined by the fact that his administration has restarted military commissions, refused to publish torture photos, and in general maintained the anti-democratic measures of his predecessor. Whatever verbal warnings Obama may make about the erosion of democracy in the United States, the actions of his administration facilitate and accelerate its breakdown. It is impossible to combine imperialist war with democracy. The latter cannot survive without opposing the former.

Pelosi Says She Stands by Previous Statement on CIA 22 May 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood by her statement that the Central Intelligence Agency misled Congress about harsh interrogations torture of suspected terrorists and refused to discuss the political controversy triggered by her assertion. "I stand by my comment," Pelosi, a California Democrat, said today at a news conference in Washington.

CIA agents lose bid to halt trial over rendition 22 May 2009 The landmark trial of American and Italian spies accused of abducting an Egyptian cleric in Milan will continue, a judge has ruled, rejecting a defence bid to end the proceedings. The ruling was a victory for prosecutors in the first trial to examine the "rendition" process, in which the CIA allegedly abducted suspects abroad and sent them to other countries for harsh interrogation torture.

Satire: Obama: Gitmo Detainees to be Sent to AIG, Citibank and Bear Stearns By R J Shulman 22 May 2009 President Barack Obama announced today at a press conference that the detainees at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be transferred to AIG, Citibank, Bear Stearns and other troubled banks and financial firms starting June 1. "These detainees will need something to keep them out of trouble," Obama said. "So, sending them to these beleaguered firms will keep them completely occupied. Besides, they couldn’t mess things up any worse than the regular Wall Street gang did." (Satire)

Top US official warns that war in Afghanistan strengthens Taliban in Pakistan 22 May 2009 America's top military official warned that the US offensive in Afghanistan could end up fuelling the conflict in Pakistan by pushing more Taliban fighters across the border. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said the surge of 21,000 additional US troops into Afghanistan had raised the prospect that Pakistan could face even greater turmoil in the months ahead. "They want Afghanistan back," he said.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Former UNOCAL/RAND Corporation - Bush/Rumsfeld troll rears ugly head: Former U.S. envoy eyed as Afghan 'CEO' 19 May 2009 Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is negotiating with President Hamid Karzai to take a role in his government, diplomatic sources say. Khalilzad, who served as U.S. envoy to Kabul under former President [sic] George W. Bush, has abandoned plans to challenge Karzai in Afghanistan's upcoming presidential elections and is instead looking to take on an unelected positioned described as the country's chief executive officer, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Senate Approves $91 Billion Funding Bill for Iraq, Afghan Wars --Total costs for both wars to top $900B 22 May 2009 The U.S. Senate approved a $91 billion spending bill that would fund President Barack Obama’s troop buildup in Afghanistan and block a lawsuit seeking to force the release of photos showing abuse of war prisoners. The vast majority of the money in the bill would fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing total costs for the two wars to more than $900 billion.

Bombings kill dozens in Iraq 3 Americans on foot patrol among dead 22 May 2009 Bombers struck in Baghdad and a northern city yesterday, killing three American soldiers and nearly two dozen Iraqis in a new spasm of violence that has taken at least 66 lives in two days. The deadliest blast yesterday occurred in an outdoor market in Baghdad's Dora district, when a bomb exploded near a US foot patrol, US and Iraqi officials said.

US soldiers charged over Spanish journalist's death 21 May 2009 A Spanish judge on Thursday revived murder charges against three US soldiers over the killing a Spanish television cameraman during the shelling of a Baghdad hotel in 2003. The same judge, Santiago Pedraz, had thrown out the charges one year ago, citing "insufficient evidence" of deliberate intent on the part of the three to target civilians inside the hotel where journalists were known to be staying.

Israeli toxic waste threatens Palestinian life 22 May 2009 Tel Aviv illegally dumps hazardous waste in the Palestinian West Bank, gifting cancer, sterility and mental disorders to the local population. In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Deputy Director of the Palestinian environmental authority, Jamil Mtoor, confirmed that Israel cuts disposal costs by discarding its waste on Palestinian territory at the expense of the population. "For several years, Israeli companies have been dumping solid and hazardous waste in different West Bank villages," Mtoor said.

White House: "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell" under review 22 May 2009 The White House is insisting that officials are working to overturn a policy that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, pushing back against Pentagon assessments a day earlier that such efforts were low priorities and Democratic activists’ complaint of slow progress.

Colorado plan to give police power to draw blood from 'uncooperative' suspects --'100 days of heat' crackdown will involve 150 sobriety checkpoints 22 may 2009 One Colorado police chief is preparing to launch a controversial practice in the fight against drunken driving by seeking search warrants that would give his officers the power to have blood drawn from uncooperative suspects. To Chief Bruce Kozak of the Avon Police Department, the blood in a suspected drunken driver's veins is no different than a gun next to a murder victim -- evidence that must be collected by investigators. Kozak's plan is part of the "100 days of heat" crackdown on drunken driving by law enforcement agencies across Colorado.

'Anything using RF energy -- we have the right to inspect it.' FCC's Warrantless Household Searches Alarm Experts By Ryan Singel 21 May 2009 ...[I]f you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it... And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device. "Anything using RF energy -- we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference," says FCC spokesman David Fiske. That includes devices like Wi-Fi routers that use unlicensed spectrum, Fiske says.

U.S. Asks Firms to Make H1N1 Flu Vaccine 23 May 2009 The federal government has asked three drug companies to make enough swine Fort Detrick flu vaccine to immunize at least 20 million people in key positions in health care, national security and emergency services, officials said yesterday. The order, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is part of a $1 billion investment in immediate production and testing of vaccine 'against' the newly emerged strain of the H1N1 flu virus. HHS has contracts with five companies to make pandemic vaccine. The department has activated the ones with Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline. It is still negotiating with the two others, MedImmune and CSL, an Australian company. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

WHO chief warns H1N1 swine flu likely to worsen --Chan says H1N1 could mutate in "unpredictable [!] ways" 22 May 2009 The world must be ready for H1N1 swine flu to become more severe and kill more people, World Health Organization chief Dr. Margaret Chan said on Friday. The virus must be closely monitored in the southern hemisphere, as it could mix with ordinary seasonal influenza and change in unpredictable ways, Chan told the WHO annual congress in Geneva. An international team of researchers who analyzed all eight genes of the new virus confirmed its sneakiness, saying it was so different from its ancestral strains that it must have been circulating undetected for years created in a USAMRIID lab.

Australia's swine flu alert level raised 22 May 2009 Australia's swine flu alert level has been raised from delay to contain. The announcement by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon this afternoon comes after after the first case of human to human transmission was confirmed at a school in Epping, in Melbourne's north.

Verizon Willing to Let 62-Year-Old Man Die Unless Cops Pay $20 of His Overdue Bill 22 May 2009 Ohio police are pissed with Verizon after the company refused to help them find a missing 62-year-old man unless they paid his $20 of his overdue cellphone bill. The cops got a call that the man was rampaging around his house and breaking windows. When they arrived, the man had fled, taking bottles of pills with him. The sheriff contacted Verizon to ask them to turn the man's cellphone service on so they could track his signal, but the operator said the missing man's bill had to be paid first. After some back and forth, the sheriff started to make arrangements to pay his bill. Just as he was doing so, the search party... found the man, unconscious, after 11 hours of searching. "I was more concerned for the person's life," Sherrif Williams said. "It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill. Ridiculous." [See: Unconscious Carroll man found after 11-hour search --Sheriff unhappy with Verizon's 'line' on emergency 21 May 2009.]

Obama Signs Credit-Card Consumers' 'Bill of Rights' 22 May 2009 President Barack Obama signed into law a credit-card consumers' "“Bill of Rights" that limits fees and curbs contract changes, saying it will give Americans "the strong and reliable protections they deserve."

Credit Card Bill Allows Guns In National Parks 20 May The U.S. House of Representatives followed the Senate's lead and passed the Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights -- but there's more. The bill contains an amendment that has nothing to do with credit cards. The bill allows concealed weapons to be carried in America's national parks.

TARP Warrants Show Banks May Reap 'Ruthless Bargain' 22 May 2009 Banks negotiating to reclaim stock warrants they granted in return for Troubled Asset Relief Program money may shortchange taxpayers by almost $10 billion if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s first sale sets the pace, data compiled by Bloomberg show. While 17 financial institutions have repaid TARP funds, two have come to terms with the U.S. on the value of the rights to buy stock that taxpayers received for the risk of recapitalizing the industry.

'The executive branch will construe this subsection of the bill not to abrogate any constitutional privilege.' Obama Issues Signing Statement After Creating Financial Investigative Panel 20 May 2009 President Obama on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at curbing financial fraud in the mortgage and other industries, including a provision that created an independent panel to investigate the root causes of the nation’s economic downturn. This one would have subpoena power; its work would be independent of Congress. But after signing the bill, the White House issued what is called a signing statement by Mr. Obama, which includes this advisory to agencies about the financial panel’s potential reach... In other words, the president is reserving the right to claim executive privilege if the commission seeks information or documents that the White House considers to be beyond the bounds of public information and/or privileged communications and negotiations within the executive branch.

FDA: Calif. pistachio plant knew some nuts were tainted but kept shipping them for 6 months 22 May 2009 Food safety inspectors say a California plant at the center of a salmonella scare knew some of its pistachios were tainted but continued shipping nuts for another six months. The Food and Drug Administration issued a sweeping national warning in March for consumers to avoid eating pistachios after concerns surfaced about nuts from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc.

Illinois Company Recalls 95,898 Pounds of Beef 22 May 2009 A Coal Valley, Illinois company is recalling 95,898 pounds of ground beef because of possible E. Coli contamination. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture announced the recall Thursday morning. Valley Meats LLC makes ground beef products for several different brands, including J & B and Grillmaster. The USDA says the meat was produced on March 10th. The government calls this a Class One recall. That means there is a reasonable chance that eating this product will cause serious health problems.

U.S. appeals court finds tobacco companies lied 22 May 2009 Cigarette companies systematically lied for years in order to sell tobacco products they knew were dangerous, a U.S. appeals court said on Friday as it upheld a trial judge's racketeering verdict. But in a blow to anti-smoking groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also upheld the lower court's decision to reject expensive remedies, like funding a smoking cessation program.


How MI5 blackmails British Muslims --'Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist' 21 May 2009 Five Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants. The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas. They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future.

Home Secretary was warned of MI5's 'blackmailing of Muslims' 22 May 2009 The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was warned nine months ago about MI5's alleged campaign of blackmail and intimidation against a group of young Muslim men, The Independent has learnt. Veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson wrote to Ms Smith in September about concerns raised by a north London community leader who claimed six youth workers had endured an 18-month campaign of threats and coercion in an attempt to recruit them as informants on their friends and neighbours.

Scratch a terrorist, find the US government: Undercover Agents Supplied Missile and Explosives to NYC Plotters --The FBI and other agencies monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to the informant for the defendants, a federal complaint said. 21 May 2009 Four men arrested after planting what they thought were explosives near two New York City synagogues were disappointed that the World Trade Center wasn't still around to attack, a federal prosecutor said Thursday as the men appeared in court for the first time. The suspects were arrested Wednesday night. Authorities said the men also plotted to shoot down a military plane. James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.

Busted New York Terror Plot Strengthens Plea for More Anti-Terror Funding --Some national security experts say lawmakers should increase funding to cities fighting terrorism as a result of the foiled terror plot in New York. 21 May 2009 The alleged terror plot that was foiled in New York City proves that Congress needs to increase anti-terror funding to New York and other areas that suffered a significant reduction a few years ago, some homeland security advocates said Thursday. Four men were arrested Wednesday night after a nearly yearlong undercover operation by the FBI and New York City Police Department. The suspects, all American citizens, allegedly plotted to wage a holy war by bombing two New York City synagogues and shooting down military planes in upstate New York. The four men were said to be motivated by anger about Muslim casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of U.S.-led military operations there.

N.Y. Bomb Suspects Said to Have No Connections to Terror Groups 21 May 2009 The four men arrested last night on allegations they plotted to bomb New York City synagogues and shoot down military planes were homegrown criminals with no connections to global terror groups, officials said today. The suspects knew each other through "prison -- prison contacts for the most part," New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a televised press conference in the Bronx. [Holy coincidence, Batman! Just as cowardly Congresscritters block the closure of the Guantanamo Bay gulag and a federal judge rules that terrorist *suspects* can be held in perpetuity on US soil, we receive this breaking news nugget.]

Obama Endorses Indefinite Detention Without Trial 22 May 2009 President Obama acknowledged publicly for the first time yesterday that some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay may have to be held without trial indefinitely, siding with conservative national security advocates on one of the most contentious issues raised by the closing of the military prison in Cuba.

Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention For Suspects Deemed 'National Security Threat' --'The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.' 21 May 2009 President Bush Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a "preventive detention" system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said. One participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantánamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate [?] battlefield like Afghanistan.

While the Bagram torture center remains open: Obama Says Guantanamo Weakens Security and Must Close 21 May 2009 President Barack Obama reaffirmed his determination to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by next January, saying its existence has made the U.S. less secure and represents a corruption of American values. The president, in an address today in Washington, was critical of decisions made by former President [sic] George W. Bush's administration in the war against [of] terrorism, calling some "ad hoc" and "hasty." He called the Guantanamo prison a "misguided experiment" that has created a legal "mess."

Obama's remarks on US national security as prepared for delivery --US president defends decision to close Guantánamo detention centre and condemns use of harsh interrogation techniques 21 May 2009 Barack Obama delivers remarks on US national security at the National Archives building in Washington.

Obama: 50 Gitmo detainees cleared for transfer 21 May 2009 Forty-eight terror suspects currently held at Guantanamo Bay are waiting to be released to other nations, the Obama administration said Thursday. The prisoners are among 50 detainees whose cases President Barack Obama said Thursday have already been reviewed. The prisoners would be the first to be released to other nations under the Obama administration's effort to empty the Cuba-based prison without bringing all its inmates to the United States.

Initial U.S. trial set for Guantanamo detainee --Attorney General says 'high value' prisoner to be sent to NYC for trial 21 May 2009 The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, deciding to put a "high value" prisoner on trial in New York City despite resistance from some in Congress. Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Thursday that Ahmed Ghailani will be sent to New York City for trial, which would make him the first Guantanamo prisoner brought to the U.S. and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.

Cheney defends waterboarding, says Guantanamo prison essential 22 May 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, delivering a forceful defense of the Bush regime's interrogations of suspected terrorists and stern criticism of the Obama administration, maintained today that the CIA never tortured anyone and kept the United States safe from an attack potentially worse than the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001. The waterboarding employed in the questioning of a few captured terrorists was essential to gleaning as much information about Al Qaeda's intentions as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, the former vice president said in a public address today.

RI rep.: Bush should be waterboarded for charity [No. Bush should be waterboarded until he reveals the information Cheney says is vital and necessitates the tactic: To learn who was actually behind the 9/11 terror attacks (his administration) and has ties to al-Qaeda (same).] 21 May 2009 A Rhode Island Democratic lawmaker says he'll donate $100 to charity for every second former President [sic] George W. Bush withstands waterboarding. State Rep. Rod Driver sent letters making the offer to Bush as well as to former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Bush's administration allowed the interrogation technique, which simulates drowning, to be used on terrorism suspects. Driver says if Bush is confident it isn't torture, he should try it himself. His offer was reported Thursday in The Westerly Sun.

US Senate nears finishing $91.3 bln war funds bill 21 May 2009 The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 64-30 to reject stripping out the credit lines from a $91.3 billion spending bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but omits money to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay that President Barack Obama requested.

26 killed in Baghdad bomb attacks 21 May 2009 At least 26 people have been killed in several bomb attacks in Iraq on Thursday. Seven people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. In the capital Baghdad, at least 12 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a busy market. A car bomb in the capital claimed the lives of three US troops stationed there. Earlier on Thursday, three police officers were killed when a bomb went off at a Baghdad police station.

Three U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad: U.S. military 21 May 2009 The U.S. military said on Thursday that three of its soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in southern Baghdad. "Three Multi-national Division-Baghdad soldiers died when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol in Baghdad at approximately 10:40 a.m. (0740 GMT) on May 21," a military statement said.

Ex-soldier spared death sentence for Iraq murders 21 May 2009 An ex-soldier convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi teen and murdering her family was spared the death penalty Thursday and will serve a life sentence after jurors couldn't agree unanimously on a punishment for the brutal crimes. Pfc. Steven Dale Green of Midland, Texas, and three other soldiers in March 2006 went to the home of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Green shot and killed the teen's mother, father and sister, then became the third soldier to rape the girl before shooting her in the face.

Israel to US: We reserve 'right' to bomb Iran 21 May 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the Obama administration that Tel Aviv “reserves itself operational freedom” on Iran, according to an aide. The premier during his recent visit to Washington "clarified that Israel reserves itself operational freedom, and several of the most senior figures in the Obama administration said 'of course'," Netanyahu's national security advisor Uzi Arad told Israel Army Radio.

Ahmadinejad: I'm defending Iran's dignity by standing up to West 21 May 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is defending Iran's dignity by standing up to the West, a statement on the Iranian president's website said late Wednesday. Ahmadinejad faces a difficult election next month and has been highlighting his defiance as part of his quest to win a second term. According to the Web site, he also called "disgraceful" a deal his predecessor reached with the EU in 2003 to suspend the country's uranium enrichment program.

WHY are US taxpayers upgrading *Poland's* air defenses? So Raytheon and other corpora-terrorists can make a killing. Poland expects Patriot in 09, US 'yes' to shield 18 May 2009 Poland expects a U.S. Patriot battery to be deployed on its soil in 2009 regardless of whether President Barack Obama opts to press ahead with missile defence plans in Europe, a senior defence official said on Monday. NATO member Poland agreed last year to host 10 interceptors as part of a planned U.S. missile defence shield which is strongly opposed by Russia. In return, Washington pledged to help update Poland's air defences with, among others, a Patriot battery.

Air Force jet crashes north of Edwards AFB 21 May 2009 A military jet with a crew of two has crashed north of Edwards Air Force base in Southern California. An Air Force statement says there's no immediate word on the condition of the crew of the T-38 Talon.

Memo tells Kan. juvenile jails to prepare for 10-day quarantine in case of swine flu outbreak 20 May 2009 Authorities in charge of the youth inmates in Kansas have geared up for the possibility of a swine flu outbreak at juvenile correctional facilities. The Juvenile Justice Authority issued a memo Tuesday to all staff outlining plans to monitor the spread of swine flu and minimize exposure.

US swine flu deaths hit double-digits 21 May 2009 Marcos Sanchez is the nation's 10th fatality associated with the newly discovered [created] virus that continues to spread across the globe. Swine flu has sickened more than 11,000 people in 41 countries and killed 85, according to the World Health Organization, whose figures often trail those of individual countries.

Reagan Slams Rush --Limbaugh looks like "the unholy spawn of Tony Soprano and the Michelin Man." By Dan Savage 21 May 2009 Rush Limbaugh--drug addict, Viagra user--isn't in a position to mock other people's appearances. But that didn't stop him from suggesting that posting a photo of Nancy Pelosi in "every cheap hotel room in America" would cut the birth rate--because, hey, no man could get it up with Pelosi's ugly mug in the room, right? Ron Reagan Jr. bashes back: 'Limbaugh hasn't had a natural erection since the Nixon Administration; think he's compensating for something? Now, I wouldn't pick on him for any of this stuff... to me, off limits until! until! Mr. Limbaugh, you turn that sort of gun on somebody else--once you start doing that, you're fair game, fat boy. Absolutely, you jiggly pile of mess. You're just fair game, and you're going to get it, too.'

Senate weighs study of tobacco candy --Critics say lozenge-like Camel Orb, being tested in Indianapolis, targets children 21 May 2009 Legislation the Senate is considering to regulate tobacco products under the Food and Drug Administration includes a measure that would mandate the study of a product being tested in Indianapolis: tobacco candy. Made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, the lozenge-like Camel Orb also is being test-marketed in Portland, Ore., and Columbus, Ohio.

Anthony Steen: 'You're all just jealous' --Tory maverick who quit after claiming expenses for 500 trees hits back, saying voters are only envious of his big house. 22 May 2009 A maverick Tory MP yesterday embarrassed his party but voiced what some of his colleagues have been privately thinking when he launched a spirited and controversial defence of the parliamentary expenses system. Anthony Steen said public "jealousy" was fuelling the furore and claimed that taxpayers have no right to see the details of individual MPs' claims.

Another $7.5 billion bailout for GMAC --Auto lender to GM and Chrysler gets big investment from Treasury. 21 May 2009 The Obama administration announced Thursday that it has invested $7.5 billion in GMAC, aiming to prop up the troubled lender and boost its ability to make loans to Chrysler dealers and customers. GMAC is the main source of financing for General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) customers and was recently tapped by the administration as the main lender for Chrysler.

Florida bank collapses - firms swoop in --$13 billion BankUnited closed in biggest failure of year. Florida thrift bought by Wilbur Ross, Carlyle Investment, Blackstone Capital and other private firms. 21 May 2009 A consortium of private equity firms has acquired BankUnited FSB in Florida after the savings and loan was shut down by federal regulators Thursday. The 34th bank to fail this year and the largest so far, BankUnited had $12.8 billion in assets, $8.6 billion in deposits and 85 branches. The new institution will be named BankUnited.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Decreased 12,000 to 631,000 21 May 2009 More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment insurance last week, and the total number of workers receiving benefits rose to a record, signs the job market continues to weaken even as the economic slump eases. Initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 631,000 in the week ended May 16, from a revised 643,000 the prior week that was higher than initially estimated, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

Baby Buffalo Flees On Broken Leg (Earthjustice) 21 May 2009 If anything explains why Earthjustice sues, it is this new video clip showing a baby bison with a broken leg fleeing helicopters and mounted riders. The tragic scene took place last week on Horse Butte peninsula outside of Yellowstone National Park, as federal and state agents drove park buffalo off spring pastures because of perceived conflict with livestock. Earthjustice is in court to secure the bison's right to these grasslands where they historically lived.


Judge says US can hold prisoners indefinitely --Prisoners can be held without being charged, indefinitely 20 May 2009 A federal judge says the United States can continue to hold some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without any charges. U.S. District Judge John Bates' opinion issued Tuesday night limited the Obama administration's definition of who can be held. But he said Congress in the days after Sept. 11, 2001 gave the president the authority to hold anyone involved in planning, aiding or carrying out the terrorist attacks.

Senate blocks transfer of Guantanamo prisoners --Meanwhile, federal judge says U.S. can hold prisoners indefinitely 20 May 2009 In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States. DemocRATs lined up with Republicans in the 90-6 vote that came on the heels of a similar move a week ago in the House.

FBI chief undermines Obama on Guantanamo closure 20 May 2009 FBI chief Robert Mueller Wednesday undermined President Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by warning that prisoners could fuel terrorism if transferred to US soil. "The concerns we have about individuals who may support terrorism being in the United States run from concerns about providing financing to terrorists, radicalizing others," Mueller told a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

More errors in CIA interrogation briefing list --Problems surface as lawmakers probe who knew what about torture 20 May 2009 New questions surfaced Wednesday about the accuracy of a CIA document meant to settle who in Congress knew about severe interrogation methods torture approved by the Bush regime. Three new errors appeared to emerge in the CIA's matrix of 40 congressional briefings on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Those techniques include waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning drowning that simulates death, which President Barack Obama has called torture.

Barack Obama, Dick Cheney plan dueling speeches 20 May 2009 President Barack Obama will attempt to regain control of a boiling debate over anti-terrorism policy with a major speech on Thursday -- an address that comes on the same day that former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney will be weighing in with his own speech on the same theme. The dueling speeches amount to the most direct engagement so far between Obama and his conservative critics in the volatile argument over what tactics are justified in detaining and interrogating suspected enemy combatants. [Why bother? They both advocate similar positions: The funding of endless illegal wars; bombing civilians to secure oil, gas and opium pipelines; employing Xe and other mercenaries who carry out war crimes at the behest of the US government; suppressing evidence of torture and abuse of prisoners; fighting for detention without trial; pushing for illegal surveillance. --LRP]

Senator Claims KBR Received Massive Bonuses Despite Knowledge of Shoddy Work 20 May 2009 North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan (D) said that according to Pentagon documents, KBR Inc was paid $83.4 million in bonuses and claims that much of it was delivered after the military's contracting agency realized the company was performing shoddy, hazardous electrical work. Senator Dorgan chairs the Democrats' Policy Committee, which has investigated the electrocution deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq. KBR has denied responsibility for the many electrocution deaths in Iraq, including at least three troops electrocuted showering in facilities for which KBR was responsible.

KBR Got Bonuses for Work that Killed Soldiers By Jeremy Scahill 20 May 2009 The Department of Defense paid former Halliburton subsidiary KBR more than $80 million in bonuses for contracts to install electrical wiring in Iraq. The award payments were for the very work that resulted in the electrocution deaths of US soldiers, according to Department of Defense documents revealed today in a Senate hearing.

Captain of Xe vessel is accused of racism 14 May 2009 Three former crew members of the anti-piracy ship run by Xe, the security contractor terrorists formerly known as Blackwater, say that the ship's superior officers maintained a hostile work environment. Two former employees say they witnessed racial harassment, The Virginian-Pilot reported yesterday. Both filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A third crew member has sued the company, accusing the ship's captain of improperly ordering him handcuffed soon after firing him.

US arms sent to Afghan forces 'in Taliban hands' 20 May 2009 Pentagon munitions have leaked from Afghan forces to Taliban militants, enabling them to fight an insurgency for years against materially superior US and Afghan forces, The New York Times reported. According to a Times study of ammunition markings, of 30 rifle magazines removed from the corpses of insurgents in eastern Afghanistan last month, at least 17 contained cartridges, or rounds, "identical" to ammunition the United States has provided to Afghan government forces.

Airstrike kills eight civilians in southern Afghanistan, NATO says 20 May 2009 The NATO-led force says an airstrike by one of its warplanes has killed eight civilians in southern Afghanistan. The deaths come at a time of controversy over airstrikes called in by U.S. troops in two villages in western Afghanistan earlier this month.

US air strikes 'killed 20-30 Afghans' 20 May 2009 At least 20 to 30 civilians may have been killed in US air strikes in southwestern Afghanistan this month as well as 60-65 Taliban, the US military says. A separate Afghan government team found 140 civilians were killed in the May 4-5 strikes in the province of Farah, making it one of the deadliest such incidents since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Bomb kills two in US convoy near Kabul 20 May 2009 A bomb has ripped through a vehicle in a US-led military convoy near the Afghan capital, killing an American soldier and a US civilian, the military says. The vehicle was destroyed in the attack, about 35km from Kabul, with foreign troops cordoning off the area as an ambulance helicopter swooped in to pick up casualties.

U.S. says aid won't go to Pakistan nuclear program 21 May 2009 The Obama administration is confident that Pakistan will not use a planned sharp increase in U.S. aid to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday. The New York Times this week reported U.S. lawmakers were told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear capability while fighting a Taliban insurgency, stoking fears in Congress about diversion of U.S. funds.

No verdict so far in Green death-penalty case 20 May 2009 A jury has stopped deliberating for today on whether a former soldier should be sentenced to death for raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her family. Jurors will resume their deliberations at 9 a.m. (CST). Earlier today, a federal prosecutor called former Pvt. Steven Green’s crimes in Iraq "unthinkable and outrageous" and asked a jury to "finish what he started" by putting him to death.

'US, Israel waging new satanic war in region' 20 May 2009 Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned against a plot hatched by the West to create a new conflict in the Middle East. During a televised speech broadcast on Al-Manar TV on Wednesday, Nasrallah said that the US and Israel are seeking to create a conflict between Iran and the Arab countries.

Iran test fires missile capable of reaching US bases or Israel 20 May 2009 Iran today test fired a solid-fuel missile capable of reaching Israel or US bases in the Middle East, drawing rebukes from western governments... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, announced the launch of the Sajjil-2 surface-to-surface missile in Semnan province in northern Iran, claiming it landed "precisely on target". The defence minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, said the missile was "equipped with a new navigation system as well as precise and sophisticated sensors".

Iran successfully tests Sejjil 2 missile 20 May 2009 The Islamic Republic of Iran has successfully test-launched its new deterrent missile, Sejjil 2, pushing forward its long-term defense program. The 2000-km-range surface-to-surface missile was launched in the central Iranian province of Semnan on Wednesday. Unlike Iran's Shahab 3 missile, which burns a liquid, the new Sejjil 2 model is solid-fueled. This characteristic gives the missile greater deterrence power as it lowers the time needed to prepare for launch.

Gaza suffocation puts medics on hunger strike 20 May 2009 Nine medics seeking entry into the Gaza Strip on a humanitarian mission have gone on a hunger strike after being denied entry into the blockaded ghetto. Three of the medical doctors, all British nationals say they have been denied access to the Palestinian territory at the Rafah crossing since the beginning of May.

UK medics go on hunger strike after being refused entry into Gaza --Hammersmith team stuck in Egypt at Rafa crossing since 4 May --Group on humanitarian mission to set up cardiac hospital unit 19 May 2009 Three British medics began a hunger strike in Egypt today to protest against being refused entry into Gaza for a humanitarian mission. Their aim is to establish a cardiac surgery unit at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which currently has no such facility, and to help train medical students and junior doctors there. But the British medics have been denied access to the Palestinian territory at the Rafah crossing since the beginning of May.

Discrimination we can believe in: Pentagon: No Plan to End DADT 19 May 2009 The Pentagon says it has no plans to repeal the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy for gay troops. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday that the military’s top leaders have only had initial discussions with the White House about whether gay troops should be open about their sexuality. Under current rules, openly gay troops can be discharged from the U.S. military. Morrell said the White House has not asked for the 1993 policy to be scrapped.

July 7 leader Sidique Khan encountered security services 10 times before bombings --The leader of the July 7 bombers was surveilled by police and MI5 ten times before the launch of the attacks. 20 May 2009 The parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said MI5 lacked the resources to follow up 60 per cent of its suspects and Sidique Khan was not classified as an "essential" target. Despite their findings, the ISC said there was nothing that MI5 could have done to stop the attacks, prompting calls from politicians, including Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, for a public inquiry.

14 held over al-Qaeda links 20 May 2009 Police in northern Spain have arrested 14 people suspected of financing Islamic extremists, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said on Wednesday. Police also searched the homes of those arrested in the operation, which was launched during the night in the Basque city of Bilbao and is ongoing, police sources said. Rubalcaba said the 14 were members of "an organised group linked to common crime" and suspected of financing Islamic terrorism.

Minneapolis man pleads guilty to aiding al Qaeda 20 May 2009 A Minneapolis resident has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and faces a prison term of up to 15 years, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, a naturalized Canadian citizen of Somali descent, was indicted in January, 2004, charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda, which plotted the September attacks.

Utah and Arizona report swine flu-related deaths 20 May 2009 Utah officials reported the state's first death associated with swine flu and Arizona recorded that state's third victim, pushing the national death toll to 10 people. David Sundwall, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said a 21-year-old man with swine flu died Wednesday morning at a Salt Lake City hospital.

Swine Flu Spreads in Japan, Despite Quarantine Inspections --It is now inevitable, experts said, that the H1N1 virus will spread to the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area. 20 May 2009 To stop swine [Fort Detrick] flu before it could sneak off airplanes arriving from North America, Japan dispatched masked health inspectors with fever-sensing guns to walk among passengers. But the flu has taken hold in this island nation anyway, with rapidly increasing numbers of confirmed cases in its western region.

Are Wall Street speculators driving up gasoline prices? 20 May 2009 Oil and gasoline prices are rising fast as Memorial Day weekend approaches, but not because supplies are tight or demand is high. U.S. crude-oil inventories are at their highest levels in almost two decades, and demand has fallen to a 10-year low, but crude oil prices have climbed more than 70 percent since mid-January to a six-month high of $62.04 on Wednesday.

House Passes Credit Card Bill, Sending It to President 20 May 2009 The House today gave final approval to a bill that would prohibit credit card companies from arbritarily raising interest rates on existing balances and charging certain fees. With a 361-64 vote, the House ensured that President Obama will be able to sign the bill into law by Memorial Day, as he requested.


US Arms Falling Into Taliban Hands For Use Against American Troops 20 May 2009 Of 30 rifle magazines recently taken from insurgents’ corpses in Afghanistan, at least 17 contained cartridges, or rounds, identical to ammunition the United States had provided to Afghan government forces, according to an examination of ammunition markings by The New York Times and interviews with American officers and arms dealers. The presence of this ammunition among the dead in the Korangal Valley, an area of often fierce fighting near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, strongly suggests that munitions procured by the Pentagon have leaked from Afghan forces for use against American troops.

Mullen: 2 years to turn tide in Afghanistan [Could be a whole lot longer, since the US is arming both sides.] 18 May 2009 The nation's top military officer warned Monday that the deaths of Afghan civilians caught up in U.S. combat operations could cripple President Barack Obama's revamped strategy for the seven-year-old [illegal] war. "I believe that each time we do that, we put our strategy in jeopardy," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "We cannot succeed ... in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians." Mullen said additional forces and new tactics can help the United States turn a discouraging tide in Vietnam Afghanistan.

KBR, Halliburton Accused in Investor Suit of 'Reign of Terror' 15 Mar 2009 KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co., two of the largest contractors to the U.S. military, were accused by a pension-fund shareholder of paying bribes, making false claims and operating as criminal enterprises. Executives of both companies engaged in a "reign of terror" that involved paying bribes in Nigeria, overcharging the U.S. government for services, accepting kickbacks, engaging in human trafficking and concealing a rape of an employee, according to the complaint filed yesterday by a pension fund. [Let us not forget what US troops had to endure from Cheney's KBR terrorists: Poisonings, electrocutions, spoiled food and pathogen-laden water.]

Senate Committee to Review Bonuses Paid to KBR for Deadly Electrical Work 19 May 2009 The U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) will hold an oversight hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20, to examine millions of dollars in bonuses paid to KBR, Houston, for electrical wiring work on U.S. Army bases in Iraq that has been linked to the electrocution deaths of at least two, and perhaps as many as five, U.S. soldiers and contractors in Iraq.

GQ report blames Rumsfeld for military delay after Katrina 18 May 2009 A report on the GQ magazine Web site is quoting unnamed former Bush administration official as blaming former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for many failures, including a delay in military assistance in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The report says "in speaking with the former Bush officials, it becomes evident that Rumsfeld impaired administration performance on a host of matters extending well beyond Iraq to impact America's relations with other nations, the safety of our troops, and the response to Hurricane Katrina."

I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Hersh 19 May 2009 US journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday contradicted news reports published in South Asia that quote him as saying a "special death squad" made by former US vice president [sic] Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto. The award-winning journalist described as "complete madness" the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief. "Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad.

'He was tortured into making false statements that were relied upon to start the Iraq war, and when that became too embarrassing he was disappeared' to a rights-abusing country. 'Mystery surrounds prison death of terrorist whose testimony was key to Iraq invasion --Human rights organisations and Islamic groups have questioned whether al-Libi's death was suicide. 19 May 2009 The Islamist terrorist who was the key source of the false intelligence used to trigger the US and UK 2003 military invasion of Iraq has been found dead in a Libyan prison cell. Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi allegedly committed suicide by hanging in the prison where he was being held in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Yasser al-Sirri, an Egyptian who runs the Islamic Observation Centre in London, said al-Libi was a "true Muslim, and Islam prohibits committing suicide". Clive Stafford Smith of Justice, a group of British human rights lawyers, said: "We are told that al-Libi committed suicide in his Libyan prison. If this is true it would be because of his torture and abuse. If false, it may reflect a desire to silence one of the greatest embarrassments to the Bush administration."

Democrats plan to nix $80 million to shut Guantanamo 19 May 2009 President Barack Obama was dealt a setback on Tuesday by fellow DemocRATs in the Senate who said they would strip $80 million from a war funding bill for closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. The move follows criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats that Obama should have first submitted a plan on what he planned to do with the approximately 240 terrorism suspects being [illegally] held at the prison at a U.S. naval base in Cuba.

Israeli jets strike Gaza 20 May 2009 Gaza Strip struck after militants fired a rocket into a house in the southern city of Sderot. Israeli planes bombed the area six times, targeting underground tunnels used to smuggle goods into the besieged territory. In other raids they targeted armed men belonging to Hamas, according to the Islamist group.

IDF bombs south Gaza after Qassam hits Sderot 20 May 2009 Israel Defense Forces warplanes on Tuesday attacked the southern Gaza Strip near its border with Egypt, several hours after a rocket fired from the coastal territory exploded in the yard of a western Negev home. An IDF spokesman said Israel targeted four border tunnels and two sites in Gaza where weapons were produced, in response to rocket and mortar fire aimed at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

'Israel will have to take on Iran alone once Obama's efforts fail' 19 May 2009 Israel will be forced to take on Iran's contentious nuclear program alone once U.S. President Barack Obama's overture for dialogue with Tehran fails, an Israeli official said on Tuesday. The official was quoted by Channel 10 as saying that Obama's insistence on engagement with Iran would force Israel to make a "difficult decision" on the matter by the end of 2009.

Netanyahu ignores US calls to halt illegal building 19 May 2009 After going down a collision path with the US president over Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli prime minister gets a dressing-down on the issue by senior US lawmakers. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said Tuesday that he frankly brought forward the issue when visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the committee's members.

US denies supporting anti-Iranian terrorists 19 May 2009 The US Defense Department has denied that the United States is supporting Kurdish terrorists conducting operations against Iran. During a visit to Iran's Kordestan Province on Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that the US is supporting terrorists on Iran's western borders. "The United States is promoting terrorism beyond [Iran's] western frontiers... They [the US government] directly finance operations and organize terrorist movements to undermine the Islamic Republic," Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

Army captain pleads guilty in Iraq theft ring 18 May 2009 An Army captain pleaded guilty Monday to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of military equipment from an Army base in Iraq and selling it to a businessman there. Elbert W. George III, of Suffolk, Va., faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to a single count of conspiracy to steal government property.

US to send $110 million in emergency aid to Pakistan 19 May 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Tuesday that the United States was sending 110 million dollars in emergency aid to Pakistan to help displaced civilians there. Clinton, who detailed the aid package at the White House, said that the money would ease the plight of about two million Pakistanis who have fled fighting [not to mention, US drones] in the country’s northwest Swat Valley, reports the Associated Press.

7/7 bomber tracked by intelligence officers since 2001 --Chances to prevent 7/7 attacks were missed 19 May 2009 Police and the MI5 spy agency likely missed chances to identify the key men behind the 2005 London bombings [an inside job six ways to Sunday], but could have done little more to halt the attacks given their limited resources, lawmakers said today. A detailed report into what was known before the attacks, which killed 52 people on three subway cars and a bus, reveals how one of the bombers was tracked by intelligence officers as early as 2001.

US pharma-terrorists poised to make a killing even grander than Bush's 9/11 cronies: Companies could vaccinate 4.9 bln against H1N1 -WHO --'Partnerships with the private sector are absolutely vital.' 19 May 2009 Companies could potentially turn out 4.9 billion doses of vaccine against the new H1N1 [Fort Detrick] influenza strain within a year under the best-case scenario, World Health Organization officials said on Tuesday. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told reporters after a meeting with 30 pharmaceutical companies that WHO was working to secure supplies of vaccine for poor countries in case of a pandemic. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

Prison Outbreak? 4 More Have Swine Flu At Rikers --Bloomberg Confirms Latest Cases, Says 4 Others Are Probable For Virus 19 May 2009 Four inmates at Rikers Island have been confirmed to have the swine flu and four more are considered probable for the virus, Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed Tuesday morning. "Correction and health officials are monitoring the situation and preparing to implement additional health screening and where needed, isolation of ill inmates," Bloomberg said.

Number of H1N1 cases nears 10,000 19 May 2009 The number of confirmed H1N1 flu cases worldwide is nearing 10,000, the World Health Organization said Tuesday morning. The swine flu outbreak has sickened 9,830 people and caused at least 79 deaths -- mostly in Mexico, the organization said. The actual number of people affected may be higher, as it takes time for national governments to confirm cases and report them to the global body. In the United States, at least 5,469 cases of swine flu have been reported, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Court: White House doesn't have to turn over e-mail records --The decision was a victory for the Bush regime, which sought to shield its internal communications. 19 May 2009 A unit of the White House that was accused of misplacing [destroying] perhaps millions of office e-mails does not have to make its records public, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. In Tuesday's decision, the appeals judges -- David Sentelle, Thomas Griffith and Raymond Randolph -- were all named by Republican presidents.

RNC Chairman Urges Stronger Attacks on Obama 20 May 2009 Seeking to reassert himself as a party leader, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele yesterday implored GOP members to stop "navel-gazing" and sharply attack President Obama. His early tenure marred by a series of gaffes, Steele continued a recent re-emergence into the public fray, declaring Obama's first several months "a reign of error" in a speech to RNC members, and adding that the Republican "renaissance has begun."

Obama takes aim at climate-warming car emissions 19 May 2009 President Barack Obama took aim at climate-warming greenhouse gases on Tuesday and ordered the struggling auto industry to make more fuel-efficient cars under tough new national standards to cut emissions and increase gas mileage. Obama said the standards, announced at a White House ceremony attended by auto industry and union leaders, would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and give five years of cost certainty to the auto industry.

GM bankruptcy plan eyes quick sale to gov't 19 May 2009 General Motors Corp's plan for a bankruptcy filing involves a quick sale of the company's healthy assets to a new company initially owned by the U.S. government, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday. The source, who would not be named because he was not cleared to speak with the media, did not specify a purchase price.

Exploiting The Credit Card Law Loophole --Card Issuers May Hike Charges and Interest Rates Before New Regulations Take Effect; Borrowers Who Pay In Full Targeted 19 May 2009 The Senate passed a major reform of gift to the credit card industry Tuesday that clamps down on arbitrary fee and interest rate increases. But even after President Barack Obama signs the bill, the law won't fully take effect for nine months. That's a nine-month loophole, and as CBS News reports, consumer groups are concerned the credit card companies will use the time to hike up interest rates and fees while they can.

US, states sue Wyeth over drug prices 19 May 2009 The US Justice Department and 16 states have joined two whistleblower lawsuits against Wyeth, alleging that the drugmaker has defrauded the government of hundreds of millions of US dollars. According to the lawsuits, filed in a federal district court in Massachusetts, Wyeth avoided paying hundreds of millions of US dollars in rebates due to state Medicaid programs -- which provide health insurance to low-income families or people with disabilities -- for its Protonix Oral and Protonix IV stomach acid drugs.


Donald Rumsfeld covered Iraq briefing papers with Biblical texts 17 May 2009 Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, provided George W Bush with top secret intelligence briefings on the Iraq war that featured cover pages adorned with Biblical quotes. According to a report in GQ magazine the religious texts were imposed over pictures of the US armed forces engaged in the war.

And He Shall Be Judged By Robert Draper 17 May 2009 On the morning of Thursday, April 10, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon prepared a top-secret briefing for George W. Bush. This document, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, was a daily digest of critical military intelligence so classified that it circulated among only a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president; Rumsfeld himself often delivered it, by hand, to the White House... And above these images, and just below the headline secretary of defense, was a quote... It came from the Bible, from the book of Psalms: "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death." This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine.

Netanyahu stands firm against demands from Barack Obama 18 May 2009 Israel stood firm against demands from Barack Obama on Monday to cease the construction of Jewish settlements and embrace the "two-state solution" to achieving peace in the Middle East. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in his first meeting with the US president, made it clear that while he welcomed Mr Obama's commitment to the region, he was more concerned about dealing with the threat of Iran than peace talks. Mr Obama was unable to secure any commitments on ceasing the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or embracing the "two-state solution" to achieving peace in the Middle East.

Barack Obama attempts to ward off disastrous military air strike on 'nuclear' Tehran 18 May 2009 President Obama will seek today to persuade the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister that the White House’s recent overtures to Iran should be given time to work and that an Israeli military strike against Tehran could trigger disaster.

Arabs see Israel - not Iran - as nuclear threat 17 May 2009 Israel's nuclear bombs arsenal poses "the real danger" in the Middle East and not Iran's civilian nuclear programme, Arab League chief Amr Musa said on Sunday. "The real danger as far as nuclear military programmes are concerned is posed by Israel and not Iran," Musa said during a panel discussion on the future of Middle East peacemaking at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

ICC to hear Israeli war crime case 18 May 2009 A Human Rights group has filed a lawsuit against Israeli leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the war crimes they [allegedly] have committed in the Gaza Strip. The chairwoman of the International Alliance for Combating Impunity, Mai al-Khansa, along with a number of European lawyers, filed the lawsuit against the Israeli political and military leaders in The Hague, a Press TV correspondent reported on Monday.

Israel warns of Facebook 'spies' [<g>] 18 May 2009 Israel's internal intelligence service urged the public today to exercise caution when using Facebook, saying Arabs are trying to recruit spies on the popular social networking site. The Shin Bet security agency warned Israelis against answering unsolicited messages or sharing telephone numbers and other sensitive information over the Internet. It said there have been numerous incidents recently in which violent groups [?!?] tried to recruit Israelis through Facebook and other networking sites.

Pakistan denies it is expanding nuclear arsenal 18 Mar 2009 Pakistan denied Monday it was expanding its nuclear arsenal, a week after the top U.S. military officer said there was evidence it was doing so. Pakistan is battling a growing insurgency by Islamist militants with links to al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] and the Taliban. Washington is considering giving it billions of dollars in military aid to help 'fight' the insurgents.

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says 18 May 2009 Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program. Congress has considered proposals to spend $3 billion over the next five years to train and equip Pakistan’s military for 'counterinsurgency' warfare.

Karzai brother 'survives attack' 18 May 2009 Ahmad Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president, says he has survived an ambush on his convoy in the east. Mr Karzai, leader of the provincial council in Kandahar, said one of his bodyguards was killed by the attackers, who used rockets and machine-guns. His convoy was ambushed when it was travelling to the capital, Kabul. It is not known who the attackers were. [Xe or Paravant - always a safe bet.]

Taliban Influx Threatens 'Hot Months' in Western Afghanistan 19 May 2009 As U.S. troops deploy in southern Afghanistan for a new anti-insurgency push, Afghan General Salendar Shah Behnam says his intelligence is picking up another movement: of 250 Taliban into the western province of Farah. A planned U.S. offensive this summer threatens to push 'insurgents' into the west, roiling previously calm areas that border Iran, Afghan and Italian commanders say.

MoD loses soldiers' rights appeal 18 May 2009 The Government's challenge to a court ruling that British soldiers can be covered by human rights laws while on the battlefield was rejected today by the Court of Appeal. The Defence Secretary was given leave to appeal against the decision in the House of Lords on the condition that the Government pays the cost of the case whether it wins or loses.

Supreme Court: Bush-era officials untouchable 18 May 2009 The US Supreme Court drops a case against FBI Chief and former Attorney General for their alleged 9/11 abuse, saying no Bush-era official could be subject to such cases. The Supreme Court on Monday overturned a New York federal appeals court decision stating former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller and former attorney general John Ashcroft could be held responsible for their alleged mistreatment of the Pakistani terror suspect Javaid Iqbal.

Supreme Court Rules Former Detainee Abuse Lawsuit Cannot Proceed --Court Sends Mueller, Ashcroft Lawsuit Back 18 May 2009 The Supreme Court ruled today that former attorney general John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller may not be sued by Arab Muslims who were seized in this country after the 2001 terrorist attacks and allege harsh treatment because of their religion and ethnicity. The court ruled 5 to 4 that the top officials are not liable for the actions of their subordinates absent evidence that they ordered the allegedly discriminatory activity. Javaid Iqbal was held in solitary confinement in a section of a Brooklyn prison known as Admax-Shu, for "administrative maximum special housing unit," where he said he was subjected to numerous beatings and strip searches.

Obama Can't Turn the Page on Bush By Frank Rich 17 May 2009 To paraphrase Al Pacino in "Godfather III," just when we thought we were out, the Bush mob keeps pulling us back in. And will keep doing so. No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can’t. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration’s high ambitions.

Responders Stage Terror Drill at Ground Zero New York --More than 800 first responders participated in Sunday's mock terrorist attack, which simulated an explosion on a New Jersey-bound PATH commuter train in a tunnel. 17 May 2009 It was an emergency drill, yet the scene of hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other first responders hustling around the World Trade Center site Sunday evoked the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Firefighters carried oxygen tanks, hoses and heavy axes into an underground train station, while police and other emergency personnel helped those playing injured -- all part of a large disaster response exercise at ground zero.

US health officials troubled by new flu pattern 18 May 2009 The new [Fort Detrick] influenza strain circulating around most of the United States is putting a worrying number of young adults and children into the hospital and hitting more schools than usual, U.S. health officials said on Monday. The H1N1 swine flu virus killed a vice principal at a New York City school over the weekend and has spread to 48 states.

'This particular virus seems to have this unique ability to pick up other genes.' Expert Warns of Swine Flu-Bird Flu Mix Virus --Mutatation Could Be Highly Contagious And Lethal 08 May 2009 Bird flu kills more than 60 percent of its human victims, but doesn't easily pass from person to person. Swine flu can be spread with a sneeze or handshake, but kills only a small fraction of the people it infects. So what happens if they mix? This is the scenario that has some scientists worried: The two viruses meet [in a USAMRIID lab] and combine into a new bug that is both highly contagious and lethal, and can spread around the world.

W.H.O. May Raise Alert Level as Swine Flu Cases Leap in Japan 18 May 2009 The number of swine flu cases in Japan soared over the weekend, raising the likelihood that the World Health Organization will soon have to raise its pandemic alert level to 6, the highest level. On Sunday, the assistant principal of a school in Queens died after being hospitalized with swine flu. It was the sixth flu-related death in the United States and the first in New York State.

New York Reports Its First Swine Flu Death 18 May 2009 An assistant principal at a New York City public school died of complications from swine flu in an intensive care unit of a Queens hospital on Sunday night, the first death in New York State of the flu strain that has swept across much of the world since it was first identified in April. Hours before the death of the assistant principal, Mitchell Wiener, city officials announced that five more Queens schools had closed.

Malaysian air crew quarantined over swine flu --AirAsia crew members, 101 passengers on flight to be put under quarantine 17 May 2009 AirAsia said Sunday it has quarantined five crew members from a domestic flight that carried Malaysia's second confirmed swine flu victim. The crew of flight AK5358, which flew from Kuala Lumpur to the northern city of Penang on Wednesday, was taken off duty Saturday, AirAsia spokesman Hamdan Mohamad said.

Pregnancy-Bias Law Limited by Court in AT&T Victory 18 May 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court limited the scope of a federal pregnancy-discrimination law, saying an AT&T Inc. unit doesn’t have to increase the retirement benefits of women who took maternity leave in the 1970s. The justices, voting 7-2, rejected arguments by four workers who said companies must treat maternity leave taken before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act’s 1979 effective date the same as disability leave.

Geithner: No plans to cap executive pay 18 May 2009 Financial sector executives should not fear government imposed caps by the Obama administration. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday that government should place "broad constraints" on the incentives that huge pay packages create for executives to take short-term risks. But he drew the line at government determining levels of pay.

Report says fossil fuels threat to US security 19 May 2009 Veteran US army chiefs warn of a looming 'threat' to national security unless the issues surrounding the aging power grid and energy sources are addressed. Former military commanders have, in a Monday report, cautioned the US government to 'aggressively' pursue fresh energy use models or risk major problems arising from the ongoing dependency on fossil fuels including oil and natural gas.

Obama Administration to Announce New Vehicle Emissions Standards 18 May 2009 The Obama administration is set to announce tough standards for tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide from new automobiles, establishing the first ever nationwide regulation for greenhouse gases. It will also establish high fuel efficiency targets for new vehicles that would set a 35.5 mile per gallon average for new passenger vehicles and light trucks by 2016, four years earlier than required under the 2007 energy bill, sources close to the administration said.


Rumsfeld's renegade unit blamed for Afghan deaths --Special Forces group implicated in three incidents that claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians/MarSOC was set up by former defence secretary despite opposition from within the Marine Corps 16 May 2009 A single American Special Forces group was behind at least three of Afghanistan's worst civilian casualty incidents, The Independent has learnt, raising fundamental questions about their ongoing role in the conflict. Troops from the US Marines Corps' Special Operations Command, or MarSOC, were responsible for calling in air strikes in Bala Boluk, in Farah, last week – believed to have killed more than 140 men, women and children – as well as two other incidents in 2007 and 2008. MarSOC was created three years ago on the express orders of Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary at the time, despite opposition from within the Marine Corps and the wider Special Forces community.

'You can't authorise murder': Hersh 12 May 2009 Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh recently said that former US vice-president [sic] Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing that targeted America's enemies abroad. SEYMOUR HERSH: In Cheney's view this isn't murder, but carrying out the "war on terror". And in the view of me and my friends, including people in government, this is crazy. The vice president is committing a crime. You can't authorise the murder of people. And it's not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's in a lot of other countries, in the Middle East and in South Asia and North Africa and even central America.

US mercenary firm in Kabul car shoot-up owned by Blackwater's Erik Prince --Paravant is affiliated with Xe 16 May 2009 Four mercenaries under investigation by the U.S. military for a shooting in Afghanistan are being held against their will by their former employer, their lawyer told CNN on Saturday. Not true, says Paravant, the employer. Paravant is affiliated with Xe, the new company name for the security contractor Blackwater Worldwide, according to sources familiar with the incident. Paravant is owned by Erik Prince, who is also the owner of Xe.

Xe Mercenaries Fired at Kabul Car --US mercenaries were trainers hired by Paravant LLC, a subsidiary of Xe 16 May 2009 Four U.S. mercenaries affiliated with the company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide fired on an approaching civilian vehicle in Kabul this month, wounding at least two Afghan civilians, according to the company and the U.S. military. The off-duty mercenaries were involved in a car accident around 9 p.m. on May 5 and then fired on the approaching vehicle, according to the U.S. military. At least some of the men, who were former military personnel, had been allegedly drinking alcohol that evening, according to a person familiar with the incident.

US bill links military aid to A Q Khan 17 May 2009 While all eyes are focused on the congressional approval of $1.9 billion of US economic assistance to Pakistan earlier this week, a bill pending before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs can all but stifle US military assistance to Pakistan. The bill -- H. R. 1463 -- was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 12 and has now been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for further action. To qualify for US military assistance, Pakistan will have to produce Dr. A.Q. Khan before American interrogators.

U.S. drone kills 10 in Pakistan 16 May 2009 A car packed with mortar bombs blew up on a busy street in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Saturday, killing 11 people hours after a suspected U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles at militants in another region and killed 10. The violence came as the Pakistani military battled Taliban militants in a northwestern valley in an offensive that has forced more than 900,000 people from their homes.

Iraq sends US soldiers back as killers --Soldier's killing spree left five dead – adding to the grim total of murders by US veterans as the military is accused of failing its battle-scarred personnel 16 May 2009 The military has suggested that Sergeant John Russell's work cannibalising and rebuilding robots used to set off roadside bombs brought him into regular contact with gruesome casualties, and that took a toll that exploded at Camp Liberty in Baghdad this week. The army says it recognised signs of trauma in the 44-year-old sergeant, who was just a few weeks from leaving Iraq, and dispatched him for psychological assessment at a military stress centre in Baghdad. Russell got into a fight there, grabbed a gun and shot two doctors and three other soldiers dead.

McChrystal's Pat Tillman Connection By Dave Zirin 13 May 2009 When NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman died at the hands of US troops in a case of "friendly fire," the spin machine at the Pentagon went into overdrive... So an obscene lie was told to Tillman's family, his friends and the American public... Today, after five years, six investigations and two Congressional hearings, questions still linger about how Tillman died and why it was covered up. Now the man who greased the chain of command that orchestrated this great deception is prepared to assume total control of US operations in Afghanistan: Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was McChrystal who approved Tillman's posthumous Silver Star, a medal given explicitly for combat, even though he later testified that he "suspected" friendly fire.

President Obama to restart Guantanamo Bay military tribunals 15 May 2009 Barack Obama is set to reverse the first formal decision of his presidency today with the expected announcement that his Administration will restart Bush-era military tribunals for Guantánamo Bay detainees. While still on the campaign trail, Mr Obama denounced the military commission system as "flawed".

Pelosi Must Provide Proof or Apology on CIA Memo, Boehner Says 17 May 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should provide proof of her allegation that the Central Intelligence Agency misled her about terrorism-related interrogation tactics or apologize for her accusations, Republican leaders said. "If the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said on CNN’s "State of the Union” today. "If that’s not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence officials."

Satire! Shocking Reason Obama Stopped Release of Torture Photos By R J Shulman 17 May 2009 The most damaging photograph is not a picture of US soldiers mistreating terrorist suspects in Iraq, but is instead an image of President Obama himself, cheering on a semi-nude Miss California, Carrie Prejean, as she waterboards House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (Satire)

Obama says Iran war not off the table 17 May 2009 President Barack Obama says the US has not taken military action against Iran over its nuclear program off the table ahead of the Israeli premier's trip to Washington. In an interview with Newsweek on Saturday, Obama made it clear that he did not take any options off the table when asked about war with Iran.

Israeli war on Iran 'completely insane' 17 May 2009 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general says Israel would be making a 'completely insane' move, should it stage a war on Iran. Head of the UN nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei advised officials in Tel Aviv to exercise restraint and allow the diplomatic approach of the Obama White House on the Iranian nuclear issue to proceed.

Israel ups war training despite US discontent 15 May 2009 The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is training against warplanes in service with Arab nations and Iran amid worries in the White House that Tel Aviv would start a war without US consent. The IAF has trained against Soviet-designed MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters -- loaned to Israel by an unidentified foreign country -- to prepare its pilots for missions where they might have to fight a foreign air force, Israel's Channel 2 reported.

Leon Panetta's mission to stop Israel bombing Iranian nuclear plant 15 May 2009 America’s spy chief was sent on a secret mission to Israel to warn its leaders not to launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying the US Administration. As Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, prepares to visit Washington, it emerged yesterday that Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, went to Israel two weeks ago. He sought assurances from Mr Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, that their hawkish new Government would not attack Iran without alerting Washington. [Oh, so it's ok if Israel attacks Iran -- as long as they notify Washington?]

Lebanon arrests 13th Israeli spy in 2 months 16 May 2009 Lebanese troops have detained another suspected Israeli spy in the eastern Bekaa valley as Beirut pushes ahead with a campaign to end Israeli espionage in the country. Ziad Homsi, former mayor of Saadnayel town and current deputy mayor, was arrested in his home at dawn, a Press TV correspondent reported Saturday. The latest arrest brings to about 13 the number of people formally charged with spying since April, when a former general in the security service, his wife and a nephew were detained.

Human Rights Act will hamper soldiers in action, warns MoD 17 May 2009 The Ministry of Defence is bracing itself for defeat with a landmark court ruling tomorrow on whether Britain's soldiers, sailors and airmen should be protected under the Human Rights Act while they serve abroad. If the judgment from one of the UK's most senior judges goes against the MoD, as some defence chiefs fear, it could force it to take greater care of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama Dares Judge to Order Release of NSA Spy Document 15 May 2009 Setting the stage for a constitutional showdown, the Obama administration dared a federal judge here late Friday to do what no judge has yet done: disclose classified data the government has declared a national security state secret. The administration urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to order such a disclosure in a 3-year-old lawsuit weighing whether a sitting U.S. president may bypass Congress and adopt a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Such an order, the administration said, could halt three years of convoluted litigation and force the appellate courts to weigh in on the hotly contested issue.

Obama picks former co-chair of McCain-Palin campaign as ambassador to China 16 May 2009 President Obama today reached into the Republican ranks for a key foreign policy position in his administration, tapping Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be ambassador to China. Huntsman, a Mormon, noted the unusual political circumstances. "Nor did I expect, as national co-chair of Senator [John] McCain's presidential campaign, to be called into action by the person who beat us," Huntsman added.

MPs' expenses: shoot them or jail them -- public is after revenge --A window is smashed, a garden is vandalised and vengeance is demanded as taxpayers turn on their Westminster representatives over expenses scandal 16 May 2009 It was fortunate that Andrew MacKay did not encounter one of his elderly constituents when the Conservative MP defied growing public fury to show his face in Bracknell town centre yesterday. "I can see ordinary people going round with shotguns and shooting them all," said a pensioner in this industrious Berkshire town. She was so enraged by MPs' expenses, she said, that she was tempted to shoot the Speaker herself.

MPs expenses: Voters want general election --Almost two thirds of voters want a general election to be held as soon as possible amid mounting public anger at MPs' expense claims. 16 May 2009 A poll by ComRes for BBC Two's Daily Politics programme found that 65 per cent of those surveyed felt there should be an election while 33 per cent disagreed. Politicians who have been "named and shamed" in the expenses revelations should be forced to quit Parliament, according to 64 per cent of those questioned.

¿A quién beneficia esta epidemia? Varias interrogantes que los medios hegemónicos de comunicación han obviado 12 May 2009 Un revelador trabajo plantea varias interrogantes que los medios hegemónicos de comunicación han obviado, en su afán por generar terror entre la población. ¿A quién beneficia esta epidemia? ¿Qué otras noticias está sepultando? ¿Para qué se está utilizando la emergencia en México? El reporte de Fernando Velázquez menciona un artículo de la investigadora Lori Price en el sitio web, titulado La gripe acaba con los memos de la tortura, en el que esta señala que la influenza porcina, fabricada probablemente en laboratorios militares de Estados Unidos, ha acabado con la noticia de los memos sobre la tortura ordenada por la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) contra prisioneros en (N.R: la ilegal base de) Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, y cárceles secretas.

Flu Bug 28 Apr 2009 By Jolly Roger ...[A] few eyebrows were raised when five microbiologists either disappeared or died mysteriously violent deaths in 2001. A short time later the number rose to 19, and then 29. They were found stabbed to death in the trunks of cars, thrown off bridges, or they wrapped their cars around trees after their brake fluid disappeared... By 2005, we lost 40 micro-biologists in less than 4 years, all under suspicious circumstances, and during this time someone discovered that they were all working for the government, or government contractors, on projects related to bio-terrorism, flu pandemics, or anthrax.

Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans 16 Mar 2009 While the official tally of confirmed U.S. swine flu cases topped 4,700 on Friday, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate the true number of infections at more than 100,000 nationwide.

Swine flu at Rikers prompts call for closure 16 May 2009 Confirmation that an inmate at Rikers Island has swine flu sparked a correction officers union official Saturday to demand that the city close and sanitize a prison facility. But New York City Department of Correction officials said there was no need to close the Ann M. Kross Center at Rikers Island because precautions had been taken to prevent swine flu from spreading.

China places nearly 350 under quarantine 13 May 2009 China has isolated nearly 350 people, including foreigners who travelled with the person who was the mainland's first swine flu case in an effort to contain the virus. State run China Central Television says authorities found and isolated 349 of the 383 people who had taken two of the same flights as a Chinese man confirmed to have the H1N1 virus. The Beijing municipal health authority says 78 foreigners were among those quarantined at a hotel in the capital for a seven day observation period.

Court Orders Parents to Poison Their 13-Year-Old Child with Chemotherapy By Mike Adams 15 May 2009 Against the wishes of both the parents and the 13-year-old patient in question, a Minnesota judge has ruled that Daniel Hauser must undergo conventional chemotherapy treatments, which are characterized by the mass-poisoning of the patient with toxic chemicals. For opting to explore alternative and natural remedies rather than chemotherapy for their son, the parents were accused of medical neglect and now face having their son taken away from them by Child Protective Services (CPS). They may also face prison time if they refuse to follow the judge's orders.

Mega barf alert! Food Companies Are Placing the Onus for Safety on Consumers 15 May 2009 The frozen pot pies that sickened an estimated 15,000 people with salmonella in 2007 left federal inspectors mystified... ConAgra -- which sold more than 100 million pot pies last year under its popular Banquet label -- decided to make the consumer responsible for the kill step. Increasingly, the corporations that supply Americans with processed foods are unable to guarantee the safety of their ingredients.

Ponzi scammer dies in drive off cliff before Hawaii sentencing --Ponzi schemer drives off cliff in Washington state the day he was to be sentenced in Hawaii 15 May 2009 A former Kaua'i mortgage broker who admitted to defrauding more than 50 people out of $30 million drove his truck off a cliff into a ravine in Washington state, killing himself yesterday, the day he was due in federal court in Honolulu for sentencing, according to law enforcement officials.


Anger at Obama Guantanamo ruling 15 May 2009 Civil liberties groups have reacted angrily to US President Barack Obama's decision to revive military trials for some Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Mr Obama has previously denounced the Bush-era judicial system, but in a statement said new safeguards would ensure suspects got a fairer hearing. New rules include rejecting statements obtained from harsh interrogations torture and limitations on using hearsay evidence.

Barack Obama U-turn over military terror trials 15 May 2009 President Obama has been accused of a major policy U-turn after he decided to restore the controversial military tribunals set up by George Bush to prosecute terror suspects. The surprise White House announcement reversed his campaign pledge to rely on the conventional court system. The move was last night criticised by human rights groups, who believed Mr Obama intended to dismantle the terror tribunals after calling them 'an enormous failure' during last year's presidential campaign. It was the president's second U-turn this week, after he changed his mind and pledged to try and block the court-ordered release of photographs showing U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners. [See: Obama U-turn on abuse photographs 13 May 2009.]

CIA Contractors Played Big Role In Interrogations (NPR) 15 May 2009 Congressional testimony this week showed that private CIA contractors mercenaries were a driving force behind harsh interrogations torture. Although there are lawsuits against military contractors involved in detainee prisoner abuse, there has been far less legal action against contractors who worked for the CIA. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wisner believes this is largely because of the secrecy that has surrounded the CIA's interrogation and detention program.

Cheney said Gitmo detainees revealed Iraq-al Qaida link 15 May 2009 Then-Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, defending the invasion of Iraq, asserted in 2004 that prisoners interrogated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp had revealed that Iraq had trained 'al Qaida' operatives in chemical and biological warfare, an assertion that wasn't true. Cheney's 2004 comments to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News were largely overlooked at the time. However, they appear to substantiate recent reports that interrogators at Guantanamo and other prison camps were ordered to find evidence of alleged cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein -- despite CIA reports that there were only sporadic, insignificant contacts between the militant group and the secular Iraqi government.

Cheney's Role Deepens By Robert Windrem --Former NBC News investigative producer reports that the vice president's office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner who was suspected of knowing about a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. 13 May 2009 Robert Windrem, who covered terrorism for NBC, reports that: Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President [sic] Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection. The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible. Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more than 30 sessions of torture of detainees.

CIA Director Rejects Pelosi's Charge That CIA Misled Her 15 May 2009 CIA Director [a liar in his own right] Leon Panetta today rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charge that the agency misled her in 2002 about its use of waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods on suspected terrorists. Panetta, who took office as President Obama's CIA chief in February, reasserted the agency's claim that it told congressional leaders about the use of such methods during a closed-door briefing in September 2002. Pelosi (D-Calif.) has acknowledged attending the briefing but says she was told only that the CIA was considering the use of waterboarding, or simulated [death by] drowning. [Hey, Pelosi: The fact that the 'W' word was even uttered by the CIA under Bush should have raised your cockles. I mean, that's like saying you smoked the joint but didn't inhale. --LRP]

'Obama, like Cheney, wants to hide the evidence.' Obama Is Becoming an Accessory after the fact to War Crimes By Matthew Rothschild 14 May 2009 Barack Obama is fast becoming an accessory after the fact to the war crimes that the Bush Administration has committed. By not prosecuting the torturers and those who ordered the torture, and now by not even going public with the photo tortures he’d already agreed to release, Obama is doing Dick Cheney’s business for him. Cheney’s been telling every news outlet that will have him on that a) we didn’t torture or do anything wrong and that b) everything we did was necessary to keep us safe. The photos of our brutality that are in Obama’s possession could disprove these points in a hurry. But now Obama, like Cheney, wants to hide the evidence.

US Treasury stops payment to al-Qaeda man [<g>] 15 May 2009 The US Treasury Department has frozen all assets held by Abu Khalaf, a Syrian al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader. The Treasury announced is would place the tight financial restrictions on Khalaf, who has been accused of helping supply terrorists in Iraq. The restrictions will also prohibit American citizens from doing business with Khalaf, who has been named as a senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq's facilitation network, which controls the flow of weapons, money and militants from Syria into Iraq. [Why did this particular al-Q guy get cut off while the US still funds all the other al-Qs?]

Mullen: drones future of military aviation 15 May 2009 Unmanned aircraft likely represent the future for US military aviation with next generation bombers and fighter planes operating without pilots onboard. "We're at a real time of transition here in terms of the future of aviation, and the whole issue of what's going to be manned and what's going to be unmanned," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing on Thursday. "I think we're at the beginning of this change," Mullen said when asked about plans for developing a new bomber aircraft.

Rocket hits Afghan mosque near NATO base, 3 dead 15 May 2009 A rocket fired from across the Pakistan border into Afghanistan hit a mosque near a NATO base on Friday, killing three civilians and wounding four, an Afghan provincial police chief said. Abdul Qayum Batizoi, police chief in Khost province, said four to five rockets had been fired over the border and one had struck the mosque near a NATO base occupied by American troops.

Civilians say they're casualties of Pakistan's fight against the Taliban 14 May 2009 The Pakistani army denies knowing that its war against Islamic militants has caused civilian casualties, but patients and family members at a local hospital told McClatchy Thursday that multiple relatives were killed when the military shelled or bombed their homes... On a visit Thursday to the District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital in Mardan, the first major town reached by those fleeing the war zone [Swat], a McClatchy reporter found doctors and nurses struggling to cope with civilian casualties.

Horror and stresses of Iraq duty led US sergeant to kill comrades --Spate of violence is one of at least 120 murders committed by American veterans, while domestic violence, alcoholism and suicides are rife

Roxana Saberi: Pretty Guilty By Zhila Keshvari 13 May 2009 While the world seems to rejoice in the release of the journalist Roxana Saberi from an Iranian jail... The Times of London revealed yesterday that she had indeed committed serious offences of which she had been accused. ...[S]he was subject to far greater degree of due legal process than the many Iranians who have been kidnapped by the US in recent years. Foremost among them are the three consular employees who were violently detained by US occupation forces in Iran's Consular Office in the Iraqi city of Irbil... Numerous Iranians have been detained on spurious grounds in third countries for allegedly breaking extraterritorial US laws on trade between outside the US and Iran, and sought for extradition to the US to face "enhanced interrogation techniques" and draconian punishment in lop-sided trials.

Iran deploys warships to Somali waters 14 May 2009 Iranian warships will join an international armada fighting piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has led to attacks on more than 200 ships over the past 15 months. International concerns over the issue have prompted a fleet of warships to attempt to protect merchant ships in one the world's most important shipping lanes.

After jet scare, New York warns of emergency drill 15 May 2009 Authorities have warned people about a huge emergency-response drill set for New York City's World Trade Center on Sunday, seeking to avoid panic like one caused by an unannounced flyover by a U.S. presidential plane. More than 800 emergency responders -- mostly police and firefighters -- will practice responding to a simulated explosion on a commuter train in the tunnel below the Hudson River that separates New York from New Jersey. The drill is set to run from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (1000 to 1530 GMT) at the transit hub, which is surrounded by construction sites for skyscrapers and a memorial for victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Man arrested over bank tweets --Jean Anleu Fernandez jailed over 96-character message 15 May 2009 Police in Guatemala have arrested a Twitter user and confiscated his computer for "inciting financial panic" after he urged people to remove funds from a state-owned bank. Jean Anleu Fernandez, was handcuffed, fingerprinted and jailed for posting the 96-character message on the micro-blogging site earlier this week. It is thought to be the first such case in central America. Police raided the information technology worker's home in the capital, Guatemala City, on the orders of the public ministry division in charge of banks, according to local media.

2 People Taken Into Custody At White House 14 May 2009 Two people facing deportation from the United States have been taken into custody at the White House gate. They had arrived for a tour of the executive mansion. The pair was part of an adult education program, and a routine background check showed they had an outstanding immigration order against them. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro says they were taken into custody Thursday morning before they entered the compound.

Rove questioned over sackings row 15 May 2009 Karl Rove, former aide to President [sic] Bush, has been questioned over the controversial firing of several government prosecutors in 2006. Mr Rove was interviewed by special prosecutor Nora Dannehy, but declined to comment afterwards, reports say. Ms Dannehy is investigating whether criminal charges should be brought against those involved in the sackings.

U.S. Attorney's office tells employees not to log on to Drudge Report 15 May 2009 The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts directed employees earlier this month not to log onto the Drudge Report website with government-issued computers due to potential viruses on the site. [Not to mention, the virus that is Drudge himself.]

The quickest and biggest coverup in history, save the 9/11 Omission: Swine Flu Not an Accident From a Lab, W.H.O. Says 15 May 2009 The swine flu virus did not result from a laboratory accident, the World Health Organization said Thursday, working to debunk rumors started by an Australian virologist and circulated by news outlets all over the world. "We took this very seriously," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s deputy director general, said of the virologist’s assertion. "But the evidence suggests that this is a naturally occurring virus, not a laboratory-derived virus."

WHO probe: Lab error behind swine flu? 14 May 2009 A claim by an Australian virus researcher that swine flu may have been created by human error is being investigated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Former Australian National University scientist Professor Adrian Gibbs says the virus could have been created in laboratories which grow viruses to make vaccines. Professor Gibbs says he came to the conclusion while analysing the virus's genetic blueprint on the internet. [See: US involved in bird flu conspiracy: Indonesia 20 Feb 2008 (Transcript from AM, Australia's ABC.) Peter Cave: Indonesia's Health Minister has suggested that the United States may be involved in a conspiracy to use the bird flu virus to develop biological weapons. See: US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008.]

U.S. logs fifth H1N1 swine flu death, in Texas 15 May 2009 A Texas man from Corpus Christi has died from the new strain of H1N1 swine flu, state health department officials said on Friday, making the fifth U.S. death from the virus. State Health Department spokesman Doug McBride said the 33-year-old man had died earlier but the cause was only confirmed at H1N1 flu on Thursday.

US now has 4,700 cases of new swine flu - CDC 15 May 2009 The United States has 4,714 confirmed and likely cases of the new H1N1 swine flu virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday. Four people have died in the United States from the virus, which is behaving much like a seasonal influenza strain -- spreading rapidly and causing mainly mild disease, but severe illness in some people.

New York schools in lockdown after flu scare 15 May 2009 Three schools in New York City have been closed for at least a week after more children were suspected of having Mexican Fort Detrick flu. Four students and one staff member at the schools showed symptoms of the virus. Altogether, the schools have a total of 4500 students.

Swine Flu Swindle: Mass Vaccination 13 May 2009 A survey of 274 studies conducted by researchers from the internationally prestigious Cochrane Vaccine Field in Italy, and published in the British Medical Journal on October 28, 2006 stated that flu vaccines have not been shown to be effective or safe. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the National Vaccine Information Center is calling on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stop recommending annual flu immunization.

Mega barf alert! Six Insurers Named to Get U.S. Taxpayer Aid --The Hartford said was told it could receive $3.4 billion 15 May 2009 Six major insurance companies have received preliminary approval to get billions of dollars in fresh capital as part of the government’s financial rescue program, a Treasury Department spokesman confirmed on Thursday. The department said the Hartford Financial Services Group, Prudential Financial, Lincoln National, Allstate, Ameriprise and Principal Financial Group have all received approval for capital infusions, subject to terms still to be negotiated.

Following Chrysler, GM slashing U.S. dealers 15 May 2009 General Motors Corp said it would drop about 1,600 U.S. dealers as it struggles to slash billions of dollars in operating costs and debt ahead of an anticipated bankruptcy filing by the end of the month. Taken together with a similar announcement by bankrupt Chrysler LLC a day earlier, over 2,300 U.S. auto retailers have been put on notice that they are being eliminated by the two embattled automakers.

Boycott GM: Leaked GM document shows automaker plans to sell China-built cars to U.S. consumers 12 May 2009 A planning document given to lawmakers by General Motors reportedly shows that the Detroit-based automaker plans to ship 17,335 autos from China for sale in the U.S. in 2011... The 12-page document also showed increased production in Mexico and South Korea. In an open letter, UAW legislative director Alan Reuther has gone on record saying that GM "should not be taking taxpayers' money simply to finance the outsourcing of jobs to other countries."

Stocks still face deflationary collapse: Prechter 14 May 2009 Longtime technical analyst Robert Prechter, who forecast the 1987 stock market crash, predicted this week that U.S. equities may plunge to half their lows hit in March as a deflationary depression bites. Oil and U.S. Treasury bonds are also locked in long term bear markets, while corporate bond prices will plunge precipitously by next year as broad economy, banking system and company earnings sustain more damage from a financial crisis that's akin to the Great Depression, he said.

DOJ nominee's industry experience a worry for some 15 May 2009 The corporate background of President Obama's pick for the nation's top environmental litigator has spurred concerns that she is ill-suited to lead the office charged with tackling corporate polluters. Obama announced plans earlier this week to nominate Ignacia Moreno, counsel of corporate environmental programs at General Electric Corp., to serve as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Obama Nominates Superfund Polluter Lawyer to Run DOJ Environment Division By Brad Johnson 15 May 2009 President Barack Obama has nominated a lawyer for the nation’s largest toxic polluters to run the enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws. On Tuesday, Obama "announced his intent to nominate" Ignacia S. Moreno to be Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice. Moreno, general counsel for that department during the Clinton administration, is now the corporate environmental counsel for General Electric, "America’s #1 Superfund Polluter."


U.N. rights chief urges Obama to prosecute torturers 14 May 2009 The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday welcomed the election of the United States to the top United Nations rights forum and urged it to prosecute those accused of torture and other abuses. Navi Pillay said Washington should investigate all U.S. renditions of terrorism suspects and ensure any interrogators who mistreated them are brought to justice for violating an international ban on torture.

Speaker Pelosi: CIA, Bush team misled on waterboarding 14 May 2009 Under strong attack from Republicans, the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.), accused the CIA and Bush administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees and sharply rebutted claims she was complicit in its use. "To the contrary ... we were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used," she said, referring to a formal CIA briefing she received in late 2002.

Pelosi accuses CIA of misleading her on use of waterboarding 14 May 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused CIA officials Thursday of misleading her in 2002 about the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning and has been described by critics as torture. Pelosi reiterated an earlier claim that she was briefed on such techniques only once -- in September 2002 -- and that she was told at the time that the techniques were not being used.

Indefinite Detention Weighed 14 May 2009 The Obama administration [soon to be dubbed 'regime' by the CLG] is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military tribunal trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The proposal is being floated with members of Congress... Sen. Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.), who met this week with White House Counsel Greg Craig to discuss the administration's plans, said among the proposals being studied is seeking authority for indefinite detentions, with the imprimatur of some type of national-security court.

'It's perfectly Orwellian... It's just more evidence that this Administration is becoming the greatest bait-and-switch in history. He's morphing into his predecessor.' --Law Professor Jonathan Turley, referring to Barack Obama 13 May 2009 (MSNBC)

Gee, looks like Michael Rectenwald was right. I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this bailout! 02 Oct 2008 To Barack Obama I say: you are a fraud on public credulity. You are no more a "change" agent than I am the Pope. With your support of this bailout, you have acted in direct contradiction to your promise of change-your promise of opposing special interests, of putting Main Street before Wall Street, of finding a way forward that does not beg, borrow or steal from the very people you claim to represent. If you cannot do more than cave to special interests now, what "hope" have we that you will resist them when in office? (More 'Rec Reports' here and more of Mike's writings here.) [It's not just the bailout. Obusha has burned us on Guantanamo, Bagram, tribunals, torture, killer drones, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, investigation of the previous Administration's role in the aforementioned, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' NSA wiretapping, banks, bailouts, bonuses, health care, polar bears and wolves. --LRP]

Obama refuses to publicise army abuse photos 13 May 2009 US President Barack Obama has refused the release of photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama has told reporters that while the photos depict behaviour that did not conform with US Army rules of conduct, the people responsible for the offences have been dealt with.

Obama bows to Republican right and military on torture photos By Bill Van Auken 14 May 2009 The Obama administration’s decision Wednesday to renege on its promise to comply with a court order and release photographs of US personnel torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan represents another capitulation by his administration to mounting pressure from the right and the military-intelligence apparatus... He claimed that the images are "not particularly sensational" and "would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals." Obama failed to explain what makes the US president the arbiter of what is of "benefit to our understanding."

Obama Administration Reverses Promise to Release Torture Photos --Decision Betrays Commitment to Transparency and the Rule of Law (ACLU) 13 May 2009 The Obama administration announced today that it is reversing its promise to make public photos depicting detainee abuse by U.S. personnel overseas. The Department of Defense had told a federal judge that it would release a "substantial number" of photos in response to a court ruling in an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Quick action! Tell President Obama you support transparency and accountability. (ACLU) 13 May 2009 The very fact that photos of torture and abuse exist, only underscores the need for transparency, accountability and for a full investigation of crimes committed. The President... needs to hear from concerned citizens like you. Join the ACLU in calling on President Obama to put the full weight of his leadership behind our call for transparency and accountability. (Petition)

Reid says no plan no Guantanamo closure 14 May 2009 The US Senate will not provide funding to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility until President Barack Obama provides a concrete proposal on doing so. "There will be nothing happening until a plan comes from the president," Majority Leader, Harry Reid, told reporters on Thursday. The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering Obama's request for USD 80m to shutter the controversial detention center by January 22, 2010, and attach strict conditions to its closing.

The CIA is hiring: Experienced Torturers Needed - (no Muslims need apply) By Jack Rabbit 13 May 2009 Take a look at this article regarding torture of prisoners in the custody of MY GOVERNMENT! From the article: "Who the hell authorizes these things?" Soufan reportedly asked the chief CIA officer in Thailand, as Mitchell began stripping the prisoner and blasting him with music from the Red Hot Chili Pepppers." So here I sit, with only news articles to tell me what my government is up to. (That would be torture.) Thankfully there are some brave souls willing to become "whistleblowers" because their conscience prevents restful sleep knowing torture is going on at the hands of the government of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

US House backs $96.7 bln bill for Iraq, Afghan, Pakistan wars 14 May 2009 The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $96.7 billion measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30 as well as rush critical economic and security aid [?] to Pakistan. The biggest chunk is $47.7 billion to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30. Obama had originally requested in total $84.3 billion. It also includes $1 billion for Pakistan as it tries to fight militant Taliban 'insurgents.'

60-year-old Army soldier is oldest killed in Iraq --Ariz. man was Vietnam vet who decided to re-enlist after 9/11 attacks 14 May 2009 A 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq has become the oldest Army soldier to die in that conflict, the military said Thursday. An Associated Press database of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that Maj. Steven Hutchison, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the oldest member of any service branch killed since the wars broke out.

Pirate attacks pass 2008 mark 14 May 2009 Piracy attacks off the Somali coast since January have surpassed the number for all of 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The Piracy Reporting Center at IMB recorded 111 piracy incidents in 2008 in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast. So far this year, the center has documented 114 attempted attacks, including 29 successful hijackings, the IMB reported. [See: Somali pirates guided by London intelligence team, report says 11 May 2009.]

Singapore Air Force arrives in Mountain Home 13 May 2009 The world outside Idaho got a little bit smaller Wednesday, as four F-15SG fighter jets flown from St. Louis by the Republic of Singapore Air Force landed between rainstorms at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Greeted by a cheering crowd of more than 100 military personnel from both Singapore and the U.S., the four jets are the first of as many as 10 that will call the airbase home for at least the next 20 years. More than 300 active-duty and support personnel will make up the 428th Fighter Squadron and train alongside American pilots as part of a partnership between the two countries - though they will not fly on missions.

Nuclear Surety Inspection begins at Minot AFB 14 May 2009 A Nuclear Surety Inspection was initiated Wednesday at Minot Air Force Base. The inspection team is led by a senior officer representative from the Air Combat Command Inspector General's office with oversight provided by representatives from the Air Force Inspection Agency and the office of the Secretary of the Air Force. This no-notice inspection is expected to conclude May 22. [A 'no-notice' inspection? Look for the Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' page to grow in the aftermath of that one. --LRP]

Quick action! Keep your promise, President Obama --Tell the President to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and not fire Lt. Dan Choi (Courage Campaign) 14 May 2009 Lt. Dan Choi, from Orange County, California, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last March he went on Rachel Maddow's show and spoke three truthful words: "I am gay." As a result Lt. Choi received a letter from the Army on April 23 discharging him for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy... Lt. Choi is fighting to stay in the military and ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." President Obama did not create this policy. But he now has the opportunity to keep his promise and allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in the military. It's the right thing to do -- for justice and for national security. (Petition)

Britain has freed more than half of those arrested as terrorism suspects 14 May 2009 More than half of those arrested on suspicion of terrorism-related offenses in Britain since Sept. 11, 2001, have been freed without being charged, according to government statistics released Wednesday. Of the 1,471 people detained, 521 were charged and 196 of those were convicted of terrorism-related charges, the British Home Office survey shows; 819 were released without being charged. Some were charged with offenses not related to terrorism, such as theft, fraud or an expired visa. The report does not say how many of those were convicted.

Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More --In a competition in Arizona, one role-player wore traditional Arab dress. 14 May 2009 But the more than 2,000 law enforcement posts across the country are the Explorers’ most popular, accounting for 35,000 of the group’s 145,000 members, said John Anthony, national director of Learning for Life. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many posts have taken on an emphasis of fighting terrorism and other less conventional threats... The law enforcement posts are restricted to those ages 14 to 21 who have a C average, but there seems to be some wiggle room. [Stupid little fascists with guns - just what we need.]

San Mateo man with tuberculosis faces charge for disobeying quarantine 12 May 2009 A 60-year-old man who was being treated for tuberculosis at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Redwood City faces a criminal charge for repeatedly disobeying a quarantine order from the San Mateo County Health Department. Charles Dvorak was diagnosed with contagious tuberculosis after being admitted to the hospital April 27 for a severe cough. His resistance to complying with doctors prompted a formal public health order May 6 from county health officer Dr. Scott Morrow.

Scientist: Swine Flu Could Have Come From Bio-Experiment Lab --World Health Organization Investigates Claims by Australian Scientist 14 May 2009 An Australian researcher claims the swine flu, which has killed at least 64 people so far, might not be a mutation that occurred naturally but a man-made product of genetic experiments accidentally leaked from a laboratory. Adrian Gibbs, a scientist on the team that was behind the development of Tamiflu, says in a report he is submitting today that swine flu might have been created using eggs to grow viruses and make new vaccines, and could have been accidentally [purposefully] leaked to the general public.

Scientist arrested for smuggling vials used in Ebola research into US --Yao told US border guards he was taking them to his new job with the National Institutes of Health at the Biodefense Research Laboratory in Bethesda, MD. 13 May 2009 A Canadian scientist has been arrested for smuggling 22 vials stolen from Canada's National Microbiology Lab, used in Ebola and HIV research, into the United States, Canadian and US officials said Wednesday. Konan Michel Yao "was taken into custody" while crossing the border from Manitoba province into the western US state of North Dakota on May 5, said a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, which operates the lab. According to US prosecutor Lynn Jordheim, Yao was detained for carrying unidentified biological materials in vials wrapped in aluminum foil inside a glove and packaged in a plastic bag, along with electrical wires, in the trunk of his car.

China seeks passengers with exposure to new A/H1N1 flu case 14 May 2009 China's Ministry of Health confirmed Wednesday a Shandong man has tested positive for the A/H1N1 flu and authorities are seeking plane and train passengers who had exposure to the man. The case, the second of its kind on the Chinese mainland, involved a 19-year-old student who arrived in Beijing from Canada May 8 and traveled to Jinan, provincial capital of Shandong, three days later in a train labeled D41.

NYC closing schools to deal with big flu outbreak 14 May 2009 New York City has closed three schools in response to a swine flu outbreak that has left one staff member in critical condition and sent hundreds of kids home with flu symptoms, in a flare-up of the deadly virus that sent shock waves through the world last month.

No. of new influenza patients tops 6,000 worldwide; 65 dead 14 May 2009 The number of people infected with a new strain of influenza has topped 6,000 in 35 countries and territories around the globe as of early Thursday, according to government announcements and media reports. The number of people infected with the H1N1 virus has come to 6,465.

Detroit fund sues Halliburton, KBR 14 May 2009 The Detroit Policemen & Firemen Retirement System filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Houston today against oil field services provider Halliburton Co. and its one-time subsidiary KBR Inc., accusing Halliburton’s board of directors of breach of fiduciary duty for misdeeds and corruption resulting in damage to investors’ holdings. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the retirement system by Wilmington, Del.-based law firm Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. and Houston-based Lanier Law Firm, names current and former directors of Halliburton [Cheney?] as defendants.

'The saver is going to start rebelling.' Billionaire Rupert Says Crisis May Provoke Unrest, Inflation Share 14 May 2009 South African billionaire Johann Rupert said the financial crisis may lead to inflation and social unrest as savers find they’re too poor to retire, while pension-fund managers deserve to be jailed for incompetence. Rupert, speaking at the annual presentation for Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the luxury-goods company he controls, said he doesn’t see any "green shoots" of economic recovery... Rupert told analysts at the meeting that they’re too young to remember Red Brigade terrorism in Italy or the 1968 Paris uprisings, when the French state sent tanks into the streets. "Things can get volatile very quickly," he said.

Credit card reform bill slows in U.S. Senate 14 May 2009 A credit card reform bill that would ban arbitrary interest rate hikes remained stalled in the Senate on Thursday as Democratic and Republican leaders negotiated amendments to be offered by lawmakers. "I hope that we can pass it before we leave next Friday for our recess," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.

US: Cuts in Social Security, Medicare to pay for bank bailouts By Tom Eley 14 May 2009 A government report made public Tuesday indicates that Social Security and Medicare will deplete their trust funds more quickly than previously forecast. This has sparked new demands from within the US financial elite for substantial cuts in the two entitlement programs, which pay retirement and medical benefits for tens of millions of working class Americans. The report was issued by the programs’ trustees, a group of four Obama administration officials headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Anger, sadness as ax falls on Chrysler dealers 14 May 2009 Dealers across the United States reacted with a mixture of anger and sadness on Thursday to word that bankrupt automaker Chrysler LLC plans to eliminate franchise agreements with them as part of its restructuring efforts. But most, even those surprised by the news, entertained little hope they could stop Chrysler from following through on the proposed closures...

Gov. proposes selling L.A. Coliseum, other properties to raise cash 14 May 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [R-Installed] wants to sell the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, San Quentin State Prison, the Orange County Fairgrounds and other state property to raise cash amid the state's growing fiscal crisis, according to a copy of a proposal reviewed by The Times. Sale of the properties, to be included in the governor's revised budget plan today, would raise between $600 million and $1 billion, although it would not provide financial relief for two to five years, according to the proposal.

Obama Delivers Inspirational Message to Class of 2009 14 May 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama has delivered his first commencement address since taking office, a speech to the graduating class of Arizona State University. President Obama told the graduating class at Arizona State that what drives them through life should not be money, celebrity or power, but a higher calling. Mr. Obama got a warm welcome in this university in the desert.

Pageant official quits over Miss California move 14 May 2009 In the latest twist in a scandal that has rocked an American beauty pageant, a former Miss USA [Shanna Moakler] has resigned as co-executive of the Miss California USA competition following owner Donald Trump's decision to let the state's controversial title holder keep her crown. Trump said that Carrie Prejean could retain her Miss California USA crown even after questions arose about semi-nude photographs taken of her as a teenager and her association with an anti-gay marriage group.

Salazar Waterboards Polar Bears By Joe Alterio (NRDC) 14 May 2009 (Editorial cartoon)


Obama U-turn on abuse photographs 13 May 2009 US President Barack Obama has changed his mind and will now attempt to block the publication of photographs showing the abuse of prisoners by US soldiers. The US government had previously said it would not fight a court ruling ordering the release of the pictures. Mr Obama now believes the release of the photos would make the job of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan more difficult, White House officials said.

Obama Reverses Stance and Seeks to Block Detainee Photo Release 13 May 2009 President Barack Obama has reversed his stance and is seeking to block release of photographs that show the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. personnel, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. The president "did not feel comfortable with release of the photos" which military officials said might endanger troops, Gibbs said.

Obama threatens to limit US intel with UK over Guantanamo torture --Justice letter filed in court 12 May 2009 The Bush Obama administration says it may curtail Anglo-American intelligence sharing if the British High Court discloses new details of the treatment of a former Guantanamo prisoner. A court filing from the British Foreign Office released recently includes a letter from the U.S. government, identified as the "Obama administration's communication." At issue is whether the British courts will disclose a seven-paragraph summary of the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a former prisoner who was released from Guantanamo Bay prison in February. Mr. Mohamed says he was tortured while in U.S., Pakistani and Moroccan custody.

Former Official: Treatment of Terror Suspects a 'Collective Failure' --Testimony comes amid calls for criminal prosecutions, disbarment or probe of former government officials and mercenaries for their activities during the Bush war on of terror 13 May 2009 Former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told the first congressional panel convened to address allegations of torture that the Bush regime officials engaged in a "collective failure" on detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. Fresh accounts today by Zelikow and retired FBI special agent Ali Soufan are likely to expose anew rifts within the highest levels of the Bush regime over the practices.

FBI Whistleblower Testimony: Gonzales Imposed Brutal Interrogation Tactics --Ali Soufan Also to Testify CIA Torture Program Architect Was Unqualified 12 May 2009 As President [sic] Bush's top lawyer, Alberto Gonzales pressed counterterror officials to use brutal interrogation techniques on terror suspect Abu Zubaydah in 2002, even when those techniques hindered Zubaydah's cooperation, a former FBI agent who was present is expected to testify Wednesday before Congress.

Graham threatens to pull Pelosi into torture probe 13 May 2009 Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), an influential Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has threatened to call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) before the Senate for an investigation of abusive interrogation techniques torture used during the Bush administration.

Inquirer defends the indefensible: A monthly column by torture architect John Yoo By Will Bunch 11 May 2009 Most famously, Yoo was known as the author of the infamous "torture memos" that in 2002 and 2003 gave the Bush and Cheney the legal cover to violate the human rights of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, based on the now mostly ridiculed claim that international and U.S. laws against such torture practices did not apply. Working closely with Dick Cheney, Cheney's staff and others, Yoo set into motion the brutal actions that left a deep, indelible stain on the American soul. Yet none of that was enough to prevent my colleagues upstairs at the Philadelphia Inquirer -- with none of the fanfare that might normally accompany such a move -- to sign a contract with Yoo in late 2008 to give him a regular monthly column.

Obama's Pakistan is Nixon's Laos: U.S. military, Pakistan carrying out Predator drone missions together --The Pakistanis have yet to use the drones to shoot at suspected militants and are ambivalent over using U.S. equipment to fire on their own people. 12 May 2009 The U.S. military has begun flying armed Predator drones inside Pakistan and has given Pakistani officers significant control over targets, flight routes and decisions to launch attacks under a new joint operation, according to U.S. officials familiar with the program. Under the new partnership, U.S. military drones will be allowed for the first time to venture beyond the borders of Afghanistan under the direction of Pakistani military officials, who are working with American counterparts at a command center in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. ['Partnership' aka 'bitchship.' Pakistan is the US's bitch. To continue to receive billions in US tax dollars, Pakistan is forced to bomb its own people.]

More than 80 girls hospitalised by 'poison gas attack' 12 May 2009 More than 80 Afghan teenagers have been admitted to a hospital for headaches and vomiting in the third apparent poison attack on a girls school in as many weeks. At least 98 patients in total were admitted from Aftab Bachi school, including the principal, 11 teachers and two cleaners. The apparent attack came a day after 61 schoolgirls and one teacher from a school in neighbouring Parwan province were admitted to a hospital after complaining of sudden illness. [My theory: The US did it, Obama learned that the US did it, and fired General McKiernan so that if this particular war crime was traced to the US, Obama's hands would be 'clean.' --LRP]

'Poison gas' puts 50 Afghan schoolgirls in hospital 12 May 2009 Nearly 50 teenagers have been admitted to hospital after a suspected mass poisoning at an Afghan girls' school [Ura Jalili Girls' High School], the second such incident in a month. The students in the northern town of Charikar were rushed out of their classrooms by the headmaster when they smelt an unusual odour and started feeling nauseous and dizzy. There have been no clues as to the type of gas used in either case. [Check CIA stockpiles.] Blood samples have been sent to the nearby US Bagram airbase but results have not yet come back from the first incident.

Several killed in Afghan bombing --Seven civilians killed, several wounded 13 May 2009 A suicide car bomb explosion near a US military base in eastern Afghanistan has killed seven civilians and wounded several others, the US military says. The attack took place near the eastern town of Khost. Meanwhile, the US military in Afghanistan says its forces mistakenly killed two civilians and wounded four others as they responded [?] to an 'insurgent' attack also in the east of the country.

Militants target govt sites in Afghanistan 12 May 2009 A group of Taliban suicide bombers attack several government buildings in the troubled eastern Afghanistan, killing nine and injuring 16 others. Nearly a dozen Taliban suicide bombers detonated their explosive-laden vehicles close to municipal building and the provincial governor's office in eastern Khost city.

Wounded UK officer dies in hospital 13 May 2009 The British Ministry of Defense has announced that an army officer who was wounded in southern Afghanistan over the weekend has died in the hospital. "He died as a result of a gunshot wound sustained during an incident in the vicinity of Haji Halem, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on 9th May 2009," the ministry said in a statement.

US soldier in Iraq charged with 5 counts of murder 13 May 2009 A US soldier who has allegedly killed five of his comrades at a military base in Baghdad has been charged with five counts of murder, the US military says. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the military said that Sergeant John Russell was suspected of shooting the five soldiers at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad airport, on Monday.

US to give Iran talks 'only until October' 11 May 2009 With the US President planning a policy shift on Iran, a report says he will only give the much-awaited talks five months to resolve Tehran's nuclear dispute. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the United States has set October as its deadline for engaging Iran in the first round of talks over the country's nuclear activities.

Report: Iran deploys missiles in Persian Gulf --Deployment follows reports that US, Israel working on military strike plans against Iran's nuclear facilities 12 May 2009 Iran's Revolutionary Guards have begun deploying mobile launchers for surface-to-air and surface-to-sea missiles in the Strait of Hurmuz and other areas in the Gulf, it has been revealed. An Iranian official, quoted anonymously in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, said Iranian forces deployed the missile bases following secret reports that the United States and Israel were working on a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

US reporter in Iran 'held secret report' 13 May 2009 A lawyer for US-born 'reporter' Roxana Saberi, freed this week from a Tehran jail, said on Wednesday the spy charges she had faced arose after she obtained a classified report on the US war on Iraq. "She had a report about the US attack on Iraq prepared by the strategic research centre at the (Iranian) presidency," Saleh Nikbakht told AFP. "The research centre deemed the report as classified. But she had not used it at all." Nikbakht did not say how Saberi had managed to gain access to the confidential report. [Notice how well a convicted spy was treated in Iran, compared to US detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram and elsewhere? Sorry, but facts are facts.]

Galloway sues Canada over entry ban 12 May 2009 British anti-war lawmaker George Galloway is taking legal action against Canada because he was prevented from entering the country in March. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in March that Galloway would not be allowed entry and referred to a catch-all legal clause.

Top Military, Homeland Security Officials Want WH to Establish Cyber Czar 13 May 2009 The nation's top military, intelligence and homeland security officials are recommending that President Obama establish a new White House cyber czar under the National Security Council with broad policy-setting authority for protecting both public- and private-sector computer networks, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Five men convicted over plot to blow up Sears Tower 13 May 2009 A Florida jury last night convicted five men of conspiring to help al-Qa'ida blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and launch attacks on other important buildings in the US at the end of a gruelling prosecution process that had twice before ended in mistrials. A sixth man was acquitted... The case became bogged down as two previous juries failed to reach a consensus on whether the men had the intent and wherewithal to carry out the attack on one of the most iconic buildings in the US.

Swine Flu May Be Human Error, Scientist Says --WHO wants to know whether evidence that the virus may have been developed in a laboratory can be corroborated 12 May 2009 The World Health Organization is investigating an Australian researcher’s claim that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error. Adrian Gibbs, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu drug, said in an interview today that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have 'accidentally' evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Lab Escape: Gibbs said his analysis supports research by scientists including Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis... His research found the rate of genetic mutation in the new virus outpaced that of the most closely related viruses found in pigs, suggesting it evolved outside of swine, Gibbs said. [See: US involved in bird flu conspiracy: Indonesia 20 Feb 2008 (Transcript from AM, Australia's ABC.) Peter Cave: Indonesia's Health Minister has suggested that the United States may be involved in a conspiracy to use the bird flu virus to develop biological weapons; US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008; Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug 12 Mar 2006.]

WHO: Swine flu virus may face deadly mutation 12 May 2009 The conformation of new swine flu cases in different countries has caused WHO officials to announce the virus has the potential to cause a global pandemic. In a Tuesday statement, the WHO stressed that the new virus 'appears to be more contagious than seasonal influenza...' The report added that the new H1N1 flu virus has the potential to unpredictably mutate into a more virulent form, resulting in a pandemic that may circle the globe in at least two or even three waves.

Confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases in U.S. rise to 3352 14 May 2009 The number of confirmed human A/H1N1 cases has risen to 3352 in 45 U.S. states, with three deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases on Tuesday was 3009 in 45 states.

Worldwide swine flu cases soar past 5,000 12 May 2009 The global number of swine flu cases on Tuesday soared past 5,000, world health authorities said as the virus spread to three more countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Most H1N1 patients do not need drugs to recover: WHO 12 May 2009 Most H1N1 flu patients do not require antiviral therapy to recover, but it remains important to develop a pandemic vaccine [!?!] as there is a risk of future drug resistance, a World Health Organization expert said on Tuesday.

Satire: Prejean to Run As GOP VP In 2012 --'Carrie has all the same qualifications for high office that Sarah Palin did before she began her amazing run.' By R J Shulman 13 May 2009 The GOP announced today that beauty queen and new rising star Carrie Prejean will be a shoe-in -- that is, a high-heeled shoe-in --for the vice presidential slot in the next national election. GOP spokesperson Stix Larsen said, "Ms. Prejean believes in the core conservative family values of gay bashing, liberal trashing, lying and breast augmentation." (Satire!)

Geithner: Small banks can apply for TARP funds 13 May 2009 Banks with assets of less than $500 million will be able to apply for capital injections from the Treasury's financial rescue package, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a gathering of community bankers on Wednesday. Treasury has roughly $109.6 billion in funds left in its bank bailout package. However, Geithner said he expects to use funds repaid from large investment banks, in part, to pay for the new capital injections for smaller public and private community banks.

Antitrust: Commission imposes fine of €1.06 bn on Intel for abuse of dominant position; orders Intel to cease illegal practices 13 May 2009 The European Commission has imposed a fine of €1 060 000 000 on Intel Corporation for violating EC Treaty antitrust rules on the abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82) by engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units (CPUs). The Commission has also ordered Intel to cease the illegal practices immediately to the extent that they are still ongoing. Throughout the period October 2002-December 2007, Intel had a dominant position in the worldwide x86 CPU market (at least 70% market share). The Commission found that Intel engaged in two specific forms of illegal practice.

Report: Senator Opposing Public Health Option Takes $2M From Health, Insurance Industries By Scott Nance 12 May 2009 Sen. Ben Nelson, over his three Senate campaigns, ranks fourth in the Senate in lifetime contributions from insurance interests, only trailing three senators who have run for president, according to a new report. Nelson -- who has received nearly $1.2 million in campaign contributions from these insurance interests alone, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics -- finds himself in the crosshairs of progressives following remarks on the Senate floor in which the centrist Nebraska Democrat rejected a public option for healthcare reform.


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