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.

April 16-30, 2005

April 29, 2005

Scores killed in Iraq blasts

Multiple bomb blasts rock Baghdad
"A string of at least seven car bomb attacks targeting security forces in and around Baghdad, have killed at least 18 people and injured more than 64, an interior ministry official said."

US military revises custody rules
"US Defence Department has issued new guidelines on the treatment of prisoners in US military custody and barred the practice of detaining so-called ghost prisoners.

Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of defence intelligence, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday the new guidelines made plain that the military command would set the rules at military-run facilities.
In another development, a former army translator at the camp has said authorities at Guantanamo Bay staged interrogations of detainees for visiting politicians and generals to give the impression that valuable intelligence was regularly being gathered."

Pentagon Moves to Bar CIA 'Ghost' Detainees
"The CIA will no longer be allowed to hold unregistered "ghost" detainees at U.S. military prisons such as Iraq's Abu Ghraib, the Pentagon's top intelligence official said on Thursday."
Neither this article or the one previous state that there will be no more 'ghost' detainees - only that US military facilities cannot be formally used for such purposes.

Bunker-buster bomb plan won't work, study finds
"The Bush administration's plan to develop a nuclear weapon that could penetrate the earth and destroy underground enemy bunkers while minimizing civilian casualties is flawed, the National Research Council concluded in a report made public Wednesday."

Military recruiting center attacked
"An Army and Marines recruitment center was shot at eight times this morning, an incident police believe is related to the airing of a television news report Thursday night that raised questions about recruitment practices."

April 25, 2005

Blasts shake Iraq amid talk of deal

Reports from Iraq covering the last several days from Professor Juan Cole at Informed Comment
4 Carbombings Kill 23, Wound at Least 80, 2 US Troops Killed
Guerrillas Shoot down Helicopter, Killing 11 (6 Americans)
Assassination Attempt on Allawi - 70 Bodies Recovered in Iraqi Massacres

No evidence Syria hid Iraqi arms
"U.S. investigators hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have found no evidence that such material was moved to Syria for safekeeping before the war, according to a final report of the investigation released Monday.
The Iraq Survey Group's main findings - that Saddam's Iraq did not possess chemical and biological weapons and had only aspirations for a nuclear program - were made public in October in an interim report covering nearly 1,000 pages. Monday's final report, published on the Government Printing Office's Web site (, incorporated those pages with minor editing and included 92 pages of addenda that tied up loose ends on Syria and other topics."

DeLay woes prompt rush to refile forms - Lawmakers fear fallout over ethics
"Members of Congress are rushing to amend their travel and campaign records, fearing that the controversy over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will trigger an ethics war that will bring greater scrutiny to their own travel and official activities."
Just look at what goes skittering towards the baseboards when the lights are turned on!

Secret Service records raise new questions about discredited conservative reporter
"In what is unlikely to stem the controversy surrounding disgraced White House correspondent James Guckert, the Secret Service has furnished logs of the writerís access to the White House after requests by two Democratic congressmembers."

Spying: Giving Out U.S. Names
"The National Security Agency is not supposed to target Americans; when a U.S. citizen's name comes up in an NSA "intercept," the agency routinely minimizes dissemination of the info by masking the name before it distributes the report to other U.S. agencies. But it's now clear the agency disseminates thousands of U.S. names. U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton told a Senate confirmation hearing he had requested that U.S. names be unmasked from NSA intercepts on a handful of occasions; the State Department said he had made 10 such requests since 2001, and that the department as a whole had made 400 similar requests over the same period. But evidence is emerging that NSA regularly supplies uncensored intercepts, including named Americans, to other agencies far more often than even many top intel officials knew."

U.S. Prison Population, World's Highest, Up Again
"The U.S. penal system, the world's largest, maintained its steady growth in 2004, the Department of Justice reported on Sunday."
"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place to-day, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race, should find them; on that separate, but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her - the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor."
Henry David Thoreau

Medical marijuana catch-22 for S.F. - Proposed rules could unintentionally assist federal prosecution
"Federal drug agents who want to crack down on marijuana use in San Francisco, medical or otherwise, say the cityís plan to regulate the drug may give law enforcement what it needs to do its job: a paper trail."

Napolitano vetoes bill to allow guns in bars  (AZ)
"Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill Monday that would have allowed people to carry guns in bars and restaurants if they weren't drinking alcohol and if the businesses didn't ban them from doing it."

April 21, 2005

Ecuador Congress ousts president
"Ecuador's controversial leader Lucio Gutierrez has been placed under arrest after Congress ousted him, the armed forces withdrew their support and a new president was named.

The embattled Gutierrez left the Carondelet presidential palace just as the legislature named Vice-President Alfredo Palacio as the new head of state.

He travelled by helicopter to Quito's airport, where protesters prevented him from leaving the country, reportedly to Panama, where his wife and two daughters are.

The helicopter then took Gutierrez to a nearby military base, where he was being held. Prosecutor Cecilia de Armas said she ordered his arrest for ordering police and soldiers to crush protesters demanding his removal from office."

Soldiers' 'Wish Lists' Of Detainee Tactics Cited
"Army investigative documents released yesterday, as well as court records and files, suggest that the tactics were used on two detainees: One died during an interrogation in November 2003 while stuffed into a sleeping bag, and another was badly beaten by inexperienced interrogators using a police baton in September 2003. The documents indicate confusion over what tactics were legal in Iraq, a belief that most detainees were not covered by Geneva Conventions protections and alleged abuse by interrogators who had tacit approval to 'turn it up a notch.'"

ACLU Challenges Governmentís Use of Secrecy to Avoid Accountability in National Security Whistleblower Case
"During closed oral arguments today before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the governmentís 'radical theory' that every aspect of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmondsí case involved state secrets and therefore could not go forward. The ACLU also filed an emergency motion last night, along with other public interest groups and media outlets, challenging the courtís decision to close the courtroom to members of the press and the general public."

Congressman Seeks Probe on Terrorism Statistics
"A Democratic congressman on Thursday demanded an investigation of the State Department's decision to stop releasing annual data on terrorist attacks and accused it of keeping vital information from the public.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman of California suggested the Bush administration was selectively disclosing favorable elements of the data, which are sensitive because they are one measure of whether it is winning the war on terrorism."

Law to Force Mental Illness Treatment Raises Ire of Civil Libertarians
"People are typically willing to accept a doctor's advice, but the mental health community has long struggled with the question of what to do when a mentally ill person refuses treatment.

One controversial response is a system that orders some mentally ill people into psychiatric treatment, whether they want it or not. Under 'Assisted Outpatient Treatment' (AOT), the doctors' orders come by way of a judge.
The criteria for AOT eligibility under Kendra's Law include whether a mentally ill adult 'is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision'; has 'a history of non-adherence with treatment' leading to hospitalization, incarceration, or violence; and poses a risk of future 'physical harm' to self or others. Among those who can initiate AOT petitions are relatives, roommates, treatment providers, hospital officials and parole officers."

DSW data theft much larger than estimated
"Thieves who accessed a DSW Shoe Warehouse database obtained 1.4 million credit card numbers and the names on those accounts - 10 times more than investigators estimated last month."

DeLay Slams Supreme Court Justice
"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intensified his criticism of the federal courts on Tuesday, singling out Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's work from the bench as 'incredibly outrageous' because he has relied on international law and done research on the Internet. DeLay also said he thought there were a 'lot of Republican-appointed judges that are judicial activists.'"

Rove Decries Media Approach to Government
"The media have started applying the horse race style of campaign coverage to daily reporting on government, leading to adversarial reporting that can obscure the truth just to create conflict, President Bush's chief political strategist said Monday. Speaking at a forum at Washington College, Karl Rove said the influx of media outlets and the shrinking shelf life of news in a 24-hour news cycle are to blame. 'We are substituting the shrill and rapid call of the track announcer for calm judgment, fact and substance,' Rove told the crowd of roughly 600 students and local residents."

IBM Telematics to Catch Speeders
"IBM's new four-year deal, expected to be announced this week, will link tens of thousands of vehicles in a nationwide wireless network by the end of 2006 - the largest application of telematics ever, IBM claims. The initiative is designed to combat the abnormally high rate of traffic-related deaths in the Persian Gulf state of the United Arab Emirates.

Under the terms of the deal, IBM's telematics device and global position system will provide information on a vehicle's location and speed to government agencies. Early prototypes for the tracking device are comparable to an airplane's 'black box.'"

Curious about Bush bouncer? Follow bouncing stall tactic
"Which brings us to March 21 at the president's town hall meeting on Social Security privatization. (Note: This was not a party function.)

Karen Bauer, Alex Young and Leslie Weise were removed from the event because they dared to arrive in a car with a bumper sticker that said, 'No More Blood for Oil.' They also admit to wearing Democratic underwear.

The identity of the bouncer, dressed to look like a Secret Service agent, has remained a stubborn secret despite demands from congressmen, senators and lawyers for the three ejected audience members."

April 18, 2005

Police in Ariz. Seek Monkey for SWAT Team
"'Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it,' said Mesa Officer Sean Truelove, who builds and operates tactical robots for the suburban Phoenix SWAT team. 'It would change the way we do business.'"

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