Saturday, February 25, 2006

TIA Lives On (02/23/2006)

NATIONAL JOURNAL: TIA Lives On (02/23/2006): " controversial counter-terrorism program, which lawmakers halted more than two years ago amid outcries from privacy advocates, was stopped in name only and has quietly continued within the intelligence agency now fending off charges that it has violated the privacy of U.S. citizens. "..

Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat

BBC NEWS World Africa Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat: " Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his 'wife', after he was caught having sex with the animal.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

'We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,' Mr Alifi said. "...

FBI memos reveal allegations of abusive interrogation techniques

KR Washington Bureau 02/23/2006 FBI memos reveal allegations of abusive interrogation techniques: "WASHINGTON - Military interrogators posing as FBI agents at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapped terrorism suspects in an Israeli flag and forced them to watch homosexual pornography under strobe lights during interrogation sessions that lasted as long as 18 hours, according to one of a batch of FBI memos released Thursday.

FBI agents working at the prison complained about the military interrogators' techniques in e-mails to their superiors from 2002 to 2004, 54 e-mails released by the American Civil Liberties Union showed. The agents tried to get the military interrogators to follow a less coercive approach and warned that the harsh methods could hinder future criminal prosecutions of terrorists because information gained illegally is inadmissible in court. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was in charge of the prison at the time, overrode the FBI agents' protests, according to the documents. "...

United Arab Emirates Donated At Least $1M To Bush Library - News - United Arab Emirates Donated At Least $1M To Bush Library: "HOUSTON -- A sheik from the United Arab Emirates contributed at least $1 million to the Bush Library Foundation, which established the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The UAE owns Dubai Ports World, which is taking operations from London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which operates six U.S. ports."...

Ricin discovered in University of Texas dorm - Feb 25, 2006 - Ricin discovered in University of Texas dorm - Feb 25, 2006: "AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A substance discovered by a student in a University of Texas dormitory has tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, officials said.

The chunky powder was found at the Moore-Hill dormitory Thursday and reported to university police, officials said. Tests for ricin came back positive Friday. Officials don't know where it came from, said campus police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon."...

U.S.: Al-Qaida in Iraq leader slain

U.S.: Al-Qaida in Iraq leader slain - Conflict in Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Al-Qaida in Iraq�s leader in northern Baghdad was killed in a raid Friday, the U.S. military said.

The military identified Abu Asma, also known as Abu Anas and Akram Mahmud al-Mushhadani, as an explosives expert with close ties to important car bomb manufacturers in Baghdad"...

Friday, February 24, 2006

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Ports: All 'Bout a Dealer Named Bout

village voice > news > Mondo Washington by James Ridgeway: "...This is a dream setup for any arms or dope dealer, and that's exactly what the United Arab Emirates is all about.The ties between its top officials and royal family with the Taliban and Al Qaeda go back at least a decade.

The UAE is not only the center of financial dealings in the Persian Gulf, it is switching central for dope and arms dealing. The dope comes out of Afghanistan into the UAE where tax monies are collected and used to buy arms, which were sent back in for the Taliban. Some of this money is thought to have helped finance the 9-11 attacks. A money trail is set forth in the government's filings in the Moussaoui case.

Long at the center of this operation is the mysterious Russian arms dealer, Victor Bout. The U.N. has accused Bout of providing arms to brutal regimes in Sierra Leone,Angola and to Charles Taylor in Liberia. The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C. research organization that operates a network of foreign correspondents, published a report on Bout in January 2002, citing Belgian intelligence documents from before the 9-11 attacks it had obtained. These documents reportedly show Bout earned $50 million in profits from selling weapons to the Taliban after they came to power in the late 1990s. The Center states, 'Another European intelligence source independently verified the sales, and intelligence documents from an African country in which Bout operates-obtained by the Center-claim that Bout ran guns for the Taliban 'on behalf of the Pakistan government.' ' Peter Hain, the British Foreign Office Minister for Europe who has led the international effort to expose criminal networks behind the conflict diamonds and small arms trade in Africa, told the Center's reporters, it was clear that Bout's supply of weapons to the Taliban 'and to its ally"Osama bin Laden" posed a real danger.

Der Spiegel, the German magazine, said in early January 2002 that Vadim Rabinovich, an Israeli citizen of Ukrainian origin, along with the former director of the Ukrainian secret service and his son sold a consignment of 150 to 200 T-55 and T-62 tanks to the Taliban. Spiegel said the deal was conducted through the Pakistani secret service and uncovered by the Russian foreign intelligence service, SVR, in Kabul, the Afghan capital. A Western intelligence source told the Public Integrity Center that Rabinovich's weapons had been airlifted by one of Bout's airfreight companies from his base in the UAE. ...

In fact, the United Arab Emirates have been viewed as hub for trade going and coming to Afghanistan, with drugs coming from Afghanistan on their way to the West, and weapons from Bout, going back. While transportation was via Bout's different air cargo interests, it also involved the Afghan state airlines, called Ariana Airlines. The airline was controlled by Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda agents masquerading as Ariana employees flew out of Afghanistan, through Sharjah, one of the emirates, and on to points west.

During the late 1990s Bout's center of operations was Ostend, Belgium, but when he came under pressure there, he left Belgium. The UAE office grew in importance.

Bout used various air cargo outfits. One of them was called Flying Dolphin, which in the early 2000s was owned by Sheikh Adbullah bin Zayed bin Saqr al Nayhan, a former UAE ambassador to the United States and member of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi. He was described by the United Nations as a "close business associate of Bout." According to the December 20, 2000, U.N. report, Zayed's company is registered in Liberia, but its operations office is in Dubai.
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Abramoff ties to Russians probed

Abramoff ties to Russians probed - The Boston Globe: "...A subpoena in the case, issued this month to an Abramoff associate, says the US government is seeking information on Abramoff-related activities with ''any department, ministry, or office holder or agent of the Russian government.' The subpoena, which has not been made public, was given to the Globe by a person who is involved in the case."....
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Iraq kickbacks widespread, says shipping exec. 24/02/2006. ABC News Online

Iraq kickbacks widespread, says shipping exec. 24/02/2006. ABC News Online: "The general manager of a shipping company based in the United Arab Emirates has made an extraordinary claim at the oil-for-food inquiry.

The executive said the British embassy, US Navy and the Royal Navy were all aware of kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in 2001.

The statement from Michael Wallbanks, the general manager of P&O Nedlloyd only arrived at the commission this morning.
He said that when he arrived in Dubai in 2000, he became aware that Iraq imposed a 10 per cent tax on all goods shipped to the country.

The commission was told that most exporters chose to pay directly to a bank account in Jordan.

Mr Wallbanks said it was well known and widely communicated to anyone involved in shipping goods to Iraq from August 2001.

He said at the time he contacted the British Embassy in Dubai, the US Navy office, and the Royal Navy.

Mr Wallbanks said he recalled they were all aware of the tax and told him he was doing nothing wrong."
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The Australian: Dead gladiators rule out bloodfest [February 24, 2006]

The Australian: Dead gladiators rule out bloodfest [February 24, 2006]: "GLADIATORIAL fights of the Roman arena were conducted according to a brutal set of rules and were not the gory free-for-alls depicted in the film Gladiator, according to research.

Tests on the bones of 66 gladiators found in a cemetery in Turkey indicated the injuries they sustained had been made by weapons known to have been used by gladiators.

None showed any evidence of the violence and mutilation that was typical of the battlefields of the same era. The findings suggest the gladiatorial bouts were officiated by referees.

But the research challenges the view that gladiatorial combat was a martial art that seldom ended in death.

Many skulls bore the marks of a blow to the head by a hammer, possibly delivered after the gladiator had been dragged, mortally wounded, from the arena. "....
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Pentagon: Ports uproar may pose security risk - Feb 23, 2006 - Pentagon: Ports uproar may pose security risk - Feb 23, 2006: "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The second in command at the Pentagon said Thursday that people who publicly oppose allowing a Middle Eastern company to take over management of some U.S. ports could be threatening national security.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told the Senate Armed Services Committee that blocking the deal could ostracize one of the United States' few Arab allies.

'The terrorists want our nation to become distrustful,' England said. 'They want us to become paranoid and isolationist, and my view is we cannot allow this to happen. It needs to be just the opposite.'

The comments came as administration officials went before the committee to defend their approval of a deal by which DPWorld, which is controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates, would take over British-based P&O. The transaction reportedly is worth $6.8 billion"...

[bth: so as military cargo moves through the ports on their way to the middle east, the ships can be tracked by our enemies/friends. Amazing.]
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Attack deepens Iraq's divide

Attack deepens Iraq's divide "...'The war could really be on now,'' says Abu Hassan, a Shiite street peddler who declined to give his full name. 'This is something greater and more symbolic than attacks on people. This is a strike at who we are.'"...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

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Woodward warns of secrecy trend

"...Although a massive, coordinated attack on the country, making 9-11 look like a 'footnote,' is still possible, the nation faces a greater threat from the federal government's current secrecy drive, Woodward told an audience in San Antonio on Tuesday.

'Democracies die in darkness,' Woodward told the 500-person crowd of mostly business and community leaders as part of Trinity University's policy maker breakfast series, a 25-year tradition.

The Bush administration, which gave Woodward remarkable access for his two books on the administration's war on terror, 'Bush At War,' in 2002 and 'Plan of Attack,' in 2004, has cloaked its decision-making in 'an immense amount of secrecy,' he said, 'too much, in my view.' "...
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Hamas received funds from Louisiana?

WorldNetDaily: Hamas received funds from Louisiana?: "A man Hamas identifies as its leader in the United States helped raise $500,000 to build a new mosque in Baton Rouge, La., but channeled most of the money to the terrorist group overseas, federal authorities suspect.

Mohammed El-Mezain coordinates fund raising for an Ohio-based charity called KindHearts, which is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for its potential links to terrorist activity. "

The Treasury Department says most of the money raised in Louisiana may have been moved overseas to the Palestinian group, regarded by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, reports the Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge.

El-Mezain was the keynote speaker at a dinner in October 2003 where Muslims in Baton Rouge donated funds to build a local mosque.

A Treasury Department announcement said, however, "only a small amount" of the money raised "was to be retained locally and the vast majority was to be sent to Hamas overseas."

Hamas, responsible for more than 100 suicide bombings and scores of shooting and rocket attacks against Israelis, won overwhelmingly in the Jan. 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections and will form the next government.

El-Mezain was indicted in 2004 for his involvement in the Dallas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which was charged with illegally sending $12.4 million to Hamas.

The president of the Islamic Center at the time of the speech, Imam Jehad Mahmoud, told the Baton Rouge paper the federal government's accusation is "absolutely irresponsible. It's an utter lie."

Mahmoud claimed the money stayed in Baton Rouge, with the exception of $4,000 paid to El-Mezain for his expenses.

The imam said the center once made a donation to the Ohio group KindHearts designated for Pakistani earthquake victims and also received money from the group for Hurricane Katrina relief. But Mahmoud, and the finance director at the time – Zee Mohamed – never were contacted by federal authorities about the fund-raiser to confirm the suspicions.
Mohamed told the Advocate, "Not a single penny has been sent to any other organization." El-Mezain, he said, spoke about the rewards of charity and building a mosque and made no mention of Hamas.

"We tried to bring in somebody who could go up there and give a speech that would touch emotions and make people want to give," Mohamed said.

Mohamed, insisting the center was unaware of El-Mezain's alleged ties to Hamas, said the local Islamic community tries to "stay away from any organization that has any link to terrorism or anything else, so that we can be transparent. We do not want anybody to come down on us. It might be totally innocent, but we don't want to take the chances so our members are safe."

But he called the Treasury Departments accusation a "deliberate attack on the Muslim minority in America."
"It bolsters the belief for some people that we are targeted simply because we are Muslims," he told the Baton Rouge newspaper.

El-Mezain reportedly was identified by the head of Hamas' Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, as the group's leader in the U.S. El-Mezain is the cousin of the deputy leader of Hamas' Political Bureau, Musa Abu Marzouq, who affirmed last week to an Egyptian interviewer that the terrorist group believes the entire Jewish state must be eliminated.

Mashal recently reiterated Hamas' view of the West and Israel in a visit to Sudan in which he was honored with a poetry reading in a meeting with local intellectuals. Abdallah Abu Qiqa's poem declared: "We will unite the armies, and they will cry 'Allah Akbar' to Tony and to Bush."

WorldNetDaily reported this week the terrorist wing of Hamas has placed on its website a graphic depicting Israel's symbol, the Star of David, enveloped in a nuclear blast. Also, since its election victory, Hamas posted on its official website parting video messages from two suicide bombers, including one who vowed the terrorist group would drink the blood of Jews until they "leave the Muslim countries."

The Hamas covenant declares that all of the Holy Land, including Israel is Islamic land that can never be surrendered to non-Muslims.

Its introduction quotes "martyr" Imam Hassan al-Banna, who said, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

The charter also makes no room for the kind of "peace process" engaged in by the ruling Palestinian Authority.

Article 13 says, "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. ... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad."
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Breaking News: FBI Raids Middle Eastern Owned Convenience Stores and Service Stations

KNOE TV8: "TV 8 News has learned FBI agents and local law enforcement authorities are conducting a raid of service stations and businesses owned by Middle Easterners in Northeast Louisiana. Agents executed search warrants today at 10 businesses in Tallulah, Delhi, Lake Providence, Monroe and Ruston. The FBI says the raids are part of 'an ongoing criminal investigation.' Police sources tell TV 8 News the raids target possible money laundering and counterfeiting in connection with suspected domestic terrorist activity. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is said to be taking part in the investigation. TV 8 News will have details at 5, 6, and 10. "
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Marines Arrested in Military Gear Thefts

BREITBART.COM - Marines Arrested in Military Gear Thefts: "Several Marines have been arrested on charges of working with a group that stole ballistic vests and other gear from Camp Pendleton and sold it on the Internet, authorities revealed Wednesday.

The investigation unfolded amid widespread criticism that U.S. troops in war zones lacked body armor. "...
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UAE royals, bin Laden's saviours

UAE royals, bin Laden's saviours: "The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency's director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said."...

[bth: the Tenent quote was from March 2004]
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Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

BREITBART.COM - Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement: "The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about 'foreign operational direction' of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment... "

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

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W aides' biz ties to Arab firm

New York Daily News - Home - W aides' biz ties to Arab firm: "WASHINGTON - The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet."

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.
The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

"The more you look at this deal, the more the deal is called into question," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said the deal was rubber-stamped in advance - even before DP World formally agreed to buy London's P&O port company.
Besides operations in New York and Jersey, Dubai would also run port facilities in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore and Miami.

The political fallout over the deal only grows.

"It's particularly troubling that the United States would turn over its port security not only to a foreign company, but a state-owned one," said western New York's Rep. Tom Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee. Reynolds is responsible for helping Republicans keep their majority in the House.

Snow's Treasury Department runs the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which includes 11 other agencies.
"It always raises flags" when administration officials have ties to a firm, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) said, but insisted that stopping the deal was more important.

The Daily News has learned that lawmakers also want to know if a detailed 45-day probe should have been conducted instead of one that lasted no more than 25 days.

According to a 1993 congressional measure, the longer review is mandated when the company is owned by a foreign government and the purchase "could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S."

Congressional sources said the President has until March 2 to trigger that harder look.

"The most important thing is for someone to explain how this is consistent with our national security," Fossella said.
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Army Logistician: Moving the Army-Texas style

"Few Americans are aware of the volume of cargo that is shipped from ports located along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Brownsville, Texas, to Cape Sable, Florida. Some of these ports serve as major Department of Defense transportation nodes for overseas deployment of Army cargo. Two of these nodes are strategic ports located in Texas--the Port of Beaumont and the Port of Corpus Christi. (Designation as a strategic port means that the port management will give priority to military cargo during a contingency.) Almost 40 percent of the Army cargo deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom flows through these two ports.

Although both the Port of Beaumont and the Port of Corpus Christi are container capable, petroleum and break-bulk products constitute most of the cargo shipped from those locations. The Port of Beaumont is home to one of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC's) port-handling battalions, the 842d Transportation Battalion."...

[bth: so 40% of our Army cargo going to Iraq flows through two ports that would be controlled by a foreign government owned company. A government which has funded al-Qaeda, diplomatically supported the Taliban (one of only 3), and been a conduit of money and arms to rogue states like Libya and Iran. And Bush doesn't see a problem with this and has threatened to veto a bill blocking this action - he hasn't ever vetoed a bill. Why? Why are we being this stupid?]
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Rumsfeld: Planting Stories Under Review

Rumsfeld: Planting Stories Under Review: "WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the Pentagon is reviewing its practice of paying to plant stories in the Iraqi news media, withdrawing his earlier claim that it had been stopped.

Rumsfeld told reporters he was mistaken in the earlier assertion."...

[bth: Fascinating. First he lied about the programs existence even though it was funded from his own budget. Then he lied about it being stopped. And he wonders why the Pentagon has developed a credibility problem. He/It has lost the faith of the American public painstakingly built up over the years since Vietnam - what a waste of goodwill. And or what?]
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Iran nuke plant 'would survive attack' - World Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 -

Iran nuke plant 'would survive attack' - World Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 - "IRAN'S uranium enrichment facilities, built in underground bunkers, would survive any military strikes, the Islamic republic's nuclear program director said today.

'The enrichment facilities, particularly Natanz, are located underground and no offensive could damage them,' said Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, quoted by the student ISNA news agency.

Mr Aghazadeh also boasted about the fortress like nature of its Isfahan plant, which is located in a network of subterranean tunnels, and touted Iran's uranium supplies.
'Our reserves are extremely developed. We can extract uranium from mines in Bandar Abbas, Saghand and Yazd,' he said."...

[bth: why is he making this statement?]

Tallying up the Taliban - Tallying up the Taliban: "KANDAHAR, Afghanistan-The going rate for blowing up a Canadian, or any other component of the NATO takeover of southern Afghanistan, is a little less than a year's salary.

That works out to about $300, payable after the fact, in Pakistani rupees or Afghanis -bomber's choice.

The number, given to the Toronto Star yesterday from the files of the Afghan security office responsible for safeguarding aid organizations, jibes more or less with other recent accounts of cash incentives offered for blasts to be carried out in the name of the Taliban.

The sum is startling, but even more so is the manner in which it was offered.

Potential recruits were quoted that figure recently in the Pakistani city of Quetta when they visited a house in response to a job advertisement. There was no mention of holy war, no mention of infidels. Just easy work for good pay."...

[bth: the story goes on to say that the Afghan population is tired of war and that the Taliban hires its recruits in lieu of jobs. I'm not so certain about that, but it does lend credence to the idea that a free trade agreement with Pakistan that re-stimulated its textile industry and hence employment might be one of the more constructive courses of action we have.... By the way, if the Taliban is advertising in local papers for recruits, why aren't the Americans infiltrating their ranks and why isn't the Pakistani government shutting this activity down? Kind of makes you wonder.]
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Jews claim police hid killers' motive to appease ghetto

Jews claim police hid killers' motive to appease ghetto - World - Times Online: "THE torture and murder of a young Jewish man in Paris triggered outrage among Jewish leaders yesterday as the Government sought to prevent the affair from inflaming emotions in the Muslim-dominated housing estates of France. "...

[bth: to pretend that this crime isn't ethnically linked is cowardly on the part of the French authorities. Better to face the problem head-on. It won't go away by pretending it doesn't exist. It also isn't a one-off but part of a pattern of kidnappings run by Muslim gangs targeting the Jewish community in France.]
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Report probes US custody deaths

BBC NEWS World Americas Report probes US custody deaths: "Almost 100 prisoners have died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, according to US group Human Rights First.

The details were first aired on BBC television's Newsnight programme.

Of the 98 deaths, at least 34 were suspected or confirmed homicides, the programme said. "...
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Bush Admits to 'Mixed Signals' Regarding Laboratory on Renewable Energy - New York Times

Bush Admits to 'Mixed Signals' Regarding Laboratory on Renewable Energy - New York Times: "GOLDEN, Colo., Feb. 21 - President Bush acknowledged on Tuesday that his administration had sent 'mixed signals' to the Department of Energy's primary renewable energy laboratory here, where government budget cuts forced the layoff of 32 employees who were then hastily reinstated just before Mr. Bush's visit.

'I recognize that there has been some interesting, let me say, mixed signals when it comes to funding,' Mr. Bush said at the start of a panel discussion at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which researches solar and wind power as well as energy from plants, like ethanol.

Mr. Bush added: 'The issue of course is whether or not good intentions are met with actual dollars spent. Part of the issue we face, unfortunately, is that there are sometimes decisions made as a result of the appropriations process, where money may not end up where it is supposed to have gone.'

The president was referring to an embarrassing sidelight of his State of the Union address on Jan. 31, when he called for new research into alternative energy to help wean the nation from its century-old oil habit. But the next day the laboratory announced that a $28 million budget cut was forcing it to lay off researchers in ethanol and wind technology, two of the areas that Mr. Bush cited in his address as full of promise.

This past weekend, with Mr. Bush's visit to the laboratory looming, the Energy Department announced that it had transferred $5 million back into the laboratory's budget and that the 32 employees would be reinstated."...

[bth: I'm not the swiftest at math but if you take away $28 million and add back $5 million (because its embarrassing to the President) then aren't you still short $23 million? Hard to make that up with cuts in magazine subscriptions and travel. What bullshit. It would seem that this should be a national priority, but it isn't. Its a PR campaign....So we've set up Halliburton with a $300 million plus contingent contract to mass arrest illegal aliens, we've cut $23 million from our alternative energy program which might assist us in reducing our dependence on middle eastern oil and we're turning our ports over to a foreign government owned company that has been a conduit of illegal nuclear arms, terrorists and was one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban diplomatically. This is just lovely.]
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Poll: Youths Back N. Korea if Attacked

BREITBART.COM - Poll: Youths Back N. Korea if Attacked: "Nearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country's next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday. "

At the same time, 40.7 percent of the 1,000 young people surveyed said Seoul should remain neutral in the event of hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang, according to the poll by The Korea Times and Hankook Ilbo dailies. Only 11.6 percent said the South should back its longtime U.S. ally. ...
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Ohio Men Accused of Plot to Kill Troops in Iraq

Ohio Men Accused of Plot to Kill Troops in Iraq: "The Justice Department accused three Ohio men yesterday of plotting to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq, allegedly by seeking to set up a Middle Eastern terrorism camp where insurgents would be trained and equipped.

One of the men was also charged with threatening to kill or hurt President Bush. It is not clear, however, how close the trio came to carrying out any of their alleged plans or whether they intended to fight in Iraq themselves."

Even so, the case appears to be the first time that suspects on U.S. soil, rather than in Europe or the Middle East, have been charged with attempting to directly aid the insurgency in Iraq.

The men are accused of spending more than a year downloading militant videos, taking weapons training, and trying to acquire or build explosives. They could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, conspiracy to kill Americans abroad. They are also charged with providing material support to terrorists....
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Peace groups under watch

...This is part of a troubling pattern by the government of spying on peaceful groups," said Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington.

Keeping watch on "groups like Raging Grannies doesn't make us safer," she said. "And it interferes with people's right to protest government policies. When government believes that advocacy of peace is a threat, we are going in the wrong direction. The government needs to focus on real threats to public safety rather than to presume that anyone who objects to government action is a safety threat."

Duke University law professor Scott Silliman, executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, sees no legal problem with the actions of Seattle-area police and federal agents surrounding Seafair. The retired Air Force lawyer said agents watching protesters in a public place is not against the law. "It's the same thing as a bunch of cops watching," Silliman said. "It may be intimidating, but it's nothing illegal."

In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration responded to its failure to detect the attacks by broadening the rules for the FBI to open a national security investigation.

The old guidelines required that a crime had been committed or was being planned. The new guidelines create a category called "threat assessment," and no crime has to be committed or planned to perform a threat assessment....