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

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

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June 2008 Archives, Page Two

Guantanamo detainees made to feel like 'nomads' 27 Jun 2008 Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are turned into "nomads" to keep them agitated and to punish those who break rules, a Sudanese journalist recently released from the U.S. military prison said Friday. Sami al-Haj said moving prisoners between camps and from cell to cell appeared to be part of an official policy to destabilize them. "They were made into nomads," the Al-Jazeera journalist said.

'I can't talk to you,' Addington said. 'Al Qaeda may watch these meetings.' Key player in waterboarding policy 'smug' under questioning 27 Jun 2008 On Thursday, David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President [sic] Cheney and alleged master-mind of the legal rationale for harsh techniques torture used against prisoners in the 'war on terrorism,' appeared before a House subcommittee. When Democrats tried to pin him down on the moral and legal issues they considered crucial, Addington brushed them aside with barely concealed disdain. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who later characterized Addington's attitude as "smug," asked whether, if the interrogation program was found to be illegal, he would bear any responsibility. "Is that a moral question or a legal question?" Addington asked, then said he bore no responsibility, legal or moral. Was President [sic] Bush constrained by laws against torture? Addington refused to offer an opinion. Putting the question in extreme terms, Nadler asked Addington if torturing a detainee's child to get information would be legal. "I'm not here to render legal advice to your committee," Addington shot back. "You do have attorneys of your own to give you legal advice."

Lawyer wants world to see Gitmo interrogation --Khadr has maintained that any statements he made to U.S. officials were obtained under torture and are therefore inadmissible. 27 Jun 2008 A lawyer for a Canadian detainee at Guantánamo Bay said Thursday that he expects to release a video of his then-teenaged client being interrogated by Canadian officials, potentially offering the first public footage of an interrogation at the U.S. prison. Nathan Whitling's announcement came a day after Canada's Federal Court ordered the government to hand over the 2003 interrogation video of terrorism suspect Omar Khadr to his defense team... ''The tape shows him crying as he describes being tortured. It shows him showing Canadian officials physical evidence of his abuse and pleading for their help. It's concrete evidence demonstrating the lack of credibility for the case against him,'' said Whitling.

ATF seizes weapons from Blackwater --Investigation concerns how they were obtained 27 Jun 2008 The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized nearly two dozen automatic rifles from Blackwater Worldwide this week, apparently part of an investigation into whether the private security contractor mercenaries obtained them illegally. ATF agents confiscated the guns Tuesday, two days after a story in The News & Observer raised questions about Blackwater's deal to buy 34 guns for the Camden County Sheriff's Office -- nearly two automatic weapons for each of the department's 19 deputies.

Officials: 30,000 troops heading to Iraq in 2009 27 Jun 2008 The Pentagon is preparing to order roughly 30,000 troops to Iraq early next year in a move that would allow the U.S. to maintain 15 combat brigades in the country through 2009, The Associated Press has learned. The deployments would replace troops currently there. But if the top U.S. commander in Iraq [Gen. David Petraeus] decides in the fall that fewer troops will be needed in Iraq during 2009, there is the chance that brigades could simply be directed to the war in Afghanistan instead.

Congress passes $162B spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan wars --Spending will bring to more than $650 billion the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war (Blackwater, Big Oil) and a total of nearly $200 billion for operations (opium routes, UNOCAL gas pipeline) in Afghanistan 26 Jun 2008 The Senate passed a $162 billion war spending plan Thursday, sending to President [sic] Bush legislation that will pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan until the next president takes office. The Senate, however, narrowly failed to approve a House-passed bill to cancel a scheduled cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

For the Record: Wars have cost $700B since 9/11 27 Jun 2008 A new Congressional Research Service report says the U.S. government has spent about $700 billion on "military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks."

Iraq family wiped out by US 26 Jun 2008 Six members of a family were killed yesterday when a US jet destroyed their house in Iraq. Four children, aged between four and 11, were among the dead in the attack near the northern town of Tikrit, Iraqi police said. However, the US military made no mention of the civilian deaths and said the house was attacked after troops took small arms fire. [Where is the (genuine) Iraqi resistance???]

US: Arrest made following attack in Karmah, Iraq 27 Jun 2008 A member of an extremist cell believed to be behind a suicide attack that killed more than 20 people including three U.S. Marines has been arrested, the U.S. military said Friday. U.S. spokesmen said it was unclear if the suspect, who was not identified, was directly involved in planning the attack that happened Thursday in the town of Karmah in Anbar province about 30 miles west of Baghdad.

Witnesses link chemical to ill US soldiers --Highly toxic substance used at Iraq plant 21 Jun 2008 US soldiers assigned to guard a crucial part of Iraq's oil infrastructure became ill after exposure to a highly toxic chemical at the plant, witnesses testified at a Democratic Policy Committee hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill. "These soldiers were bleeding from the nose, spitting blood," said Danny Langford, an equipment technician from Texas brought to work at the Qarmat Ali Water treatment plant in 2003. "They were sick. Hundreds of American soldiers at this site were contaminated" while guarding the plant, Langford said, including members of the Indiana National Guard. Langford is one of nine Americans who accuse KBR, the lead contractor on the Qarmat Ali project and one of the largest defense contractors in Iraq, of knowingly exposing them to sodium dichromate, an orange, sandlike chemical that is a potentially lethal carcinogen.

'Losing 10 animals could be as much as 10 percent of the population.' Foreigners Threaten Afghan Snow Leopards --'Raids' on U.S. military bases yielded products from endangered species, including snow leopards 27 Jun 2008 Afghanistan's snow leopards have barely survived three decades of war. But now the few remaining mountain leopards left in Afghanistan face another threat [thanks to Bush] -- foreigners involved in 'rebuilding' the war-torn country. Despite a complete hunting ban across Afghanistan since 2002, snow leopard furs regularly end up for sale on international military bases and at tourist bazaars in the capital.

DOJ Settles Hatfill Suit for $5.8 Million --Investigators Implicated the Former Army Scientist in the 2001 Anthrax Attacks 27 Jun 2008 The Justice Department has agreed to pay former Army scientist Steven Hatfill almost $6 million to settle his claims that the government violated his privacy rights during its investigation of the [Cheney] 2001 anthrax attacks. The anthrax left five people dead and 17 sickened after mail [from Fort Detrick] containing the toxin arrived on Capitol Hill and at news organizations in Florida and New York.

MI5: revealing areas at mercy of collapsing dams is a terror threat 26 Jun 2008 MI5 and flood risk experts are at odds over whether to publish inundation maps highlighting areas under threat if any of the country's dams were to collapse. The Security Service says that the information could show terrorists where an attack on a dam might have the most impact. Experts in the Cabinet Office and the Environment Agency feel the time has come to make the information public, as the risk of major flooding rises with climate change.

Laptop seizures at customs raise outcry --Complaints from travelers and privacy advocates have spurred lawmakers to challenge the policy of random inspections. 26 Jun 2008 Bill Hogan was returning home to the U.S. from Germany in February when a customs agent at Dulles International Airport pulled him aside. He could reenter the country, she told him. But his laptop couldn't. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said he had been chosen for "random inspection of electronic media," and kept his computer for about two weeks, recalled Hogan, a freelance journalist from Falls Church, Va... "It's not an inspection. It's a seizure," Hogan said. "What do they do with it? I assume they just copy everything." For several years, U.S. officials have been searching and seizing laptops, digital cameras, cellphones and other electronic devices at the border with few publicly released details.

Obama and Clinton hold first joint rally 27 Jun 2008 Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton today held their first public event together since Clinton withdrew from the Democratic nomination fight, as they seek to rally Clinton's supporters behind Obama and regroup the Democratic party for the upcoming general election fight. The rally was held in the aptly named town of Unity, New Hampshire, where Obama and Clinton each won 107 votes in the January primary.

Obamas cut check to help Clinton pay off debt --He meets with ex-rival's backers, receives standing ovation for support 27 Jun 2008 Barack Obama announced Thursday that he will help pay off Hillary Rodham Clinton's more than $20 million debt, personally writing a check in a gesture meant to win over her top financial backers. Obama met with more than 200 of Clinton's biggest fundraisers at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, the first step in a two-day push to bring her supporters onboard his general election campaign.

U.S. Stocks Slump, Pushing Dow Average to Brink of Bear Market 27 Jun 2008 U.S. stocks fell, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the brink of a bear market, on concern subprime-related writedowns at banks will worsen and record oil and a slowing economy will prolong the worst profit decline since 2002. The Dow extended its retreat from an all-time high in October to almost 20 percent, the threshold for a so-called bear market.

Oil near $143 on view dollar will keep falling 27 Jun 2008 Oil futures climbed to a new record near $143 a barrel Friday as the dollar weakened against the euro, confirming expectations that the falling greenback, a major factor in crude's stratospheric rise, will extend its decline and add to oil's appeal.

No ice at the North Pole --Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change 27 Jun 2008 It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

Arctic thaw threatens Siberian permafrost 14 Jun 2008 The permafrost belt stretching across Siberia to Alaska and Canada could start melting three times faster than expected because of the speed at which Arctic Sea ice is disappearing. A study found that the effects of sea-ice loss – which reached an all-time record last summer – extend almost 1,000 miles inland to areas where the ground is usually frozen all year round.

Tell the Bush Administration to grant the polar bear full-fledged protection (NRDC) Most scientists are now warning that global warming could eliminate the polar bear's summer sea-ice habitat by 2040. Without dramatic cutbacks in global warming pollution, Alaska's polar bears could face extinction by 2050. Tell the Bush Administration to close the polluter loopholes and give polar bears full-fledged protection as an endangered species.

U.S. temporarily halts new solar projects --Bureau to 'study' impact on the environment 27 Jun 2008 Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies the environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.

US checks if tomatoes caused Salmonella outbreak 27 Jun 2008 As salmonella cases continue to climb, the government is checking if tainted tomatoes really are to blame for the record outbreak -- or if the problem is with another ingredient, or a warehouse that is contaminating newly harvested tomatoes. The widening outbreak -- with 810 people confirmed ill -- means whatever is making people sick could very well still be on the market, federal health officials warned on Friday. [Heckova job, FDA!]


Government says FBI agents can't testify about 9/11 19 Jun 2008 Government lawyers say the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks could be compromised if the airline industry is allowed to seek more information from the FBI to defend itself against lawsuits brought by terrorism victims. In papers filed late Tuesday, the government urged a judge to block aviation companies from interviewing five FBI employees who the companies say will help them prove the government withheld key information before the 2001 attacks.

Pentagon to Consult Academics on Security --Pentagon financing initiative, named Minerva, will award $50 million over five years to U.S. universities 18 Jun 2008 The Pentagon has started an ambitious and unusual program to recruit social scientists and direct the nation’s brainpower to combating fomenting security threats like the Chinese military, Iraq, terrorism and religious fundamentalism. But if the uncustomary push to engage the nation’s evolutionary psychologists, demographers, sociologists, historians and anthropologists in security research -- as well as the prospect of new financial support -- has generated excitement among some scholars, it has also aroused opposition from others, who worry that the Defense Department and the academy are getting too cozy.

The U.S. government, in an unusual move, congratulated Roche on the program and helped to publicize it. Reserving Tamiflu for workers 'in case of' pandemic 26 Jun 2008 Fears of bird flu are receding and sales of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu have slumped. Now its maker is offering a deal to U.S. employers: Pay an annual fee and reserve enough to protect every worker if a new super-flu strikes. The plan announced Thursday comes as the federal government also begins a new effort to encourage many businesses to stockpile anti-flu drugs in case of a pandemic. [See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu 31 Oct 2005 Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing. See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice. Animals exposed to this composite were dying within days of symptoms similar to those found in human victims of the 1918 pandemic.]

Cheney aide denies writing interrogation memos 26 Jun 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's top adviser on Thursday refused to claim any responsibility for the adoption of harsh interrogation methods torture following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks during a combative exchange with congressional Democrats. David Addington, chief of staff to Cheney, appeared along with the lawyer, former Justice Department attorney John Yoo, before a House Judiciary subcommittee investigating the role of Bush administration lawyers in approving interrogation procedures. The Associated Press learned in April that administration officials from Cheney on down signed off on the techniques after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality.

U.N.: Opium Trade Soars in Afghanistan 26 Jun 2008 Afghan opium cultivation grew 17 percent last year, continuing a six-year [US] expansion of the country's drug trade and increasing its share of global opium production to more than 92 percent, according to the 2008 World Drug Report, released Thursday by the United Nations.

U.S. strike may delay, not stop Iran nuclear program 25 Jun 2008 A U.S. military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities could set Tehran's program back years but would raise the risk of retaliation against American troops in the region and of driving Iran to work even harder to make atomic weapons, U.S. experts and officials say. Any U.S. attack could involve thousands of sorties and missile launches against hundreds of targets. It would be limited to air strikes, rather than a full-scale attack requiring U.S. ground forces, who are now tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, analysts said. But the strike would be hampered by a lack of intelligence [yup!] on the number and location of the nuclear facilities dispersed throughout Iran, according to nuclear security experts.

Bombings kill dozens, 3 US Marines in Iraq attacks 26 Jun 2008 A suicide bomber attacked a meeting of pro-government Sunni sheiks west of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 23 people, including three U.S. Marines. At least 18 more people died in a car bombing in the northern city of Mosul.

Iraq authorities say U.S. soldiers killed 9 civilians 26 Jun 2008 Nine Iraqi civilians were killed Wednesday in two armed clashes involving U.S. soldiers, local authorities reported. In the capital, three people were killed in a fiery crash after gunfire erupted as their vehicle passed U.S. soldiers with a convoy stopped near the Baghdad international airport to recover a stalled vehicle.

Americans, Italian die in Iraq office bomb attack 25 Jun 2008 Two US soldiers, two American civilians, an Italian and six Iraqis have been killed in a bomb attack on municipal offices in Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City, officials said. US embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the foreigners who were killed in the blast included two US nationals working for the State Department and the Department of Defence.

U.S.-allied Iraqi politician opens fire on U.S. troops, killing 2 23 Jun 2008 (Madain, Iraq) A U.S.-allied Iraqi council member [Raed Mahmoud Ajil] sprayed American troops with gunfire Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding three and an interpreter, Iraqi authorities and witnesses said. The attack occurred minutes after they emerged from a weekly joint meeting on 'reconstruction' in this volatile town southeast of Baghdad. U.S. troops shot and killed him at the scene.

North Korea removed from US 'axis of evil' 27 Jun 2008 North Korea and the United States took their biggest steps towards reconciliation since the Korean War yesterday after the reclusive state handed China a long-delayed account of its nuclear activities. President [sic] Bush responded by announcing that he would lift trade sanctions dating back to the 1950-53 conflict and remove North Korea from the US terrorism blacklist.

US Treasury says N.Korea sanctions remain in place 26 Jun 2008 U.S. Treasury financial sanctions aimed at ending North Korean money laundering, illicit financing activities and weapons proliferation remain in effect despite the easing of other sanctions against Pyongyang, a Treasury spokesman said on Thursday.

North Korea Releases Declaration of Nuclear Materials 26 Jun 2008 The U.S. began removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism after the communist regime released an inventory of nuclear plants and materials, removing an obstacle to future ties between the two countries.

ATF raids Blackwater armory, seizes automatic weapons 26 Jun 2008 Federal agents raided a [Moyock, North Carolina] Blackwater armory Tuesday and seized 34 automatic rifles that the company purchased and stored on behalf of a local law enforcement agency, the Associated Press reports. The raid came after reports on a deal in which the company paid for weapons that were registered in the name of the Camden County, N.C., Sheriff's Office.

U.S. federal agents raid Blackwater's armoury in firearms probe 26 Jun 2008 U.S. federal agents have raided an armoury owned by security contractor Blackwater Worldwide. Blackwater says the raid was part of an investigation into a deal that allowed a local sheriff's office to store high-powered assault rifles at the company's armoury at its headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina.

President Beck: I Wouldn't Detain Terror Suspects, I'd 'Shoot Them All In The Head' 25 Jun 2008 Today on his radio show, CNN host [sociopath] Glenn Beck expressed his disdain of the recent Supreme Court ruling granting terror suspects the right to challenge their detention in civilian courts, exclaiming that if he were President, he would do away with detaining and prosecuting terrorism suspects altogether. Instead, a President Beck would "shoot them all in the head [if] we think that they are against us." BECK: We’re going to shoot them all in the head. If we think that they are against us, we’re going to shoot them and kill them, period. Because that’s the only thing we’ve got going for us is we can put them away and get information. If we can’t put them away and they’re going to use our court system, kill them.

Gitmo Detainee's Lawyer 'Not Allowed to Tell Him' He's No Longer an 'Enemy Combatant' 25 Jun 2008 An appeals court ruled that the Pentagon improperly designated Huzaifa Parhat, an ethnic Uighur Chinese national, an "enemy combatant" after being swept up by the U.S. military in Afghanistan in 2001 and then sent to Guantánamo Bay, where he has been held since. Parhat’s lawyer told CBC radio’s 'As It Happens' last night that Parhat is currently being held in solitary confinement and "has no idea" the appeals court ruled in his favor because, he added, "I’m not allowed to tell him": DEREK STOFFEL, CBC HOST: Mr. Willett, what’s your client’s reaction to this ruling? SABIN WILLETT (PARHAT’S LAWYER): Boy what a great question that is because my client doesn’t know about this ruling because I’m not allowed to tell him. […] He’s sitting in solitary confinement today. He has no idea what’s happened as far as I know.

Critics seize on DOJ audit as evidence of meddling 25 Jun 2008 An audit finding that Republican partisanship infected Justice Department hiring has provided fresh ammunition for critics who claim the agency brought charges against Democrats with one eye on the ballot box. The hiring audit found that Bush officials implemented a screening program in 2002 to weed out job applicants who had liberal or Democratic ties. Such disqualifications, it said, "constituted misconduct and also violated the department's policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliation."

NY judge: NSA can refuse to discuss wiretapping 25 Jun 2008 The National Security Agency does not need to tell lawyers for Guantanamo Bay prisoners whether their phones were tapped as part of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program, a federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday. The NSA has refused to say whether it listened in on the conversations of the lawyers who are advising prisoners being held at the U.S. naval facility in Cuba. The NSA says even confirming the existence of such wiretaps would jeopardize national security.

Senate nears end of debate over surveillance bill 25 Jun 2008 The Senate signaled an end Wednesday to months of rancorous debate over surveillance legislation that would protect from civil lawsuits the telecommunications companies that helped the government [illegally] wiretap American lines. By an 80-15 vote, the Senate turned back a last-ditch effort to kill the bill, setting up a vote to approve the measure on Thursday.

Duke holds campus gunman simulation 23 Jun 2008 Duke University police and the Durham Police Department teamed up Sunday for an emergency operation. Both squads are part of what’s been called the Rapid Deployment Exercise. The departments are practicing together in a simulated case of a gunman coming onto the campus. Durham resident Katja Moos, who used to live in Blacksburg, Virginia, remembers the Virginia Tech Massacre like it was yesterday.

Justices Rule for Individual Gun Rights 27 Jun 2008 The Supreme Court on Thursday embraced the long-disputed view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun for personal use, ruling 5 to 4 that there is a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense. The landmark ruling overturned the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns, the strictest gun-control law in the country, and appeared certain to usher in a fresh round of litigation over gun rights throughout the country.

High court affirms gun rights in historic decision 26 Jun 2008 Silent on central questions of gun control for two centuries, the Supreme Court found its voice Thursday in a decision affirming the right to have guns for self-defense in the home and addressing a constitutional riddle almost as old as the republic over what it means to say the people may keep and bear arms. The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and imperiled similar prohibitions in other cities. Federal gun restrictions, however, were expected to remain largely intact.

Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Ban on Handguns 26 Jun 2008 The Supreme Court, splitting along ideological lines, today declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns for self-defense, striking down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun ownership as unconstitutional. The 5 to 4 decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia represented a monumental change in federal jurisprudence and went beyond what the Bush regime had counseled.

Gun-Control Supporters Show Outrage 27 Jun 2008 Gun-control advocates across the country reacted with shock and outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns today, saying the ruling would threaten gun-control measures in other states.

Obama supports supreme court reversal of gun ban --Candidate's stance at odds with former position --Democrat backs death penalty for child rapist 27 Jun 2008 Barack Obama intensified his campaign to appeal to voters on the life-and-death issues of the American heartland yesterday by stepping away from his past support for gun control. In the latest in a series of policy reversals for the Democratic presidential candidate, Obama came out in support of yesterday's supreme court decision overturning a gun ban in the city of Washington that had been a model for fighting urban crime. He had previously supported the Washington ban, the strictest in the US.

Obama winning over former Clinton supporters 26 Jun 2008 Barack Obama has won over more than half of Hillary Clinton's former supporters, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll that finds party loyalty trumping hard feelings less than three weeks after their bruising Democratic presidential contest ended.

Nader: Obama trying to 'talk white' 25 Jun 2008 Independent presidential candidate GOP troll Ralph Nader accused Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic Party nominee, of downplaying poverty issues, trying to "talk white" and appealing to "white guilt" during his run for the White House. Nader has taken various shots at Obama in recent days while ramping up his latest run for president.

US panel endorses 2nd vaccine for kids' virus 25 Jun 2008 A federal advisory panel has endorsed a second vaccine to combat foment a common and potentially fatal virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting in children. The new two-dose vaccine for infants, made by GlaxoSmithKline, was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in April. The vaccine advisory committee agreed Wednesday that it should be added to the recommended vaccines for infants, as well as the three-dose vaccine made by Merck & Co. and approved in 2006.

Dow at Lowest Level of the Year as Bank Fears Push Shares Down 27 Jun 2008 There was no relief in sight on Wall Street on Thursday, as a sharp dive in the stock markets only worsened as the afternoon wore on. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 358.41 points, or 3.03 percent, to 11,453.42, its lowest level of the year, after a discouraging report predicted trouble ahead for some of the nation’s biggest brokerage firms.

Oil prices hit new record at $140 27 Jun 2008 Crude futures surged sharply and broke the 140 U.S. dollars level for the first time on Thursday as OPEC predicted oil prices to rise and Libya threatened to cut production. Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 5.09 dollars to settle at a record 139.64 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

World Bank to Offer Index-based Weather Derivative Contracts 24 Jun 2008 The World Bank is moving ahead with plans to use the weather derivative market as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the impact of drought in developing countries... The Bank will intermediate the risk of weather-based catastrophe by entering into mirroring transactions with the client country and a financial market counterpart.

Groups oppose bid to overturn polar bear ban 25 Jun 2008 Six environmental or animal rights groups have filed court documents to maintain a ban on importing polar bear hides from Canada. They filed to intervene in a lawsuit promised by Safari Club International, a pro-hunting terrorist group that last month gave formal notice it would sue to overturn the ban. The US Fish and Wildlife Service put the ban in place last month when Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne declared polar bears a threatened species.


Pentagon cannot account for $2 billion in anti-terror funds to Pakistan --Overall, the U.S. has paid $5.6 billion to reimburse the country for counter-terrorism expenses, a GAO report says. 25 Jun 2008 The United States has paid more than $5 billion to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism expenses that have often been exaggerated, if not fabricated, according to a government audit released Tuesday that blasts the Pentagon for poor management of the program. The report concluded that the Pentagon could not properly account for as much as $2 billion in payments to Pakistan over a three-year period from 2004 to 2007. Auditors uncovered an array of questionable costs, including $45 million for roads and bunkers that may never have been built; $200 million for the operation of air defense systems even though Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] has no known aircraft; and overcharges for meals and vehicles used by Pakistani troops.

Pakistanis "won't allow" attacks into Afghanistan 25 Jun 2008 Pakistan said on Wednesday it would not allow militants to attack Afghanistan from its territory and it would never let foreign troops operate on its soil. The declaration came after threats from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to send troops into Pakistan to fight Taliban militants he says operate from border sanctuaries, and after 11 Pakistani border soldiers were killed in a U.S. air strike.

Syria planned to supply Iran with nuclear fuel, Israel says --Speculation grows over possible attack 25 Jun 2008 Israel believes that Syria was planning to supply Iran with spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing into weapons-grade plutonium from the site it bombed last September, and which is currently being inspected by the UN's nuclear watchdog. The claim from an adviser to Israel's national security council came yesterday as speculation mounts about a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

CNO Visits Israel for Counterpart Visit 23 Jun 2008 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Gary Roughead is visiting Israel from June 21-24 at the invitation of Israel Navy Commander, Vice Adm. Eli Marum, to strengthen and further develop global maritime partnerships and increase maritime security.

Clashes with U.S. forces kill 9 civilians in Iraq --Three people die in a car in Baghdad. In Tikrit, an air strike destroys a house. 25 Jun 2008 Nine civilians were killed today in two firefights with U.S. soldiers, local authorities reported. In the capital, three people were killed in a fiery vehicle crash after gunfire erupted as they passed U.S. soldiers from another convoy stopped near the Baghdad International Airport to recover a stalled vehicle.

3 U.S. Soldiers Killed by Bomb in Iraq 25 Jun 2008 Three U.S. soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb in Ninewa Province on Tuesday night in the second large explosion to strike the Mosul region in a day and further evidence that Sunni Arab guerrillas remain active in the northern city despite recent Iraqi military operations.

Germany to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan 23 Jun 2008 Germany plans to increase its military contingent in northern Afghanistan by up to 1,000 soldiers, Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Tuesday. The announcement follows months of pressure from Germany's NATO allies to step up its troop presence in Afghanistan and deploy soldiers in the south to help US, British and Canadian forces fight a tenacious Taliban 'insurgency.'

Taliban attacks up 40 percent in east Afghanistan: US general 23 Jun 2008 Attacks by Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan were up 40 percent in the first five months of 2008 compared with the same period last year, the US commander in the region [US Army Major General Jeffrey Schloesser] told reporters here Tuesday.

Federal Judge Allows Blackwater Training Facility in Otay Mesa 17 Jun 2008 A federal judge decided today to allow Blackwater Worldwide to continue running a Naval training facility in Otay Mesa indefinitely. City Attorney Mike Aguirre says he'll appeal the ruling. Judge Marilyn Huff granted an injunction that lets Blackwater remain at the Otay Mesa warehouse where it started training Navy sailors earlier this month. Huff says the private contractor mercenaries received the appropriate permits from the city to run the facility. [Where is the 'insurgency' when you need it? That facility needs to go bye-bye, before Bush's Waffen SS--Blackwater--becomes too big to overtake. --LRP]

Border cop dies from self-inflicted shot at Sarkozy farewell 25 Jun 2008 A border policeman shot himself dead on Tuesday 200 meters from where French President Nicolas Sarkozy was getting ready to board a plane ending his trip to Israel. Bodyguards that heard the shot over the music being played by a band feared it may have been an assassination attempt, and rushed Sarkozy into the plane alongside his wife Carla Bruni, who ran up the stairs ahead of her husband.

Silvio Berlusconi's 'iron fist' laws approved --Immigrants who claim to have family in Italy will be given DNA tests. 24 Jun 2008 The senate voted 166 to 123 to approve a wide-ranging package of measures which will allow Silvio Berlusconi to govern Italy with an iron fist. Mr Berlusconi will now be able to use as many as 3,000 soldiers for up to six months in order to 'fight' crime... Anna Finocchiaro, a spokesman for the opposition Democratic Party, said there had been no consultation by the government over the new measures. "We will vote no. The text has two mistaken measures, which are dangerous and against the Constitution. First there is the criminalisation of immigration, and the second is the suspension of trials".

Terror "Threats" Timed to Thwart Kerry in '04 By Paul Abrams 24 Jun 2008 Beginning with the immediate aftermath of the Democratic Convention in 2004, and continuing through the fall campaign, the Bush Administration formally announced a rise in the terror threat every time polls showed the Kerry/Edwards campaign achieving some positive momentum. Just like, as Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card said in September of 2002, you don't "sell a war in August", there apparently was no "need" of multiple terrorist alerts prior to the Democratic Convention in 2004.

Blond, white schoolboy is al-Qa'eda extremist, say police 25 Jun 2008 A schoolboy aged 12 has been identified as an al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] inspired extremist after sending beheading videos to his classmates, police have disclosed. Anti-terrorism chiefs have said the example revealed how violent extremism is spreading "like a virus infecting young minds". The blond, white schoolboy from West Yorkshire is among 120 people being dealt with by police [!?!] in a new anti-terrorism scheme targeting al-Qa’eda inspired youths.

Ship terrorism alert system flawed-report 25 Jun 2008 A terrorism alert system [Ship Security Alert System, SSAS] installed in thousands of merchant ships after the September 11, 2001 attacks is flawed because it does not immediately notify local security authorities of an attack, said a report on the system.

U.S. becoming a 'surveillance society?' --Public surveillance video mushrooms despite lack of evidence it works 25 Jun 2008 After the [Bush] terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, local governments across the country set aside concerns over privacy and installed surveillance cameras in public streets and plazas. Now -- even after a damning report by the head of London’s extensive surveillance network and with little evidence that the systems work -- police in many cities are trying to add thousands more cameras to their networks.

MO gets $17 Million to Test Real ID Program 21 Jun 2008 Missouri will get $17 million to help develop and test the Real ID program and will house a verification hub to help states validate identification cards. The federal Real ID Demonstration Grants were announced Friday by the Homeland Security Department.

Old Chemicals Prompt Central Street Lockdown 25 Jun 2008 A chemical in storage since the 1970s at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department prompted a brief lockdown on Central Street in Springfield Wednesday morning. About a cup of the picric acid was discovered in the Health Department lab storage room shortly after 8 a.m.

Emergency Official Witnessed Dead Bodies In WTC 7 By Paul Joseph Watson 23 Jun 2008 Exclusive video of emergency official Barry Jennings discussing explosions inside WTC 7 before either of the twin towers had collapsed and having to step over dead bodies of victims as he attempted to vacate the building has been released for the first time... Jennings' eyewitness report of explosions inside WTC 7 before the towers had collapsed as well as dead bodies inside the building completely contradicts the official story, which maintains that there were no fatalities inside Building 7.

One Senator Says 'Enough' By Dan Froomkin 25 Jun 2008 A senior Democratic statesman took to the Senate floor yesterday and delivered a jeremiad against President [sic] Bush and his lawlessness the likes of which I'm not sure we've ever heard there before. What set off Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) was the warrantless surveillance bill sent over from the House this week and seemingly assured of passage in the Senate. The bill significantly broadens Bush's spying powers and essentially guarantees civil-lawsuit immunity for the telecommunications companies that cooperated in earlier surveillance efforts."

Senator Dodd Speaks in Opposition to FISA Bill on Floor of U.S. Senate 24 Jun 2008 Indeed, I am here today because with offense after another after another, I believe it is long past time to say:"enough." I am here today because of a pattern--a pattern of abuse against civil liberties and the rule of law. Against the Constitution--of which we are custodians, temporary though that status may be. And I would add that had these abuses been committed by a president of my own party, I would have opposed them, every bit as vigorously. I am here today because warrantless wiretapping is merely the latest link in a long chain of abuses.

Dems Who Flipped On FISA Immunity See More Telecom Cash 24 Jun 2008 House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week’s FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by

White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail 25 Jun 2008 The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week. The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said. This week, more than six months later, the E.P.A. is set to respond to that order by releasing a watered-down version of the original proposal that offers no conclusion.

Intelligence Agencies: Climate Threatens Security 25 Jun 2008 Global climate change is likely to trigger humanitarian disasters and political instability that will have a major impact on U.S. national security, a top intelligence official told Congress on Wednesday. A new assessment by the National Intelligence Council -- with input from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies -- treats climate change as a security threat.

Court Slashes Judgment in Exxon Valdez Disaster 25 Jun 2008 The Supreme Court today threw out a $2.5 billion award of punitive damages against Exxon Mobil Corp. for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, ruling that the award should be limited to the amount of compensatory damages in the case -- about $500 million.

San Francisco group wants to name sewage plant after Bush --Supporters plan 'synchronized flush' of hundreds of thousands of San Francisco toilets 25 Jun 2008 A group with the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant. The renaming would take effect on Jan. 20, when the new a president is sworn in. And regardless of the measure’s outcome, supporters plan to commemorate the inaugural with a synchronized flush of hundreds of thousands of San Francisco toilets, an action that would send a flood of water toward the plant, now called the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant.

Top 6 reasons to skip a synchronized flush By Mark Yannone 25 Jun 2008 San Francisco group wants to rename a sewage treatment plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant. Supporters of the idea are planning to mark the January 20 inauguration of the incoming president with a synchronized flush of hundreds of thousands of San Francisco toilets as the new president is sworn in. What a great idea, right? In keeping with the philosophy that anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, a nationwide synchronized flush would be even better, I thought. But no. There are several good reasons to forgo such a megaflush...

State Seeks to Pull Countrywide's License to Write Loans In Washington 25 Jun 2008 Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) said the state is seeking to pull the license of Countrywide Home Loans to write any more loans in Washington because investigators found evidence of "predatory practices" aimed at minorities. Earlier Wednesday, the states of California and Illinois filed lawsuits against Countrywide.

Eyeing inflation, Fed ends 9-month run of cuts 25 Jun 2008 The Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday to leave a key interest rate unchanged and cited a heightened risk of inflation, which could lead to rate increases down the road. Private analysts said the Fed may delay the first rate hike until December. The central bank announced that it was keeping the federal funds rate -- the interest rate that banks charge each other -- at 2 percent.

House Passes Bill Postponing Cut in Medicare Payments to Doctors 25 Jun 2008 The House voted yesterday to postpone a planned cut in payments to physicians who treat Medicare patients by approving a reduction in payouts to private insurers. The House approved legislation, on a 355 to 59 vote, that forestalls a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals for 18 months. Democrats warned that such a decrease would lead to many physicians opting out of treating Medicare patients.

Legislature Overrides Rell's Veto of Minimum-Wage Increase 24 Jun 2008 (CT) With one vote to spare in each chamber, the state legislature voted Monday to override Gov. M. Jodi Rell's (R) veto and guarantee a 35-cent increase next year in the state's hourly minimum wage. The unusual override marked a significant political defeat for Rell.

Mexico bans Arkansas poultry on bird flu exposure 25 Jun 2008 Mexico will ban all imports of poultry and poultry products from Arkansas after a small flock in that U.S. state had been exposed to a mild form of bird flu, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty in Child Rape Cases 25 Jun 2008 A divided Supreme Court ruled today that it is unconstitutional to execute someone who rapes a child but does not kill the victim. In a 5 to 4 decision, the court struck down a Louisiana law that had authorized the death penalty for anyone who rapes a child under the age of 12.


US to carry on military trials at Guantanamo despite ruling 24 Jun 2008 Hearings for terrorism suspects before US military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay are going ahead despite a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the prisoners have a right to challenge their detention in a civilian court. Legal experts had described the high court's decision as the death knell of the special tribunals created by President [sic] George W Bush and his Republican allies in Congress to try "war on terror" suspects. But Justice Department chief Michael Mukasey said the controversial tribunals at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would continue their work and last week, two preliminary hearings were held as scheduled.

Appeals Court Invalidates Detainee's 'Enemy' Status --Challenge Is First of Its Kind to Succeed 24 Jun 2008 A federal appeals court in Washington has invalidated the Bush regime's finding that a detainee held for more than six years in the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba is an "enemy combatant," and has ordered the government to release him [Huzaifa Parhat], transfer him or offer him a new hearing.

Britain's Armed Forces 'stretched beyond their capabilities' by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan 24 Jun 2008 Britain's Armed Forces cannot go on running two major military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the head of the Armed Forces has admitted. The two wars have left the Forces "stretched beyond the capabilities we have," Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said. It is the first time the most senior officer in the British military has expressed such grave doubts about the struggle faced by troops fighting wars on two fronts.

Baghdad blast kills 4 Americans 24 Jun 2008 U.S. officials say four Americans have been killed in an explosion at a local council building in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district. Iraqi police officials say at least six Iraqi civilians also were killed and 10 others wounded in Tuesday's blast, which apparently was targeting Americans visiting the building. The U.S. military and the embassy say two American soldiers and two American government employees were among the dead.

Iraqi forces to launch new crackdown on al-Qaida 23 Jun 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on Monday that Iraqi forces will soon launch a massive offensive against 'al-Qaida' militants in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. Maliki's remark came during his visit to Amara, capital of Maysan province, where Iraqi security forces backed by U.S. troops are conducting a massive operation dubbed "Operation Basha'er al-Salam" (Promise of Peace) [LOL!] against Shiite militiamen.

Iraq hopes to sign short-term oil deals next month 24 Jun 2008 Iraq's oil ministry has finished negotiations with oil majors on six short-term oil service contracts and hopes to sign the deals during the next month, the Oil Ministry said on Tuesday. Officials had previously said the deals, which are aimed at lifting output at Iraq's largest producing fields by a combined 500,000 barrels a day, would be announced on June 30.

Iraq to create new oil company 24 Jun 2008 Iraq will create a fourth state-owned oil company to develop massive reserves in the province of Maysan, the oil minister said Tuesday. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said the Maysan Oil and Gas Commission would be split off from the Basra-based Southern Oil Company and reorganized as an independent company.

Total set to sign Iraq oil field deal-CEO 22 Jun 2008 Total Chief Executive Christophe De Margerie said on Sunday the company is ready to sign an oil field deal with Iraq, one of six major new contracts marking the return of Western firms. "We are ready to sign," De Margerie told Reuters on the sidelines of an emergency oil summit in the Saudi Red Sea city.

Big Oil and the war in Iraq By Derrick Z. Jackson 24 Jun 2008 It took five years, the deaths of 4,100 US soldiers, and the wounding of 30,000 more to make Iraq safe for Exxon... The New York Times reported last week that several Western oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, BP, and Chevron, are about to sign no-bid contracts with the Iraqi government... Halliburton, the oil services company which Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney once led, last year reported a 49 percent rise in profits, to $3.5 billion. KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter, and laundry services to soldiers, last year reported record profits and is about to share in a new 10-year, $150 billion contract... Who will stop the bonanza or at least ensure that it is not an utter windfall for CEOs as US soldiers risk their lives keeping the peace and as Iraqis continue to struggle out of the rubble of the invasion?

Afghanistan Says 'Foreign Intelligence' Responsible for Karzai Attack 24 Jun 2008 The Afghan government says a "foreign intelligence agency" was responsible for an April assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai. Afghan presidential spokesman Humayum Hamidzada said Tuesday the investigation into the attack is continuing. [Gee, I wonder who it could be?] Meanwhile, Afghan officials say a U.S.-led coalition airstrike has killed 15 militants who attacked a government building in eastern Afghanistan.

Judge Urged to Order Associates of President to Honor Subpoena --House Panel Seeks Information About Prosecutors' Firings 24 Jun 2008 Lawyers for Congress tried yesterday to persuade a federal judge to take the unprecedented step of ordering top White House aides to comply with a House committee's subpoena for information about the controversial firings of U.S. attorneys. Attorneys for the House Judiciary Committee brought their long-running battle over the Bush administration's assertion of executive privilege to the three-hour court hearing, telling U.S. District Judge John D. Bates that he should force former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to testify and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten to turn over documents.

Report Sees Illegal Hiring Practices at Justice Department 25 Jun 2008 Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used "political or ideological" factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday. The blistering report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general, is the first in what will be a series of investigations growing out of last year’s scandal over the firings of nine United States attorneys.

Auditors Say Justice Dept. Improperly Screened for Political Ties 24 Jun 2008 Justice Department officials improperly used political and ideological factors to screen applicants for the agency's prestigious honors and summer intern programs, sometimes rejecting otherwise qualified candidates because of their ties to Democrats, internal auditors said in a report issued this morning. The long awaited review faulted Bush administration officials for violating Justice Department policy and civil service rules beginning in 2002, when they tried to fill career posts with rookie lawyers whose political affiliations mirrored their own.

Canada terror suspect faces first legal setback 24 Jun 2008 A Canadian man accused of helping plan bomb attacks in Britain suffered his first setback in court on Tuesday, when the judge allowed the prosecution's star witness to take the stand, despite conceding that some of his testimony may be hearsay. Judge Douglas Rutherford said that, on day two of this high-profile trial of computer expert Momin Khawaja, it was too early for him to throw out the testimony of Mohammed Junaid Babar -- a convicted 'Al Qaeda' supporter turned informer -- in case some of it turned out to be useful evidence.

Chiding aide, McCain forgets own remark 24 Jun 2008 John McCain wasted no time disavowing comments by an aide who suggested a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would boost his presidential campaign. McCain may have wanted to take a moment to consult the history books before he spoke. In ways both overt and subtle, the Republican presidential contender has been making much the same point as senior adviser Charlie Black, who backed off Monday after he was quoted as saying an attack "certainly would be a big advantage to him."

Benazir's murder helped McCain win, says aide 25 Jun 2008 Benazir Bhutto’s assassination last year helped John McCain win the Republican primary, one of his top advisers said on Monday. Charles R Black Jr also told Fortune magazine in an interview that a fresh terrorist attack on America "certainly would be a big advantage to him"... Black said Benazir’s assassination, while "unfortunate", helped McCain win the Republican primary.

Terror Strike Would Help McCain, Top Adviser Says 24 Jun 2008 A top adviser to Sen. John McCain said that a terrorist attack in the United States would be a political benefit to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Charlie Black, one of McCain's most senior political advisers, said in an interview with Fortune magazine that a fresh terrorist attack "certainly would be a big advantage to him." [No worries. I'm sure Bush bin Laden's got a second big terror attack in the bullpen, since 9/11 worked out so well for him.]

Aide's claim that terror attack would boost Republicans backfires 24 Jun 2008 John McCain's right-hand man hit a raw nerve yesterday when he said another terrorist attack on US soil would prove a "big advantage" to the Republican nominee's general election chances. The comments by Charlie Black, who is arguably Mr McCain's most experienced adviser, put into words what many Republicans and Democrats have privately been stating for months.

McCain Campaign Hopes For Terror Attack to Swing Vote --More dead Americans on U.S. soil would be "big advantage" says top strategist By Paul Joseph Watson 23 Jun 2008 Top McCain strategist Charlie Black tells Fortune Magazine that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would aid the Arizona Senator to overturn Barack Obama’s lead and be a "big advantage" in helping him become President. In an article entitled 'The evolution of John McCain,' Black notes that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December "helped" the McCain campaign because it gave the Senator an opportunity to grandstand as a tough would-be Commander-in-Chief. Black then brazenly points out that another 9/11-style attack would give the McCain campaign the boost it needs to claw back Barack Obama’s estimated 7 per cent lead over the Senator.

Californians Object to McCain's Drilling Plan 24 Jun 2008 Apparently, many of the people John McCain met in California this week did not want to hear about his newfound support for off-shore drilling. One of his donors expressed concern about it at a fund-raiser. Anti-drilling protesters stood outside his campaign event here Tuesday morning, raising the specter of the devastating 1969 oil spill here that helped launch the modern environmental movement. More surprising was the fact that inside the event, Mr. McCain shared the stage with a co-panelist who seemed to share the concerns of the protesters.

Dumbf*ck City: The McCain Challenge: You can win $300 million 23 Jun 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday that the search for alternatives to the country's dependence on foreign oil is so urgent that he's willing to throw money at it. The Arizona senator proposed a $300 million prize for whoever can develop a better automobile battery, and $5,000 tax credits for consumers who buy new zero-emission vehicles.

McCain praises NAFTA on Canadian trip 20 Jun 2008 Republican John McInsane defended the North American Free Trade Agreement in Canada on Friday during an unusual foreign trip as a U.S. presidential candidate to draw a contrast with Barack Obama, his Democratic rival in the November election.

Bill Clinton announces support for Barack Obama 24 Jun 2008 Former President Bill Clinton announced his support for the Illinois senator's candidacy for president this morning. "President Clinton is obviously committed to doing whatever he can and is asked to do, to ensure Senator Obama is the next president of the United States," according to a statement from his office.

Muslim Voters Detect a Snub From Obama 24 Jun 2008 As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help... He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s Washington office to explain. "I will never forget the quote," Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. "He said, 'We have a very tightly wrapped message.' "

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say --Limiting speculation would push prices to fundamental level, lawmakers told 23 Jun 2008 The price of retail gasoline could fall by half, to around $2 a gallon, within 30 days of passage of a law to limit speculation in energy-futures markets, four energy analysts told Congress on Monday. Testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management said that the price of oil would quickly drop closer to its marginal cost of around $65 to $75 a barrel, about half the current $135.

NASA warming scientist: 'This is the last chance' 23 Jun 2008 Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world's only hope is drastic action. James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

Bear Threatens Big Oil? (The Hartford Courant) 23 Jun 2008 In another sop to oil and gas industries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued legal protections to seven companies preparing to conduct exploratory drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, home to half of the United States' population of polar bears. ....[T]he companies will be protected if "small numbers" of the bears are harmed during drilling over the next five years. Oil companies are thriving. Polar bears are threatened. And yet the Bush administration sees fit to protect the industry from the polar bear.

Baby crocodiles call out when ready to hatch 24 Jun 2008 Baby crocodiles call from their eggs to tell others in the nest when it is time to hatch, scientists have discovered. The calls, described by one researcher as an "umph, umph" sound, are thought to be critical to the survival of the animals. By calling and hatching together, baby Nile crocodiles increase the chances that a parent will remain at the nest and be able to protect them from predators in their first hours of life, scientists believe.


Blackwater, skirting federal law, using cache of AK-47s 22 Jun 2008 The private military company Blackwater has found an unusual way to skirt federal laws that prohibit private parties from buying automatic weapons. Blackwater bought 17 Romanian AK-47s and 17 Bushmasters, gave ownership of the guns to the Camden County sheriff and keeps most of the guns at Blackwater's armory in Moyock. Tiny Camden County -- population 9,271 -- is one of the most peaceful in North Carolina. The sheriff has just 19 deputies.

Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts 24 Jun 2008 John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential 'election' but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in. The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said.

Civilian interpreter for U.S. Army in Iraq is sentenced to five months in stabbing 23 Jun 2008 An Iraqi Canadian working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army was sentenced at a court-martial to five months' confinement in the stabbing of a colleague, the military said today. It was the first time that a civilian contractor was tried by a military court since a change was made in U.S. law in 2006 to make such cases possible.

Gunman in Iraq kills 2 American soldiers, wounds 4 23 Jun 2008 A disgruntled [] local official opened fire Monday on U.S. soldiers attending a municipal council meeting southeast of Baghdad, killing two of them and wounding four other Americans, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

US court rejects Canadian's Guantanamo appeal 22 Jun 2008 A US federal appeals court has refused to review the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who faces trial by a special military tribunal in October at the "war on terror" camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, the court's decision on Friday applied only to a request for a review of a pre-trial procedure, and would not necessarily prevent the judges from taking up the matter upon the delivery of a verdict.

Khadr's defence denied access to interrogation summaries 21 Jun 2008 The new judge in Omar Khadr's war-crimes prosecution has denied his defence lawyers access to so-called "baseball-card" interrogation summaries they believe laid out the story he was expected to tell. Army Col. Patrick Parrish ruled in favour of the prosecution's bid to keep the officially named "analyst support packages" (ASPs) secret.

Lawmaker Charges State Department Covered Up for U.S. Contractor --CEO Arrested and Charged With Selling Chinese Ammo to the Pentagon for Use in Afghanistan 23 Jun 2008 A U.S. ambassador may have helped cover up for an American defense contractor now accused of selling ammo from China to the Pentagon, according to a senior House lawmaker. And the State Department may have continued the cover-up by hiding information from Congress, charged House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday. Federal officials last week arrested top executives at defense contractor AEY Inc., including its 22-year-old CEO, Efraim Diveroli, and charged them with acquiring old [defective] Chinese ammo from the Albanian government and supplying it to forces in Afghanistan under a Pentagon contract, a violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

6,000 troops urgently needed in Afghanistan: NATO 22 Jun 2008 Up to 6,000 additional troops are urgently needed in Afghanistan and a failure to deploy them will only prolong the presence of Western forces in the country, a German NATO general [Egon Ramms] said on Sunday.

Rocket attacks hit ISAF bases in Afghanistan 22 Jun 2008 Four Afghan civilians were killed by rocket attacks on NATO-led bases in southern Afghanistan Sunday, including on barrage launched from across the border in Pakistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said... ISAF troops responded with an artillery attack aimed at the launch site, ISAF said.

Human Cost of War: Anthony Phillip --US soldier becomes hibakusha 23 Jun 2008 Anthony Phillip began to find there were more and more soldiers coming back with the same problems who managed to get tested and found to be positive for uranium 236. According to Anthony, "I asked the military, a colonel, at Walter Reed, I said, How could you get uranium 236 in your body. He said the only way you could get that is if you worked in a chemical plant, that's the only way you could get that. There's no other way you could get it. And I said, Well, I was not in a chemical plant in Iraq. But the military doesn't test you for uranium 236, it tests you for uranium 238. They don't test you for uranium 236 at all."

Testing could delay missile defense plans 23 Jun 2008 U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Europe could be delayed well beyond the 2013 target because Defense Department experts say the interceptors have not been adequately tested. Administration officials had initially disregarded the findings and reassured lawmakers the system to shoot incoming missiles out of the sky would work. But with Congress now poised to require additional tests, the department has reversed itself and is planning three trial interceptor launches -- a process that could take years.

Bush fails to appoint a nuclear terror czar --President leaves unfilled a congressional mandate backed by the 9/11 panel 22 Jun 2008 Ten months after Congress passed a law establishing a White House coordinator for preventing nuclear terrorism, President [sic] Bush has no plans to create the high-level post any time soon, according to the National Security Council. Some congressional leaders said Bush's failure to fill the job nearly a year later marks an outright evasion of the law, and called on the president to fill the position swiftly, even though his administration has only seven months left in office.

Northrop Grumman Partners With DHS Technologies on $240 Million Contract for High Mobility Command Posts 17 Jun 2008 Military contracting companies Northrop Grumman Corporation and Rockland County, NY based DHS Technologies have recently been awarded a $240 million contract to provide medium and large, high-mobility tactical operations centers that can be rapidly deployed for command, control and communications on the battlefield.

DoD approves new social networking Web site 20 Jun 2008 A new social networking Web site has been approved by Pentagon officials to help service members and their families and friends stay in touch. Families can get their own sites for free, and keep them as long as the sponsor is on active duty. The nonprofit network, Websites for Heroes, is funded by donations from individuals and corporations.

McCain Adviser Sees Terror Attack as 'Big Advantage' 23 Jun 2008 McCain adviser Charlie Black told Fortune Magazine that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be "a big advantage" for the presumptive Republican nominee. "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him," Black told Fortune Magazine. The Obama campaign chided Black, calling his remarks "a complete disgracce."

McCain Adviser Apologizes for Remark That Terror Attack Would be 'Big Advantage' 23 Jun 2008 A top campaign official for John McCain was forced to issue an apology Monday after, according to a published article, the adviser said a terror attack would be a "big advantage" for McCain’s presidential prospects.

Hats banned from Yorkshire pubs over CCTV fears 23 Jun 2008 Pubs in Yorkshire have been ordered to ban people from wearing flat caps or other hats so troublemakers can be more easily recognised. The Park Hotel in Wadsley, Sheffield, is the latest to be asked to impose the rule by senior police officers. Mark Kelly, the landlord said: "Police asked us to ensure that everyone removes headgear."

Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientist --'Revolutionary' policies needed to tackle crisis 23 Jun 2008 James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

U.S. crude rises over $1 on Iran-Israel tension 23 Jun 2008 U.S. crude rose more than $1 on Monday as growing tension between Iran and Israel countered the impact of Saudi Arabia's pledge to pump more oil, and a vow by Nigerian militants to halt attacks.

Colombian oil pipeline closed by attacks: source 22 Jun 2008 Colombia's Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline has been closed by rebel bomb attacks carried out on Saturday and Sunday, a source at state petroleum company Ecopetrol told Reuters. "The pipeline has been paralyzed by the two attacks," said the source, who asked not to be named.

Speeders to pay for cops' gas, too --A small city in Georgia gets the attention of big local governments with its $12 'fuel fee' tacked on to motorists' tickets. 23 Jun 2008 Speeders in the Atlanta suburb of Holly Springs, Ga., will soon face a $12 "fuel fee" when pulled over and ticketed, and Atlanta itself may not be far behind. Police in the city of 7,700 were burning through their $38,050 budget for gas at a rate that would empty its coffers by late November. The city has received inquiries on the fee from several other local governments, including Key West, Fla., and Los Angeles County.

Court rejects case on fast track for border fence 23 Jun 2008 The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea by environmental groups to rein in the Bush regime's power to waive laws and regulations to speed construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has used authority given to him by Congress in 2005 to ignore environmental and other laws and regulations to move forward with hundreds of miles of fencing in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left 20 Jun 2008 Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) today announced his support for a sweeping intelligence surveillance law that has been heavily denounced by the liberal activists who have fueled the financial engines of his presidential campaign. Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush regime's warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists.

Obama backs House Democrats' cave-in on Bush spying bill By Patrick Martin 23 Jun 2008 Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, announced Friday that he would support the bill passed by the House of Representatives rubber-stamping the Bush administration’s illegal program of widespread electronic surveillance and wiretapping.

Federal Wildlife Report Censored --Highly Redacted Inspector General Report Posted on Official Website Washington, DC 23 Jun 2008 A large portion of an Inspector General evaluation of federal wildlife programs has been blacked out prior to publication, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Even data tables have been excised from a report on Endangered Species Act implementation, with cutouts so extensive that the core section of the report is virtually unreadable. The June 2008 "Progress Evaluation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program" by the Interior Office of Inspector General (IG) and posted on the agency website offers only a single, cryptic legal reference as the reason for the wholesale text deletions.

Oil companies given right to 'harass' polar bears 23 Jun 2008 IT'S just over a month since the US government designated the polar bear as an endangered species. Now the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stands accused of giving oil companies a "blank cheque to harass polar bears". The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group based in Tucson, Arizona, says that the decision will allow "essentially unlimited harassment of polar bears".

Sen. McCain offers $300 million prize for new auto battery 23 Jun 2008 The presumed Republican nominee, John McInsane, is proposing a $300 million government prize to whoever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology.

Midwest floodwaters could linger for weeks 23 Jun 2008 The worst of the flooding that has ravaged the midwestern United States is nearly over, but it will be weeks before the murky water recedes in many areas, the National Weather service warned Monday.

Barack Obama inspires Milan men's runway styles 22 Jun 2008 The latest "first" for Barack Obama comes off the Milan runway. Calling the U.S. presidential hopeful "the man of the moment," Donatella Versace dedicated her Spring-Summer 2009 collection presented Saturday evening to Obama, creating a style she said was designed for "a relaxed man who doesn't need to flex muscles to show he has power."


Former inspector: KBR 'criminally negligent' exposing personnel to chemical poisoning --KBR blamed for contaminants in Iraq 21 Jun 2008 An Arkansas man who worked as a contractor in Iraq says he lost his job after warning workers they were being exposed to a cancer-causing chemical there. Ed Blacke, a former safety inspector for Houston-based contracting giant KBR, says his exposure to sodium dichromate in 2003 gave him chronic thyroid problems and early signs of cancer. He said supervisors initially ignored his warnings about contamination at the Qarmat Ali water injection plant near Basra, Iraq. "In my mind, it was criminally negligent of (the company) to make a decision to continue to expose personnel to sodium dichromate poisoning," the Bella Vista, Ark., man told a congressional panel Friday.

Ex-Pentagon Lawyer Says He Researched 'Real Manchurian Candidate Stuff' 17 Jun 2008 A former Pentagon lawyer scheduled to testify today before the Senate Armed Forces Committee told the New York Times he researched psychological studies about the effects of interrogation after his superiors expressed frustration about Guantanamo detainees withholding information. The lawyer, Richard Schiffrin, said the information he obtained included studies of North Koreans’ [and CIA] attempted mind-control experiments on American prisoners during the Korean War. "It was real Manchurian Candidate stuff," he told the Times. The revelation comes amid disclosures that Pentagon lawyers played a more active and earlier role than previously disclosed in developing aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo, the story says.

US military deny that new prison is planned as 'Guantanamo Two' 22 Jun 2008 A US military spokeswoman has dismissed suggestions that a new prison planned for Afghanistan is intended to receive prisoners from Guantanamo Bay... Lieutenant-Colonel Rumi Nielsen-Green also rejected reports by Afghan and US human rights groups that children as young as nine were being held at the existing detention facility. Last month, the Pentagon announced plans for a 40-acre, $60 million detention centre to replace the ageing facility at Bagram airfield. On June 2, the Afghan Human Rights Organisation, AHRO, alleged that 10 children aged between nine and 13 were being held at Bagram. Last month, a report by the US government to the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child also claimed juveniles were being held. But the US military has repeatedly denied that this is the case.

Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran If He 'Thinks Senator Obama's Going to Win' Posted by Matt 22 Jun 2008 On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President [sic] Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected. However, "if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out," Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran... Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might "launch a military strike" before or after the election: WALLACE: So, you're suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama's going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike? KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it...

IAF 'significantly increased' number of overseas drills in past two years 22 Jun 2008 Amid reports that the Israel Air Force recently conducted a massive drill as a "dress rehearsal" for an attack against Iran, The Jerusalem Post has learned that the IAF significantly increased the number of overseas drills it has participated in over the past two years. The long-range flight exercises, many of which have included mid-air refueling, have taken place in the United States, Canada, Europe and Sardinia, as well as throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

Iran: Stop nukes by bombing oil wells, neocons suggest 19 Jun 2008 Why attack Iran's nuclear facilities when striking their oil infrastructure would be much more effective in the scope of a US-led preventive war? Sure, oil prices might skyrocket and the world economy might collapse. But, hey, that's the price you pay for security. Such a scenario is not a nightmare or an outtake from a remake of Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," but part of a serious recommendation made by two neoconservatives in case sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its enrichment of uranium. In a July report titled "The Last Resort: Consequences of Preventive Military Action Against Iran," scholars Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt advocate military strategies that would ultimately discourage Tehran from pursuing any future non-civilian nuclear activities.

Iraq to award oil contracts to foreign firms 22 Jun 2008 Iraq will award contracts to 41 foreign oil firms in a bid to boost production that could give multinationals a potentially lucrative foothold in huge but underdeveloped oil fields, an official said on Sunday. "We chose 35 companies of international standard, according to their finances, environment and experience, and we granted them permission to extract oil," oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told AFP.

AP: Billions more needed to secure US embassies 22 Jun 2008 Despite an intensive $4-billion drive to protect U.S. embassies against violence, at least 150 American missions abroad still fall short of security standards put in place after deadly bombings, The Associated Press has learned. And it will cost twice that amount to replace or renovate just the most vulnerable of them, according to documents reviewed by the AP.

At Least 15 Killed by Female Bomber in Iraq 23 Jun 2008 A female suicide bomber killed at least 15 people, including several police officers, and wounded dozens Sunday in an attack in front of a government building in Diyala province, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

Ethics of military drug testing questioned --Degree of 'voluntary' participation raises concerns 22 Jun 2008 Colombian and Indonesian troops have been drafted to test new anti-malaria drugs. South African researchers used Tanzanian soldiers to study the effectiveness of an unorthodox treatment for HIV/AIDS. And a trial conducted on some 2,000 Nepalese soldiers for a new hepatitis-E vaccine by a major U.S. drug company sparked public protests and complaints that the Nepalese troops were being used as human guinea pigs. An investigation by The Washington Times and ABC News, which on Tuesday reported a troubled U.S. government program using military veterans to test potentially dangerous drugs, has focused new attention on what medical ethicists say is an especially difficult problem.

Congress: Stop Drug Testing on Vets Now and Investigate --Veterans Groups Also Calling for an Immediate Stop to Government Tests on Vets Using Suicide-Linked Drug 18 Jun 2008 At least three more members of Congress are calling for an immediate suspension of government tests on veterans involving an anti-smoking drug that has been linked to suicide. "Nearly 40 suicides and more than 400 incidents of suicidal behavior have been linked to Chantix, yet the VA has chosen to continue the study and administer Chantix to veterans with PTSD," said Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA).

'Disposable Heroes': Veterans Used to Test Suicide-Linked Drugs --An ABC News and Washington Times Investigation Reveals Vets Are Being Recruited for Government Tests on Drugs with Violent Side Effects 17 Jun 2008 Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and The Washington Times has found. In one of the human experiments, involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix, Veterans Administration doctors waited more than three months before warning veterans about the possible serious side effects, including suicide and neuropsychiatric behavior.

"Disposable Heroes" --An investigative report by The Washington Times and ABC News 16 Jun 2008

'So what did hit the Pentagon? What hit it? Where is it? What's going on?' Lawmaker takes 9/11 doubts global 17 Jun 2008 In January 2008 Diet member Yukihisa Fujita, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan, asked the Japanese Parliament and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to explain gaping holes in the official 9/11 story that various groups claim to have exposed... Fujita urges the Bush administration to put the issue to rest simply by showing videos that show the plane that hit the Pentagon. Instead, only a few grainy images have been released to the public. More disconcertingly, many videos taken by surrounding businesses were confiscated by the FBI immediately after the Pentagon explosion. The Pennsylvania crash, like the Pentagon explosion, also yielded virtually no recognizable plane parts at the crash site... The official story -- that the plane "vaporized" when it hit the ground -- is inconsistent with the evidence left by every other plane crash in the history of aviation. [See: USA Military Officers Challenge Official Account of September 11 22 May 2008 Twenty-five former U.S. military officers have severely criticized the official account of 9/11 and called for a new investigation.]

Inside a 9/11 Mastermind's Interrogation 22 Jun 2008 In a makeshift prison in the north of Poland, Al Qaeda’s [alleged] engineer of mass murder faced off against his Central Intelligence Agency interrogator. In the Hollywood cliché of Fox’s "24," a torturer shouts questions at a bound terrorist while inflicting excruciating pain. The C.I.A. program worked differently. A paramilitary team put on the pressure, using cold temperatures, sleeplessness, pain and fear to force a prisoner to talk. When the prisoner signaled assent, the tormenters stepped aside... Did Khalid Shaikh Mohammed talk so expansively because he feared more of the brutal treatment he had already endured? A definitive answer is unlikely under the Bush administration, which has insisted in court that not a single page of 7,000 documents on the program can be made public.

Police boost in war on terror 22 Jun 2008 Police forces across Scotland are to get an extra £3.8m to improve anti-terrorism training and raise public awareness. More than 50 new counter-terrorism posts to improve ports and airport security will be created as part of a joint initiative by the Scottish and UK governments.

Pledge for 50 extra officers to combat terrorism 22 Jun 2008 The Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill today announced an extra £3.8 million over the next two years and the creation of 50 extra officers to combat [foment] terrorism in Scotland, one week before the first anniversary of the Glasgow Airport attack. MacAskill said the new recruits would be deployed at ports and airports and in communities gathering intelligence on potential plots.

Homeland Security report compares costs of animal disease outbreak 21 Jun 2008 The government acknowledged that an outbreak of one of the most contagious animal diseases from any of five locations being considered for a new high-security laboratory would be more devastating to the U.S. economy than an outbreak from the isolated island lab where such research is now conducted. The new National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility would replace the existing 24-acre research complex on Plum Island, which is about 100 miles northeast of New York City in the Long Island Sound. Besides foot-and-mouth disease, researchers also would 'study' African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever and the Hendra and Nipah viruses.

Anti-Vaccine Activists vs. Gardasil 19 Jun 2008 Gardakill has been a shot in the arm for pharmaceutical giant Merck. Now, however, Merck's new vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV) has been deployed worldwide, earning an estimated $1.5 billion in sales. But the drug is coming under increasing fire from anti-vaccine activists. Already vocal about childhood inoculations, now they are expressing concern about the effects of Merck's drug on young girls, a primary focus of the company's big ad campaign.

'We have polling showing one-fifth of conservatives supporting Obama.' Obama's strange appeal to high priests of US conservatism 22 Jun 2008 They're called the Obamacons -- the conservative thinkers who are disgusted with the Republicans and are rallying to Democrat Barack Obama as the nation's economic and diplomatic savior. Thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama, Andrew Sullivan and Andrew Bacevich -- all vehemently opposed to the war in Iraq -- dislike Republican candidate John McCain and see something alluring in his Democratic rival.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Brokaw to lead 'Meet the Press' 22 Jun 2008 Tom Brokaw will replace Tim Russert as moderator of NBC’s "Meet the Press" through the November presidential 'election,' the network announced today. Brokaw, 68, filled in for the first post-Russert week.

Opposition mounts to clean air change affecting parks 21 Jun 2008 Critics fear the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will adopt a rule in the waning days of the Bush regime that will make it easier to build coal-fired power plants near national parks. The proposed change, pending since last June, comes as the utility industry moves into its biggest building boom in coal-fueled power plants in decades.

Gas prices climb to record $4.10 22 Jun 2008 Gasoline is costing U.S. drivers a record $4.10 per gallon on average, but pump prices may be at a peak and could start to come down [as fall 'elections' approach], an industry analyst said on Sunday.

As Medicare reimbursement cuts loom, seniors and lawmakers worry 22 Jun 2008 At 75 years old, Billie Cox has fallen and broken her ankle, had an elbow replacement and suffers the same aches and pains of many her age. But Cox, a retired real estate agent who lives in Lacey, has a new medical problem -- her regular doctor says he will no longer see her or other Medicare patients if a 10.6 percent cut in physician reimbursement rates takes affect July 1 as scheduled. And with less than two weeks to go, it remains uncertain whether Congress will act in time to reverse the rate reduction. "It would be devastating, especially in a state like ours," said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.

FEMA gave away supplies donated for Katrina victims --Federal agency in Louisiana was offered the goods worth $85 million, but rejected them 21 Jun 2008 In March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave away $85 million of donated items and household supplies originally intended for Katrina victims. The Louisiana agency that deals with government surplus was offered the goods but turned them down.

Natural England warns Brown of dangers in promoting GM crops 23 Jun 2008 Gordon Brown and the Government are today given a blunt warming about their new enthusiasm for genetically-modified crops and food by the head of the Government's own countryside and wildlife agency. In a letter to The Independent, Sir Martin Doughty, the chairman of Natural England, cautions against "rushing headlong to embrace GM crops as the solution to rising food prices".

French Region Saves Iconic White Storks From Brink --Population Hits 270 Pairs After Dwindling to Nine 22 Jun 2008 Twenty-five years ago, the iconic emblem of Alsace -- a bird revered for centuries as the bringer of fertility and luck to any home where it nested -- had dwindled to fewer than nine pairs in the entire upper Rhine River Valley. Today, one of the most successful repopulation programs of its kind has restored the beloved white stork to the Alsace and Lorraine region, with at least 270 pairs nesting this year on the roofs and treetops of its picturesque villages.

Polar bears and dogs playing By FirstscienceTV 24 Oct 2007 Taken from the show "Jailed Polar Bear," a TV documentary about Polar bear conservation, on (video)


Pentagon blasts KBR's 'illegal' post-Katrina operation --Contract 'illegal,' Navy overcharged millions, work poor 19 Jun 2008 Pentagon investigative report alleges the firm KBR Inc. held an illegal contract, overcharged millions to the Navy and produced shoddy workmanship on its South Mississippi jobs after Katrina. A report released by the Department of Defense's Office of the Inspector General says KBR worked on Navy facilities in Gulfport, Pascagoula, at Stennis Space Center and in Pensacola, among other Gulf Coast sites after hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. The group holds a $500 million disaster-recovery contract with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic based in Norfolk, Va., which was struck in 2004. [Cui bono? KBR had 500 million reasons for Bush to blow the levies.]

'Ball of fire' if Iran attacked: IAEA chief 21 Jun 2008 The UN atomic watchdog chief warned on Saturday that an attack on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme would turn the region into a fireball, as Tehran rejected any Israeli strike as "impossible." Mohamed ElBaradei also warned that he would not be able to continue in his role as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general if the Islamic republic were attacked.

Iran dismisses Israeli threat to nuclear facilities 21 Jun 2008 Tehran today denounced Israel as a "threat to global peace" after Israel held a large military exercise in an apparent dress rehearsal for a potential attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. An Iranian government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, dismissed suggestions of an attack by Israel as "impossible", the official IRNA news agency reported. He said "the threats and the claims of [the] Zionist regime" proved Iran's view that Israel was "dangerous and a threat to the global peace and security".

Israel's dry run 'attack on Iran' with 100 jet fighters 21 Jun 2008 Israel has mounted a major long-range military air exercise – involving more than 100 F15 and F16 fighters – as a rehearsal for a potential strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, American officials have indicated. The fighters, along with refuelling tankers and helicopters able to rescue downed pilots, were mobilised during the first week of June over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in an exercise monitored by foreign intelligence agencies.

Israeli jet exercise is warning to Iran over nuclear facilities, Pentagon says --Oil price rises and markets panic after leaked report 21 Jun 2008 Israel carried out a large-scale military exercise in the Mediterranean earlier this month as a warning to Iran that it has the capacity to mount an air strike on its nuclear facilities, Pentagon sources confirmed yesterday. More than 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s flew more than 900 miles, roughly the distance from Israel to Iran's Natanz nuclear plant.

Iraqi Shiite cleric opposes US 'eternal slavery' pact 20 Jun 2008 An Iraqi Shiite cleric on Friday denounced as "eternal slavery" a proposed security deal between Baghdad and Washington that outlines the long-term military presence of American forces in the country. "The suspect pact would be an eternal slavery for Iraq. It is against the constitution," said Sheikh Asad al-Nasri, a member of the movement led by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "The government has no right to sign the pact which has been rejected by every political party," he told worshippers at prayer in the holy town of Kufa, adding that the no Iraqi would be able to agree to it.

Iraq: 'Special Weapons' Have a Fallout on Babies By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail 12 Jun 2008 Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say. The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after "special weaponry" was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004. After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah. In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions... were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tonnes of DU in Iraq thus far.

US asks to rewrite official evidence against detainees: AP 21 Jun 2008 The Bush regime wants to rewrite the official evidence against Guantanamo Bay prisoners, allowing it to shore up its cases before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time. The government has stood behind the evidence for years. Now that federal judges are about to review the evidence, however, the government says it needs to make changes. At Guantanamo Bay, the traditional rules of evidence do not apply in 'trials' run by the military. In a Washington federal courtroom, they would. "It's a totally fishy maneuver that suggests that the government wants, at the 11th hour, to get its ducks in a row," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney representing several detainees.

Army probe of Reuters death flawed: U.S. inspector 17 Jun 2008 U.S. soldiers who shot dead a Reuters journalist in Iraq three years ago acted appropriately [!], but the Army's probe of the incident was flawed because evidence went missing, a Pentagon investigation said. Waleed Khaled was killed and Reuters cameraman Haider Kadhem was wounded on August 28, 2005 when U.S. troops opened fire on their car in western Baghdad as they covered the aftermath of an 'insurgent' attack on Iraqi police. The inspector general criticized the Army investigator for losing destroying a critical piece of evidence -- video Kadhem shot from inside the car that captured events leading up to and including the shooting.

Guantanamo Detainee Accuses US Military of Torture 20 Jun 2008 An Afghan man on trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba says guards subjected him to 14 days of sleep deprivation. Mohammad Jawad told a military judge during a pre-trial hearing Thursday that he was shifted from one cell to another 112 times during two weeks in May 2004, a process that has been dubbed the "frequent flyer" program... Jawad's lawyer argued that the treatment amounted to torture, and urged the judge to drop the attempted murder charges against his client.

Afghanistan: British troops shooting themselves in the foot over Taliban fight --Outdated tactics and severe equipment shortages are our worst enemies in Afghanistan, not the Taliban, argues Thomas Harding. 21 Jun 2008 It's been a good fortnight for the Taliban. Nine British soldiers dead in 10 days, hundreds of imprisoned fighters set free in a daring jailbreak and the floundering Afghan government struggling to convince the population that the security they long for is close at hand. They will be happy, too, that they have probably made the British commander regret telling me three weeks ago that the insurgency was on the verge of defeat.

UK tops world table of weapons sales --Controversial deal with Saudi Arabia catapults Britain to top of last year's world arms export league 21 Jun 2008 A controversial deal with Saudi Arabia catapulted Britain to the top of the world arms export league last year, as UK firms won a record £10bn in orders from overseas, official figures show. The figure amounts to a third of all worldwide export orders for military equipment, ministers and arms companies reported.

Ousted Air Force chief cites dissension in Pentagon 20 Jun 2008 Two weeks after being ousted, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said Friday he had a "difference in philosophy" with his boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on numerous issues -- not just on the nuclear slip-up that Gates said was his reason for removing Wynne. "When you have a difference of philosophy with your boss, he owns the philosophy and you own the difference," Wynne said.

McClellan: Bush should tell all on CIA leak --Suggests administration is continuing a cover up of the Plame case 20 Jun 2008 A former White House spokesman told Congress on Friday that President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney wanted him to say that Cheney's chief of staff wasn't involved in the leak of a CIA operative's identity, an assertion that turned out to be false. Scott McClellan, Bush's spokesman from 2003-2006, said he had reservations about publicly clearing the name of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff at the time.

7,000 Sites Deemed Chemical Terror Targets --Feds to Assess Security Measures At Universities to Regulate Their Security 20 Jun 2008 The federal government will tell 7,000 businesses next week that they are considered high risk-terrorist targets because they house large amounts of chemicals. The sites - which range from major chemical plants to universities, food processing centers and hospitals - will need to complete a vulnerability assessment so the government can decide how to regulate their security measures in the future. U.S. intelligence officials say terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], favor chemical attack methods because of the severe consequences they [Bush] can inflict.

DHS Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) 20 Jun 2008 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate issued today the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Draft Environmental Impact Statement (NBAF Draft EIS) for public review and comment... The proposed NBAF is a joint effort with the Department of Agriculture that would establish a state-of the-art, high-security laboratory facility to study create both foreign animal and zoonotic diseases... The Draft EIS analyzes the proposal to design, construct and operate the NBAF, including risk assessments, for each of six proposed NBAF locations.

Official warning: Measles 'endemic' in Britain 21 Jun 2008 Measles has become endemic in Britain, 14 years after its spread was halted in the resident population, the country's public health watchdog says. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) warned that the number of unvaccinated children was now large enough to sustain the "continuous spread" of the potentially lethal virus in the community. It blamed a failure by parents over the past 10 years to give their children the [deadly] measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

DemocRATs surrender again: US lawmakers pass under-fire spy bill 20 Jun 2008 In a late-term triumph for US President [sic] George W. Bush, the US House of Representatives on Friday approved spy-powers legislation that has drawn heavy fire on civil liberties grounds. Lawmakers voted 293-129 for a bill that may shield telecommunications firms facing massive lawsuits over their work with Bush's secret, six-year, warrantless wiretapping program, begun after the his September 11, 2001 attacks.

W&M must name students suspected of sharing music --College is expected to comply with subpoena 21 Jun 2008 In the coming weeks, as many as 20 College of William and Mary students will be notified that the Recording Industry Association of America is one step closer to suing them, after a federal judge ruled Friday morning that the college must reveal their identities. U.S. District Judge F. Bradford Stillman overturned a previous ruling and granted the industry group's request that William and Mary provide the names of students suspected of sharing music illegally online.

Martha Stewart refused entry to the UK 18 Jun 2008 Martha Stewart has been refused a visa to Britain because of her criminal convictions for obstructing justice, the Daily Telegraph has learned. The refusal by the UK Border Agency was sent to Ms Stewart.

United Airlines to require minimum stays beginning in Oct. 20 Jun 2008 United Airlines said Friday it will start requiring minimum stays for nearly all domestic flights beginning in October. The second-largest U.S. carrier said the moves are among a number of changes it is making to combat record high fuel prices. Starting Oct. 6, most United fares will require a one- to three-night or weekend-night minimum stay, spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.

Obama could win vote, lose election 20 Jun 2008 Plugged-in observers from both parties see a distinct possibility of Barack Obama winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College -- and with it the presidency -- to John McCain. [The GOP-owned media is laying the groundwork for Coup 2008. David Shuster declared on Friday's 'Hardball:' 'Barack Obama could win the popular vote and still lose the election.' Earth to MSNBC and every other corpora-terrorist foot soldier: We *will not accept* a third GOP coup d'etat.]

Obama Opens Up 15-Point Lead Over McCain --Newsweek poll shows Obama gaining ground among Hillary Clinton supporters 20 Jun 2008 With numbers consistently showing rock-bottom approval ratings for President [sic] Bush and a large majority of Americans unhappy with the country's direction, the opposing-party candidate should... have attracted more disaffected voters. A new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that Barack Obama has a substantial double-digit lead, 51 percent to 36 percent, over John McCain among registered voters nationwide.

State's voter ID law target of another suit --League challenging law that Supreme Court upheld this spring 21 Jun 2008 A requirement for Indiana voters to show their photo IDs at the polls isn't only a hassle, it's unconstitutional, the League of Women Voters of Indiana is arguing. The league, taking its case to court, filed a lawsuit against the Indiana secretary of state in Marion Superior Court on Friday, less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to allow the 2005 law to stand.

'There seemed to be an intent to kill from the start.' Penn. Police Fire Twenty Shots to Kill Tranquilized Bear Cub --The officers' judgment also was called into question by townspeople, who pointed out that a propane tank and a gas line are in the area where they opened fire. 21 Jun 2008 (Claysburg, Pa.) According to witnesses, it all began when someone chased the bear into a tree next to McCabe Trucking's warehouse on Bedford Street. The cub remained in the tree as police from eight different departments gathered below, along with a crowd that filled the street. Officers shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and it made its way down, but hopped to the other side of a barbed wire fence, away from the crowd, and eventually was cornered next to the warehouse. Witnesses said the bear then lay down. Donald DiVencenzo noted that the crowd was a good 150 feet away at that point, but said officers opened fire anyway. Witnesses said about 20 shots in all were fired, and the YouTube audio captured repeated gunshots. Many of those shots missed -- leaving bullet holes in the facade of the warehouse -- and the bear lumbered on, heading toward a creek and woods behind the warehouse. There it lay down again, and Mr. DiVencenzo said officers hit the bear with a final, deadly barrage of five to eight rounds... Spokesman Jerry Feaser said the Penn. Game Commission obviously would have preferred the incident not to have ended with a death, but also pointed out that Pennsylvania has plenty of bears. [Yeah, well, Pennsylvania has plenty of police, too... See also: Man rescues baby deer; game commission kills it 13 Jun 200 Contact 'plenty of bears' nutjob Jerry Feaser: 717-705-6541,]

Man rescues baby deer; game commission kills it 13 Jun 2008 William Albert thought he was saving a fawn when he scooped it off a road in Maryland and took it home to nurse it after its mother was hit by a car. The New Oxford man bottle-fed the fawn in his 218 Reba Drive garage and called around to see if any wildlife-rehabilitation centers would take the baby deer. Among his calls was one to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to see if they could help him find a center. But when a wildlife officer showed up at his house just 10 minutes later, Albert said, he took the deer... Now, Albert is angry, saying he received a call later that day -- before the fawn was killed -- from a farm in Maryland that said it would take the deer. Jerry Feaser, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said it's the commission's policy to kill any wild animal that has been out of the wild for more than a few hours.

I-69 protesters arrested in woods 21 Jun 2008 Police arrested five protesters Friday after they declined to leave a wooded cluster along the planned route of the I-69 extension in Southern Indiana. The protesters, including two tree-sitters and three people on the ground, were arrested about 20 miles north of Evansville after a month of protest.

Brokers threatened by run on shadow bank system --Regulators eye $10 trillion market that boomed outside traditional banking 20 Jun 2008 A network of lenders, brokers and opaque financing vehicles outside traditional banking that ballooned during the bull market now is under siege as regulators threaten a crackdown on the so-called shadow banking system. The shadow banking system grew rapidly during the past decade, accumulating more than $10 trillion in assets by early 2007. That made it roughly the same size as the traditional banking system, according to the Federal Reserve.

US flooding ruins crops and threatens global food prices --Disastrous flooding in the US cornbelt this week will be felt worldwide in higher food prices, farmers have warned. 21 Jun 2008 The floods, which began at the end of May, have killed 24 people and caused damage estimated at billions of dollars. They have also dashed hopes of a bumper harvest in the Midwest.


IAF apparently held major drill for strike on Iran: 'NY Times' 20 Jun 2008 Israel carried out a major military drill during the first week of June that US sources say was apparently a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear sites, the News York Times reported Friday. More than 100 IAF F-16 and F-15 fighter jets took part in the exercise, which was carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece, the officials said.

U.S. Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran 20 Jun 2008 Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

Ahmadinejad Says U.S. Planned to Kidnap, Murder Him in Iraq 19 Jun 2008 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused U.S. forces in Iraq of planning to kidnap and assassinate him when he visited the country in March, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said. Ahmadinejad, refused to reside in Baghdad's Green Zone, 'protected' by U.S. forces, the news agency cited the president as saying during a seminar today. According to reliable information, they intended to detain and kill him, IRNA cited Ahmadinejad as saying.

ElBaradei threatens to resign over Iran dispute: report 19 Jun 2008 The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog has said he would offer his resignation if the major powers make serious threats against Iran over its nuclear program. "A military invasion against Iran would pose great danger to the Middle East and the world," Mohamed ElBaradei told Dubai-based television station Al Arabiya aired on Tuesday.

Cheney linked to torture tactics --Leadership failed at top levels 19 Jun 2008 A former military officer who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday said Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney probably knew the U.S. military was using torture on Iraqi detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at prisons in Iraq. Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson's testimony before a House panel followed revelations this week that prisoners were subjected to beatings and other aggressive interrogation techniques with the authorization of government attorneys. "At what level did American leadership fail?" Col. Wilkerson said during a hearing before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties. "I believe it failed at the highest levels of the Pentagon, in the Vice President's Office and perhaps even in the Oval Office."

Ex-State Dept. official: Hundreds of detainees died in U.S. custody, at least 25 murdered 18 Jun 2008 At today’s House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights hearing on torture, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these declared homicides: NADLER: Your testimony said 100 detainees have died in detention; do you believe the 25 of those were in effect murdered? WILKERSON: Mr. Chairman, I think the number’s actually higher than that now. Last time I checked it was 108.

Big Oil Tiptoes Back into Iraq --BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil hope modest investments now will translate into a bigger role later 19 Jun 2008 Until recently, oil majors such as BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil have kept a low profile. Contracts valued at about $2.5 billion are expected to be awarded. BP is working on Rumailah, a ramshackle field that runs beneath date palm plantations near Basra. ExxonMobil has focused on Zubair, also in the South. Shell is taking on Kirkuk in the North and another field called Missan in partnership with BHP Billiton. The majors hope that these modest contracts will turn into much larger ones later.

Rice: US government not involved in Iraq no-bid oil contracts 19 Jun 2008 Secretary of State [war criminal, lying sack of sh*t] Condoleezza Rice said Thursday the US government was not involved in Iraq's no-bid oil contracts that could see four major western oil firms start their first commercial work there since the war began five years ago. [See: Western oil giants set to return to Iraq and secure oil wealth 19 Jun 2008 It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq's Oil Ministry. Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.]

House passes $162B for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan 19 Jun 2008 The House has voted to provide $162 billion for President [sic] Bush to carry out U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of his term. The 268 to 155 vote would bring to more than $600 billion the amount provided by Congress for the war in Iraq since it started five years ago. For operations in Afghanistan, it comes to almost $200 billion, according to congressional analysts.

House passes Iraq war funds bill backed by Bush 20 Jun 2008 The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved enough new money to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for another year, while abandoning attempts to set deadlines opposed by President [sic] George W. Bush for withdrawing American combat troops. By a vote of 268-155, the House approved $165.4 billion for the two wars, with most of the money going to Iraq.

Taliban seize U.S. helicopter parts 19 Jun 2008 In a daredevil operation some weeks ago that shook the Pentagon Taliban fighters in the tribal areas of Pakistan seized parts of American Chinooks, Black Hawks and Cobras. The helicopter parts were being shipped in huge containers from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

Deadly suicide blast hits south Afghanistan 20 Jun 2008 A suicide bomb exploded near a NATO military convoy in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 10 civilians and wounding six others, according to a police official. A Taliban spokesman claimed one of his group's fighters carried out the attack in front of the Afghan government's intelligence office.

2 ISAF soldiers die, 10 wounded in E. Afghanistan 19 Jun 2008 Two soldiers of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed and 10 soldiers injured while patrolling in Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, the ISAF said in a statement.

How to train death squads and quash revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq --How to covertly train paramilitaries, censor the press, ban unions, employ terrorists, conduct warrantless searches, suspend habeas corpus, conceal breaches of the Geneva Convention and make the population love it 15 Jun 2008 Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219-page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as "what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places." The leaked manual, which has been verified with military sources, is the official US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense, or FID.

Coca Cultivation Rises 27 Percent In Colombia, U.N. Says --Dramatic growth after U.S. spends $5 billion to spray poison and fund rightwing terrorists 19 Jun 2008 The amount of land devoted to production of coca, the leaf used to make cocaine, has grown at a dramatic pace in Colombia despite a huge American-funded counter-drug program of aerial fumigation and aggressive interdiction, a U.N. agency said Wednesday. In a 132-page report based on satellite imagery and on-the-ground surveys, the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime said that Colombian farmers planted 245,000 acres of coca last year, 27 percent more than in 2006. The findings follow almost eight years of heavy aerial fumigation of drug crops in Colombia, an American-designed strategy that has cost more than $5 billion.

Ariz. Rep. introduces bill to counteract SCOTUS ruling 17 Jun 2008 U.S. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Phoenix) has introduced legislation that would make military courts the arbiters of habeas corpus petitions for Guantanamo detainees, according to a press release from Shadegg's office. The bill comes in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday that prisoners being held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can petition for trial or release in federal court, as opposed to going through military tribunals.

'The lawsuits will be dismissed.' Deal reached in Congress: Expand govt powers on wiretapping, grant immunity to telecoms 20 Jun 2008 Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President [sic] Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks. The deal, expanding the government's powers in some key respects, would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets and conduct emergency wiretaps without court orders on American targets for a week if it is determined important national security information would be lost otherwise... Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who pushed unsuccessfully for more civil liberties safeguards in the plan, called the deal "a capitulation" by his fellow DemocRATs. [That's a given, Russ.]

Cheney gets last laugh 19 Jun 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney has won his battle to withhold records from the public despite efforts by Congress and other critics who say they should be open to scrutiny. The Democrats are conceding defeat. The party’s top investigator in the House of Representatives acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do to force the vice president’s hand. "He has managed to stonewall everyone," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "I’m not sure there’s anything we can do." [Uh, impeach? Try the maggots for treason? Indict for war crimes? All of the above?]

Republican Congressman 'Mistakenly' Calls for Assassination of Obama --'I would much rather have a policy where if we see Obama, there's a shoot-on-sight order.' 18 Jun 2008 Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park, Ill.) from the June 18 broadcast of WLS' 'Don Wade & Roma in the Morning.' DON WADE: In fact, yesterday in a conference call, Barack Obama's advisers were asked, "If Osama bin Laden were caught, should he get to challenge his detention in U.S. courts?" And the advisers said that -- should that right to challenge detention that they get at Gitmo based on the Supreme Court ruling, should that be applied to bin Laden? -- and Obama's advisers said, "Yes." KIRK: Yeah, and I would much rather have a policy where if we see Obama there's a shoot-on-sight order. DON WADE: Well, okay. I'm with you, but I don't know whether that's going to make 67 -- well it might --

VT professor told law firm second building was under lockdown 18 Jun 2008 A Virginia Tech professor contacted a law firm representing some of the families who lost loved ones in the April 16th massacre and said a second building was under lock down after the first set of shootings in West Ambler Johnston Hall. Attorney Douglas Fierberg, one of the attorneys representing more than one dozen families, said the professor would have testified under oath he dropped his wife off for work on Tech’s campus the morning of April 16, 2007 around 8 AM. Fierberg said the professor would have testified his wife told him her building was under lock down. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Government Crackdown on Mortgage Fraud 20 Jun 2008 The Justice Department announced Thursday that 406 people had been indicted since March on charges of mortgage fraud involving the sale of individual properties, including about 60 who were arrested on Wednesday. The sweep, called Operation Malicious Mortgage, focused primarily on three types of crime: lending fraud, foreclosure rescue frauds and mortgage-related bankruptcy schemes, the department said.

Ex-Bear Stearns Fund Managers Indicted for Fraud 19 Jun 2008 Former Bear Stearns Cos. hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin were indicted for mail fraud and conspiracy in the first prosecution stemming from a federal investigation of last year's mortgage-market collapse.

Brown pushes EU to allow more modified animal feeds 20 Jun 2008 Gordon Brown is calling on the European Union to relax its rules on importing genetically modified animal feed in a further sign of the Government's willingness to embrace the controversial technology. Mr Brown believes GM crops are vital to the attempt to cut spiralling food prices. [That's why the agriterrorists sent the food prices soaring: to pressure the government to embrace deadly GMO crops.]

Slowdown in road travel eclipses 1979 drop: Govt 19 Jun 2008 Americans cut down on the number of miles they drove for the sixth straight month in April, resulting in the biggest six-month decline since the oil shock of the 1979-80 Iranian revolution, new government data shows. [Um, why hasn't the price of gas, therefore, plummeted?]

Officials stand against Bush's plan for offshore drilling 18 Jun 2008 From Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the state's Democratic leaders, California reacted with a swift thumbs-down Wednesday to President [sic] Bush's proposal to lift a ban on new oil drilling in coastal waters. Environmentalists said Wednesday that Bush's action was disconcerting because they felt the battle was won after the first President Bush signed a 1990 executive order barring most offshore oil drilling.

Obama sets sights on unlimited election spend --Democratic candidate shuns $80m of public funding to avoid cap on campaign budget 19 Jun 2008 Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today said he would forgo public campaign financing for his general election fight against John McCain, relieving himself of spending limits and opening up the floodgates to millions of dollars in donations.

Epic Polar Bear Journey Ends in Bloody Tragedy --Police sharpshooters kill bear who locals had christened Ofeig in Iceland, Tuesday evening. --The bear had become very weak due to its age, injuries and its long journey across the Atlantic. 18 Jun 2008 A polar bear's epic ice-floe voyage across the Atlantic from Greenland to Iceland has ended in tragedy after Icelandic authorities shot the stray animal. The bear was originally from Greenland but had floated on an ice floe to Iceland, a journey of around 500 kilometers (300 miles). Two weeks ago, another polar bear had made a similar epic voyage to Iceland from Greenland -- and was shot by police on the orders of the authorities... Specialists from Copenhagen Zoo had come to Iceland specially to rescue Ofeig, whose name translates roughly as "he who should not die."

O'Neill uses snowplow on hail --Eight inches of hail falls in Nebraska 19 Jun 2008 Holt County snowplows were out Tuesday night clearing 8 inches of hail that fell during a storm. Near O'Neill, pea- to marble-sized hail piled up on one stretch of roadway. In Atkinson, there were reports of baseball-sized hail that broke out windows at the town's airport.


General Accuses White House of War Crimes 18 Jun 2008 The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability. In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation. The new report, he writes, "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individual's lives on their bodies and minds... In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. . . . After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account." [See: 'I saw ___ fucking a kid...' (Graphic) Source: The "Taguba Report" On Treatment Of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq, statement by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, 1300/18 Jan 2004, as published by The Washington Post.]

Torture 'is basically subject to perception.' CIA Played Larger Role In Advising Pentagon 18 Jun 2008 A senior CIA lawyer advised Pentagon officials about the use of harsh interrogation techniques torture on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in a meeting in late 2002, defending waterboarding and other methods as permissible despite U.S. and international laws banning torture, according to documents released yesterday by congressional investigators. Torture "is basically subject to perception," CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at the U.S.-run detention camp in Cuba on Oct. 2, 2002, according to minutes of the meeting. "If the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong." ...By the time of the meeting, the CIA already had used waterboarding on at least one terrorism suspect and was holding high-level 'al-Qaeda' detainees in secret prisons overseas -- actions that Bush administration lawyers had approved.

Report: Exams reveal US electric shock torture of detainees --Report reveals medical evidence of torture, including beatings and electric shock --Study calls on U.S. government to issue a formal apology to tortured detainees 18 Jun 2008 Former terrorist suspects detained by the United States were tortured, according to medical examinations detailed in a report released Wednesday by a human rights group. The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan. The detainees were never charged with crimes. In a 121-page report, the doctors' group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.

U.S. Torture of Detainees Caused Severe Pain, Long-Term Suffering 17 Jun 2008 A team of doctors and psychologists convened by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to conduct intensive clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees held in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay has found that these men suffered torture and ill-treatment by U.S. personnel, which resulted in severe pain and long-term disability. The men were ultimately released from U.S. custody without charge or explanation.

Western oil giants set to return to Iraq and secure oil wealth 19 Jun 2008 Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP -- the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company -- along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat... There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq's Oil Ministry. Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry. [The Resistance needs to unite and generate an inhospitable environment, so the Western oil company occupation of Iraq ends. If the Exxon Mobil/Blackwater terrorists win, Iran will be next on their agenda.]

House leaders reach deal on war funding bill 18 Jun 2008 Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives struck a deal on Wednesday on legislation to provide $162 billion in new funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ending a long standoff with the White House. DemocRATc and Republican leaders in the House hailed an agreement they said would avoid a veto that President [sic] George W. Bush had threatened over some provisions Democrats had been trying to add beyond the war funds.

Iraq: Five dead including TV reporter 17 Jun 2008 Iraqi officials said an Iraq state TV reporter has been shot dead in the northern city of Mosul. An Iraqi policeman conveyed gunmen emerged from a car Tuesday and opened fire on Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid near his apartment in eastern Mosul.

Blackwater sister company: Crash lawsuit governed by Islamic law --In April, Presidential asked a federal judge in Florida to dismiss the lawsuit because the case is controlled by Afghanistan's Islamic law. 18 Jun 2008 To defend itself against a lawsuit by the widows of three American soldiers who died on one of its planes in Afghanistan, a sister company of the private military firm Blackwater has asked a federal court to decide the case using the Islamic law known as Shari'a. The lawsuit "is governed by the law of Afghanistan," Presidential Airways argued in a Florida federal court. "Afghan law is largely religion-based and evidences a strong concern for ensuring moral responsibility, and deterring violations of obligations within its borders." If the judge agrees, it would essentially end the lawsuit over a botched flight supporting the U.S. military. The company also plans to ask a judge to dismiss the lawsuit on the constitutional grounds that a court should not interfere in military decision-making.

Taliban capture US helicopter parts 18 Jun 2008 In a startling operation that shook the Pentagon, the White House and the US administration some weeks back, the Taliban in the tribal areas captured parts of three US helicopters -- Chinook, Black Hawk and Cobra -- while they were being shipped in huge containers from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Diplomatic sources say the recent US air strike in the tribal areas was actually an attack on the location where the unassembled parts of the two helicopters, owned by the US armed forces, were stored by the Taliban.

US N-weapons parts missing, Pentagon says 19 Jun 2008 The US military cannot locate hundreds of sensitive nuclear missile components, according to several government officials familiar with a Pentagon report on nuclear safeguards. Robert Gates, US defence secretary, recently fired both the US Air Force chief of staff and air force secretary after an investigation blamed the air force for the inadvertent shipment of nuclear missile nose cones to Taiwan. According to previously undisclosed details obtained by the FT, the investigation also concluded that the air force could not account for many sensitive components previously included in its nuclear inventory. One official said the number of missing components was more than 1,000.

Britain is the world's biggest arms exporter 18 Jun 2008 Britain was the world’s biggest arms seller last year, accounting for a third of global arms exports, the Government’s trade promotion organisation said. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that arms exporters had added £9.7 billion in new business last year, giving them a larger share of global arms exports than the United States.

West Virginia Conducts Improbable, Expensive Terror Excercise, Evacuation of D.C. Scenario By blueridgewv 18 Jun 2008 "The sky is falling, the sky is falling:" Homeland Security plays 'Chicken Little' again, at the cost of West Virginia taxpayers. According to the paranoid propaganda (similar to "mushroom clouds" from Saddam Hussein) we are to believe that "it is not if, but when" the nation's capitol WILL BE attacked, and a mass evacuation forced--because they say so! All of this to see if "radios and communication" work properly? Is this apocalyptic scenario (like catastrophic tides due to global warming) really that probable, or is this more of a psychological operation and way to get West Virginia government to comply with the "war on terrorism" program of Homeland Security? Gov. Manchin previously conducted a "Flu Pandemic Summit" also in Charleston, another "not if, but when" scenario, and also supports REAL ID while the people and legislators largely oppose it.

Dirty bomb exercise tests West Virginia's emergency services 18 Jun 2008 The scenario: A dirty bomb falls somewhere in the Washington D.C. area. Thousands of people evacuate to West Virginia. The state Homeland Security Department staged a major exercise yesterday to test whether West Virginia can handle such a scenario. In Berkeley County, the local Homeland Security and Emergency Services Department set up a decontamination station on a strip of land between the county’s hospital and Interstate 81. State Military Affairs and Public Safety Deputy Director Christy Morris was on hand to observe. Morris says there are several benefits to conducting this exercise: "We haven't had a complete statewide emergency in several years so this is a great opportunity to test phone numbers, to test names of people, make sure they're still in their same jobs, and reacquaint themselves with each other in emergencies," Morris says.

'There is no proper basis whatsoever for a police department to come in and wall in a community.' Rolling Meadows, police sued over apartment barricades 18 Jun 2008 The owners of a Rolling Meadows apartment complex filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday charging that their civil rights are being violated by a police decision to block off most access to the property and set up a checkpoint at the only open entrance. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, names as defendants the northwest suburb, its city manager, police chief and unidentified officers. On June 9, police used concrete and construction barriers to block 12 of the 13 spots that allowed vehicle access to the complex, west of Illinois Highway 53 and north of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. Two police officers staff the only open entrance, which police call a "safety zone," for several hours a day.

Government "Strike Teams" Invade Homes, Harass Flood Victims --Cops break down doors, threaten residents who question them as part of martial law conditioning, authorities prevent people from re-entering their homes By Paul Joseph Watson 18 Jun 2008 Shocking footage out of Cedar Rapids Iowa shows cops and government employee "strike teams" breaking into houses of flood victims and threatening anyone who questions their actions in complete violation of the 4th amendment right that protects against unlawful search and seizure.

Immunity likely for phone companies in spy bill 18 Jun 2008 U.S. phone companies would be shielded from potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits under an anti-terror spy measure that appears headed toward approval, congressional sources said on Wednesday. House of Representatives DemocRATic Leader Steny Hoyer, a lead negotiator [*puke*] on the bill, said, "We're very close to having an agreement," and a House vote could come as early as Friday.

Mississippi River levees break, more at risk 18 Jun 2008 The swollen Mississippi River ran over the top of at least nine more levees on Wednesday as floodwaters swallowed up more U.S. farmland, feeding inflation fears as corn prices soared to a record high. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a levee broke at 1 a.m. CDT near Meyer, Illinois, leaving more than 17,000 acres of prime farmland at risk from the floodwaters.

Former drug-addict and Reichwing maggot, Cindy McCain, questions Michelle Obama's patriotism: Cindy McCain Presses Obama 'Patriotism Case' 18 Jun 2008 Laura Bush may be ready to give Michelle Obama the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her patriotism but Cindy McCain may not. "I don't know why she said what she said," Mrs. McCain explains in an interview with ABC News airing on Thursday. "Everyone has their own experience. I don't know why she said what she said, all I know is that I have always been proud of my country." [That's oh-but-another downside of a third GOP coup d'etat: We'd have to endure Cindy McCain's hideous visage for four years. --LRP]

House Democrats call for nationalization of refineries 18 Jun 2008 House Democrats responded to President's [sic] Bush's call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. Among other items, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.

McCain, gas prices and the Enron loophole By Keith Olbermann 18 Jun 2008 A Countdown Special Report on how John McCain's chief economic advisor and others in his campaign helped create and defend pivotal legislation that unleashed speculators to run up gas prices. (Video)

McCain calls for building 45 new nuclear reactors 18 Jun 2008 Sen. John McInsane called Wednesday for the construction of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 and pledged $2 billion a year in federal funds "to make clean coal a reality," measures designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil. [The nuclear waste form the '45 new nuclear reactors' should be stored at the White House or at one of McCain's eight houses.]

Bush Calls for End to Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling 19 Jun 2008 President [sic] Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to end a federal ban on offshore oil drilling and open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration, asserting that those steps and others would lower gasoline prices and "strengthen our national security."

Tell the Bush Administration to grant the polar bear full-fledged protection (NRDC) 18 Jun 2008 Most scientists are now warning that global warming could eliminate the polar bear's summer sea-ice habitat by 2040... Alaska's polar bears could face extinction by 2050. Yet the Bush Administration's new plan to protect polar bears under the Endangered Species Act will do nothing to reduce global warming pollution or stop oil development in the heart of polar bear habitat. Tell the Bush Administration to close the polluter loopholes and give polar bears full-fledged protection as an endangered species.

Iceland's second polar bear shot dead 19 Jun 2008 Iceland authorities shot a polar bear they had hoped to save after it was found hundreds of kilometres from its natural habitat. It was the second bear to be killed in two weeks in Iceland, where sightings of the threatened species are rare. It had apparently travelled several hundred kilometres atop an ice floe.

Morgan Stanley warns of 'catastrophic event' as ECB fights Federal Reserve 17 Jun 2008 The clash between the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve over monetary strategy is causing serious strains in the global financial system and could lead to a replay of Europe's exchange rate crisis in the 1990s, a team of bankers has warned.

RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert 19 Jun 2008 The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks. "A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be prepared," said Bob Janjuah, the bank's credit strategist.

Paulson & Co. Says Writedowns May Reach $1.3 Trillion 18 Jun 2008 John Paulson, founder of the hedge fund company Paulson & Co., said global writedowns and losses from the credit crisis may reach $1.3 trillion, exceeding the International Monetary Fund's $945 billion estimate.

Nearly Half of Wall St. Bank Profits Are Gone [Good!] 16 Jun 2008 Only a year ago, Wall Street reveled in an era of superlatives: record deals, record profit, record pay. But a mere 12 months later, nearly half of the profits that major banks reaped during that age of riches have vanished.

Thanks to Bush's Department of Agribusiness: CDC: 383 tainted tomato cases confirmed --Source of nationwide salmonella outbreak remains 'unclear' [I call bullsh*t.] 18 Jun 2008 Federal health officials have learned of 106 more cases of salmonella linked to tainted tomatoes, putting the outbreak’s toll at 383 on Wednesday and counting... The FDA has said that parts of Mexico and Florida are the most likely sources of the contamination because they were supplying most of the nation’s tomatoes when the outbreak began.


Canadian troops ordered 'to ignore' rapes of boys by Afghan soldiers --Civilian sex assaults by Afghan soldiers ignored 16 Jun 2008 Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been ordered by commanding officers "to ignore" incidents of sexual assault among the civilian population, says a military chaplain who counsels troops returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder. The chaplain, Jean Johns, says she recently counselled a Canadian soldier who said he witnessed a boy being raped by an Afghan soldier, then wrote a report on the allegation for her brigade chaplain. In her March report, which she says should have been advanced "up the chain of command," Johns says the corporal told her that Canadian troops have been ordered by commanding officers "to ignore" incidents of sexual assault.

Haditha charges dropped against top Marine officer 17 Jun 2008 A military judge on Tuesday dismissed the case against the highest-ranking U.S. Marine charged in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha, whittling down the list of those who must still face justice for the 2005 killings to just the accused ringleader. Military Judge Col. Steven Folsom dropped all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, who was accused of violating a lawful order and dereliction of duty, at a hearing at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Southern California. Folsom's decision means that, out of eight Marines originally charged in the events massacre at Haditha, six won dismissals of their charges and one has been cleared at court martial.

Senate probes Pentagon-Guantanamo contacts 18 Jun 2008 It is no secret that American military personnel at Guantanamo Bay and other US-run prisons have stripped prisoners naked, used dogs to scare them, hooded them, and deprived them of sleep. But an 18-month-long US Senate investigation has been trying to get to the bottom of who thought of these techniques, and who authorised them. Documents have been uncovered showing that senior Pentagon officials played a more active role than previously thought in developing some of the methods.

Probe: Pentagon sought harsh interrogations --Senate investigation finds techniques drew warnings from military lawyers 17 Jun 2008 The Pentagon in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks pursued abusive interrogation techniques torture once favored by such U.S. enemies as North Korea and Vietnam, despite stern warnings by several military lawyers that the methods were cruel and even illegal, according to a Senate investigation.

Brown: No timetable for British troop withdrawal from Iraq 16 Jun 2008 There is no "timetable" for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday. "In Iraq, there is a job to be done and we will continue to do the job and there will be no artificial timetable," Brown said at a news conference he addressed jointly with visiting U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush, following a meeting with him at No.10 Downing Street.

51 killed in huge Baghdad car bomb --The explosion set fire to about 20 shops and levelled a multi-storey building 17 Jun 2008 The most deadly Baghdad attack since March ripped through a crowded market today killing at least 51 people in the Iraqi capital. Police said the powerful car bomb wounded around 75, including women and children, who were shopping in the predominantly Shia neighbourhood of al-Hurriya in the north west of the city.

KBR: Rape claims should be subject to 'arbitration agreement' --Ex-Halliburton Unit Appeals Ruling Allowing Suit by Rape Victim 04 Jun 2008 A former unit of Halliburton Co., the defense contractor once run by U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, appealed a judge's ruling that a rape victim can take her case to trial against the company, according to court records. Jamie Leigh Jones, 23, sued KBR Inc. and Halliburton in 2007, alleging she was drugged and gang-raped in her barracks by fellow KBR workers while doing contract work on a military base in Iraq in July 2005. On May 9, a federal judge in Houston rejected KBR's claim that Jones's employment contract required arbitration and blocked her from suing. KBR on June 2 appealed the ruling by U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison allowing Jones's suit to go forward. "The filing of our notice of appeal in the Jamie Jones case is based on KBR's continued position that all of Ms. Jones's asserted claims are subject to the arbitration agreement,'' KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said today in an e-mailed statement.

'They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn't justify.' Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir --KBR contract has cost more than $20 billion so far 17 Jun 2008 The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided 'food,' housing and other services to American troops. The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war.

Ex-Army official says fired over KBR audit 17 Jun 2008 A former high-ranking civilian U.S. Army official says he was fired in 2004 when he questioned the Iraq war expenditures of military contractor KBR. The official, Charles Smith, said he was ousted from his position as the top civilian overseer of KBR's lucrative contract to supply services to U.S. troops when he refused to sign off on more than $1 billion in questionable spending, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Pentagon audit faults KBR's prices --Report alleges cases of post-hurricane overcharging 16 Jun 2008 KBR overcharged the U.S. Navy for providing meals to workers and service personnel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a Pentagon audit... It recommended the Navy demand a refund from KBR of at least $1.4 million. The overcharges were one element of mismanagement by Houston-based KBR, of three Navy contracts valued at $229 million for cleanup and restoration of Navy facilities damaged after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005, the audit said. Altogether, the audit requested that the Navy seek refunds of at least $8.5 million for "inappropriate" payments to KBR.

'This was not an organization optimally aligned for success.' Army's $100 Million Housing From Hell: Alaska's Taku Gardens --Responsibility Evaded for Uninhabitable Base Family Housing atop Weapons Dump (PEER) 12 Jun 2008 For more then three years, the U.S. Army has hemorrhaged money into an Alaskan housing complex that will likely never be occupied, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). After a damning internal investigation, the Army ordered a new review which excused any misconduct as a failure to communicate, conceding only that "this was not an organization optimally aligned for success." Under intense pressure to provide housing at booming Fort Wainwright, in 2005 base officials authorized building 128 units on a 54-acre site, called Taku Gardens but with only cursory environmental assessment. Unfortunately, that site was an old weapons and equipment dump, profoundly contaminated with munitions (some holding chemical agent), dioxin, PCBs, tons of drums and equipment (including an entire locomotive and a forklift).

'Speculation about what the city is buying has run rampant.' Denver stocks up on weapons to fight DNC protesters --City orders guns that fire special plastic balls --Denver received $50 million federal grant for security 17 Jun 2008 Denver police are stocking up on guns that fire a pepper spray-like substance instead of bullets in advance of the Democratic National Convention [Aug. 25 to 28]. The department recently ordered 88 Mark IV launchers and projectiles at a cost "in the low six figures," the company that makes the weapons stated in a news release Monday. The request was for delivery in advance of the DNC, according to Louisville- based Security With Advanced Technology Inc. But the city has refused to disclose how it is spending the money, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union last month to file a civil lawsuit. The court filing alleges the city is violating the Colorado Open Records Act... Some organizers of protest groups believe police are buying extended-range Tasers and weapons that incapacitate people with high-intensity sound.

Denver: Military commandos, SWAT train for terror in 'realistic urban environment' --'Routine' activity part of training for 'war on terror' 17 Jun 2008 Those mysterious black helicopters buzzing Denver last night weren't just your paranoid imagination. Several military choppers flew low around downtown and Coors Field during the Colorado Rockies game Monday night and the show isn't over. U.S. military Special Operations commandos will be conducting the airborne training with Denver police SWAT teams and firefighters from early afternoon until 11 p.m. through Friday night. It's the end of a two-week joint exercise between special ops troops and police and fire to prepare for a terrorism threat in a "realistic urban environment," said Lt. Steve Ruh, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

'It's like a SWAT raid over there.' Military, police choppers conduct security exercise 16 Jun 2008 A half dozen military and law enforcement helicopters buzzed above the Pepsi Center Monday night in a drill to train for the Democratic National Convention in August, Denver police said. Maneuvers over downtown were coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, but authorities would not release details of the training.

'Random' searches of passengers on Metrolink --Metrolink: Searches not in response to any threats made against trains 13 Jun 2008 Random [Yeah, right!] searches of passengers and their belongings will begin next week on Metrolink commuter trains, the agency announced Thursday. Sheriff's deputies will be setting up random screening stations at random times. "Access to the station platform will be restricted; passengers must pass through the checkpoint to gain access to the station platform," stated the flier. The release goes on to say that some passengers will be selected from those lines and have their baggage searched. Anyone who refuses to be searched won't be allowed to get on the train.

U.S. School District to Begin Microchipping Students --Buses fitted with global positioning system (GPS) devices 16 Jun 2008 A Rhode Island school district has announced a pilot program to monitor student movements by means of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips implanted in their schoolbags. The Middletown School District, in partnership with MAP Information Technology Corp., has launched a pilot program to implant RFID chips into the schoolbags of 80 children at the Aquidneck School. Each chip would be programmed with a student identification number, and would be read by an external device installed in one of two school buses.

Qatada sent home with electronic tag after six years in jail 18 Jun 2008 Abu Qatada, the Islamist preacher known as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man in Europe" was released from prison last night. The Palestinian-Jordanian preacher, who was jailed in a clampdown on terror suspects in 2002 but not charged during his six years in custody, was granted bail under the terms of a strict 22-hour curfew. [Well, guess who bin Laden's 'right-hand man in the US' is? Clue: The Pet Goat.]

Preacher's bail conditions 18 Jun 2008 Abu Qatada is: *Banned from holding any meetings and specifically barred from having any direct or indirect contact with a large number of terror suspects, including Osama bin Laden [Uh, mostly because he's *dead*] and his deputy, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri. *Monitored by police by a tagging device. *Banned from using internet, computers and mobile phones or holding more than one bank account. Subject to police searches of his home and its premises at any point and photographing by police at their will. *Confined to his home 22 hours per day, able to leave for two hours only when he must to stay within a small area defined by the court. *Banned from receiving visitors, except for his wife, children, a doctor, a lawyer and other children under 10 years of age unless senior government officials give permission.

Police 'brutal' to anti-bush protesters 17 Jun 2008 Anti-war protest leaders have accused the police of unprovoked brutality during protests in London to mark a visit by US President [sic] George Bush. Prominent campaigners said scenes of violence in Westminster reflected a growing authoritarian clampdown on the right to peaceful protest. Members of the Stop the War Coalition criticised the Government for apparently allowing the president's security detail to enforce a protest-free "green zone" around his Downing Street visit.

Police attack anti-Bush protesters By Stewart office (edited) 17 Jun 2008 The ban on the demonstration down Whitehall to protest the visit of war criminal George Bush was enforced with violence by the Metropolitan police. Two protesters were hospitalised by baton-wielding police. Stop the War Coalition has organised over 20 national protests all of which have been peaceful. We have written a letter of protest to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. George Galloway MP, a vice president of the Stop the War Coalition, has also written a letter of protest to the Commissioner of Police, Sir Ian Blair. Images of the demo can be found here and here.

New security blow after minister's laptop stolen 18 Jun 2008 Gordon Brown's attempt to set the agenda on domestic security was dealt a blow yesterday when one of his Cabinet ministers had a laptop containing sensitive files on extremism stolen from her office. The Prime Minister used a speech yesterday to claim the government's policies of creating a DNA database, introducing ID cards and using CCTV cameras were protecting civil liberties rather than eroding them.

Bush loses his second US city: Floods Leave Iowa Swimming In Toxic Brew --Sewage, Farm Chemicals, Animal Waste Infest Water; Potential Levee Breaks Loom 17 Jun 2008 As southeastern Iowa prepared for the Mississippi River's wrath, the rest of Iowa began the slow move from protection to cleanup. Where floodwaters remained, they were a noxious brew of sewage, farm chemicals and fuel. Frustrations spilled over at one checkpoint, where a man was arrested at gunpoint after he tried to drive past police in his pickup truck... Also mixed into the floodwaters are pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer from Iowa's vast stretches of farmland. In addition to the poison in the water, there are mosquitoes - millions of them spawning in acres of standing water.

Helicopter rescues sandbaggers as levee breaks --Some two dozen more along Mississippi could fail; two bridges cut off 17 Jun 2008 The rising Mississippi River interrupted travel on two bridges between Iowa and Illinois and forced the helicopter rescue of more than a dozen people sandbagging a levee before it broke near the western Illinois village of Gulf Port. The break also forced the closure of the Great River Bridge that connects Gulf Port to Burlington via U.S. Highway 34 and threatened to deluge farmland. [Where is the National Guard to sandbag the levees? Oh, that's right. They're in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting Bush's oil and opium trade routes. --LRP]

Former Senator Mike Gravel Calls for Independent 9/11 Investigation and Prosecution of President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Cheney (Democracy Now!) 17 Jun 2008 The former Democratic senator from Alaska discusses his presidential campaign, his role in the releasing of the Pentagon Papers and his support for NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign, a grassroots group seeking to place an initiative on the ballot of the November 6th general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new commission to investigate 9/11.

Obama and Clinton Seek to Unite Donors in Joint Appearance 18 Jun 2008 Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are set to appear together here next week at a fund-raiser, their first side-by-side appearance since the long Democratic primary battle ended. The event, scheduled for June 26 at the Mayflower Hotel, is intended to encourage Mrs. Clinton’s contributors to become part of Mr. Obama’s financial team.

Tide of opposition hits offshore drilling idea --Democrats, Republicans and environmentalists voice fear for Shore 18 Jun 2008 Republican presidential candidate Insane McCain's proposal to end a federal moratorium on offshore drilling met a chorus of boos yesterday in New Jersey. Democrats and environmentalists panned the idea as did some Republicans, citing concerns about pollution along the coast.

Iceland police shoot second Greenland polar bear 18 Jun 2008 Police in Iceland have shot a second polar bear that apparently travelled hundreds of kilometres across the sea to the island nation. The bear was gunned down after it 'charged journalists.' It is believed the bear travelled several hundred kilometres from Greenland atop an ice floe, probably landing near the town of Saudarkrokur, on the Skaga fjord, where it was seen and killed. [Too bad the bear was unable to shoot first.]

Second polar bear spotted in Iceland 17 Jun 2008 A polar bear has been sighted in northern Iceland having apparently made a journey of several hundred kilometres to get there, the second bear to make the trip in two weeks. US government scientists have predicted that two-thirds of the polar bear population of 25,000 could disappear by 2050.


Bush threatens Iran with military action 17 Jun 2008 George Bush has warned Iran that military action is still "on the table" if it fails to respond to tightening diplomatic pressure to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. The EU is planning to announce the freezing of all overseas assets of the main bank in Iran. Sanctions are also to be tightened on gas and oil exports by Iran.

Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran 16 Jun 2008 The Israeli government no longer believes that sanctions can prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. A broad consensus in favor of a military strike against Tehran's nuclear facilities -- without the Americans, if necessary -- is beginning to take shape.

Britain and EU step up Iran sanctions 16 Jun 2008 Gordon Brown today said Britain and the European Union were imposing fresh financial sanctions on Iran's gas, oil and financial industry over the country's refusal to halt its uranium enrichment programme. The European assets of Iran's biggest commercial bank, Bank Melli, will be frozen, said Brown's spokesman, Michael Ellam. [Let's see... Iran's gas, oil, and financial industry. I wonder who's going to benefit from the sanctions?]

Oil at record near $140 a barrel 16 Jun 2008 The price of crude oil has hit a new high of close to $140 a barrel in New York trade, despite Saudi Arabia agreeing to increase output in July. US light crude rose to $139.89 a barrel, surpassing the previous high of $139.12 on 6 June.

Iran withdraws $75 billion from Europe: report 16 Jun 2008 Iran has withdrawn around $75 billion from Europe to prevent the assets from being blocked under threatened new sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear ambitions, an Iranian weekly said.

Brown Pushing EU to Freeze Assets of Iranian Bank 16 Jun 2008 Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain is pushing the European Union to impose new sanctions against Iran, including freezing the assets of its biggest bank, to pressure the nation to give up its nuclear program. "Britain will urge Europe, and Europe will agree to take further sanctions against Iran," Brown said in London at a press conference with U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush.

Taliban take over villages near Kandahar --The sophisticated and successful jailbreak, followed by the movement into Arghandab, is the latest evidence of the Taliban's growing strength. 16 Jun 2008 Hundreds of Taliban fighters invaded villages just outside Afghanistan's second-largest city Monday, forcing NATO and Afghan troops to rush in while frightened residents fled. The Taliban assault on the outskirts of Kandahar is the latest display of prowess by the militants despite a record number of U.S. and NATO troops in the country.

Gordon Brown pledges more troops for Afghanistan and calls for sanctions in stand against terror 17 Jun 2008 Hundreds more British troops will be sent to Afghanistan during the coming year to help to improve protection for British Forces, Gordon Brown announced yesterday after talks with President [sic] Bush. Despite warnings of "overstretch" in the Army, the Prime Minister said that levels of British Forces would reach their highest point.

Democrats to back down on Iraq war conditions 16 Jun 2008 DemocRATs in the Congress, who came to power last year on a call to end the combat in Iraq, will soon give President [sic] George W. Bush the last war-funding bill of his presidency without any of the conditions they sought for withdrawing U.S. troops, congressional aides said on Monday. Lawmakers are arranging to send Bush $165 billion in new money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enough to last for about a year and well beyond when Bush leaves office on January 20. With this bill, Congress will have written checks for more than $800 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with most of the money going to Iraq Blackwater, KBR, Halliburton, and Fluor. [They are so useless that the light from useless is going to take ten billion years to reach the earth.]

Afghanistan and Iraq refugee numbers up 17 Jun 2008 Conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are creating new waves of refugees, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The report released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows around three million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, and around two million Iraqis moved, mainly to Syria and Jordan. Refugees from those two countries account for nearly half the refugees under UNHCR care in 2007.

Obama says will visit Iraq and Afghanistan 17 Jun 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday he plans to visit Iraq and Afghanistan before November's 'election' and was encouraged by a recent reduction in violence in Iraq. [Uh, what reduction, Barack?]

Ex-Pentagon Lawyers Face Inquiry on Interrogation Role 17 Jun 2008 Senior Pentagon lawyers played a more active role than previously known in developing the aggressive interrogation techniques torture approved for use in 2002 at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to officials familiar with a Senate investigation. Investigators with the Senate Armed Services Committee have found documents from July 2002 showing that Pentagon lawyers working for William J. Haynes II, then the Defense Department general counsel, gathered information about a program used to train American pilots to withstand captivity, according to the officials. Some of the techniques used in the program were later approved for use on prisoners in American military custody. The military was never authorized to carry out interrogations as aggressive as those approved for use by the C.I.A., which until the end of 2003 included water boarding.

Grand Jury Referral Filed in U.S. Attorneys Case, Focuses on Civil Rights Division 16 Jun 2008 A grand jury referral focusing on political meddling in the Justice Department's civil rights division has been filed in the probe of U.S. attorney firings. The Wall Street Journal reports that the referral focuses on possible perjury by Bradley Schlozman, who left the Justice Department last year. At the time, he faced criticism for bragging about hiring Republicans for career positions when he led the civil rights division. He also was criticized for bringing voter fraud charges against a liberal group shortly before an election when he was serving as interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo.

Former Justice official may face grand jury probe 16 Jun 2008 The scandal that helped force the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be headed to a grand jury and possible criminal charges. A government official says the Justice Department is considering launching a grand jury investigation into whether one of its former leaders misled Congress about playing politics with hiring decisions. The move follows a yearlong inquiry by the department's inspector general. It examined whether former acting assistant attorney general Bradley Schlozman gave hiring preference to conservative loyalists over better-qualified lawyers at Justice's civil rights division.

House panel subpoenas FBI interviews of Bush, Cheney 16 Jun 2008 A House committee issued a subpoena Monday for FBI reports from interviews with President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney in the CIA leak investigation. The subpoena to Attorney General Michael Mukasey from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is the latest move by Congress to shed light on Cheney's precise role in the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA identity.

Mukasey subpoenaed to release Bush interview report 16 Jun 2008 A House panel on Monday issued a subpoena to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to force the release of documents related to President [sic] Bush’s interview with investigators regarding the leaking of a CIA operative’s name.

Judge rules for White House in e-mail controversy 16 Jun 2008 A federal judge ruled Monday that a White House office that has records about millions of possibly missing deleted e-mails does not have to make them public. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly says the Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, enabling the White House to maintain the secrecy of a lengthy internal paper trail about its problem-plagued e-mail system.

Judge Backs White House on Missing E-Mails 16 Jun 2008 A federal judge today dismissed a watchdog group's lawsuit seeking records on missing White House e-mails, ruling that the agency holding the records -- the White House's Office of Administration -- is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The group that filed the lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said it is appealing the decision. CREW has previously charged that White House officials "may have deliberately lost or tampered with e-mail records to hide illegal conduct."

Feds: Alleged Pa. bomb-maker wanted Clinton, Obama dead 11 Jun 2008 A Clearfield County man arrested in a sweep by a terrorism task force in Pennsylvania had weapons, ammunition and several homemade bombs, federal authorities said Tuesday. Bradley T. Kahle, of Troutville, was one of five people arrested in last weekend's sweep. He told undercover agents he hoped Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama would be killed if they were elected president... according to an affidavit of probable cause made public Tuesday.

Activists Preparing Against Use of 'Brown Note' at Dem Convention 10 Jun 2008 Political activists planning protest rallies at the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver have their stomachs in knots over a rumor about a crowd control weapon - known as the "crap cannon" - that might be unleashed against them. Also called "Brown Note," it is believed to be an infrasound frequency that debilitates a person by making them defecate involuntarily. Adding to the Brown Note rumor is a refusal by Denver’s Mayor John W. Hickenlooper to release details of what was purchased with $18 million of a $50 million federal grant the city received to pay for convention security, despite a lawsuit filed by ACLU.

Second President Bush floats prospect of a third 16 Jun 2008 For only the second time in nearly three decades, there won’t be a Bush on the presidential ballot this November. But that absence may not be a permanent one, the current White House occupants hinted Sunday. President [sic] Bush was asked by a SkyNews correspondent whether the end of his term marked the end of the Bush presidential dynasty that began with his father’s Oval Office tenure 20 years ago. In response, Bush singled out his brother, who has often been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential contender.

George Bush is a right-wing zealot By Brian Reade 12 Jun 2008 It is vital, not simply for the history books, that we do not get taken in by this false, folksy act. For eight years the world has been led by a dangerous fundamentalist (with the emphasis on the mentalist) who defined the enemy as any group who refused to buy into his dogma of extending America's economic and military might. And we could easily have met our Armageddon. This is not a time to sanitise the evil he unleashed but for an honest assessment of his legacy. Allow him [GWB] to ride off into the sunset as a "regular kinda patriot" and we do future generations a disservice.

McCain urges end to ban on offshore drilling 16 Jun 2008 Sen. John McCain said Monday the federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling should be lifted, and individual states given the right to pursue energy exploration in waters near their own coasts. McCain's presidential rival, Sen. Barack Obama, opposes an end to the moratorium, a spokesman Hari Sevugan said.

Al Gore backs Obama for White House 17 Jun 2008 Former President Al Gore pledged on Monday to do all he could to help Barack Obama win the White House, saying it was crucial the United States has not only a new leader but a new vision for its future. Gore, one of the most prominent figures in the U.S. Democratic party and known around the world for his push to combat climate change, publicly backed Obama for the first time at a huge rally in Detroit.

Al Gore endorses Barack Obama for president 16 Jun 2008 Al Gore, the president turned anti-climate change crusader, threw his support behind Barack Obama today and vowed "to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected". Gore previewed the endorsement on his blog before appearing alongside Obama at a rally in Detroit, the US automobile mecca that has come to symbolise the hardships wrought by rising fuel prices.

Obama adds staff, taps ex-Clinton campaign manager 16 Jun 2008 Barack Obama's campaign named new senior advisers on Monday, including former Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff to the presidential candidate's yet-to-be-chosen running mate. Solis Doyle, who stepped down as Clinton's campaign manager in February, is the only former high-profile Clinton staffer to join Obama's camp so far.

Big Oil and the Bear 17 Jun 2008 The news for polar bears is bleak -- polar bears could disappear entirely from Alaska within 50 short years due to a drastic decline in Arctic sea ice. But Big Oil and their allies in Congress are willing to sell out our vanishing polar bears for a few barrels of oil. Protect Arctic wildlife and our polar bear's last stand -- take action here.

Wildlife Protection Groups Ask Federal Court to Uphold Polar Bear Trophy Hunting Ban 16 Jun 2008 With the future of the polar bear hanging in the balance, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Defenders of Wildlife have moved to block a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent decision to ban the imports of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada. The groups filed a motion to intervene in the suit, which was filed by the extremist trophy-hunting group Safari Club International (SCI) and seeks to roll back the recent listing of the bears as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Supreme Court rebuffs Exxon Mobil's efforts to halt human rights lawsuit 16 Jun 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp. has failed to convince the Supreme Court to halt a human rights lawsuit against it. The justices, without comment, on Monday rejected the energy company's appeal of a ruling on a 2001 lawsuit filed by International Rights Advocates on behalf of 11 villagers in Indonesia's Aceh province.

NOAA: New Orleans at risk from Cat. 2 hurricane 16 Jun 2008 Despite a massive effort to repair and upgrade flood defenses since Hurricane Katrina, storm surge could pour over levees in New Orleans if a strong Category 2 or higher hurricane strikes the city, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. The Corps of Engineers is determining how high to build levees under a congressional mandate to complete by 2011 a hurricane protection system capable of handling a storm likely to hit over the next century... Since Katrina, Congress has given the corps about $7.1 billion to work with and it is considering giving the corps $5.7 billion more. [Where did the money go, Bush - KBR?]

California gays married legally 17 Jun 2008 California performed its first legally recognized same-sex weddings on Monday and opened its doors to gay and lesbian couples from around the country, a move likely to challenge other states that define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Gay couples in California get marriage licenses --State becomes the second, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex nuptials 16 Jun 2008 Dozens of gay couples were married Monday after a landmark ruling making California the second U.S. state to allow same-sex nuptials went into effect. At least five county clerks around the state extended their hours to issue marriage licenses, and many same-sex couples got married on the spot.


Protesters clash with police in attempt to storm Whitehall 16 Jun 2008 Police wielding batons clashed with protesters last night when a demonstration against George Bush's farewell visit to Britain turned violent a few hundred metres from where the US President [sic] was dining with Gordon Brown. Within the shadow of the Houses of Parliament, officers dressed in riot gear skirmished with several hundred demonstrators who had been attending a rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition... Police drew batons and truncheons in an attempt to push back a crowd which at 6.20pm moved from the rally on Parliament Square to try to gain entry to Whitehall. A squad of riot officers and horses were later sent to reinforce the barricade as protesters chanting "George Bush, terrorist" and "Bush go home" repeatedly tried to break through the reinforced crowd barriers and concrete blocks.

Security for Bush will shut centre of London 13 Jun 2008 One of Britain's biggest security operations will bring central London to a standstill for the arrival of George Bush on Sunday. About 2,000 police - including hundreds of armed officers - will be deployed for the US president's [sic] brief visit. Parts of Whitehall between Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square will be shut to traffic for more than 24 hours as the huge land and air operation swings into force.

Bush: no timetable for Iraq withdrawals 15 Jun 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush said there should be no definitive timetable for the withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq, according to a British Sunday newspaper. Asked by the Observer about reports that Britain was preparing plans for the reduction of its forces in Iraq, Bush said he did not want the issue tied to a formal schedule. "There should be no definitive timetable," Bush was quoted as saying.

Dozens of names left off official list of British soldiers killed in Iraq --A new study reveals more than 30 soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq were missing from official lists of war dead. Other families waited 1,000 days for an inquest 15 Jun 2008 Ministers were last night accused of 'incompetence and insensitivity' after it was revealed that a list of war dead compiled for MPs and Her Majesty's coroner had missed out dozens of dead British soldiers. Professor Sheila Bird, who discovered the 'forgotten soldiers' during a detailed study of the military inquest system for the Medical Research Council, said the government appeared to have lost track of the actual date of death of the fatally injured soldiers. Families of troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq last night reacted with outrage amid calls for an inquiry into the 'disappeared' dead soldiers.

Bill Presses Iraq to Recognize Israel 12 Jun 2008 To the many challenges facing the fledgling Iraqi government, Congress may soon add this: Recognize the State of Israel and establish diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, or else risk losing some of the billions in aid that [US corporations occupying] Baghdad receives from the United States. A nonbinding resolution demanding Iraqi recognition of Israel was introduced June 5 in the House of Representatives and has already gained the support of more than 60 congressmen, including several leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Israel pressed to reveal why army killed cameraman 16 Jun 2008 The Israeli military has come under renewed pressure to explain why its tank shells killed a Reuters cameraman and eight other Palestinians on a road in Gaza two months ago. Reuters is pressing for immediate release of the military's internal inquiry findings after an independent report for the London-based news agency found that there had been was no militant activity in that area. Fadel Shana, 24, was killed on 16 April by flechette darts that burst from a tank shell as he was filming about a mile away from the tanks and in clear view of them. Eight bystanders aged between 12 and 20 were also killed, involving two tank shells.

Smugglers Had Design For Advanced Warhead 15 Jun 2008 An international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, according to a draft report by a former top U.N. arms inspector that suggests the plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups. The drawings, discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss businessmen, included essential details for building a compact nuclear device that could be fitted on a type of ballistic missile used by Iran and more than a dozen developing countries, the report states.

Iran defiant in nuclear row despite sanctions threat 16 Jun 2008 Western powers are warning Iran of more sanctions if it rejects an incentives offer and presses on with sensitive nuclear work, but the Islamic Republic is showing no sign of backing down. On Saturday, Iran again ruled out suspending uranium enrichment despite the offer by six world powers of help in developing a civilian nuclear programme if it stopped activities the United States and others suspect are designed to make bombs.

Afghanistan threatens 'self defence' raids into Pakistan 16 Jun 2008 Afghanistan threatened to mount cross-border raids into Pakistan when President Hamid Karzai insisted on his country's right to "self defence". Leaders of the Taliban 'insurgency' in southern and eastern Afghanistan are known to be based in the lawless Tribal Areas inside Pakistani territory and along the country's north-west frontier. The self-proclaimed leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, has publicly ordered his followers to cross the border and attack Nato forces inside Afghanistan. Mr Karzai said Afghanistan had every right to respond.

Afghanistan: Karzai threatens to send troops into Pakistan to hunt Taliban 15 Jun 2008 Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai today inflamed tensions with neighbouring Pakistan by threatening to send troops across the border to hunt the Taliban leadership. Karzai said his country had the right to defend itself against 'insurgents' crossing from rear bases in Pakistan's tribal belt.

How Taliban sprang 450 'terrorists' from Kandahar's Sarposa prison in Afghanistan --With the latest outrage, the insurgency has shown that its ability to stage 'spectaculars' is undiminished by setbacks in the field --Coalition and Afghan officials declare a state of emergency in Kandahar 15 Jun 2008 Yesterday, Sarposa's entire population of 1,100 inmates – including murderers, bandits and about 450 hardened Islamic militants – was enjoying freedom after an audacious Taliban attack engineered one of the biggest mass jail breaks in history. "We released all the prisoners, including 450 Taliban, we killed most of the guards, and we blocked the roads into the city so that our fighters could escape," crowed Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman for southern Afghanistan. "This was our first attack in the very heart of Kandahar, and this is a signal to the puppet government of Hamid Karzai and the infidel government of the West that they should not forget the Taliban."

Kristol: McCain and Graham Plan to Introduce Legislation Undermining Supreme Court Decision On Guantanamo --Post by Amanda 15 Jun 2008 Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their detention in civilian courts. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasted no time in publicly blasting the decision, saying they were "disappointed" in "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country..." Today on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol revealed that "very soon" -- likely as early as next week -- McCain and Graham will be introducing legislation to undermine the Supreme Court decision by setting up a "national security court."

Some US terrorism suspects wrongly held -McClatchy 15 Jun 2008 A journalistic investigation into terrorism suspects held at U.S. prison camps around the world found that possibly hundreds had been wrongly imprisoned, McClatchy newspapers said on Sunday. An eight-month investigation in 11 countries on three continents found that the U.S. wrongfully imprisoned suspects in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of "flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments," a story posted on their website said.

'The gloves are off, this isn't a Geneva world anymore.' America's prison for terrorists often held the wrong men 15 Jun 2008 An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that dozens of men -- and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds -- whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments. McClatchy interviewed 66 released prisoners, more than a dozen local officials -- primarily in Afghanistan -- and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program... This unprecedented compilation shows that most of the 66 were low-level Taliban grunts, innocent Afghan villagers or ordinary criminals. At least seven had been working for the U.S.-backed Afghan government and had no ties to militants, according to Afghan local officials. In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies. The investigation also found that despite the uncertainty about whom they were holding, U.S. soldiers beat and abused many prisoners.

Interrogation for Profit (The New York Times) 12 Jun 2008 Congress is finally moving to ban one of the Bush administration’s most blatant evasions of accountability in Iraq -- the outsourcing of war detainees' interrogation to mercenary private contractors. Operating free of the restraints of military rule and ethics, some of these corporate thugs turned up in the torture scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison and walked away with impunity. Others are now believed to be in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency at secret prisons that remain outside the rule of law, exempted even from the weak 2006 rules on interrogating prisoners... The most notorious of the favored war contractors has been Blackwater Worldwide. But numerous other bidders have been awarded plums to amass "private security" stealth forces estimated to total near 50,000 fighters.

Labour plan to toughen up on offenders --Plans include publishing 'conviction posters' and identifying lawbreakers with visible jackets 16 Jun 2008 Sweeping reforms designed to restore trust in the criminal 'justice' system will be proposed in a government report this week, including tougher community punishments and better protection for the victims of crime. Among the more striking measures: People serving community sentences should be forced to wear visible jackets identifying that they are being punished for breaking the law and should complete their sentences in a shorter time frame; The possibility of publishing "conviction posters", showing people who have been found guilty of a crime; Home Office ministers should no longer be responsible for publishing crime statistics, in order to restore their credibility with the public; Police community support officers should have powers to detain and to issue fixed penalty notices for disorder.

President Bush sanctions new search for Osama bin-Laden 15 Jun 2008 US President [sic] George Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture 'Osama Bin Laden' before he leaves the White House. Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London have confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the 'leader' of the 9/11 attacks. Delta, the US army special operations unit, and the British SBS are undertaking the main operations in Pakistan against Bin Laden.

36,000 Iowans homeless as floodwaters recede 16 Jun 2008 Floodwaters began to recede Sunday in Iowa's two largest cities, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, and the Iowa River crested in Iowa City after swamping part of the University of Iowa, but many communities face daunting cleanup and recovery efforts as the waters still threaten communities elsewhere in the region. Downstream Iowa communities such as Wapello, Burlington and Keokuk are braced for record flooding. Davenport put out an urgent call Sunday for volunteers to fill sandbags to reinforce two levees.

Mississippi rising as next threat --Another battle with the elements looms in Midwest 16 Jun 2008 While Iowans battle flooding in small towns and larger cities, residents along the Mississippi River are trying to tame the power of North America's largest river as it swells with water from the Iowa and Cedar Rivers, as well as heavy flows from Illinois waterways. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said the Mississippi would be the next battleground. "It's likely we'll see major flooding in every city on the border, from New Boston on down. We're very concerned about that," he said. "That is going to be the next round here."

Mega barf alert! Pet Goat II: Bush contemplates writing his memoir 15 Jun 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush, scrutinized in books by former colleagues including a blistering critique by his ex-spokesman, is considering writing a memoir of his own. Bush has been silent on former spokesman Scott McClellan's book, which said the White House shaded the truth and conducted a propaganda campaign to make its case to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Bush 'may convert to Catholicism' 14 Jun 2008 President [sic] George Bush was given such a splendid welcome by Pope Benedict XVI yesterday that rumours started flying that the President, like Tony Blair before him, was on the verge of converting to Catholicism.

Angry Clinton Women Love McCain? By Frank Rich 15 Jun 2008 Ten years ago John McCain had to apologize for regaling a Republican audience with a crude sexual joke about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno. Last year he had to explain why he didn’t so much as flinch when a supporter asked him on camera, "How do we beat the bitch?" But these days Mr. McCain just loves the women... You’d never guess that Mr. McCain is a fierce foe of abortion rights or that he voted to terminate the federal family-planning program that provides breast-cancer screenings... New polls show Mr. Obama opening up a huge lead among female voters -- beating Mr. McCain by 13 percentage points in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls and by 19 points in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey.

Bilderberg Announces 2008 Conference 05 Jun 2008 The 56th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Chantilly, Virginia, USA 5 – 8 June 2008. The Conference will deal mainly with a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, US-EU relations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islam and Iran. Approximately 140 participants will attend, of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education and communications. [Maybe the escapees from Sarposa prison will head for the Bilderberg Conference.]

AP: Companies get OK to harm, annoy polar bears 14 Jun 2008 Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush regime is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas. The Fish and Wildlife Service issued regulations this week providing legal protection to seven oil companies planning to search for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska if "small numbers" of polar bears or Pacific walruses are incidentally harmed [!?!] by their activities over the next five years. Environmentalists said the new regulations give oil companies a blank check to harass the polar bear.

Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil' 16 Jun 2008 Saudi Arabia will raise oil production to record levels within weeks in an attempt to avert an escalation of social and political unrest around the world. King Abdullah signalled the commitment to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the weekend after the impact of skyrocketing oil prices on food sparked protests and riots from Spain to South Korea.


Army Reserve teams with D.C. Police to boost employment 13 Jun 2008 The Army Reserve recruited the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department in its new initiative to partner with public and private sector employers to jointly recruit, train and employ individuals. Either side can recruit an individual for the program, to let employees get Army training and enhance Army operations. D.C.'s police department, which hires 300 police officers per year, could be handed a solider who's graduated from military police school with security clearances... By this fall, they hope to have 400 to 500 companies signed up.

Get Osama Bin Laden [for one last job] before I leave office, orders George W Bush 15 Jun 2008 President [sic] George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House. Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the 'leader' of the September 11 attacks. "If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place," said a US intelligence source.

Sex trade thrives in Afghanistan [Just like the thriving Afghan opium trade--also nonexistent until Bush got there.] 14 Jun 2008 Afghanistan is one of the world's most conservative countries, yet its sex trade appears to be thriving. Prostitutes are often the casualties of nearly three decades of brutal war and a grinding poverty that forces most Afghans to live on less than $1 a day. Prostitutes in Afghanistan include scores of Chinese women serving Western customers who work for security firms, companies and aid groups in Afghanistan.

Desperate hunt for 1,100 who fled Afghan jail in Taliban raid [LOL!] 14 Jun 2008 Afghan and international troops launched a desperate hunt Saturday for more than 1,100 prisoners NATO said escaped a jail in Afghanistan when Taliban rebels blasted it open. The Taliban said 400 of its own fighters escaped when the rebels attacked the facility in the southern city of Kandahar late Friday with suicide bombs before shooting the guards.

Afghan official: 870 inmates escaped from prison 14 Jun 2008 U.S. and NATO troops aided Afghan forces with reconnaissance in a hunt Saturday for 870 inmates who escaped prison after a sophisticated Taliban assault that even NATO conceded was a success for the militants.

4 Twentynine Palms Marines killed in Afghanistan 14 Jun 2008 (CA) Four Marines from a unit based at Twentynine Palms were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan, the military reported Saturday. A fifth Marine was wounded. No details were released about the bombing.

Bush warns Brown over plan to cut Iraq force --Bush: Blair had never been his 'poodle' --President [sic] tells UK to avoid rushing into troop withdrawals 15 Jun 2008 George Bush flies into London today with a warning for Gordon Brown not to announce a timetable for a British pull-out from Iraq, and expressing deep scepticism about the Prime Minister's high-profile strategy for bringing down world oil prices.

Maliki calls U.S. demands unacceptable 13 Jun 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Friday detailed his differences with the United States on a new security agreement between the two nations. Maliki said that negotiations between his Baghdad government and the United States are at an impasse, The New York Times reported. The status-of-forces agreement would replace the U.N. mandate, which expires at the end of the year.

Talks With U.S. on Security Pact Are at an Impasse, the Iraqi Prime Minister Says 14 Jun 2008 Negotiations on a long-term security agreement with the United States are at a stalemate because of American demands that compromise Iraq’s sovereignty, the Iraqi prime minister said Friday. "The Iraqi demands are unacceptable to the Americans, and the American demands are unacceptable to the Iraqis, and the result is that we have reached an impasse," the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, said during a meeting with journalists in Jordan. "The Iraqis will not consent to an agreement that infringes their sovereignty."

Iran defiant as diplomats deliver nuclear ultimatum 14 Jun 2008 Iran today insisted it would not suspend its uranium enrichment programme, despite the threat of fresh sanctions. The latest defiant message came as a team of international diplomats led by the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, delivered a package of incentives offered in return for Iran curbing its nuclear programme.

Iran is offered incentives to halt uranium enrichment --The Islamic Republic appears likely to reject the new package of economic and political inducements from Europe, Russia, China and the U.S. 14 Jun 2008 World powers urged Iran on Saturday to suspend its enrichment of uranium in exchange for a new package of economic and political incentives. But the package appeared to differ little substantively from a 2006 offer rejected by Iran, and Tehran appeared poised to spurn the latest offer as well.

Two Colombians said offered US$1.5 million to kill Ecuador's leftist president --Two Colombians arrested in an alleged plot against President Rafael Correa claimed to have links to Colombian paramilitaries and said they were offered US$1.5 million to kill Ecuador's leader. 13 Jun 2008 Police in Ecuador's capital arrested four men -- three Colombians and an Ecuadorean -- in a hotel across from the presidential palace on Thursday. On Friday, The Associated Press obtained Ecuadorean police documents in which the two Colombians purportedly acknowledge having links to Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries. In the documents, they say they were offered US$1.5 million to kill Ecuador's leftist president but don't specifically say who offered the money [*Duh.*] Police Capt. Edgar Vinueza also said the alleged attack was to take place on June 20.

Exclusive: New batch of terror files left on train --IoS returns confidential documents to Treasury as officials promise to tighten procedures 15 Jun 2008 Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'. The government papers, left on a train destined for Waterloo station, on Wednesday, contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism.

Tentative accord on spy bill, immunity: sources 13 Jun 2008 White House and congressional negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on an anti-terror spy bill that would permit court dismissal of potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits against phone companies, sources familiar with the talks said on Friday. Under the possible accord, a federal court could immunize a company by ruling it had been given written assurances that its participation in the U.S. government's warrantless domestic spying program was legal and authorized by President [sic] George W. Bush, one source said. It was unclear what would happen with suits against the government. But the government could claim state secrets, arguing information needed to prosecute was confidential and that suits should thus be dropped, the source said.

Bush Administration provides oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm polar bears in the pursuit of oil and natural gas By Kiran Chaube 14 Jun 2008 It is the money in the bank accounts of Halliburton, ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Co. and five other companies for $2.6 billion that really matters. Polar Bears will now get wiped out because Bush and his oil company friends want to give more to the oil giants instead of protecting the really endangered species – the polar bear in the Artic. Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush administration is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas.

Timeline of recent actions concerning polar bears 14 Jun 2008 Recent actions concerning polar bears and Alaska oil operations.

News: Cheney admits error, this one about Chinese oil drilling 13 Jun 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's office has acknowledged that he erred when telling an audience this week that China is drilling off the coast of Cuba... Cheney's office has since backtracked, issuing a statement that says "It is our understanding that, although Cuba has leased out exploration blocks 60 miles off the coast of southern Florida, which is closer than American firms are allowed to operate in that area, no Chinese firm is drilling there."

Floods in Iowa 'will last for weeks' 15 Jun 2008 Thousands forced from their homes in Iowa due to flooding, caused by storms that have killed nine people, were told this weekend that the misery could last for weeks. The rain has also severely damaged the corn crop in the state and other parts of the Midwest at a time when corn prices are soaring.

'It looks like Katrina' [Same useful Bush 'response,' too] 13 Jun 2008 All around the Midwest, the water just kept rising. Even as Cedar Rapids was nearly shuttered on Friday, its sandbagged downtown submerged in the biggest flood ever recorded here, people in Des Moines began evacuating and other Iowa towns thought about it. In Wisconsin, stretches of major roads were closed and tornadoes struck. Some in Michigan had no power. Elsewhere, there was no train service, no drinking water, no end in sight.

Cedar Rapids flood recedes; Des Moines levee fails 14 Jun 2008 The dark, filthy water that flooded Iowa's second-largest city finally started to recede Saturday after forcing 24,000 people to flee, but those who remained were urged to cut back on showering and flushing to save the last of their unspoiled drinking water.

Volunteers move U. of Iowa library books 14 Jun 2008 Hundreds of volunteers passing books from hand to hand up staircases moved much of the University of Iowa library's contents out of the reach of floodwaters. Nancy Baker, the head librarian at the main library in Iowa City, told National Public Radio Saturday library staff began moving boxes of manuscripts out of the basement Wednesday.

Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic [Activism] 15 Jun 2008 Three of the country’s largest Internet service providers are threatening to clamp down on their most active subscribers by placing monthly limits on their online activity. One of them, Time Warner Cable, began a trial of "Internet metering" in one Texas city early this month, asking customers to select a monthly plan and pay surcharges when they exceed their 'bandwidth limit.'

McCain Cancels Event with Controversial Fundraiser 13 Jun 2008 Sen. John McCain on Friday abruptly cancelled a Monday fundraiser that had been scheduled at the home of a Texas oilman, after ABC News contacted the campaign inquiring about a verbal blunder the Texan made during an unsuccessful 1990 campaign for governor. Clayton Williams stirred controversy during his 1990 campaign for governor of Texas with a comment in which he compared rape to weather. Within earshot of a reporter, Williams said: "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it." [Oops! MSNBC forgot to cover this one. Hey! Is Obama wearing his flag pin today? Yes? He's pandering. No? He's a terrorist. --LRP]

Fox News Accused of Slurs Against Barack, Michelle Obama 13 Jun 2008 Fox News Channel referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby mama" in a graphic on Wednesday, the latest in a trio of references to the Democratic presidential campaign that have given fuel to network critics. In the past two weeks, Fox anchor E.D. Hill has apologized for referring to an affectionate onstage fist bump shared by the couple as a "terrorist fist jab," and Fox contributor Liz Trotta said she was sorry for joking about an Obama assassination.

Fox News presenter taken off air after Barack Obama 'terrorist fist jab' remark 13 Jun 2008 A Fox News television presenter is to be taken off air after she accused Barack and Michelle Obama of greeting each other with a "terrorist's fist jab". The decision by network bosses came as the Obama campaign launched a website to dispel rumours about his faith and patriotism and his wife's views on race as he prepares to compete for the White House in November.

Hanford worker dies day before ruling in lawsuit 14 Jun 2008 (WA) A worker [Daniel Golden] who was splashed with hazardous and radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation in 2002 died this week of cancer, one day before a federal appeals court ruled in his lawsuit against a contractor at the site.

Pay for CEOs in the Northwest shot up in 2007 14 Jun 2008 Pay for the Northwest's top CEOs shot up last year, despite a turbulent stock market and concerns about a possible U.S. recession, according to a new analysis for The Seattle Times. The 20-best paid CEOs who were in place for both 2006 and 2007 saw their median compensation rise to $8 million from $6.1 million the year before.

Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says 14 Jun 2008 Florida’s drug problem has been portrayed as the story of a single narcotic: cocaine. But for Floridians, prescription drugs are increasingly a far more lethal habit. An analysis of autopsies in 2007 released this week by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission found that the rate of deaths caused by prescription drugs was three times the rate of deaths caused by all illicit drugs combined.

Mysterious fatal strokes in 3 U.S states baffle docs 10 Jun 2008 People in three southern U.S. states are facing a health threat no one can explain: an abnormally high risk of suffering a fatal stroke - even among tourists just visiting the region. Residents and visitors alike in near-coastal areas of North and South Carolina and Georgia have a stroke risk at least 10 per cent higher than people in other U.S. states. And when local people leave the area, even for a short trip, their risk of a fatal stroke drops. [HAARP?]


Iraq's Sadr plans new armed group to fight US forces 13 Jun 2008 Iraq's Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr announced on Friday that he plans to form a new armed group to fight US forces in Iraq. In a statement issued to his nearly 60,000 strong Mahdi Army militia, the cleric said the fight against US forces will now be waged only by the new group. "We will keep resisting the occupier until the liberation (of Iraq) or (our) martyrdom," Sadr declared in a statement which was read out at a mosque in the holy Shiite town of Kufa. Sadr said the group will direct its operations against US forces and will be banned from fighting Iraqis. "This group will be professional and it will be the only group carrying arms which will be directed against the occupier. It will be banned from using arms against any Iraqis." [It's bye-bye to the 'sectarian violence' lie invented by the corporate-owned media as a cover for Blackwater and other US terrorists carrying out war crimes in Iraq, daily. --LRP]

Maliki raises possibility that Iraq might ask U.S. to leave 13 Jun 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki raised the possibility that his country won't sign a status of forces agreement with the United States and will ask U.S. troops to go home when their U.N. mandate to be in Iraq expires at the end of the year. Maliki made the comment after weeks of complaints from Shiite Muslim lawmakers that U.S. proposals that would govern a continued troop presence in Iraq would infringe on Iraq's sovereignty.

Theft worry plagues sale of NVGs to Iraq 11 Jun 2008 The Pentagon plans to sell up to 4,000 sets of high-tech night-vision goggles to Iraq, despite U.S. government audits showing that the deal could leave a critical U.S. military asset vulnerable to theft or diversion to 'insurgents' fighting American forces. The previously unpublicized sale is sparking concern from members of Congress. The goggles are part of a major, $1.4 billion proposed sale of weapons and other military gear for Iraqi forces, which have been faulted along with their Pentagon supervisors for being unable to account for thousands of firearms and other battlefield equipment provided by the United States in recent years. The sale also would send Humvees, rifles, grenade launchers and cargo trucks to Iraq, which has become a leading foreign buyer of U.S. weaponry.

3 in Ohio guilty of plot against US troops in Iraq 13 Jun 2008 Three Ohio men were convicted Friday of plotting to recruit and train terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq, a case put together with help from a former soldier who posed as a radical bent on violence [!]. Mohammad Amawi, 28, Marwan El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim Mazloum, 27, face maximum sentences of life in prison. Prosecutors said the men were learning to shoot guns and make explosives while raising money to fund their plans to wage a holy war against U.S. troops.

U.S. terrorism trials continue despite court ruling 12 Jun 2008 U.S. military tribunal 'trials' of Guantanamo prison inmates charged with terrorism will continue despite a Supreme Court ruling expanding the rights of prisoners, the Justice Department said on Thursday. Department spokesman Peter Carr said the ruling involved the status of detainees held as enemy combatants during continuing hostilities, and not the trials themselves.

McCain: Guantanamo Ruling One of the 'Worst Decisions' in History 13 Jun 2008 John McCain said Friday that the Supreme Court ruling on Guantanamo Bay prisoners is "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." The presumptive GOP nominee said the decision, a 5-4 ruling Thursday that determined Guantanamo detainees have the right to seek release in civilian courts, would lead to a wave of frivolous challenges.

Supreme Court condemns Guantanamo 13 Jun 2008 America's highest court has delivered a catastrophic blow to George Bush's policy of locking up terror suspects without charge in Guantanamo Bay. The US Supreme Court dismissed the legal basis upon which the Bush regime has interned nearly 300 inmates at the American naval base in Cuba and granted the prisoners the right to challenge their detention on the US mainland.

Detention Camp Remains, but Not Its Legal Rationale 13 Jun 2008 The Guantánamo Bay detention center will not close today or any day soon. But the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday stripped away the legal premise for the remote prison camp that officials opened six years ago in the belief that American law would not reach across the Caribbean to a United States naval station in Cuba.

All British forces to be pulled out of Iraq within a year 10 Jun 2008 All British forces are set to be pulled out of Iraq within a year, it emerged today. Plans for a phased withdrawal are back on track after a reduction in violence in Basra over recent months. Whitehall officials are now working on a new timetable for the move.

US prison plans lead to tension in Afghanistan 13 Jun 2008 News that the US plans to spend $60m to build a 40-acre detention facility at its main military base in Bargram north of Kabul to replace an existing prison at the same site has set off speculation that Washington intends to create a new version of its controversial jail at Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba, where hundreds of detainees have been held since 2001.

Taliban attack helps inmates escape Afghan prison 13 Jun 2008 Taliban militants staged a brazen bomb and rocket attack on the main prison in southern Afghanistan late Friday, blowing down the gate and helping hundreds of suspected 'insurgents' flee, officials said. Many police officers were reported killed. The complex attack included a truck bombing at the main gate, a suicide bomber who struck a back wall and rockets fired from outside, setting of a series of explosions that rattled Kandahar, the country's second biggest city. Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai who is president of Kandahar's provincial council, said the prison held about 350 suspected Taliban fighters. He said "all" the prisoners escaped, but also had no specific number. "There is no one left," he said. [<g>]

Two paratroopers killed in Afghanistan ambush 12 Jun 2008 The Parachute Regiment has suffered its biggest loss in a week since the Falklands War after two soldiers were killed during an ambush in Afghanistan. The number of paratroopers killed in action in the last four days now stands at five dead after a suicide bomber killed three on Sunday.

Western powers exploit rifts in Iran with nuclear ultimatum 14 Jun 2008 The EU foreign policy chief is leading a senior delegation of world powers to warn Iran that it must either co-operate in developing a peaceful nuclear programme on Western terms or face the threat of international isolation and further economic sanctions.

Pact plea by ambassador 13 Jun 2008 A call for a new world order, free of "artificial religious, national or sectarian borders or barriers", has gone out in Bahrain. It comes from Russian Ambassador Viktor Smirnov, who says his country is already working with Bahrain, through the United Nations and on the ground, to improve regional and global dialogue and security.

In Blow to E.U., Irish Voters Reject Treaty 14 Jun 2008 Europe was thrown into political turmoil on Friday by Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. The defeat of the treaty, by a margin of 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent, was the result of a highly organized "no" campaign that played to Irish voters’ deepest visceral fears about the European Union.

UK government embarrassed over security leak 12 Jun 2008 The British government has launched an official inquiry into how a file with top secret documents about Iraq and 'al-Qaeda' was left on a train. A passenger found the folder on a London train and handed it on to the BBC, which discovered the highly sensitive documents had been left by a senior government intelligence official from the Cabinet Office--the department which assists the prime minister.

Power back in Washington after outage 13 Jun 2008 Electrical power was restored in Washington on Friday after a widespread outage and subway fire darkened downtown for nearly three hours and snarled traffic during the morning rush hour. The Department of Homeland Security said there appeared to be no link to terrorism. Pepco electric company officials said they did not yet know why a power substation failed at 10th St. N.W. around 7:30 a.m., leaving about 11,000 downtown customers in the dark. A fire in the downtown Metro Center stop started around the same time, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said. Pepco and WMATA officials said they did not know if the power outage and the fire were related.

Rep. Kucinich not giving up on Bush impeachment 11 Jun 2008 ] Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said he’s not going to let his effort to impeach President [sic] Bush die a quiet death in committee. He said Wednesday that he’ll bring his resolution back in 30 days if the Judiciary Committee, to which it was referred Wednesday, doesn’t act on it.

McCain Stacks Fox News 'Town Hall' With Supporters 12 Jun 2008 Tonight was the first in a much-hyped series of 'town hall' forums scheduled by John McCain's campaign, in which Barack Obama had been challenged to show up to discuss the issues directly with the GOP nominee... The forum was "billed by the McCain campaign as a town hall with independent and Democratic voters," but Fox News noted at the end that the audience was actually "made up of invited guests and supporters," the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. [That's why McCain keeps pushing for the 'town hall' format. McCain knows that the GOP can stack the room with Reichwingers and that if Obama were to try a similar tactic, he'd be skewered.]

Foreign nations overwhelmingly prefer Obama, survey finds 12 Jun 2008 Foreigners overwhelmingly expect the next American president to change U.S. foreign policy "for the better," but have more confidence in Democratic candidate Barack Obama than Republican rival John McCain, according to a multi-nation poll released Thursday.

Obama builds web site to allay rumours 13 Jun 2008 US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has created a website to dispel rumors that have dogged his candidacy. The website offers Obama’s responses to rumours [GOP lies] about his faith, patriotism and his wife's views on race.

McCains report more than $100,000 in credit card debt 13 Jun 2008 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his wife reported more than $100,000 of credit card liabilities, according to financial disclosure documents released Friday. The presidential candidate and his wife Cindy reported piling up debt on a charge card between $10,000 and $15,000. His wife’s solo charge card has between $100,000 and $250,000 in debt to American Express.

NBC News 'Meet the Press' moderator Tim Russert dies 13 Jun 2008 Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and the 'moderator' of "Meet the Press," died Friday after collapsing in the bureau, NBC News said Friday. Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s "Meet the Press" program when he collapsed, the network said.

Bush "Deeply Saddened" By Death of NBC Newsman Russert 13 Jun 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush expressed condolences on the death of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert, who he called an institution in journalism and politics.

Central bank body warns of Great Depression 09 Jun 2008 The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the organisation that fosters cooperation between central banks, has warned that the credit crisis could lead world economies into a crash on a scale not seen since the 1930s. In its latest quarterly report, the body points out that the Great Depression of the 1930s was not foreseen and that commentators on the financial turmoil, instigated by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, may not have grasped the level of exposure that lies at its heart.

US foreclosure filings surge 48 percent in May 13 Jun 2008 Soaring foreclosures are continuing to raise questions about the mortgage industry's claims that they are making a dent in the housing crisis. Nationwide, 261,255 homes received at least one foreclosure-related filing in May, up 48 percent from 176,137 in the same month last year and up 7 percent from April, foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. said Friday.

Ranks of underinsured U.S. adults increase 60% 10 Jun 2008 The number of adults nationwide who have health insurance but face financial risk due to high out-of-pocket expenses - known as the underinsured - increased 60 percent between 2003 and 2007 to more than 25 million, a study released today found.

Upper Midwest flooding forces evacuations 13 Jun 2008 Rising water from the Cedar River forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital Friday after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 400 city blocks were under water. In Des Moines, 100 miles to the southwest, officials issued a voluntary evacuation order for much of downtown and other areas bordering the Des Moines River.

Floods swamp Iowa town; Drinking water near gone 13 Jun 2008 Hospital patients in wheelchairs and on stretchers were evacuated in the middle of the night as the biggest flood Cedar Rapids has ever seen swamped more than 400 blocks Friday and all but cut off the supply of clean drinking water in the city of 120,000. [Heads up! Bush and KBR are dying to privatize the US water supply.]

Floods could reduce corn supplies, raise prices 13 Jun 2008 Floods that have inundated the Midwest could reduce world corn supplies and drive food prices higher at a time when Americans are already stretching their grocery budgets and people in poor countries have rioted over rising food costs.

Groups to sue over oil impacts to polar bears 09 Jun 2008 Two environmental groups filed notice on Monday that they plan to sue the federal government for not imposing new regulations on oil development in Alaska's Arctic waters as part of offering protective status to polar bears. The Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment said the Interior Department is violating the Endangered Species Act by giving oil companies exploring the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas a pass from additional regulation.

90 per cent of pandas in jeopardy after China earthquake --1,590 pandas living in wild face uncertain future 14 Jun 2008 Nearly all of China’s endangered pandas are in jeopardy after the earthquake last month devastated the remote mountain corner that is their last remaining habitat. Yan Xun, an official at the State Forestry Administration, said: "Their living environment is completely destroyed. Massive landslides and large-scale damage to forests triggered by last month’s earthquake are threatening the existence of wild pandas."

Brown says world needs 1,000 extra nuclear power stations 13 Jun 2008 Gordon Brown has signalled he wants Britain to play a major role in the race to build an extra 1,000 nuclear power stations across the world as part of his vision for ending the global "addiction to oil". The Prime Minister, who will be flying to Saudi Arabia for an emergency oil summit next week, said in spite of the risks of terrorism, Africa could build nuclear power plants to meet growing demands for energy.


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