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U.S. to Double Mercenary Forces in Iraq After 2011 Military Pullout

U.S. to Double Mercenary Forces in Iraq After 2011 Military Pullout --'It is unprecedented in scale.' --Some veteran Iraq hands suggest that thousands of additional troops will be needed after 2011. 19 Aug 2010 By October 2011, the State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that will largely be carried out by contractors. ...It will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million outposts to head off potential confrontations between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The department’s plans to rely on 6,000 to 7,000 security contractors, who are also expected to form "quick reaction forces" to rescue civilians in trouble, is a sensitive issue, given Iraqi fury about shootings of civilians by American private guards in recent years... The startup cost of building and sustaining two embassy branch offices -- one in Kirkuk and the other in Mosul -- and of hiring security contractors, buying new equipment and setting up two consulates in Basra and Erbil is about $1 billion. It will cost another $500 million or so to make the two consulates permanent. And getting the police training program under way will cost more than $800 million. [OMG, why no complaints about the *deficit?* And, Obama has manifestly out-Bushed Bush! Impeach these hypocritical lunatics and corporaterrorist trolls NOW!!]

Final U.S. Combat Forces Withdraw From Iraq, 50,000 "Advisors" Remain

Final U.S. Combat Forces Withdraw From Iraq, 50,000 "Advisors" Remain --More than 4,400 American service members were killed in the war 18 Aug 2010 The United States Thursday ended its active combat operations in Iraq. The operations officially ended as the final convoy of the Army's 4th Stryker Brigade crossed the border into Iraq. The move ends the active combat phase of a war begun 7 and-a-half years ago. An estimated 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq in an "advisory" capacity.

U.S. ship arrives at Limón Friday, U.S. Embassy reports

U.S. ship arrives at Limón Friday, U.S. Embassy reports 18 Aug 2010 The U.S. Embassy said Tuesday that the USS Iwo Jima will dock in Limón Friday to begin its humanitarian mission here. A.M. Costa Rica reported on the ship's schedule last month. The ship and its crew of sailors and civilian health and construction experts visited Haiti and most recently Colombia. The ship's plans were announced amid a political flap over allowing U.S. ships on drug patrol to dock for shore leave and re-supply. Eventually lawmakers had to pass a special approval for the arrival of the Iwo Jima because it is not involved in anti-drug efforts.

Military Denies WikiLeaks Cooperation Claims

Military Denies WikiLeaks Cooperation Claims 18 Aug 2010 The Defense Department's civilian leadership and the Army are denying new claims by WikiLeaks that the military has reached out to the self-described whistle-blowing organization to cooperate on the review of some 15,000 leaked military documents. WikiLeaks has released thousands of the classified military documents related to the war in Afghanistan and has promised to release the remaining 15,000 in the coming weeks. The remaining documents are considered particularly sensitive, and WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange has said the organization would be willing to have the Pentagon help review and redact [!?!] the documents before the site releases them.

WikiLeaks: Pentagon ready to discuss Afghan files

WikiLeaks: Pentagon ready to discuss Afghan files 18 Aug 2010 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday the Pentagon has expressed willingness to discuss the online whistleblower's request for help in reviewing classified documents from the Afghan war and removing information that could harm civilians. "This week we received contact through our lawyers that the General Counsel of the U.S. Army says now that they want to discuss the issue," Assange told The Associated Press by telephone. In Washington, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins denied army lawyers are involved but said Assange might have meant to say the Pentagon lawyer instead.

'Intl. law forbids attack on nuclear sites'

'Intl. law forbids attack on nuclear sites' 18 Aug 2010 Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency says attacking or threatening to attack nuclear facilities is in violation of the UN charter. "According to Resolution 533 of the IAEA, attacking or threatening to attack operational or under-construction nuclear facilities is a blatant violation of the UN charter, IAEA statute and international regulations," Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Wednesday. "The remarks made by the former US envoy to the UN show Washington's warmongering and aggressive attitude as well as its violation of international laws," Soltanieh said in reference to John Bolton hinting that Israel has only one week to attack the Bushehr power plant.

3 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan

3 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan 17 Aug 2010 Three US-led soldiers have been killed in two separate bomb attacks in eastern and western Afghanistan, a statement by NATO says. Two NATO soldiers were killed on Tuesday in an attack in eastern Afghanistan, a troubled region which witnesses regular Taliban attacks, the statement added. The third soldier was killed in a similar attack on Tuesday in the west of the country.

Blagojevich attorney says he'll ask for President Obama to testify in retrial

Blagojevich attorney says he'll ask for President Obama to testify in retrial 18 Aug 2010 Aaron Goldstein, Rod Blagojevich's Attorney, has just confirmed to In Session that assuming the government retries his client, the defense will renew their motion for President Obama to be a witness in the United States of America v. Rod and Robert Blagojevich. The defense will also renew their motion for mistrial as well as their motion to dismiss. In Session has also confirmed that no plea deal is in the works at this point. [Blagojevich's *actual* crime: Trying to get cheap prescription drugs for seniors and being a man of the people. Notice dirtbag Patrick Fitzgerald has stated that he wants to retry Blago -- but gave Cheney - a war criminal - a pass? As Dylan Ratigan asked on his MSNBC program earlier today (paraphrasing) 'Shouldn't Barack Obama be arrested, for making back-door deals with the pharmaceutical industry?' *Exactly.* --LRP]

Afghanistan recruits US-backed Iraq-style militia force

Afghanistan recruits US-backed Iraq-style militia force [aka death squads] 18 Aug 2010 The Afghan government said Wednesday it had begun recruiting thousands of militiamen to strengthen security forces against a resurgent Taliban in remote villages of the war-torn country. President Hamid Karzai last month approved the establishment of what his administration calls a "Local Police Force," recruited from Afghan villagers in a bid to guard against Taliban attacks in their communities. Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Munir Mangal told reporters the US-backed initiative was under way in south-central provinces Wardak and Uruzgan, both of which have been hit hard by Taliban violence.

Obama: 'No regrets' about NY mosque defense

Obama: 'No regrets' about NY mosque defense 18 Aug 2010 US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he had "no regrets" about defending the right of Muslims to build a mosque community center 'near' the New York site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "The answer is: No regrets," the president told NBC television on the sidelines of a visit to a middle-class family... Obama upset some of his 'Democratic' allies late last week by joining a bitter national debate over the plans, affirming the right to build on religious freedom grounds but without endorsing what he called the "wisdom" of doing so.

Blackwater Founder Moves to Abu Dhabi, Records Say

Blackwater Founder Moves to Abu Dhabi, Records Say --Current and former colleagues said Mr. Prince hoped to focus on security work from governments in Africa and the Middle East. 18 Aug 2010 Erik Prince, whose company terrorist group, Blackwater Worldwide, is for sale and whose former top managers are facing criminal charges, has left the United States and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents. Mr. Prince, a former member of the Navy Seals and an heir to a Michigan auto parts fortune, left the country after a series of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations singled out Blackwater or its former executives and other personnel. His company, now called Xe Services, has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States government since 2001.

Judge in Norfolk denies request in Blackwater case

Judge in Norfolk denies request in Blackwater case 18 Aug 2010 The federal government doesn't have to turn over thousands of pages of documents related to the war in Afghanistan that could potentially help bolster the self-defense claim of two former Blackwater contractors mercenaries in their murder trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar called the request "too ridiculously broad" and added that the defendants' lawyers had not shown any direct connection between the information requested and their clients. The government argued that most of the information sought is in the public domain.

Sarah Palin Attacked by "Mama Grizzlies" from EMILY'S List

Sarah Palin Attacked by "Mama Grizzlies" from EMILY'S List 18 Aug 2010 Pro-abortion choice rights group EMILY'S List is today launching a campaign suggesting that America's so-called "Mama Grizzlies" - a phrase coined by Sarah Palin to describe her supporters - don't all come from Palin's side of the political spectrum. The group, which focuses on getting candidates who support abortion rights elected, has put out a web video and is pushing a campaign called "Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me" meant to appeal to Democrats, independents and "moderate Republicans who have no home." The video shows women dressed in bear costumes talking about how their "cubs" are threatened by the agenda of Palin and the candidates she supports, and discuss the possibility of losing health care coverage, abortion rights and unemployment benefits.

Fox News Parent News Corp. Gives $1 Million to GOP

Fox News Parent News Corp. Gives $1 Million to GOP 17 Aug 2010 Fox News parent company News Corp. has given $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. A spokesman for News Corp., which also owns the New York Post and other media properties rags around the world, said in an email to Politico's Ben Smith that the company "believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy." The Republican Governors Association's most recent disclosure filing is here.

GMO Crop Sabotage on the Rise: French citizens destroy trial vineyard

GMO Crop Sabotage on the Rise: French citizens destroy trial vineyard By Rady Ananda  16 Aug 2010 Early Sunday morning, French police stood helpless as sixty people, locked inside an open-air field of genetically modified grapevines, uprooted all the plants... Speaking for the group, Olivier Florent told Le Figero that they condemned the use of public funds for open-field testing of GMOs "that we do not want." Pitching tents in the rain near France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) site in Colmar the night before, the group waited until 5 AM before converging on the site and locking the gates behind them. They uprooted all 70 plants, then submitted to arrest. [Why submit to arrest? The CEOciopath of Monsanto should have been arrested, not the saboteurs. --LRP]

NORAD jets to train over Calif., Alaska, Alberta

NORAD jets to train over Calif., Alaska, Alberta 17 Aug 2010 The North American Aerospace Defense Command will send planes on training flights over northern California, northern Alberta and southwestern Alaska on Thursday. NORAD said Tuesday the planes will practice interception and identification procedures as well as responding to multiple threats. NORAD, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is a joint U.S.-Canadian command that patrols the skies over North America [except when the order is given to 'stand down,' as on 9/11].

US raid on Taliban prison leaves 18 dead

US raid on Taliban prison leaves 18 dead 18 Aug 2010 At least 18 people, including several hostages, were killed following a US-led attack on a Taliban prison in Helmand Province, Afghan officials say. During the NATO attack, at least 13 Taliban militants and five hostages were killed and 27 captives were freed, a Press TV correspondent reported on Wednesday. Dawood Ahmadi, the Helmand governor's spokesman, said the overnight operations had taken place in the Musa Qala district.

The right's latest weapon: 'Zionist editing' on Wikipedia

The right's latest weapon: 'Zionist editing' on Wikipedia 18 Aug 2010 For years now, Wikipedia has been a fierce battleground between the Israeli right and left. One key battle was over the entry for Bil'in and whether the weekly struggle at that village near the security fence should be described as violent...  Now the Yesha Council of settlements and another right-wing group, Israel Sheli, are embarking on a Wikipedia battle: Zionist editing on the Web-based encyclopedia. The first course was held yesterday in Jerusalem. "The idea is not to make Wikipedia rightist but for it to include our point of view," said Naftali Bennett, the director of the Yesha Council.

Massive anti-US rally held in Afghanistan

Massive anti-US rally held in Afghanistan 18 Aug 2010 In eastern Afghanistan, hundreds of people have taken to the streets to protest against the mounting civilian death toll in US-led raids in the war-torn country. Some 600 demonstrators blocked the main highway linking the Capital, Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday. The protesters were chanting slogans against the growing foreign presence in the country and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. An Afghan father and his son were killed when their house in Nangahar Province was stormed overnight by NATO soldiers, triggering an outcry that led to the demonstrations.

US-Colombia pact "unconstitutional"

US-Colombia pact "unconstitutional" 18 Aug 2010 Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled that a controversial agreement which gives US troops access to Colombian military bases is unlawful. The court declared on Tuesday that the 2009 US-Colombia accord should be executed in the form of an international treaty. It further added that such a treaty must also be approved by the Colombian congress before coming into effect.

Iran Threatens 'Israel’s Existence' If It Attacks

Iran Threatens 'Israel's Existence' If It Attacks 17 Aug 2010 Iran will respond if Israel attacks its first nuclear power plant, which will begin loading fuel Aug. 21, according to the Persian Gulf country’s defense minister. "In that case we will lose a power plant, but Israel’s existence will be in danger," Ahmad Vahidi was cited as saying today by the state-run Mehr news agency, in response to questions about the possibility of an attack by Israel on the Russian-built atomic facility at Bushehr.

Giant Turtle Lobbies For Ban On Single-Use Plastic Bags

Giant Turtle Lobbies For Ban On Single-Use Plastic Bags By Ryan ZumMallen 17 Aug 2010 A giant sea turtle appeared in the courtyard of Long Beach City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, pleading with the human race to ban single-use plastic bags in California because they pose a threat to his environment. ...[The] giant inflatable sea turtle did join some City officials and environmentalists to support AB 1998, which would ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores throughout California because they do not break down and are very harmful to the environment, particularly marine animals.

Scores of seals are washed up dead with horrific 'corkscrew' injuries

Scores of seals are washed up dead with horrific 'corkscrew' injuries 18 Aug 2010 [Warning! Graphic images accompany article.] For animal lovers, the sight is as heartbreaking as it is mysterious. Scores of dead seals have been washed up on shore with terrible ‘corkscrew’ injuries, as if they have passed through a giant pencil sharpener. Such is the concern that police, scientists, the RSPCA and National Trust are all investigating the disturbing phenomenon. The bodies of more than 50 common and grey seals have been found on the Norfolk coast since November.

Feds: Alaska couple had 20 names on hit list

Feds: Alaska couple had 20 names on hit list 16 Aug 2010 A rural Alaska couple accused of domestic terrorism compiled a hit list of 20 targets, including members of the military and media, and had moved to the operational phase of their plan, according to documents filed in federal court Monday. Paul and Nadia Rockwood of King Salmon have pleaded guilty to lying about the list and making false statements to the FBI in May. Under a plea agreement, Paul Rockwood will serve eight years in prison and three years probation while his pregnant wife will serve probation. Rockwood's public defender claims her client was lonely in King Salmon and befriended an undercover Alaska State Trooper while attending mosque during trips to Anchorage. "The relationship clearly was fed by the trooper's interest in Mr. Rockwood and the drama created by their conversations," his attorney, Sue Ellen Tatter, wrote in her sentencing memo.

US citizen Berenson says sorry for Peru terrorism

US citizen Berenson says sorry for Peru terrorism 17 Aug 2010 U.S. citizen Lori Berenson publicly apologized on Monday for collaborating with a Marxist guerrilla group during Peru's civil war and pleaded with judges to let her stay out of jail on parole. It was the first time since going to jail about 15 years ago that Berenson, who was at court hearing, was seen on television speaking about her affiliation with Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA.

Military fighter jets scrambled in airspace violation near Air Force One

Military fighter jets scrambled in airspace violation near Air Force One --Sonic booms heard throughout Western Washington 17 Aug 2010 Military fighter jets were scrambled to respond to an airspace violation near Air Force One in Seattle, causing sonic booms that were heard throughout Western Washington. North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman John Cornelio said the F15 jets were sent from Portland, Ore., as the president was visiting Seattle after a report that an aircraft violated the restricted airspace. He said the aircraft left the restricted area before the Air National Guard jets arrived. Once the plane landed the pilot and his passenger were interviewed by the Secret Service.

Blagojevich Found Guilty of Single Count by Divided Jury

Blagojevich Found Guilty of Single Count by Divided Jury 18 Aug 2010 Rod R. Blagojevich, the ousted former governor of Illinois, was convicted on Tuesday of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the jury in the corruption case against him also reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked on the 23 other counts against him. The jury’s findings, which came on the 14th day of deliberations, were seen as a victory for Mr. Blagojevich and his defense team and a significant setback for federal authorities, who arrested Mr. Blagojevich almost two years ago to stop what they described unambiguously as “a political corruption crime spree,” including attempts to sell the appointment to fill the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama.

It was never suicide, says Dr Kelly's cousin as family finally breaks silence

It was never suicide, says Dr Kelly's cousin as family finally breaks silence 17 Aug 2010 A close relative of Dr David Kelly broke the family's silence yesterday to voice fears that he was murdered. Wendy Wearmouth said she found it 'incredibly unlikely' that he committed suicide and suggested he was assassinated. She said that committing suicide would have been 'totally against his whole way of being'.

Judge balks at SEC's settlement with Citigroup

Judge balks at SEC's settlement with Citigroup 17 Aug 2010 A federal judge refused on Monday to accept a $75 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup, marking the second time this year that a judge has questioned whether the agency had exacted the proper sanction from a major bank. During a hearing on the settlement, Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia raised questions about the SEC's investigation into Citigroup, and how it decided on the size of the penalty and on the individual executives who also face sanctions, according to lawyers who were present.

Israel has '8 days' to hit Iran nuclear site: Bolton

Israel has '8 days' to hit Iran nuclear site: Bolton 17 Aug 2010 Israel has "eight days" to launch a military strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former US [Bush] envoy to the UN has said. Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia's help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant's core. At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.

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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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