Sat Jan 17, 2009
By Louis Charbonneau
BEIRUT, Jan 17 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday
he was relieved about an Israeli ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and urged the Jewish
state to withdraw all of its troops as soon as possible.
"I am relieved that the Israeli government has decided to cease hostilities
as of midnight GMT," Ban told reporters. "This should be the first
step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza," he said,
adding that he wanted the withdrawal "as soon as possible".
He said that Hamas militants also needed to do their part to bring an end to
the violence by halting their rocket attacks against southern Israel.
"Hamas militants must stop firing rockets now," he said.
Ban said that humanitarian access for the people of the Gaza Strip was the
top priority and the United Nations was ready to act immediately.
"Any durable solution must include the reopening of the (Gaza border)
crossings and the prevention of illicit trafficking in arms," he said.
Ban flies to Damascus on Sunday to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
before heading to the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit
meeting on aid and reconstruction efforts for Gaza hosted by Egypt’s President
Israel accuses Syria and Iran of supporting and arming Hamas, an accusation
Ban said he and European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela… Continue reading
“The Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case
as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.”*
(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of
Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan
Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009. The filing (see
below) at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends
the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly
acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq. Since her
arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial
to present evidence that she had been a United States
intelligence asset since the early 1990′s.
By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute
Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the
indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.
Lindauer made the
following statement today, Jan 16, 2009: “I am disgusted by
this case. They think that they have defeated me by denying
my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can’t
have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for
Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly
after offering to testify before a Bush appointed href="http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/15/iraq.tm/"
target="_blank">blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S.
pre-war intelligence on Iraq. In late February, she
informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain
(R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that
U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and effective, not a… Continue reading
January 13, 2009
by Larisa Alexandrovna
New information surrounding the December plane crash which killed GOP internet
consultant Michael Connell casts doubt on some of the rumors and speculation
surrounding his death but doesn’t close the books on the circumstances surrounding
the Republican technology star’s tragic end.
Michael Connell, a high-level IT guru for the Republican National Committee
and the US Chamber of Commerce, died Dec. 19, 2008 at 5:53 PM ET when his airplane
crashed near Ohio’s Akron-Canton airport.
Although there has been speculation in the media about the possibility of sabotage in Connell death, authorities do not suspect foul play. The official investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not yet determined the cause of the crash; their final report is required to be produced within a year.
Connell’s ten year-old, seven-passenger, single engine Piper Saratoga II crashed into an empty house on Charolais Street in Lake Township, Ohio. The plane’s right wing clipped a flagpole in the front yard before it broke up, set fire to the garage, and tumbled some 50–60 feet along the ground toward the back yard of a neighboring home.
Connell was thrown from the burning plane and killed instantaneously by massive blunt force trauma, according to the Stark County coroner’s report. Although the body was not burned, fingerprints were required to confirm identity, according to Captain Lorin Geisner of the Greentown Fire Department.
According to Geisner, Connell’s personal items recovered from the crash site included a passport, a driver’s… Continue reading
Catherine Austin Fitts
January 9, 2009
In fiscal 1999, the Department of Defense was “missing” $2.3 trillion dollars. To put that amount of money in perspective, it is approximately 3X what President-elect Obama is proposing to spend to revitalize America.
In fiscal 2000, the Department of Defense was “missing” $1.1 trillion, about 1.5X what President-elect Obama wants to invest in America.
So between October 1998 and September 2000, the Department of Defense was “missing” $3.3 trillion. Because the amount of money disappearing is so enormous, years ago we started a archive of articles on the “missing money” to try to keep up with the trillions sliding out of the federal accounts.
From 1997 to March 2001, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) who served as the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense was William J. Lynn III. In that position, he was the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense and was the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for all budgetary and fiscal matters. That means he was the person responsible to make sure no money went missing and that the Department of Defense published audited financial statements — which it failed to do in those years and every year since.
by Josh Israel
January 7, 2009
A Center for Public Integrity Investigation
approaches a historic transfer of power, it is becoming ever-clearer what a
daunting set of tasks awaits the new administration. When Barack Obama takes
the oath of office at noon on January 20 he will inherit an economy collapsing
before our eyes and a pair of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he will
also inherit a federal government whose machinery should bear an “out of order” sign.
Obama has often stated his desire to have a more efficient government — one that is open, transparent, and accountable. “We are not going to be hampered by ideology in trying to get this country back on track,” he said in December. “We want to figure out what works.”
The Center for Public Integrity’s Broken Government project makes clear what an imposing assignment that will be by cataloging what hasn’t worked. In a comprehensive assessment of systematic failures over the past eight years, the Center found more than 125 examples of government breakdown. The failures occurred in areas as diverse as education, energy, the environment, justice and security, the military and veterans’ affairs, health care, transportation, financial management, consumer and worker safety, and more. While some of the failures are, by now, depressingly familiar, many are less well-known but equally distressing.
Read the report, and much more, at the Center for Public Integerity
January 10, 2009
by Janice Matthews
911truth.org (link to article)
911truth.org was contacted this week by Charles W. (Bill) White, of Houston,
who provided extensive information to Russ Baker in the writing of his explosive
new Bush dynasty historical expose, Family Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful
Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. More about him is in his letter to Senator Levin, below, wherein he expresses grave concern for the safety of nearly 6,000 Sailors and Marines
who will carry out their duties aboard the Navy’s new nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush.
Today, that ship was christened in spite of White’s caution. An AP article,
“Bush Visits Aircraft Carrier Named After Father,” describes the new
ship and her christening thus:
It’s the perfect gift for an old Navy flier: 1,092 feet of flattop.
“What do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything
he has ever needed?” asked President George W. Bush from aboard the Navy’s
newest ship. “Well, an aircraft carrier.”
The USS George H.W. Bush, a steel-gray vessel longer than three football
fields and built at a cost of $6.2 billion … is one of the Nimitz class
of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the largest warships in the world.
“The ship that bears our dad’s name is more than 95,000 tons of aluminum
and steel,” Bush said from a podium tucked under the flight deck. “She
will… Continue reading
21 hours ago
AFP at www.google.com/hostednews
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The outgoing White House administration will next
week hold a joint “disaster scenario” exercise with top members of
the incoming team of president-elect Barack Obama, US officials said Friday.
“I’m not going to go into the details of it, but it is a disaster scenario
where the government would be very much tested,” White House spokesman
Scott Stanzel said.
“It is an exercise scenario, a hypothetical scenario that is designed
to test and tax the capabilities of the federal government,” he added.
He did not specify whether Obama or vice president-elect Joe Biden would take
part in Tuesday’s three-hour long exercise, saying merely it was part of regular
training events and had not been motivated by any specific threat.
A huge security blanket is being thrown over Washington for Obama’s inauguration
on January 20, with up to two million people planning to converge on the US
capital to witness the nation’s first African-American president being sworn
“It is a very public event … and one that gathers, you know, leaders
in a very small environment, essentially. So obviously we have a lot of concern
about it,” Stanzel said.
“But there is no credible threat at this point to the inauguration that
is precipitating this.”
Stanzel said Tuesday’s exercise was part of President George W. Bush’s commitment
to ensuring a smooth handover of powers in the first transition to take place
since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He said senior… Continue reading
By Paul Elias
January 7, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — Six veterans who claim they were exposed to dangerous
chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the
CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies today.
The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging
program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control
They allege in their lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court that they
were never properly informed of the nature of the experiments and are in poor
health because of their exposure. They are demanding health care and a court
ruling that the program was illegal because it failed to obtain their consent.
Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks
class action status on behalf of all participants allegedly exposed to harmful
experiments without their knowledge.
At least 7,800 U.S. military personnel served as volunteers to test experimental
drugs such as LSD at the Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore, Md., during a program
that lasted into the 1970s, the lawsuit said. Many others volunteered for similar
experiments at other locations, according to the lawsuit.
"In virtually all cases, troops served in the same capacity as laboratory
rats or guinea pigs," the lawsuit said.
One notorious CIA project from the 1950s and 1960s, code-named MK-ULTRA, involved
brainwashing and administering experimental drugs
Lifestyle aricles by: ARALifestyle.com
Health Informatics Professionals are in High Demand
Sex Pheromones are Bending the Laws of… Continue reading
US gives Israel free reign on whether to invade Gaza
Friday January 2, 2009
The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into
the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for
Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.
But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian
casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top
of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
“We’ve been in regular contact with the Israelis,” White House deputy
press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were
trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.
US officials have urged the Israelis “to be mindful that any of the actions
that they’re taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to
help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods,” he said.
“So I think any steps they are taking, whether it’s from the air or on
the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation,”
“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and so
we’ll see,” Johndroe said when asked about progress toward a ceasefire.
After briefing Bush about events in Gaza, just 18 days before he hands the
White House to his successor Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
said Washington was pursuing diplomacy with its partners in the Middle East.…
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008
By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)
The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day – children who could be fed if we weren’t wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.
Just so you get that, here it is again:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, CÃ´te d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.…
Dec. 29, 2008
MIAMI – U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian
President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he
was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father’s reign.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles “Chuckie” Taylor
Jr., is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.
His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S.
for acts of torture committed overseas.
A recent Justice Department court filing describes torture — which the
U.S. has been accused of in the war on terror — as a “flagrant and
pernicious abuse of power and authority” that warrants severe punishment
“It undermines respect for and trust in authority, government and a rule
of law,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller in last week’s
filing. “The gravity of the offense of torture is beyond dispute.”
Remainder of article at msnbc.com…Continue reading
Accusation–Attorney general-nominee led effort to kill investigation into
By Pamela Manson
December 25, 2008
A Salt Lake City lawyer who claims his brother was tortured and murdered in
a federal prison is alleging that Attorney General nominee Eric Holder played
a role in covering up the crime.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee members, lawyer Jesse Trentadue acknowledges
the paper trail on Holder’s actions "is scant," but claims he was
the "point man" in an effort to persuade Congress to not investigate
his brother’s death. He is asking that Holder be questioned at his confirmation
hearing next year about his alleged attempt to block efforts "to obtain
a certain measure of justice for my brother’s murder."
The Department of Justice, where Holder served as deputy attorney general under
President Bill Clinton, referred a request for comment to the Presidential Transition
Team (PTT). A statement issued by an Obama transition aide denied Trentadue’s
"Multiple independent investigations have found that Kenneth Trentadue’s
death was a suicide," the statement said. "There is simply no evidence
to support the claims in this letter."
The body of Kenneth Trentadue, who had served time for bank robbery and was
being held on an alleged parole violation, was found hanging in his cell at
the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City on Aug. 21, 1995.
Several investigations by state and federal agencies ruled the death a suicide,
but his survivors believe Kenneth Trentadue was strangled with plastic handcuffs
by… Continue reading
By Thomas A. Schweich
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican
and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy
of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense
into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is
President-elect Barack Obama’s selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star
Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired
Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present
the incoming administration with an important opportunity — and a major risk.
These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers
to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government
functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been
steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past
four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much
of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in
faraway places — Iraq and Afghanistan — and was, in theory, justified by the
exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the budgetary
shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department, the Justice Department
and the U.S. Agency for International Development to train civilian police forces,
build… Continue reading
By Jordy Yager
December 17, 2008
A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs
this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince
lawmakers to freeze their own pay.
Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5
million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups
are not happy about it.
“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just
$1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal
gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League
(TSCL), a non-partisan group. “This money would be much better spent helping
the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling
to keep their heat on this winter.”
However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only
half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.
Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common
Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as
lawmakers did in 2000.
“Look at the way the economy is and how most people aren’t counting
on a holiday bonus or a pay raise — they’re just happy to have gainful
employment,” said Ellis. “But you have the lawmakers who are set
up and ready to get their next installment of a pay raise and go happily along
their… Continue reading
November 12, 2008
* Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack’s support of genetically engineered pharmaceutical
crops, especially pharmaceutical corn:
* The biggest biotechnology industry group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization,
named Vilsack Governor of the Year. He was also the founder and former chair
of the Governor’s Biotechnology Partnership. http://www.bio.org/news/pressreleases/newsitem.asp?id=200…
* When Vilsack created the Iowa Values Fund, his first poster child of economic
development potential was Trans Ova and their pursuit of cloning dairy cows.
* Vilsack was the origin of the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, which many people
here in Iowa fought because it took away local government’s possibility of ever
having a regulation on seeds- where GE would be grown, having GE-free buffers,
banning pharma corn locally, etc. Representative Sandy Greiner, the Republican
sponsor of the bill, bragged on the House Floor that Vilsack put her up to it
right after his state of the state address.
* Vilsack has a glowing reputation as being a schill for agribusiness biotech
giants like Monsanto. Sustainable ag advocated across the country were spreading
the word of Vilsack’s history as he was attempting to appeal to voters in his
presidential bid. An activist from the west coast even made this youtube animation
). The airplane in this animation is a referral to the controversy that Vilsack
often traveled in Monsanto’s jet.
*Vilsack is an ardent support of corn and soy based biofuels, which use as
much or more fossil energy to produce them as they generate, while driving up
world food prices and literally starving the poor.…
Court Rules Patriot Act’s “National Security Letter” Gag
Provisions Unconstitutional (12/15/2008)
ACLU Hails Victory In Challenge To Government’s Power To Silence NSL Recipients
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; email@example.com
NEW YORK — A federal appeals court today upheld, in part, a decision
striking down provisions of the Patriot Act that prevent national security letter
(NSL) recipients from speaking out about the secret records demands. The decision
comes in an American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union
lawsuit challenging the FBI’s authority to use NSLs to demand sensitive and
private customer records from Internet Service Providers and then forbid them
from discussing the requests. Siding with the ACLU, the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit found that the statute’s gag provisions violate the First
“We are gratified that the appeals court found that the FBI cannot silence
people with complete disregard for the First Amendment simply by saying the
words ‘national security,’” said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the
ACLU National Security Project. “This is a major victory for the rule of
law. The court recognized the need for judicial oversight of the government’s
dangerous gag power and rejected the Bush administration’s position that the
courts should just rubber-stamp these gag orders. By upholding the critical
check of judicial review, the FBI can no longer use this incredible power to
hide abuse of its intrusive Patriot Act surveillance powers and silence critics.”
The appeals court invalidated parts of the statute that wrongly placed the… Continue reading
December 14, 2008
The Sunday Times
As a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited
last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old
daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.
“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing
the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day,
I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg.
When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”
Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny
breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for
“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes
with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top
and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.
Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the
past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party,
Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets
at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when
Israel opens the borders.
The fragile truce technically ends this Thursday, and there have been few signs
it will be renewed. Nobody knows how to resolve the stalemate. Secret talks
are under way through Egyptian intermediaries, although both… Continue reading
by Nat Hentoff
December 10, 2008
Since I live in the Village, my Congressman is Jerrold Nadler, a civil libertarian
for all seasons. Unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, he has never been in
fear of being targeted as "soft on terrorism" for opposing the Bush-Cheney
war on the Bill of Rights. Nadler certainly does not underestimate the jihadists:
The 9/11 attacks exploded in his district.
In The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone describes Nadler’s reaction
to that day of terror: Securing "$20 billion for the cleanup and eventual
rebuilding, he spearheaded numerous actions on behalf of affected families .
. ." but "Nadler remained true to his civil libertarian views. He
vigorously opposed the USA Patriot Act and the Iraq War Resolution." And
since 2007, he has chaired the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights,
and Civil Liberties.
In that subcommittee, and on the floor of the House, he fought Bush (and some
Democrats) in order to give "enemy combatants" their habeas corpus
rights. (The Supreme Court has agreed.) And, unlike many Democrats, he has worked
to narrow the very definition of "enemy combatant," which is especially
important. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, voted for by too many
Democrats, anyone held as a captured "detainee" in a military prison
can be charged with giving "material support" to the enemy and can
be locked up indefinitely. American citizens have also been held on this charge–which
could include giving money to a charity they weren’t aware… Continue reading