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.
May 1-15, 2005
May 14, 2005
Iraqi Border Town Resisting U.S. Forces
Anti-U.S. Riot Turns Deadly in Afghanistan
Uzbek Protesters Killed As Soldiers Attack
"Soldiers loyal to Uzbekistan's authoritarian leader, a U.S. ally, opened fire on thousands of demonstrators Friday to put down an uprising that began when armed men freed 2,000 inmates from prison, including suspects on trial for alleged Islamic extremism.
The death toll from a day of violence in the eastern Uzbek city was not known. The government said nine died before the shootings in the square but gave no overall figure. Witnesses said dozens may have been killed by the troops, who rode into the square in a truck behind an armored personnel carrier as helicopters hovered overhead."
Uzbek media clampdown stifles unrest news
"Authorities cut all foreign TV news programming, including CNN and the BBC, replacing them with Uzbek and foreign entertainment channels.
In its news bulletins, Uzbek state TV said 'an armed group of criminals' had attacked the security forces in Andijan. 'The bandits seized dozens of weapons and moved on to attack a correctional colony, setting some convicts free,' the TV said."
U.S. Army offers shorter enlistment to recruits
"The U.S. Army will allow recruits to sign up for just 15 months of active-duty service, rather than the typical four-year enlistment, as it struggles to lure new soldiers amid the Iraq war, a general said on Thursday.
They will be offered the option of serving 15 months on active duty after completing their training, and then two years in the part-time Army Reserve or National Guard. The soldier then would spend nearly seven years in the Individual Ready Reserve, which requires no training and until recently was rarely mobilized, or serve in a program like the Peace Corps."
Devices detect caches of cash
"Drug traffickers who ship profits abroad in suitcases are not apt to be thrilled with some inventions developed by federal scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory.
One sniffs the air -- it can pick up a stack of bills from about 10 feet away -- for currency's chemical signature. Another beams electrons through packages or luggage to detect trace metals in the green ink.
And a third project, not yet started, would scan serial numbers of individual bills into a database."
Seems like an unhealthy interest in someone elses money...
May 10, 2005
Dozens killed, scores hurt in Iraq
U.S. Forces Push Toward Syrian Border
"As many as 100 insurgents were killed in the first 48 hours of Operation Matador, as American troops cleared villages along the meandering Euphrates then crossed in rafts and on a pontoon bridge, the U.S. command said. Many of the dead remained trapped under rubble after attack planes and helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts."
King of Jordan to pardon Iraq's deputy PM over $300m bank fraud
"King Abdullah of Jordan has agreed to pardon Ahmed Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi political leader, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for fraud after his bank collapsed with $300m (£160m) in missing deposits in 1989."
Former ministers flee as Iraq begins corruption inquiry
"Former Iraqi ministers are fleeing the country because of reports that the new administration may prevent them going abroad while accusations of corruption are being investigated.
The incoming government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who completed his cabinet yesterday, has pledged to fight pervasive corruption among officials. The outgoing administration of Iyad Allawi was regarded as highly corrupt by Iraqis."
Senate approves electronic ID card bill
FAQ: How Real ID will affect you
Senate Votes on ID Card Plan
"The U.S. Senate is expected to approve plans for a national ID card Tuesday, despite concerns by security experts that the system could raise the potential for identity theft and electronic tracking of individuals."
Pentagon Seeks Greater Immunity from Freedom of Information Act
"The provision, proposed by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, would render so-called 'operational files' fully immune from requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the main mechanism by which watchdog groups, journalists and individuals can access federal documents."
UQ Wire: Sibel Edmonds Denied Again, Plans Appeal
"Former government translator Sibel Edmonds cannot proceed with her whistleblower retaliation lawsuit because prosecuting it would reveal state secrets, a federal appellate court ruled last week."
FBI Must Probe Links to Okla. Bombing: Court Orders Records Search on Aryan Bank-Heist Gang
"U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball rejected the FBI's argument that all it had to do was a cursory computer database check. Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI documents related to any links between a purported informer, the Aryan Republican Army bank robbers and the federal building bombing that killed 168 people."
May 5, 2005
Blast at Iraq police centre kills dozens
"At least 45 people have been killed and up to 150 wounded by a blast in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, Kurdistan Health Minister Jamal Abdel Hamid told Aljazeera by phone."
Car bomb, shootings kill dozens in Iraq
Uzbekistan: A Small Protest with Big Implications
"A small protest with big implications for stability in Uzbekistan occurred May 3, as several dozen Uzbeks, most of them women and children, gathered near the US embassy in Tashkent to demonstrate against deteriorating economic conditions in the country. The rally indicates Uzbeks may be losing their fear of openly challenging the authoritarian-minded government."
Reports says US sent prisoners to Uzbekistan
"There is growing evidence that the US is sending terrorism suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation under the CIA’s 'rendition' program, despite a consistent record of prisoner abuse in the Central Asian state, the New York Times reports.
The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, said he had been aware during his posting to Tashkent that the CIA was using the country as a place to hold foreign terrorism suspects. In an interview over a year ago, Murray said 'CIA flights flew to Tashkent often, usually twice a week'."
U.S. Officials Suspected of Embezzlement in Iraq
"The U.S. government has opened a criminal inquiry into suspected embezzlement by officials who failed to account for almost $100 million they disbursed for Iraqi reconstruction projects, federal investigators said Wednesday."
Two U.S. soldiers detained in arms plot in Colombia
Rep. calls for deeper inquiry into secret Iraq attack plan
"In a statement, Conyers says he is disappointed the mainstream media has not touched the revelations.
'Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a 'runaway bride' to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers,' Conyers writes. 'The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so.'"
DHS chief floats idea of collecting private citizens' information
"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff this week floated an idea to start a nonprofit group that would collect information on private citizens, flag suspicious activity, and send names of suspicious people to his department. The idea, which Chertoff tossed out at an April 27 meeting with security-industry officials, is reminiscent of the Defense Department's now-dead Total Information Awareness program that sought to sift though heaps of foreign intelligence information to root out potential terrorist activity. According to one techie who attended the April 27 meeting, Chertoff told the group, 'Maybe we can create a nonprofit and track people's activities, and an algorithm could red-flag individuals. Then, the nonprofit could give us the names.'"
Bill calls for encrypted Social Security cards
"With Congress poised to make it virtually impossible for illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, Republican leaders are preparing another crackdown on undocumented workers -- legislation to mandate a high-tech, counterfeit-proof Social Security card that would be required to get a job."
Project sets sights on illegal guns
"Local law enforcement officials predict a new program to get illegal guns off Jackson streets could begin by the end of the year.
U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton wants to start a gun interdiction unit through the Jackson Police Department. Officers would use vans equipped with gun-firing tanks to test weapons taken at the scene of vehicle stops and crime scenes.
He envisions interdiction officers developing sources throughout the city to determine where people buy illegal guns. He also is hopeful pawn shop owners and gun show salesmen would allow the unit to test weapons and enter the information into the database.
'(The unit) has to have a starting place,' Lampton said. 'If you don't build a database, it's useless.'"
Feds Stepping Up Obscenity Prosecutions
The Bekaa gears up for cannabis crops
"This is Baalbek, the city of the sun, where ancient Romans engraved images of opium poppies on the walls of their temples. Nowadays, following the recent Syrian troop withdrawal, local farmers are hoping the area can once again return to its former glory as the country's narcotics nerve center."
Unintended Consequences - Anyone?
May 3, 2005
41 Killed, 76 Wounded in Bombings - Among Wounded: 5 US Soldiers by Prof. Juan Cole
Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Preventing Proactive Moves
"The strains imposed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made it far more difficult for the U.S. military to beat back new acts of aggression, launch a pre-emptive strike or prevent conflict in another part of the world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in a classified analysis presented to Congress today.
Pentagon officials said that the analysis - the latest assessment of military risk that the Pentagon sends each year to Congress - concluded that the United States military would still be able to win any war the president asked it to fight. It would just be more difficult to win in the time frame and with the number of troops detailed in the Pentagon's myriad contingency plans.
'The assessment is that we would succeed, but there would be' higher casualties and more collateral damage,' said one senior Defense official. 'We would have to win uglier.'"
Uglier than what...?
Microphones to catch noisy neighbours (UK)
"The microphones, which communicate via an internet connection, will be attached to lamp posts across Soho to test the system for the next few months.
'Eventually this wireless network will cover the whole of Westminster and be used by workers wherever they are,' said Mr Harrison."
For 3rd straight month, Army misses recruiting goal
Ashcroft forms security firm in Washington
Marijuana now comprises nearly half of all drug arrests
"The study released Tuesday found that arrests for marijuana account for nearly all of the increase in drug arrests seen during the 1990s. The report also found that one in four people in state prisons for marijuana offenses can be classified as a 'low-level offender,' and estimates that $4 billion a year is spent on arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes."
A four billion dollar a year industry - all over a weed!