The Plug Nickel Times is proud to bring you website links to news information that you may not find through your local media. All links are offsite unless otherwise noted - followed links should open in another browser window. Links can become dated or otherwise fail to function, for this reason we quote the actual headline of an article. This may allow you to find an alternate copy of the article through a news index or search engine. Some sites we link to may require a registration process to view an article - this website may be useful to you in those instances. Comments, corrections and submissions are welcome - an email link is at the bottom of the page.
January 30, 2006
Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic
"The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of 'leveraging' their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show."
Audit: U.S.-Led Occupation Squandered Aid
"A U.S. government audit found American-led occupation authorities squandered tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to rebuild Iraq through undocumented spending and outright fraud."
Army forces 50,000 soldiers into extended duty
Innocent UK children on DNA database
"Britain is keeping DNA records on 24,000 juveniles in a national crime-fighting database who have been neither cautioned or charged with any offence, the Home Office confirmed on Saturday."
U.S.: Venezuela Overspending on Military
Former NSA Chief Says Surveillance Limited
"Gen. Michael Hayden, the former NSA director, described the 4-year-old program as narrowly targeted, using the same tools and techniques employed to decide whether to drop a 500-pound bomb on a terrorist target."
US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
"The declassified document is called 'Information Operations Roadmap'. It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.
Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.
And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to 'provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum'."
Planted Articles May Be Violation
"A secret directive on the Pentagon's information operations policy released Thursday, however, appears to prohibit U.S. troops from conducting psychological operations, or psy-ops, targeting the media.
'Psy-op is restricted by both DoD [Department of Defense] policy and executive order from targeting American audiences, our military personnel and news agencies or outlets,' says the directive, dated Oct. 30, 2003, and signed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
The document, titled 'Information Operations Roadmap,' was released by the National Security Archive, a research institution based at George Washington University that obtained it under the Freedom of Information Act."
Information Operations Roadmap
in HTML with redactions
Google to censor itself in China
"Google.cn - the Chinese language version of the search portal - debuted Wednesday with the company acknowledging the balancing act it was attempting to perform.
'In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy,' a Google statement said.
'While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission.'"
A face-off on Web scrutiny: U.S. vs. Google
"The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal judge Wednesday to compel Google to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries as part of the government's effort to uphold an online pornography law.
Google has been refusing the request since a subpoena was issued last August, even as its three main competitors agreed to comply, according to court documents made public in the past week. Google asserts that the request is unnecessary, overly broad, would be onerous to comply with, would jeopardize its trade secrets and could expose identifying information about its users."
U.S. Army raises maximum age for enlistment
"The U.S. Army, which missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal, said on Wednesday it has raised the maximum enlistment age for new soldiers by five years to 39, greatly expanding its pool of potential recruits."
Homeland Security to launch preparedness program for kids
"After more than a year of delays, the Department of Homeland Security says it plans to launch a preparedness program next month aimed at alerting and preparing children for terror attacks and natural disasters.
The program, called Ready Kids, is scheduled to roll out with TV ads, school programs and other events."
Iris Scanning For New Jersey Grade School
"When a parent arrives to pick up their child at one of three grade schools in the Freehold Borough School District, they'll need to look into a camera that will take a digital image of their iris. That photo will establish positive identification to gain entrance into the school.
Funding for the project, more than $369,000, was made possibly by a school safety grant through the National Institute of Justice, a research branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. 'The idea is to improve school safety for the children,' said Phil Meara, superintendent, Freehold Borough School District, on Monday. 'We had a swipe-card system that operated the doors, but the technology was obsolete.'
Installation of the iris technology began in October. The system is now operational after two months of testing. The Teacher-Parent Authorization Security System (T-PASS), a software application developed by Eyemetric Identity Systems, was installed on the front office computers at each of the three schools."
Police chief's home torched after man dies in custody
"Several people broke into the police chief's house and burned it down early Friday, a few hours after a man died in police custody, authorities said."
January 19, 2006
Fury as US air strike kills 18 in Pakistan
18 civilians killed by air-strikes in Bajaur area of NW Pakistan
Leaked Memo: Corrupt DEA Agents in Colombia Help Narcos and Paramilitaries
"The drug war is supposed to follow a very clear script: According to the official screenwriters, the U.S. justice system is pitted against corrupt players in foreign countries who are trying to flood American streets with illicit drugs. The narco-traffickers, crooked cops, and thieving politicians in the drug war are always over there, in Latin America, and elsewhere, and U.S. law enforcers and government officials are always the good guys battling these forces of evil.
But what happens when evidence surfaces that turns that script on its ear? What happens if proof emerges that it is the U.S. justice system that is corrupt? A document obtained recently by Narco News makes those questions more than hypothetical queries. In this document, Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent claims that federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration's office in Bogota, Colombia, are the corrupt players in the war on drugs."
No identity card? You could be fined £2,500 (UK)
"The small print of a consultation paper published by Lord Falconer's Department for Constitutional Affairs, released during the Christmas holiday, reveals that town hall officials will be asked to police the scheme by using the Electoral Register to identify homes and individuals without cards.
The register will be cross-checked against the proposed Identity Card Database in what the Conservatives are calling 'Big Brother' tactics. Those who fail to register for a card or to keep their details up to date when, for example, they change address face fines of up to £2,500."
TSA Wants Access to Veterans' Files to Add "Mental Defectives" to Watch List
Mining for kids: Children can't "opt out" of Pentagon recruitment database
"Parents cannot remove their children's names from a Pentagon database that includes highly personal information used to attract military recruits, the Vermont Guardian has learned."
Create an e-annoyance, go to jail
"It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.
In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess."
Federal ID card is due by year's end - Document would serve as proof of citizenship
"Businesses and border community residents had pressed for an alternative to passports to meet the ID requirement, which Congress passed as part of an effort to improve border security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. By Jan. 1, 2008, U.S. citizens must have either a passport or the new ID card to return home from Mexico or Canada."
Creepy neighbor? Check for a warrant at mcso.com (AZ)
"On Wednesday, the agency unveiled an online database containing information on 30,000 people with warrants in Maricopa County. New warrants will be added daily.
There are no pictures, but users can run a search by name, address, zip code, criminal offense, gender or race, among others. The hope is citizens will use the database to pinpoint criminals and give authorities information leading to an arrest, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said."
January 8, 2006
Gold ends atop $541, up over 4% on week
"Gold for February delivery closed at $541.20 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching an intraday high of $541.80. Prices haven't closed at a level this high since March 1981, though on an intraday basis, they touched $543 on Dec. 12 of last year."
Chalabi takes over Iraq Oil Ministry
Prescott satellite to spy on your home (UK)
"Hi-tech cameras brought in to police home improvements and council tax dodgers"
The lie detector you'll never know is there
"In a call for proposals on a DoD website, contractors are being given until 13 January to suggest ways to develop the RPA, which will use microwave or laser beams reflected off a subject's skin to assess various physiological parameters without the need for wires or skin contacts. The device will train a beam on 'moving and non-cooperative subjects', the DoD proposal says, and use the reflected signal to calculate their pulse, respiration rate and changes in electrical conductance, known as the 'galvanic skin response'. 'Active combatants will in general have heart, respiratory and galvanic skin responses that are outside the norm,' the website says."
Homeland Security opening private mail
"Last month Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words 'by Border Protection' and carrying the official Homeland Security seal.
Goodman is no stranger to mail snooping; as an officer during World War II he was responsible for reading all outgoing mail of the men in his command and censoring any passages that might provide clues as to his unit's position. 'But we didn't do it as clumsily as they've done it, I can tell you that,' Goodman noted, with no small amount of irony in his voice. 'Isn't it funny that this doesn't appear to be any kind of surreptitious effort here,' he said."
Chicago Turns Down Discounted Venezuelan Oil
"In an October meeting with representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the city's Department of Energy and other city officials, Citgo unveiled a plan to provide the Chicago with low-cost diesel fuel. The company's stipulation, at the bidding of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was that the CTA, in turn, pass those savings on to poor residents in the form free or discounted fare cards.
But two months later, despite claims of a looming budget crisis, the CTA president 'has no intent or plan to accept the offer,' according to CTA spokesperson Ibis Antongiorgi. She gave no explanation."
Capture Saddam Hussein in a game
"Military game maker Kuma Reality Games has created an ongoing war game based on incidents from the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The game is updated as events on the ground dictate it. Currently, there are more than 62 different missions that you can choose from. The missions include the capture of Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay. In this mission you are the U.S. military and are going from building to building, trying to avoid enemy sniper fire, and must gain entry into their hideout without killing civilians.
'We are utilizing advanced game technology to recreate the historical events at the center of Saddam Hussein's trial,' Keith Halper, CEO of Kuma Reality Games, said in a news release. 'These games allow people to educate themselves on critical events shaping history using powerful interactive tools, while also providing a dynamic forum for exploration and discussion.'"
Hey Keith, you disingenuous son of a bitch - here's a few Iraq 'games' you missed - Shooting in Tal Afar - Iraq Wedding Celebration - Baghdad Home Invasion - Night Flight - PTSD and Me, and - Mission Accomplished. (purely in the spirit of that 'dynamic forum for exploration and discussion'... you understand)