Report: U.S., Israeli warships cross Suez Canal toward Red Sea --Egypt opposition angered at government for allowing the fleet of more than 12 ships to cross Egyptian manned waterway, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports. 19 Jun 2010 More than twelve United States Naval warships and at least one Israeli ship crossed the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea on Friday, British Arabic Language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday. According to the report, thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the Suez Canal guarding the ships' passage, which included a U.S. aircraft carrier.
Blackwater Firm Gets $120M U.S. Gov't Contract 18 Jun 2010 CBS News has learned in an exclusive report that the State Department has awarded a part of what was formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide a contract worth more than $120 million for providing security services in Afghanistan. Private security firm U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was awarded the contract Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday night. Under the contract, U.S. Training Center will provide "protective security services" at the new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said.
U.S. Troops, Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan Suspected of Corruption --Officers Charged With Theft, Bribery in Oversees Reconstruction Projects 20 Jun 1010 Cases of suspected fraud and other wrongdoing by U.S. troops and contractors overseeing reconstruction and relief projects in Iraq and Afghanistan are up dramatically. James Burch, the Defense Department's deputy inspector general for investigations, says his agency is investigating 223 cases -- 18 percent more than a year ago. Investigators have charged an Army officer with pocketing cash meant to pay Iraqi civilian militiamen, contractors offering an Army officer $1 million for the inside track on a road project in Afghanistan, and three contractors for an alleged conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fuel from a U.S. base in Baghdad. [See: The Obusha AfPak Money Pit.]
British advances in Afghanistan have escalated conflict - UN mission chief --MoD analysis is challenged as expert says Nato efforts to extend its control over new parts of the country increased the violence 20 Jun 2010 Attempts by British and American forces to expand their control over Afghan territory over the past 12 months have been counter-productive and led to a worsening security situation, according to the head of the United Nations monitoring mission on the Taliban. As the death toll of UK troops in the conflict reached 299 on Friday, the former UK counter-terrorism chief, Richard Barrett, told the Observer: "Most people reckon there's a deterioration." "Of course the Queen's military should not be in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Middle East, but kindly note readers that Britain's "Armchair Soldier" - Prince Harry is not there but presumably quaffing pint after pint in the Boozers (Pubs) of Britain".William Gladys.
U.S. Testing Pain Ray in Afghanistan By Noah Shachtman 19 Jun 2010 The U.S. mission in Afghanistan centers around swaying locals to its side. And there's no better persuasion tool than an invisible pain ray that makes people feel like they're on fire. OK, OK. Maybe that isn't precisely the logic being employed by those segments of the American military who would like to deploy the Active Denial System to Afghanistan. ...[T]hose ray-gun advocates better think long and hard about the Taliban's propaganda bonanza when news leaks of the Americans zapping Afghans until they feel roasted alive. Because, apparently, the Active Denial System is "in Afghanistan for testing."
6 killed in bombing in S Afghanistan 20 Jun 2010 Six people have been killed in a deadly bomb attack in southern Afghanistan as the United Nations voices concern over the deteriorating situation in the country. The incident occurred on Saturday when a bomb, apparently planted inside a police station in the Deh Rawood area of Uruzgan province, was detonated, local governor Khalifa Sadat told a Press TV correspondent.
Afghanistan: 3 More Americans Killed 18 Jun 2010 Three more United States service members have died in southern Afghanistan, where militants have stepped up their attacks in response to greater security by NATO and Afghan forces in Taliban strongholds. NATO said Friday that two of the Americans died in an insurgent attack and the third was killed by a roadside bomb.
US drone attack kills 11 in NW Pakistan 19 Jun 2010 A new US drone attack in a tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, near the country's border with Afghanistan, has killed 11 people, intelligence officials say. A US drone aircraft fired two missiles targeting a house in Sokhel village in the North Waziristan region on Saturday. People are afraid to approach the attack site because at least three more drones are still flying over the area, residents say.
Thousands Protest Electricity Shortage in Iraq 19 Jun 2010 Thousands of demonstrators surged through the sweltering streets of Iraq's second-largest city to protest persistent shortages of electricity on Saturday, clashing with the police in a disturbance that underlined the growing popular anger here over the Iraqi government's inability to provide the basic necessities of life. One person was killed when the police opened fire on the demonstrators, who were throwing rocks at the provincial headquarters in Basra. [Saddam Hussein: *Clearly,* the better deal.]
At least 10 dead in Baghdad attacks, police say 19 Jun 2010 At least five people were killed and 17 were wounded in late-night attacks in Baghdad, Iraq, on Saturday, police officials confirmed to CNN. Also Saturday, police discovered the bodies of five women shot inside a house in the Zayouna neighborhood. [Five women shot dead in a house? Al-Qaeda or the Taliban wouldn't do that. War crimes, car bombs left to detonate near markets and mosques - that's a USociopath/Blackwater/IDF thing. --LRP]
Deadly bombings kill at least 6 in Iraq 19 Jun 2010 At least six people have been killed and more than 80 others have been wounded after two car bombs went off in northern parts of Iraq, police sources say. The first blast took place near the home of a provincial official from the Turkman minority in Tuz Khurmato town on Friday, police Colonel Hussein al-Bayati told AFP. About 50 people -- among them women and children -- were injured and six others died due to the explosion.
Iraqi army confronted UK deportation officials on Baghdad plane --Army officer reportedly warned UK officials not to return Iraqis by force again, as UNHCR condemns removals to Baghdad 16 Jun 2010 An Iraqi army officer boarded a flight full of deported asylum seekers at Baghdad airport and ordered British immigration officials not to send anyone back by force again, according to a refugee organisation that monitors expulsions. The confrontation occurred yesterday when the first British deportation flight to Baghdad touched down carrying almost 40 Iraqis.
Iran denies US assertion its missiles menace Europe 19 Jun 2010 Iran's defense minister on Saturday denied US assertions that its missiles posed a threat to Europe and said Washington was spreading propaganda. Ahmad Vahidi accused US counterpart, [war criminal] Robert Gates of engaging in "psychological warfare" when he said on Thursday US intelligence showed Iran had "scores or even hundreds" of missiles it could use against Europe.
Gates: Iran could launch "hundreds" of missiles at Europe 18 Jun 2010 Iran could, if it wanted, launch "scores even hundreds of missiles" into Europe, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but serious questions remain as to whether the United States can create a defense against such an attack. Gates told a Senate committee Thursday that the United States is looking at a new way of defending Europe from missile attacks from countries like Iran.
Israel closes Gaza trade crossings 20 Jun 2010 Just a day after having announced it would ease restrictions, Israel has once again closed all trade crossings leading to the Gaza Strip. Under international pressure, Israel declared on Thursday that it agreed to a plan to ease the blockade of Gaza.
Israelis robbed us, Flotilla members say --Israel also arrested and later released nearly 700 activists from 42 countries who were on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla. 19 Jun 2010 Freedom Flotilla activists say that the Israeli forces who arrested them stole some of their personal possessions and have still not returned them. The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
NORAD Exercise Flights Planned Over West Virginia, Baltimore, D.C. and Richmond 17 Jun 2010 North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct multiple exercise flights next week in the skies in the vicinity of northern West Virginia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. People may hear and see NORAD fighter aircraft in close proximity with DOD-contracted general aviation aircraft as they practice their intercept and identification procedures. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks [inside job] that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
Airport whole-body scans called vital by Napolitano --Machines' use to continue, says Homeland chief 19 Jun 2010 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that controversial whole-body imaging technology is necessary to combat terrorists who continue to target airliners. The Advanced Imaging Technology, which 18 airports will install sometime this year, uses either electromagnetic waves or X-rays to render a nude image of the body. The machines are already in place in 32 other airports.
Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism 18 Jun 2010 Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation's homeland security chief said Friday. As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans' civil rights and privacy [?!?] with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training.
Obama to challenge Ariz. immigration law 18 Jun 2010 Obama administration officials have decided to file a suit to block a much-disputed Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration, according to several news reports. The decision to intervene was confirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in an interview last week with an Ecuadorian journalist. "President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy," Clinton said in the interview. "And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act."
Heads up! Takeda to make H5N1 avian flu vaccines with Baxter's help - Nikkei [Not to mention, in all likelihood -- an avian flu pandemic itself. Be afraid... be very afraid.] 18 Jun 2010 Japan's largest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co will resume production of influenza vaccines after more than a decade, using technology from U.S. firm Baxter International Inc, the Nikkei business daily reported. The company that aims to begin shipments in 2014 would invest 30 billion yen ($329.9 million) to 50 billion yen, the daily reported. The Osaka-based firm will initially develop a vaccine to immunize against H5N1 avian flu, it said. [See: Baxter: The 'Lucky Larry' of swine flu - Baxter Vaccine 'Oddities' By Lori Price 17 Jul 2009 Baxter files swine flu vaccine patent year ahead of outbreak --Baxter can take no more H1N1 flu vaccine orders --Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor.]
HK researchers detect reassortment of A/H1N1 flu virus 18 Jun 2010 Hong Kong researchers identified that A/H1N1 influenza virus has undergone genetic reassortment to give rise to a novel A/H1N1 virus on pigs, according to a study done by the University of Hong Kong which made the result public here Friday. The new virus has genes from the A/H1N1 influenza virus and other pig influenza viruses, told the research findings, which demonstrated that A/H1N1 flu virus may change in unpredictable ways in pigs and such viruses may have relevance to global public health.
Obama administration still approving flawed Gulf drilling plans --MMS signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since 2 June. 18 Jun 2010 Despite President Barack Obama's promises of better safeguards for offshore drilling, federal regulators continue to approve plans for oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with minimal or no environmental analysis. The Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency's acting director announced tougher safety regulations for drilling in the Gulf, a McClatchy review of public records has discovered.
BP: Tony Hayward remains in charge 19 Jun 2010 BP clarified on Saturday that Tony Hayward was still in charge of the energy giant and its Gulf cleanup operations a day after another executive told Sky News that Hayward was relinquishing day-to-day spill duties, the New York Times reports... BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an e-mail Friday evening to USA TODAY that Hayward was still BP's CEO and was leading the oil response. "He has the full support of the board," Beaudo said.
BP Chief Draws Outrage for Attending Yacht Race 19 Jun 2010 BP officials on Saturday scrambled yet again to respond to another public relations challenge when their embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, spent the day off the coast of England watching his yacht compete in one of the world's largest races. Two days after Mr. Hayward angered lawmakers on Capitol Hill with his refusal to provide details during testimony about the worst offshore oil spill in United States history, Mr. Hayward sparked new controversy from afar.
Gulf Coast residents brace for more oil --The largest spill in U.S. history threatens the coastal economies of four states including hard-hit Louisiana. 19 Jun 2010 Residents of the Gulf Coast braced for more oil from a ruptured BP Plc well to hit their beaches on Sunday as oil washed ashore at Panama City, a popular Florida tourist destination. The city's beaches remained open after clean-up crews removed the tar balls from shore, authorities said. Even so, the sight is a worry for a state with an annual tourism industry worth $60 billion.
How Halliburton is profiting from the Gulf oil spill --Shortly before the Deepwater Horizon blowout, Halliburton bought an oil spill prevention firm. 18 Jun 2010 Eleven days prior to the April 20 Deepwater Horizon blowout, Halliburton Co., the contractor in charge of cementing the rig's well, agreed to purchase a little-known company. The firm, Boots and Coots, focuses on oil spill prevention and blowout response. Now, it is assisting with the relief well work -- under contract to BP -- to help stop the Gulf oil spill. What appears to conspiracy theorists [!?!] as more than a coincidence is nothing out of the ordinary, say oil-industry experts.
BP Workers Burning Turtles Caught in Oil Booms --BP Blocks Attempt to Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Oil Spill (Sea Turtle Restoration Project) 16 Jun 2010 A shrimp boat captain in Louisiana hired by BP was blocked from rescuing juvenile Kemp's ridleys that were covered in oil in the Gulf waters. He was captured on video saying that the turtles are being collected in the clean-up efforts and burned up like so much ocean debris with other marine life gathering along tide lines where oil also congregates. He witnessed BP workers burning turtles caught in the oil booms. Rescue efforts are being ended tomorrow. STRP's Gulf Director Carole Allen responded to the news by saying "The burning of boom and oil when even one sea turtle was seen in the water is a despicable crime."
Gulf whale found dead by scientists south of rig 18 Jun 2010 In a troubling sign for the Gulf of Mexico's marine mammals, researchers this week found a dead sperm whale floating 77 miles south of the Deepwater Horizon rig site, where some 2.5 million gallons of oil are erupting daily from a mile deep. While scientists avoided speculating about how the whale died, they say the unabated oil is likely to kill whales.
Petroleum industry objects to polar bear plan 15 Jun 2010 Advocates for the petroleum industry in Alaska told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the agency's polar bear critical habitat plan is seriously flawed. Marilyn Crockett, director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said Tuesday that additional consultations because of polar bears, plus the cost of development projects being delayed or tied up in litigation, would be huge for the petroleum industry. [Hey, petroleum industry: Go f*ck yourself.]
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Previous lead stories: Sliced and diced on Capitol Hill: Hapless BP boss torn apart by political enemies 18 Jun 2010 Billed as a chance for Washington's finest to 'slice and dice' Tony Hayward, it didn't disappoint. BP's chief executive was subjected to a grilling so savage yesterday it was more like ancient Rome than Capitol Hill. Wave after wave of criticism flew the way of the hapless boss and his company, confirming them both as Public Enemy No 1 in the U.S. In four hours of savage questioning Mr Hayward was accused - continuously - of neglecting safety, cutting corners to make a quick buck, increasing risks and refusing to give any answers.
BP Shares Up 7% In Early London Trade After Spill-Fund Deal 17 Jun 2010 Shares in oil major BP PLC traded up 7% in London early Thursday after the company said Wednesday it was suspending dividends and setting aside GBP20 billion to cover claims relating to its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At 0737 GMT, BP shares were up 6.5%, or 22 pence, at 359 pence... BP struck the agreement with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House amid intense political pressure spurred by a steady stream of oil spewing into the Gulf and washing up on beaches and marshes. "BP's package agreed with President Obama should cool the politic heat and provide some degree of comfort to equity and bond markets, shareholders and businesses/residents in (the Gulf of Mexico) affected by the Deepwater Horizon accident," Evolution Securities said Thursday in a research note.
Judge: Guantanamo detainee will be strip searched --Psychologist testified that searches triggered Ghailani's post-traumatic stress disorder, which resulted from enhanced interrogation techniques torture he experienced while in CIA custody at a secret CIA-run camp overseas after his 2004 arrest 17 Jun 2010 A Guantanamo Bay detainee prisoner awaiting trial in a federal civilian court cannot evade strip searches that require him to expose his private areas because security would be compromised, a judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made the written ruling Monday and it was released publicly Thursday in the terrorism case brought against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be brought to a U.S. civilian court for trial.
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