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 16-31, 2005

May 27, 2005

Security ring for Baghdad planned
"Operation Lightning will divide Russafa (the east of the city) into seven sectors and Kharkh (west) into 15, as well as set up 645 fixed checkpoints and a number of mobile barricades, he said.

'We're going to set up a security cordon around Baghdad ... and it will be impossible for terrorists to cross,' Jabor said, adding that the plan would come into operation next week."

News from Iraq from Prof. Juan Cole at Informed Comment
US Helicopter Shot Down, 2 Soldiers Dead - PM Jaafari launches a Campaign around Baghdad
Bombings and Assassinations Continue - US Military Sweep in Haditha

Baku-Ceyhan pipeline opened

New pipeline gives Caspian oil access to world markets

Bolivia Army Ousts Rebel Officers; Ministers Resigns
"Bolivia's army said it expelled junior officers who called publicly for the ouster of President Carlos Mesa as rioters, in a fourth day of protests, blocked roads, stoned cars, and smashed department store windows in the capital."

US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards

Doctors oppose long, pointy knives
"The authors of an editorial in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal have called for knife reform. The editorial, 'Reducing knife crime: We need to ban the sale of long, pointed kitchen knives,' notes that the knives are being used to stab people as well as roasts and the odd tin of Spam.

The authors of the essay, Drs. Emma Hern, Will Glazebrook and Mike Beckett of the West Middlesex University Hospital in London, called for laws requiring knife manufacturers to redesign their wares with rounded, blunt tips."

Senate Intelligence Committee Considers Patriot Act Expansion Bill in Secret; ACLU Calls for Open and Public Dialogue
"The bill would grant so-called 'administrative subpoena' authority to the FBI, letting the bureau write and approve its own search orders, without judicial approval in advance, for any tangible thing it deems relevant to an intelligence investigation. This power would let agents seize personal records from medical facilities, libraries, hotels, gun dealers, banks and any other businesses, without having to appear before a judge, and without any evidence that the people whose records are swept in are involved in any criminal activity.
The proposal would also give the FBI broad new powers to track people’s mail in intelligence inquiries. It would force postal workers to disclose the name, address and other information appearing on envelopes delivered to or from people designated by the FBI, without any meaningful protections."

White House appeals curbs on Net data searches
"The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism."

Judge: Public Has Right to See Abuse Photos
"A federal judge has told the government it will have to release additional pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, civil rights lawyers said.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein, finding the public has a right to see the pictures, told the government Thursday he will sign an order requiring it to release them to the American Civil Liberties Union, the lawyers said."

In terrorism fight, government finds a surprising ally: FedEx

Airport screeners could see X-rated X-rays
"Get ready for electronic portals known as backscatters, expected to be tested at a handful of airports this year, that use X-ray imaging technology to allow a screener to scan a body. And yes, the body image is detailed. Let's not be coy here, ladies and gentlemen:

'Well, you'll see basically everything,' said Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate and technology consultant. 'It shows nipples. It shows the clear outline of genitals.'"

May 22, 2005

14 Killed - Sadr Tries to Mediate between Sunnis, Shiites by Prof. Juan Cole

Daily Life in Baghdad, from Afar by Dahr Jamail

Iraqis Endure Worse Conditions Than Under Saddam, UN Survey Finds
"Responses to a detailed survey conducted by a United Nations agency and the Iraqi government indicate that everyday conditions for Iraqis in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion have deteriorated at an alarming rate, with huge numbers of people lacking adequate access to basic services and resources such as clean water, food, health care, electricity, jobs and sanitation."

Afghan prisoners were 'tortured to death' by American guards
"Shocking and detailed accounts have emerged of how two Afghan prisoners were tortured to death by American interrogators and prison guards at Bagram air base, outside Kabul.

A 2,000-page report on an internal investigation by the US military leaked to The New York Times and published yesterday provides exhaustive detail on how the two were kept chained in excruciating positions and kicked to death."

Secret UK troops plan for Afghan crisis
"Defence chiefs are planning to rush thousands of British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

Ministers have been warned they face a 'complete strategic failure' of the effort to rebuild Afghanistan and that 5,500 extra troops will be needed within months if the situation continues to deteriorate."

US to push for global 'security envelope'
"But Mr Chertoff outlined a far more ambitious proposal, working with overseas allies 'to accomplish a mission that will secure the entire world'.

He said that, with proper technology and secure travel documents, people and cargo should be able 'to move relatively freely from point to point all across the globe', allowing those within the security envelope not to be 'stopped at every point mechanically, and re-vetted and re-checked'."

Galloway Senate testimony PDF goes AWOL
"All other witness testimonies for the hearings on the Oil for Food scandal are available on the Committee's website in PDF form. But Galloway's testimony is the only document not on the site."
Wasn't there when I looked - just a note that "Mr Galloway did not submit a statement". This would almost give someone the idea that George Galloway never delivered this statement or gave this testimony.

EFF Obtains Draft PATRIOT Bill
"On Thursday, May 26, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will consider in closed session a draft bill that would both renew and expand various USA PATRIOT Act powers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has obtained a copy of the draft bill, along with the committee's summary of it, and has made them available to journalists and interested citizens on its website..."
(draft available at linked location in PDF format)

DOJ - re: Bureau of Prisons Emergencies
"The Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) makes this final rule to clarify that, when there is an institutional or system-wide Bureau emergency which the Director or designee considers a threat to human life or safety, the Director or designee may suspend the operation of the rules in this chapter as necessary to handle the emergency. This rule clarifies that the Director may suspend Bureau rules as needed in light of any emergency affecting the Bureau, and the Warden may do so to deal with emergencies at the institution level. This rule change clarifying the Director's authority to modify Bureau rules to handle emergencies is especially necessary in light of the recent terrorist attacks, threats to national security, threats of anthrax surrounding mail processing, and other events occurring on and after September 11, 2001."

Justices uphold right to sue in injuries
"People who are injured don't necessarily give up their right to sue - even if they signed a paper saying they won't litigate, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In a split decision, the court said the state constitution requires juries to decide whether someone has knowingly agreed to accept the risks of certain activities."

May 18, 2005

A 'Welcome Parade' of Blood and Seething Anger by Dahr Jamail
"As if to add insult to injury, with over 400 Iraqis killed in violence during the first two weeks of the newly sworn in Iraqi 'government,' US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a surprise one day visit to the newest US colony."
Dahr Jamail is now in Jordan reporting on events in Iraq.

They shot us like rabbits
Graphic eyewitness accounts of the massacre of civilians by troops in the Uzbek town of Andijan emerged yesterday from fleeing refugees. With human rights organisations reporting a death toll of up to 500 in Friday's massacre, survivors told of soldiers machine-gunning women, children and their own police comrades."

Government unveils ID card scheme  (UK)

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