Friday, August 12, 2005
The government argues that the information is protected by Exemption 7(F) of the FOIA, which protects law enforcement records from disclosure when they "could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual." Citing recent riots in Afghanistan following Newsweek's publication of an article about claims of Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, the government says the release of Abu Ghraib photos could similarly incite violence against military personnel overseas.
"The government has taken the position in this case that the more outrageously the behavior exhibited by American troops, the less the public has a right to know about it," said Reporters Committee executive director Lucy Dalglish. "Such a stance turns the Freedom of Information Act inside out."
"It is bad enough that al-Marri has been held indefinitely without charges and incommunicado," said Jamie Fellner, director of Human Rights Watch's U.S. Program. "Now we learn that his life in the brig has also been one of cruelty and petty vindictiveness. Whatever the Bush administration believes he has done or wanted to do, there's no excuse for how they are treating him."
In depositions for an employment discrimination lawsuit, the FBI’s top anti-terrorism guy, Gary Bald, said his first terrorism training came "on the job" when he moved to headquarters to oversee anti-terrorism strategy two years ago.
Asked about his grasp of Middle Eastern culture and history, Bald responded: "I wish I had it. It would be nice."
What happens to people like that after they make admissions like that in public?
Well in the Bush Administration, up is down and black is white and guys like that get promoted. That guy, Gary Bald, is the guy they now want to make head of the new FBI National Security Service. (The NSS itself is the big bad idea I ranted about on July 5th -- the elimination of the line between cops and spies).
Even Republicans are shocked at the idea – Senator Charles Grassley of Ohio is asking John Negroponte to not appoint Mr. On the Job Training.
Two developments ended this brief moment of seeming triumph for Washington. As a start, American officials [including John Bolton], feeling their oats, balked at the tentative terms negotiated by the Europeans because they did not involve regime change in Iran. This hardline American stance gave the Iranian leadership no room to maneuver and stiffened their negotiating posture.
At the time, in the wake of its successful three-week war in Iraq, the Bush administration seemed ready, even eager, to apply extreme military pressure to Iran. According to Washington Post columnist William Arkin, the official US strategic plan (formally known as CONPLAN 8022-02) completed in November 2003, authorized "a preemptive and offensive strike capability against Iran and North Korea". An administration pre-invasion quip (reported by Newsweek on August 19, 2002) caught perfectly the post-invasion mood ascendant in Washington: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran."
Speech Harmful to Children
Children’s First Amendment Rights
Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions
Radio and Television
Freedom of Speech and Government Funding
Free Speech Rights of Government Employees and Government Contractors . . 32
Data mining is becoming increasingly common in both the private and public sectors. Industries such as banking, insurance, medicine, and retailing commonly use data mining to reduce costs, enhance research, and increase sales. In the public sector, data mining applications initially were used as a means to detect fraud and waste, but have grown to also be used for purposes such as measuring and improving program performance. However, some of the homeland security data mining applications represent a significant expansion in the quantity and scope of data to be analyzed. Two efforts that have attracted a higher level of congressional interest include the Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) project (now-discontinued) and the Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II) project (now canceled
and replaced by Secure Flight).
CALEA, a law passed in the early 1990s, mandated that all telephone providers build tappability into their networks, but expressly ruled out information services like broadband. Under the new ruling from the FCC, this tappability now extends to Internet broadband providers as well.
Unfortunately for some retailers (such as Tesco supermarkets), the machine-readable version of the bar code used for the CD compilation's cover art was scannable by their systems, and sales clerks at those outlets who mistakenly passed the CD's cover (rather than its back) over point-of-purchase scanners ended up ringing up sales for £9.77,
She has rained a mighty storm upon herself for standing up, before members of Congress and live on C-SPAN to proclaim things are just not right in this staggeringly profitable business.
She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton -- a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq -- getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?
Dr Kirpotin told the magazine the situation was an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He added that the thaw had probably begun in the past three or four years.
Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.
"When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it's unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply," said David Viner, a senior scientist at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
"This is a big deal because you can't put the permafrost back once it's gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing."
The papers were filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the release of 87 photos and four videotapes taken at Abu Ghraib. The photos were among those turned over to Army investigators last year by Spc. Joseph Darby, a reservist who was posted at Abu Ghraib.
The documents reveal both the high level and the determination of the Pentagon officials engaged in the effort to block the disclosure of the images, and their alarm at the prospect the photos might become public. In his statement, dated July 21, Myers said he had become aware on June 17 that the photos' release might be imminent. He said he had consulted with Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. central commander, and Gen. George Casey, the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq. Both officers also opposed the release, Myers said.
Since the 1850s, when a London Times reporter was sent to chronicle the Crimean War, journalists have generally provided the most immediate first-hand depictions of major conflicts. But in Iraq, service members themselves are delivering real-time dispatches -- in their own words -- often to an audience of thousands through postings to their blogs.
"I was able to jot a few lines in every day, and it just grew from there," Le Bel, 24, of Haverhill, Mass., said in an e-mail. Her Web site has received about 45,000 hits since she started it a year ago.
At least 200 active-duty soldiers currently keep blogs. Only about a dozen blogs were in existence two years ago when the U.S. invaded Iraq, according to "The Mudville Gazette" ( http://www.mudvillegazette.com ), a clearinghouse of information on military blogging administered by an Army veteran who goes by the screen name Greyhawk.
Written in the casual, sometimes profane language of the barracks, the entries give readers an unfiltered perspective on combat largely unavailable elsewhere. But they are also drawing new scrutiny and regulation from commanders concerned they could compromise security
The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent:Karl Rove
I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby
Israel Hernandez John Hannah
Vice President Dick Cheney
President George W. Bush
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The Air Force wants to retire aging aircraft from many Guard units, close or consolidate some of their bases and give some units new missions, like flying remotely piloted Predator aircraft, that are better suited to today's national security environment, Air Force officials say.
But doing that would leave more than two dozen states without emergency aircraft to fight fires, recover from hurricanes and cope with other natural disasters, lawmakers say.
Officials from New England to the Pacific Northwest argue that the plan would leave them vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Illinois and Pennsylvania have gone so far as to file suit in federal court contending that the Defense Department cannot move Air Guard units without the consent of the state governors, who share authority with the president over use of the units.
Now, the 95-minute film - which has circulated like 16-millimeter samizdat on college campuses for decades but has never been accessible to a wide audience - is about to get its first significant theatrical release in the United States, beginning on Friday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. (Other bookings, including Chicago, Detroit, Hartford and Minneapolis)...
Its distributors say that the war in Iraq has made the Vietnam-era film as powerful as when it was new, and its filmmakers are calling it eerily prescient of national embarrassments like the torture at Abu Ghraib.
Seldom has a film seen by so few caused so much consternation for so many years.
When it was made at a three-day gathering in 1971 of Vietnam veterans telling of the atrocities they had seen and committed, major news organizations sent reporters but published and broadcast next to nothing of what they filed - prompting the veterans to organize what would be a pivotal antiwar demonstration in Washington a few months later.
When the film was finished a year later, it was shown at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals, at theaters in France and England, and on German television. But in the United States, the television networks would not touch it, the film never found a distributor, and it disappeared for decades after playing a week at a single New York theater and a one-time airing on Channel 13.
"We applied for a patent ... for some specific reproductive processes in swine," said Monsanto spokesman Chris Horner. "Any pigs that would be produced using this reproductive technique would be covered by these patents."
The practices Monsanto wants to patent basically involve identifying genes that result in desirable traits in swine, breeding animals to achieve those traits and using a specialized device to inseminate sows deeply in a way that uses less sperm than is typically required.
"We've come up with a protocol that wraps a lot of these techniques together," said Monsanto swine molecular breeding expert Mike Lohuis.
The order, signed by Bush in November 2001, said the "incumbent president" had the right to approve the release of papers from the presidential libraries of his father, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.
It set off a furor at the time among historians, archivists and librarians. They said it all but repealed the Presidential Records Act, a 1978 law that decreed a president's records were public property, not the private property of the former president. Under this law, a former president's papers were to be opened to the public 12 years after he left office. Exceptions could be made for national security reasons.
Bush's executive order added a new check. It said the "incumbent president may assert any constitutionally based privilege" after the 12 years had lapsed to block the release of files. Included among these many privileges were "records that reflect … legal advice or legal work."
Governor Ali Khail told the Associated Press US-led forces had made a mistake and villagers were among casualties.
The US said one of its soldiers and "at least 16 enemy forces" were killed in fighting in the area on Monday.
US forces said on Thursday that another US soldier and six militants had died in fighting in Paktika province.
Last month, the US military said it regretted that civilians had been killed in an air strike by US forces in eastern Konar Province.
What isn't clear is whether fabrications have become more common, or just easier to uncover.
These days, an army of amateur and professional media critics have made a hobby out of attempting to discredit news reports and statements by politicians.
Their work has been aided by powerful Internet tools that have made it easier than ever to detect stolen or false material, confirm identities or troll public records.
"Certainly the tools of verification are better and more readily available than they were in the Janet Cooke era," said Bill Mitchell of the Poynter Institute, a journalism school.
“We do what we can. We’re like any other media out there – we try to get the information as soon as we can do it,” he said. “We’re very limited with what we can do on our Web site, the way it’s established,” he added. “We’re going beyond what our capabilities are in some way.
“Here we are just an itty-bitty paper and we beat everybody else. We beat all the big guys as far as getting something out there and I guess that’s kind of satisfying. We’re just trying to make a big effort. We’re following a big story.”
But now it’s time for him to level with me and with the American people. I think that’s why there’s been such an outpouring of support. This is giving the 61 percent of Americans who feel that the war is wrong something to do -- something that allows their voices to be heard. It’s a way for them to stand up and show that they DO want our troops home, and that they know this war IS a mistake… a mistake they want to see corrected. It’s too late to bring back the people who are already dead, but there are tens of thousands of people still in harm’s way.
"Almost every single Iraq vet who walks into our office has some kind of serious problem, many with mental health problems. So we just have to refer them on," said David DeBolt, director of the Polk County Commission on Veteran Affairs . "We're here to help with basic needs - some rent money, help with the bills, prescriptions, transportation around town."
A senior lawyer for the U.S. government has told a judge hearing a lawsuit over Maher Arar's deportation to Syria that foreign citizens passing through American airports have almost no rights.
- INDEPTH: Maher Arar
At most, Mary Mason told a hearing in Brooklyn, N.Y., passengers would have the right not to be subjected to "gross physical abuse."
The policy has implications for Canadians who head for international destinations via big American airports in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major centres.
Mason said the U.S. government is interpreting its powers in such a way that passengers never intending to enter the U.S. connecting to international flights at U.S. airports must prove they are no threat and could be allowed to enter the country.
If passengers are deemed to be inadmissible, they have no constitutional rights even if later taken to an American prison. Mason told Judge David Trager that's because they are deemed to be still outside the U.S., from a legal point of view.
Months after the contentious sale was finalized, Gus Boulis was killed, gunned down gang-land style in his car. No arrest was ever made but investigators believe that a series of Suncruz checks to a Miami Beach man named Tony Ferarri financed the hit, Local 10 News reporter Rad Berky said.
Abramoff and Kidan are charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Each count carries a penalty up to five years in prison and a 250-thousand dollar fine.
Kidan's attorney in Florida says his client would surrender voluntarily to federal authorities in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow.
Senate Intelligence chairman quietly 'fixed' intelligence, and diverted blame from White House over Iraq
"The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information," he writes, "are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate."
The order is aimed at protecting "military security" and "sensitive law enforcement."
But what was said to be an effort to protect the United States became a tool by which the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) ensured there was no serious investigation into how the administration fixed the intelligence that took the United States to war in Iraq or the fabricated documents used as evidence to do so.
...By the late 1990s, members of the committees and their staffs were seeing more than 2,200 CIA reports and receiving more than 1,200 substantive briefings from agency officials each year to assist them in their role of providing proper oversight.
But the little-reported 2001 Bush directive changed that, ensuring that only two members of each committee received full briefings on intelligence operations, and preventing committee staffs from carrying out meaningful research.
The study, released Wednesday, was undertaken by the Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. It said that one in 20 people in D.C. is infected with the virus and that a coordinated plan in attacking HIV/AIDS issues is lacking.
The study was begun in early 2004 with the support of Mayor Anthony Williams.
It urges top city officials "to speak frequently, strongly and clearly" about the disease and to take "committed and strategic steps" to improve management of surveillance, prevention, funding and treatment.
Today, most scientists and nutrition experts agree that trans fat is America's most dangerous fat and recommend the use of alternatives like olive and sunflower oils.
"To help combat heart disease, the No. 1 killer in New York City, we are asking restaurants to voluntarily make an oil change and remove artificial trans fat from their kitchens," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city's health commissioner, who compared trans fats to asbestos and lead as public health threats. "We are also urging food suppliers to provide products that are trans-fat free."
James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002.
...Since charges were first filed in December, the RNC has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent, a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly. The firm's other clients include Bill and Hillary Clinton and former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros.
The 10-member board must still take a final vote, expected in either September or October, but a 6-4 vote on Tuesday that approved a draft of the standards essentially cemented a victory for conservative Christian board members who say evolution is largely unproven and can undermine religious teachings about the origins of life on earth.
"We think this is a great development ... for the academic freedom of students," said John West, senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, which supports intelligent design theory.
Both Americans and Iraqis need "to start thinking about and talking about what it's really going to be like in Iraq after elections," said the military official, who spoke in an interview on the condition he not be named. "I think the important point is there's not going to be a fundamental change."
The official stressed that it was "important to calibrate expectations post-elections. I've been saying to folks: You're still going to have an insurgency, you're still going to have a dilapidated infrastructure, you're still going to have decades of developmental problems both on the economic and the political side."
Images: Truckers Protest Fuel Prices
Traffic in the area was at a standstill as the trucks started a caravan headed toward Miami City Hall.The trucks traveled 20 miles to present a petition requesting a fuel surcharge break for independently owned trucks.The truckers claim that the high cost of gas has made it impossible for them to earn a living.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
“The storming of a military barracks of a more powerful adversary in a classic guerrilla warfare operation is undoubtedly heroic. The bombing of children taking sweeties from an American soldier is clearly not heroic.”
Critics accused the 50-year-old of endangering British troops last week after he went on television in the Middle East to hail the Iraqi “resistance” for “defending all the people of the world against American hegemony”.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
An interview with Zechariah, 25, of Lynnwood, Washington. He enlisted in the Army when he was 21, and was deployed to Iraq from March 2003 to January 2004 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a medic. [from MetaFilter.com]
Ruling in favor of two advocacy groups -- West Harlem Environmental Action and the Natural Resources Defense Council -- U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff wrote that the agency failed to justify its 2001 agreement with pest control companies, which dropped two provisions from a 1998 rule requiring them to include a bittering agent and an indicator dye.
"In short, the EPA lacked even the proverbial 'scintilla of evidence' justifying its reversal of the requirement it had imposed, after extensive study, only a few years before," Rakoff wrote.
The battle over how to regulate rat poison started in August 1998 when the Clinton administration approved its use as long as manufacturers added a bittering agent and a dye that made it more obvious if a child ingested the poison. Three years later, Bush administration officials rescinded the requirements, on the grounds that they would make the poison less attractive to rats and could damage household property.
He plans to recreate the Buddhas by projecting 140 neon pink, green, orange, white and blue laser “statue” images onto the cliffsides where the figures once stood. Each image will be up to 175 feet tall, just like the original statues, and the display width will be four miles.
In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.
Slate's Today's Papers went the extra op-ed mile today to discuss an NYT front page story that alleges that DOD intelligence pegged 3 of the 9/11 hijackers as al-Qaeda agents in the U.S. back in 2000. Remember, this is the same DOD that, under Rumsfeld, wants to establish its own intelligence agency outside of the CIA, having bumbled an earlier incarnation. The problem? The article is primarily sourced to Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) and the ubiquitous "unnamed defense official". Weldon's primary source is an associat of Manucher Gorbanifar, "a well-known Iranian exile whom the CIA branded as a fabricator during the 1980s but who was used by the Reagan White House as a middleman for the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran." Oh, and he's got a new book out. The NYT has apparently learned nothing. [from MetaFilter.com]
Monday, August 08, 2005
His most outstanding moment, to my mind, was his marathon coverage of the 9/11 attacks.
I recall his rewording phrases off the teleprompter as he read aloud. He would stop and say, "We actually don't know that yet. A better way to put it is..." He brought a rigor to that terrible day that we all wanted. He did not give air time to assumptions and speculations. He held to what he knew as verified.
But there was one moment that evening when me and my family (gathered around the TV) just took a gasp of human aknowledgement. Peter Jennings turned over his desk to a guest expert. Jennings did this without flourish. It was a small moment where a man whose nerves were as raw as the rest of ours. He got out of his chair and turned his back to the camera without a thought. You could see the wires and casing of the sound equipment on his back. And he just walked away from the desk to let the guest speak. Nothing slick about it. It was just a man who had seen and faithfully reported what was known and got out of his chair as if he was in our livingroom -- or just some guy in a studio.
I thought he deserved some kind of award for his coverage that day.
Peter Jennings also stood out because of his lack of strange affectations that Brokaw and Rather embraced. Granted, he would emphasize words that did not always jibe with the meaning of the story. But this is a small infraction compared to others.
Robert MacNeil (of MacNeil/Leherer fame) wrote a poignant and cutting novel about broadcast new anchoring, "Breaking News." Reading the book I could not help but wonder how much Peter Jennings informed the story.
He had a minimalist style, which is very respectable for a journalist. But he also spoke of a kind of poetry to bring to the news. I honestly see very little abuse of artistic license in his delivery. He rewrote most of the copy himself (as he did, on the fly, during 9/11) and delivered it with a precision and accuracy that made ABC News simply better than the others.
I'm surprised how sad I am to see his passing. I know that I don't know him personally. His fellow journalists can say more.
For some great audio, listen to The Beloved Voice of Peter Jennings
and Terry Gross' interview with hm on Fresh Air.
*I have a lot of respect for journalists. My gripe is with some of the sytemic and marketing aspects of news. But this is not the time/place.
"Nowadays ice conditions are thinner than in the 1970s and 80s. The ice used to be 20 to 30 feet thick but now it is more like 10 feet thick. But what can we do? Sometimes I feel sad but we just have to go with what we have got.
"Up here in the Arctic we are definitely warming up, the polar pack ice has all but gone."
Percy says Western nations need to have scientific proof that the climate is warming rather than believing the word of the native people but he adds: "The white man, the climatologists are just learning what we knew was going on."
Signs of global warming fed by greenhouse gases produced by human activity, or just summertime oddities?
In the United States, some warblers are flying north to Canada. In Costa Rica, toucans are moving higher up into the mountains, apparently because of rising temperatures.
In July, a Norwegian man fishing in a fjord had a shock when he landed a John Dory, a fish more usually found in temperate waters off southern Europe or Africa.
"There's a long list of migratory species ending up further north. It's certainly a sign of warmer temperatures," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy director at the Greenpeace environmental group.
He said salmon had been swimming through the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia into the Chukchi Sea, apparently because the frigid water had warmed up.
Such shifts could have vast long-term implications for farmers and fishing fleets.
A spokeswoman for WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said that tests had shown positive results of GM material but samples had been sent overseas for further testing and until more detailed results were confirmed no further details could be released.
The latest test results come after GM material was found during routine testing by the Australian Barley Board in June of an export consignment of Victorian canola seeds bound for Japan. About 0.01 per cent of the consignment contained the GM material.
It is believed the modification found in Victoria, known as Topas 19/2 and developed by Bayer CropScience, was also found in the WA sample tested.
The letter, signed by nearly 100 prominent lawyers, professors, physicians and intellectuals, urged the authors of the new constitution to insist that the text ”clearly affirms international law in its totality, primarily the Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as the international agreements, conventions, and declarations.”
OMBWatch: Organizations Urge Senate to Save the Estate Tax and Reject Dangerous "Compromise" Proposals
Realizing they lack the 60 votes necessary to avoid a filibuster in the Senate, some in the pro-repeal camp are now calling for compromises that would be tantamount to repeal. The coalition urged senators to reject any "compromise" that would gut the estate tax and strip the essential revenue and incentives to charitable giving it provides.
Ever since the atomic bombs were exploded over Japanese cities, historians, social scientists, journalists, World War II veterans, and ordinary citizens have engaged in intense controversy about the events of August 1945. John Hersey’s Hiroshima, first published in the New Yorker in 1946 made some unsettled readers question the bombings while church groups and a few commentators, most prominently Norman Cousins, explicitly criticized them. Former Secretary of War Henry Stimson found the criticisms troubling and published an influential justification for the attacks in Harper’s. During the 1960s the availability of primary sources made historical research and writing possible and the debate became more vigorous. Historians Herbert Feis and Gar Alperovitz raised searching questions about the first use of nuclear weapons and their broader political and diplomatic implications. The controversy, especially the arguments made by Alperovitz and others about "atomic diplomacy" quickly became caught up in heated debates about Cold War "revisionism." The controversy simmered over the years with major contributions by Martin Sherwin and Barton J. Bernstein but it became explosive during the mid-1990s when curators at the National Air and Space Museum met the wrath of the Air Force Association over a proposed historical exhibit on the Enola Gay. The NASM exhibit was drastically scaled down but historians and journalists continued to engage in the debate. Alperovitz, Bernstein, and Sherwin made new contributions to the debate as did historians, social scientists, and journalists such as Richard B. Frank, Herbert Bix, Sadao Asada, Kai Bird, Robert James Maddox, Robert P. Newman, Robert S. Norris, Tsuyoshi Hagesawa, and J. Samuel Walker.
"Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations," a Washington Post headline declared in a front-page, above-the-fold story on August 7.
"Among other things, al Qaeda and its offshoots are building a massive and dynamic online library of training materials," the Post reported, and offered sample documents from this library on its own web site.
But contrary to the Post story line, the cited library materials suggest a startling lack of technical competence. Unfortunately, the Post did not critically examine the materials that it presented.
The Post story's uncertain grasp of the underlying science was signalled early on when it twice mistakenly referred to a virus as the cause of pneumonic plague. Pneumonic plague is caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis, not by a virus.
A page excerpted by the Post online from "The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook" purported to explain how to manufacture "betaluminium poison."
But there is no such thing as betaluminium poison. (The word appears to be a corruption of "botulinum"). Nor would the proffered production method -- combining fresh horse manure, meat, grain and water in a sealed jar -- yield much more than a stinky mess.
"The first time I saw [the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook]," said chemist George Smith of GlobalSecurity.org, "I thought it must be a hoax."
"Careful examination of the document shows that it is crammed with errors, seemingly the work of someone with little discernible sense, profoundly ignorant of the nature of simple compounds and incompetent in even minor [laboratory] procedures," Dr. Smith wrote in National Security Notes in March 2004:
In short, the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook that was excerpted on the Washington Post web site indicates something nearly the opposite of what the Post article on terrorist use of the internet claimed to show.
Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, noted that troop levels were raised last January during Iraq's first elections, and then returned to the current level of about 138,000 several weeks later.
Despite White House denials, allegations have surfaced in recent weeks that Karl Rove is the man who leaked covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. He is rumored to be President Bush's senior advisor, chief political strategist, architect of the president's 2000 and 2004 election victories, and the current deputy White House chief of staff, as well as a frequent guest on televised political talk shows.
"None of these allegations are supported by the facts," McClellan said. "The opponents of this administration have created a mythical figure in order to discredit the president. All they have done is divert attention from the important work at hand—the war in Iraq and the war on terror. In doing so, they have dishonored the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform."
Stevens stopped short of calling for an end to the death penalty, but he said there are many problems in the way it is used.
Stevens said DNA evidence has shown "that a substantial number of death sentences have been imposed erroneously. . . . It indicates that there must be serious flaws in our administration of criminal justice," he said.
They described primitive cells found in a part of the placenta called the amnion, which they coaxed into forming a variety of cell types and which look very similar to sought-after embryonic stem cells.
With 4 million children born in the United States each year, placentas could provide a ready source of the cells, the team at the University of Pittsburgh said.
Film officials have held talks with Catholic groups and other organisations despite Dan Brown, the author, insisting that “it’s only a novel and therefore a work of fiction”, The New York Times reported yesterday.
The Catholic League is calling for Ron Howard, the film’s Oscar-winning director, to include a disclaimer acknowledging that the movie is fiction.
The goal during a three-week recess called by China will be to encourage senior North Korean leaders to make a strategic decision to forgo and dismantle all nuclear capacity in return for recognition and economic aid, said the diplomat, Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
The classified plans, developed here at Northern Command headquarters, outline a variety of possible roles for quick-reaction forces estimated at as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack, a number that could easily grow depending on the extent of the damage and the abilities of civilian response teams.
The possible scenarios range from "low end," relatively modest crowd-control missions to "high-end," full-scale disaster management after catastrophic attacks such as the release of a deadly biological agent or the explosion of a radiological device, several officers said.
Some of the worst-case scenarios involve three attacks at the same time, in keeping with a Pentagon directive earlier this year ordering Northcom, as the command is called, to plan for multiple simultaneous attacks.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Until now the only strategy to avoid contrails was for planes to reduce their altitudes from about 33,000 feet to as low as 24,000 feet. At this height the air is not supersaturated with ice, so contrails cannot form. But it is not ideal. "If you lower the altitude substantially you place a heavy load on air traffic control, and the engines don't operate as efficiently," says Hermann Mannstein at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen. This is because aircraft engines are optimised to fly at higher altitudes.
"It put everything in perspective for me. It really did teach me the definition of sacrifice. I can't even fathom being out there right now. I was ready to come home."
The office had paid a contractor twice for the same work. A U.S. official was allowed to handle millions of dollars in cash weeks after he was fired for incompetence. Of the $119.9 million allocated for regional projects, $89.4 million was disbursed without contracts or other documentation. An additional $7.2 million couldn't be found at all.
To many officials in both Baghdad and Washington, the only thing more surprising than the problems was the identity of the man who had uncovered them: Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
Those who had their masculinity threatened also said they felt more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile than those whose masculinity was confirmed, he said.
Ottawa University law professor Craig Forcese said the case is technically extraditable, even if it flies in the face of Canadian legal norms.
"As far as I can tell this case looks like a fairly straight, plain vanilla extradition. Where the sensitivities arise is just the differential views on the merits of prosecuting for marijuana."
Teams at University College London and University of California in LA could tell what images people were looking at or what sounds they were listening to.
The US team say their study proves brain scans do relate to brain cell electrical activity.
The UK team say such research might help paralysed people communicate, using a "thought-reading" computer.
Outdoor Advertising New Zealand is reviewing who is behind the boards and whether the Advertising Standards Authority needs to become involved.
The suit was filed against the office of the secretary of state and governor, not the individuals holding the offices at this time. “The suit does not allege fraud,” Co-President Linda D. Lalley said. “Rather, the suit alleges that Ohio has a long history of serious problems with the way elections are conducted, spanning many administrations and violating fundamental Constitutional rights of Ohioans who are eligible to vote.”
The remedy sought is to bring about meaningful reform to Ohio’s election process. The suit does not seek a monetary award for any of the plaintiffs.
In an op-ed in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer, Weiner, now president of a public affairs issues strategies company, contends, "The orders to torture came from the top down. In the pyramid of power, first and foremost was President Bush's Jan. 25, 2002 executive order disavowing the Geneva Conventions for the 'new' kind of war we are fighting. Moreover, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez (now Attorney General) assisted in writing the 2002 memo, which also asserted that the Geneva Conventions - respected worldwide - were 'quaint' and 'obsolete.' Last May, before all our eyes in televised hearings, Department of Defense Under Secretary for Intelligence Dr. Stephen Cambone, who coordinates DOD intelligence policy, visibly waived off and interrupted key parts of Major General Antonio Taguba's testimony before the U.S. Senate on the depths of abuses."
In the piece, Weiner and co-author Emma Dick, a human rights analyst for Weiner's issue strategies company, contend that "calls to close the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay have diverted attention from the policies that have made both Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib infamous." They call it "astounding" that "the White House is claiming it would 'restrict the president's authority' to pass bipartisan legislation prohibiting the 'cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment' of detainees, and that Vice President Cheney is meeting with Congress saying the president will veto any such bill." Cheney has even stated that "if we didn't have that facility at Guantánamo to undertake this activity, we'd have to have it someplace else," words which Weiner and Dick say "send a chill to the human rights community".
What does he think about his Baghdad years, now that he has made it out of there in one piece?
"I don't agree with those who say it is inappropriate to criticize the work of journalists in Iraq -- just because we were working in very dangerous conditions does not mean that we should be immune from criticism," he told me in mid-July. "But I regard the charge that journalists in Iraq are skewing their reporting and focusing 'too much on bad news' as ill-informed, and a great insult to the Iraqi people. Many of those who criticize Iraq coverage seem to be suggesting that the media should somehow play down or ignore the fact that so many Iraqi civilians are being killed. It's an attitude that implies that Iraqis are not entitled to the level of safety and security enjoyed by people elsewhere in the world.
During this test I wanted to shoot with an air rifle straight through a card. The bullet ought to be stuck halfway the card. First everything was calculated, put into place and then the shot was fired. The first shot was pretty good but the bullet didn’t go halfway as intended. So there had to be more time between the firing of the riffle and using the flash.
The result of it all you can see here. The interval times can be measured precisely. The bullet leaves the barrel with a certain speed. So let’s measure that speed.
No, not me. You, stupid.
You keep my body imprisoned in this cage. But I am able to transport my mind to a place far away, a happier place, where I use Martian heads for batting practice.
I admit that sometimes I think we are not so different after all. When you see one of your old ones trip and fall down, do you not point and laugh, just as we on Earth do? And I think we can agree that nothing is more admired by the people of Earth and Mars alike than a fine, high-quality cigarette. For fun, we humans like to ski down mountains covered with snow; you like to “milk” bacteria off of scum hills and pack them into your gill slits. Are we so different? Of course we are, and you will be even more different if I ever finish my homemade flamethrower.
On this day in 1974 French stuntman Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the still-unfinished (and largely unrented) towers of New York's World Trade Center. In the course of a single morning, the unexpected -- and illegal -- actions of a daring young Frenchman and a few of his confederates would change public opinion about the troubled towers, which were courting financial disaster and facing a barrage of architectural and social criticism (pdf). [from MetaFilter.com]
What's more, Newsweek has found that the new boss is a fellow initiate of the Yale secret society, Skull and Bones. Details will appear on the magazine's website early Sunday and on newsstands Monday.
Some, including Hunger Busters, say they plan to ignore the new rules.
The members said that the Bush administration's lack of cooperation was hindering a project that was otherwise nearly complete.
Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several other executive branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government's antiterrorism programs.
Berntsen's book gives, by contrast, a heroic portrayal of CIA activities at Tora Bora and in the war on terror. Ironically, he has sued the agency over what he calls unacceptable delays in approving his book—a standard process for ex-agency employees describing classified matters. "They're just holding the book," which is scheduled for October release, he says. "CIA officers, Special Forces and U.S. air power drove the Taliban out in 70 days. The CIA has taken roughly 80 days to clear my book."
The previously undisclosed Guam inquiry is separate from a federal grand jury in Washington that is investigating allegations that Abramoff bilked Indian tribes out of millions of dollars.
In Guam, an American territory in the Pacific, investigators were looking into Abramoff's secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court revision bill then pending in the U.S. Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court.
The money will be channeled through a new partnership called the Democracy Alliance, which was founded last spring -- the latest in a series of liberal initiatives as the Democratic Party and its allies continue to struggle with the loss of the House and the Senate in 1994 and the presidency in 2000. Many influential Democratic contributors were left angry and despairing over the party's poor showing in last year's elections, and are looking for what they hope will be more effective ways to invest their support.