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FOI Panel: Newtown Must Release 911 Calls; State to Appeal

September 26, 2013 by legitgov

FOI Panel: Newtown Must Release 911 Calls; State to Appeal --Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky said listening to the tapes 'isn't something that needed to be done.' 25 Sep 2013 The state Freedom of Information Commission Wednesday ordered Newtown police to release 911 calls made from Sandy Hook Elementary School during last December's attack, but the tapes won't be made public while state prosecutors appeal the decision in court. After an hour-long argument by lawyers on both sides of the issue, the full commission unanimously adopted a hearing officer's report finding that police violated state law when they refused a request by the Associated Press for copies of the tapes. The battle will now move to Superior Court.

Venezuela president scraps UN trip over 'threats to life'

September 26, 2013 by legitgov

Venezuela president scraps UN trip over 'threats to life' 25 Sep 2013 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday he had scrapped his plan to take part in the UN General Assembly in New York to "protect my life" after purported threats on it. Maduro, just back from a visit to China, said that on a layover in Vancouver he received intelligence on what he said were "two highly serious provocations", which prompted him to scrap his UN trip. Maduro earlier this month claimed the White House is plotting the "collapse" of his government next month by sabotaging food, electricity and fuel supplies. Maduro's predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, also made regular claims about several alleged US plots to kill him.

At least 33 killed in violence across Iraq

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

At least 33 killed in violence across Iraq 25 Sep 2013 At least 33 people were killed in attacks across Iraq on Wednesday that included a coordinated assault against local government and police buildings in the north of the country, police and medical sources said. Militant groups including the Sunni Islamist al Qaeda have been regaining momentum in their insurgency against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government this year, reviving the spectre of the sectarian carnage of 2006-07.

Navy Gunman 'Believed He Was Being Controlled'

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

Navy Gunman 'Believed He Was Being Controlled' 25 Sep 2013 Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis believed he was being controlled by extremely low frequency waves, the FBI has said. Valerie Parlave, Head of the FBI's field office in Washington, said evidence has shown Alexis acted along in the shooting rampage that killed 12 people. Alexis had written "my ELF weapon" on the shotgun he used in the rampage. The former Navy reservist and IT contractor, was killed in a shoot-out with police.

Boston Dynamics Gets $10 Million from DARPA for New Stealthy, Bulletproof LS3

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

Boston Dynamics Gets $10 Million from DARPA for New Stealthy, Bulletproof LS3 25 Sep 2013 You'd think that Boston Dynamics would be all kinds of busy building (and supporting) a small army of Atlas robots for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. But, it looks like they've somehow managed to find the time to continue working on all of their other systems as well, like BigDog's big brother, LS3. Last week, DARPA committed to investing an extra $10 million towards a more robust and (eventually) deployable robot.

U.S., UK fine ICAP, charge former staff over Libor rigging

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

U.S., UK fine ICAP, charge former staff over Libor rigging 25 Sep 2013 U.S. and British authorities on Wednesday fined ICAP, the world's biggest interdealer broker, $87 million and criminally charged three former employees for their role in the Libor benchmark rate rigging scandal. The scandal, which has laid bare the failings of regulators and bank bosses, has triggered a sprawling global investigation that has already seen three banks fined $2.6 billion, four individuals charged, scores of institutions and traders grilled and a spate of lawsuits launched.

Post Office wants to raise cost of stamps 3 cents

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

Post Office wants to raise cost of stamps 3 cents 25 Sep 2013 The financially struggling [because of the insane 2006 Bush/GOP Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, passed to force privatization of mail delivery in the US] Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter - and that would raise the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents. The chairman of the postal Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett, cites the "precarious financial condition" of the agency and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress. Wednesday's request for the increase in stamp prices must be approved by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

Pentagon to invest over $1 billion to upgrade US drone base in Djibouti

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

Pentagon to invest over $1 billion to upgrade US drone base in Djibouti --At least five drones based at Camp Lemonnier have crashed since January 2011 24 Sep 2013 The U.S. military has been forced to relocate a large fleet of drones from a key counterterrorism base on the Horn of Africa after a string of crashes fanned local fears that the unmanned aircraft were at risk of colliding with passenger planes, according to documents and interviews. Air Force drones ceased flying this month from Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. installation in Djibouti, after local officials expressed alarm about several drone accidents and mishaps in recent years.That uncertainty raises fresh questions about the Pentagon’s plan to invest more than $1 billion to upgrade Camp Lemonnier into a major regional base, supporting operations throughout Africa, as well as in parts of the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean. Those plans include a $228 million compound to house up to 700 personnel from the highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command. [Debt ceiling debate, anyone?]

USIS, accused of killing Iraqis and overbilling, vets national security clearances for US government

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

USIS, accused of killing Iraqis and overbilling, vets national security clearances for US government --Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions. 27 Nov 2005 Col. Westhusing's task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations. In May 2005, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS. The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis. A USIS contractor accompanied Iraqi police trainees during the assault on Falluja last November and later boasted about the number of insurgents he had killed, the letter says.

USIS, which handles background checks for the government, trained Iraqi police units

September 25, 2013 by legitgov

USIS, which handles background checks for the government, trained Iraqi police units --Employees: Sensitive documents were handled with no supervision in their home offices, and occasionally at Starbucks. 20 Sep 2013 ...Falls Church-based USIS received an immediate leg up: a noncompetitive three-year contract, according to a 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service. The company quickly dominated the field of private background checks for the government. During the Iraq war, it expanded into training Iraqi police units. It is under criminal investigation over whether it misled officials about the thoroughness of its work. USIS's lucrative work conducting investigations for the government -- worth $334 million this year -- is at risk given the criminal probe. Some lawmakers are calling on OPM to cut off the company, which is now owned by Providence, a private-equity firm.

NIH to test H7N9 vaccines with adjuvants

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

NIH to test H7N9 vaccines with adjuvants 18 Sep 2013 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced the launch of a pair of clinical trials of a candidate vaccine for H7N9 avian influenza, including formulations containing [harmful] adjuvants to boost the immune response. Adjuvants are being tested because previous vaccines for H7 flu subtypes have not yielded strong immune responses, the NIH said. Although adjuvants are used in vaccines for some other diseases, no flu vaccines containing adjuvants have been licensed in the United States.

NORAD plans nighttime air training with F-16s above D.C.

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Because there's never enough drills-gone-live during daytime hours: NORAD plans nighttime air training with F-16s above D.C. 23 Sep 2013 The Air Force and Coast Guard will hold training exercises in the skies above D.C. this week. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, will conduct the flight training beginning late Tuesday night to about 2 a.m. Wednesday. Other agencies involved in the training include the Civil Air Patrol, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center and the Joint Air Defense Operations. Air Force F-16s and a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter will also participate.

Argentinian polar bear might be moved to Winnipeg

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Argentinian polar bear might be moved to Winnipeg 24 Sep 2013 A polar bear in a South American zoo could soon call Winnipeg home. A team of experts from Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo are heading to Argentina in November to evaluate the health of the bear, named Arturo. If he is strong enough, he will make the journey to the Manitoba capital. ...The hot weather in Argentina is taking its toll on the 29-year-old Arturo. For a few weeks during the spring, protesters had also rallied outside the zoo, in the Argentinian city of Mendoza, to demand Arturo's release. [See: Send 'sad' Argentinian polar bear to Canada, supporters urge 12 Apr 2013.]

Brazil's Rousseff to UN: US surveillance an 'affront'

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Brazil's Rousseff to UN: US surveillance an 'affront' 24 Sep 2013 Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lambasted US spying on her country at Tuesday's UN summit, calling it a "breach of international law." She further warned that the NSA surveillance, revealed since June, threatened freedom of speech and democracy. "Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and as such it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations," Rousseff said. "Without the right to privacy, there is no real freedom of speech or freedom of opinion," Rousseff told the gathering of world leaders. "And therefore, there is no actual democracy," she added, criticizing the fact that Brazil had been targeted by the US.

House Republicans vote to extend 'Monsanto Protection Act' in spending bill that would gut 'Obamacare'

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

House Republicans vote to extend 'Monsanto Protection Act' in spending bill that would gut 'Obamacare' 20 Sep 2013 House Republicans hate "Obamacare," but seem just fine with the "Monsanto Protection Act." Tucked into the GOP's latest bid to gut the Affordable Care Act, the House passed a three-month extension on Friday of the Farmer Assurance Provision rider that circumvents judicial authority regarding the sale and planting of genetically modified crops. Dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act" by foes of the provision that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March, the legislation states that the United States Department of Agriculture will have final say over whether GMO crops can be planted and sold, rather than the courts, and shields companies corpora-terrrorists like Monsanto and Dow Chemical from certain lawsuits. Opponents of the provision blasted House Republicans for continuing to support what they see as an industry giveaway.

Poland declines once again to answer questions on alleged CIA jails

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Poland declines once again to answer questions on alleged CIA jails 23 Sep 2013 Poland's government has, for a second time in 12 months, declined a request from the European Court of Human Rights to provide information about the alleged existence of secret CIA jails on its soil. The Strasbourg-based court is trying to find out how closely Poland cooperated with the clandestine part of U.S. operations. Poland is the only country with a domestic criminal investigation running into allegations it hosted a CIA "black site". If it is proven that Polish officials agreed to the jail, that would be a crime under Polish and international law.

Yemen leak: former FBI man admits passing information to Associated Press

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Yemen leak: former FBI man admits passing information to Associated Press 23 Sep 2013 A former FBI explosives expert said on Monday he would plead guilty to revealing secret information for an Associated Press story about a US intelligence operation in Yemen in 2012. The story led to a leaks investigation and the seizure of AP phone records in the government's search for the information's source. Donald Sachtleben, 55, of Carmel, Indiana, said in court papers that he provided details of the operation to a reporter. He agreed to a prison sentence of three years and seven months for telling the news agency of the bomb plot, in addition to eight years and one month for unrelated child pornography charges, the court papers said.

23 more people killed in Baghdad bombings

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

23 more people killed in Baghdad bombings 23 Sep 2013 Three separate bomb attacks have killed at least 23 people and injured dozens more in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, according to Iraqi security sources. On Monday evening, at least 15 people were killed and 35 others injured in a bomb attack targeting mourners at a funeral in northern Baghdad. Hours later, two more bombs -- one near a park and another in a café -- exploded in northern neighborhoods of the capital, leaving eight people dead and several others injured.

Assad: Terrorists may attack chemical weapons inspectors, blame Damascus

September 24, 2013 by legitgov

Assad: Terrorists may attack chemical weapons inspectors, blame Damascus 23 Sep 2013 Syrian armed opposition may be ordered by its foreign sponsors to stage a false flag operation against foreign inspectors when they arrive in the country to monitor destruction of the country's chemical weapons stockpile, says the Syrian president. Bashar Assad voiced his concerns in an interview by China's state television CCTV in Damascus. The Syrian leader proposed this possible scenario as he was explaining how his government may be accused of trying to dodge its obligations to destroy its chemical arsenal. "We know that these terrorists are obeying the orders of other countries and these countries do drive these terrorists to commit acts that could get the Syrian government blamed for hindering this agreement," he explained.

Boston Police Commissioner Davis, face of Marathon bombing investigation, steps down

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Boston Police Commissioner Davis, face of Marathon bombing investigation, steps down 23 Sep 2013 Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who led his department's response to the Boston Marathon bombing, says he's stepping down after seven years on the job. Davis was thrust into the national spotlight on April 15 when twin explosions near the marathon finish line killed three people and wounded more than 260. Along with Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick, Davis ordered a daylong, city-wide lockdown after the two bombing suspects were involved in a shootout with police.

Snake on plane grounds Qantas flight

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Snake on plane grounds Qantas flight 23 Sep 2013 A tiny snake as slender as a pen forced the grounding of a Japan-bound Qantas flight in the Australian city of Sydney overnight, stranding hundreds of passengers. The non-venomous reptile, about eight inches (20 centimetres) long, was found near the doorway of a Boeing 747-400 bound for Tokyo on Sunday night, a Qantas spokeswoman told AFP. "The snake was taken to quarantine to determine where it came from," she said.

Nairobi attack may trigger tighter security at malls worldwide

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Holy coincidence, Batman! *Once again,* al-CIAduh explodes the security state cash cow: Nairobi attack may trigger tighter security at malls worldwide 22 Sep 2013 The deadly attack on a high-end Nairobi shopping mall on Saturday put the safety of malls around the world into the spotlight and could trigger moves to improve security and make it more visible. "They're obviously going to ramp up security," said Malachy Kavanagh, a spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a U.S.-based trade group of mall and shopping center owners, adding that he expected the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security to reach out to the heads of corporate security for all American malls following the events in Kenya. Some of the changes that may be made include bringing in off-duty police officers into the mall, putting more non-uniformed security officers into uniform, and more closely coordinating with local police departments.

US-led soldiers kill Afghan schoolchild, injure several others

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

US-led soldiers kill Afghan schoolchild, injure several others 19 Sep 2013 US-led soldiers have opened fire on a group of Afghan schoolchildren in the central-eastern province of Maidan Wardak, killing at least one pupil and injuring several others, security sources say. Local provincial officials said the teenager student was killed in Syedabad district of the volatile province on Thursday. Meanwhile, another Afghan student was reportedly killed in a bomb attack in the same province.

2 US-led soldiers killed in eastern Afghanistan

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

2 US-led soldiers killed in eastern Afghanistan 23 Sep 2013 Two foreign soldiers serving with the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been killed in a bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan.

Three US-led troopers killed in green-on-blue attack

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Three US-led troopers killed in green-on-blue attack 21 Sep 2013 An Afghan policeman has killed three foreign soldiers serving with the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the eastern part of the country. "Three ISAF service members died when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform shot them in eastern Afghanistan today," the Western military contingent announced on its Twitter account on Saturday.

US military to hit targets in Kenya, other African states - Report

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

US military to hit targets in Kenya, other African states - Report 23 Sep 2013 The United States is reportedly preparing a list of targets for possible military strikes in Kenya and some other African countries. Former US general Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said the strikes are aimed at targeting militants involved in Sunday's deadly attack on a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi. Somalia's Al-Shabab fighters have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it is in retaliation for Kenya's military actions inside Somalia. "They're developing targets...and refining target lists, trying to fill in any gaps that we possibly have," the former four-star general said during an interview with ABC's This Week on Sunday.

US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to cost $6 trillion

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to cost $6 trillion 19 Sep 2013 The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. When President [sic] George Bush's National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Lindsey, had told the The Wall Street Journal that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, he found himself under intense fire from his colleagues in the administration which claimed that this was a gross overestimation. Consequently, Lindsey was forced to resign. The Bush administration had claimed at the outset that the Iraq war would be financed via Iraqi oil revenues, but Washington D.C. instead borrowed $2 trillion to finance the two wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders. [See that? When it comes to financing US wars for oil and opium, the 'debt ceiling' matters about as much as a June bug in July. --LRP]

Israeli forces enter Nairobi mall: Kenyan security officials

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Israeli forces enter Nairobi mall: Kenyan security officials 22 Sep 2013 A Kenyan security official says Israeli forces have entered a shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, where Somali militants have already killed dozens of people and an unknown number of hostages are still being held. Local security officials say the Israeli forces have joined Kenyans to end the deadly mall siege on Sunday. The Kenyan troops backed by Israeli forces are now battling against gunmen holding dozens of people hostage inside the shopping mall for the second day.

US assassination drone strikes kill 11 Afghans in 24 hours

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

US assassination drone strikes kill 11 Afghans in 24 hours 21 Sep 2013 Two separate US assassination drone strikes have killed nearly a dozen people in different parts of Afghanistan in less than 24 hours, Press TV reports. According to local officials, a US drone strike killed at least four people in Afghanistan's northeastern province of Kunar on Friday evening. The US military confirmed the strike, claiming that all those killed were militants. [They don't 'hate us for our freedoms.' They 'hate us' because we're sociopaths.]

Bomb blast outside church in Peshawar kills 70 Pakistanis

September 23, 2013 by legitgov

Bomb blast outside church in Peshawar kills 70 Pakistanis 22 Sep 2013 Seventy people have been killed in a bombing outside a church in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar. Officials say the attack was carried out in the city's Kohati Gate District on Sunday. Two bombs exploded as worshippers were coming out of Sunday services at the historic Pakistan Church. Local officials said that some 100 people including women and children were also injured in the attack.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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