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.

June 1-15, 2005

June 13, 2005

21 Dead, 40 Wounded in Guerrilla Violence by Prof. Juan Cole

Silent Death in Iraq by Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar

Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’
"Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W. Bush three months earlier."

Psychological warfare effort to be outsourced - Army command hires three firms to sway Afghans and Iraqis
"The U.S. Special Operations Command has hired three firms to produce newspaper stories, television broadcasts and Web sites to spread American propaganda overseas.

The Tampa-based military headquarters, which oversees commandos and psychological warfare, may spend up to $100 million for the media campaign in the next five years."

Banned Contractor Soliciting Iraq Deals
"Former executives of Custer Battles - an American firm accused of stealing millions from Iraq reconstruction projects and banned from further government contracts - have continued doing contracting work and have formed new companies to bid on such projects, The Associated Press has learned."

Police turn to scan of iris to track kids

Officials find hoarding junk causes trouble to pile up
"The obsession to hoard such junk as old magazines, clothes -- even ceramic Santas and grenade launchers -- inside homes has become more than an unusual or minor nuisance in Fairfax County.

John Yetman, chairman of the county's Hoarding Task Force, said officials respond to about five cases a month and reported 55 such cases last year and 42 in 2003."

June 9, 2005

Dozens killed in attacks across Iraq

Rumsfeld blames Aljazeera over Iraq

Another Downing St Memo - Wrongfooting Saddam
"The following is a transcript of another document leaked to the media concerning the build up to the Iraq war. It concerns a discussion in early 2002 between the UK Ambassador to the US and then Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz."
Also see 'Analysis of leaked UK Cabinet Office Papers' on the Soapbox page under today's date for additional commentary on this and other memos.

Iran Sanction Bill Loses Momentum As Administration Presses Diplomacy
"Two weeks ago, at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, organization officials said it was a top priority to ensure quick passage of the Iran Freedom Support Act, a bill that is co-sponsored by more than half the members of the House of Representatives. State Department officials, however, recently asked sponsors of the bill to freeze their push for new sanctions as President Bush and his European allies exhaust diplomatic efforts to dissuade Tehran from pursuing nuclear weapons."

Policy on Syria Moves Toward Regime Change

The Narco News Bulletin
Extensive coverage of recent political unrest in Bolivia

Venezuela Confiscated Missile Parts at Airport, Launches Investigation
"Yesterday, the Venezuelan Minister of Defense, General Jorge García Carneiro asserted that confiscation of the components of three Colombian air-to-air missiles in the Simón Bolívar airport in Caracas on Saturday warrants an investigation in cooperation with Colombian authorities and intelligence. The missile components, carrying the shield of the Republic of Colombia, were found by the Disip, the Venezuelan equivalent to the FBI, during a routine examination of the hanger of German airline Lufthansa.

According to a statement released on Monday by the Venezuelan Attorney General's Office, it was corroborated by the Colombian Air Force that the missile components seized arrived in Venezuela late last month and 'were destined for Tel Aviv, Israel.' The incident was classified by Venezuelan Minister of the Interior and Justice Jesse Chacón as an evident irregularity and a violation of the Customs Law."

Info on 3.9M Citigroup customers lost
"Citigroup said Monday that personal information on 3.9 million consumer lending customers was lost by UPS while in transit to a credit bureau -- the biggest breach of customer or employee data reported so far."

Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People
"Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug."

June 5, 2005

Iraq news from Prof. Juan Cole at Informed Comment
Bombings, Shootings in Balad, Tikrit, Samarra, Mahmudiyah - Sunni Clerics Condemn Marginalization of their Community, Protest US
At Least 19 Dead in Guerrilla Violence

Momentum Building in Defense of Bill Conroy
"The campaign of harassment and intimidation from agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security towards Narco News correspondent Bill Conroy continues to draw outrage from journalists and others who value press freedom."

Voluntary Security ID to Debut in Florida
"Beginning June 21, the Orlando airport will let travelers pay $80 a year for a card that guarantees an exclusive security line and the promise of no random secondary pat-down. To get this new 'Clear' card, travelers would have to be vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and submit to fingerprint and iris scans.
The company behind Clear is Verified Identity Pass Inc., which Brill founded in 2003 in hopes of creating a nationwide, voluntary system that would give pre-screened people a dedicated fast lane for entering secure areas - not only at airports but also office buildings, power plants and stadiums."

IDF disperses riot with sound technology
"The IDF unveiled Friday a new crowd-dispersal tactic, emitting painful bursts of sound at a special frequency to help break up a violent Palestinian demonstration, military officials and witnesses said.

IDF officials confirmed soldiers used a new non-lethal tactic in the West Bank village of Bilin, where hundreds of demonstrators rallied against Israel's separation barrier."

No arrest needed for state to tax illegal drugs
"Since the law took effect in January, Tennessee's Department of Revenue has collected nearly $400,000 in taxes. An additional $11 million in taxes has been levied but not collected, often because the debtors are in jail or can't afford to pay.

Some defense attorneys say the new law is quickly becoming an example of government running amok, with innocent residents who have not been convicted of crimes, or even charged, being bullied into paying thousands of dollars in taxes."

Scientists Experiment With 'Trust' Hormone

Satellite toll plan to make drivers pay by the mile  (UK)

Replica guns to be banned  (UK)

Police 'free' S&M sex slave from car trunk
"Deciding the rear of the car was not safe for the man, officers told him to sit inside the car and sent the pair on their way."

June 1, 2005

Iraq news from Prof. Juan Cole at Informed Comment
Airport Bombs, Backyard Mortars, and Poisoned Watermelons
43 Iraqis Dead in 2 Days - Shiite Pilgrims Massacred - Killings in Sinjar, Hilla

RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
"THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.

The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive."

Crushing defeat leaves EU vision in tatters
"European leaders' long-held dream of anchoring the continent's greater unification in its first constitution was dissolving before their eyes last night after the Dutch delivered the second crushing blow to the idea in three days."

C.I.A. Expanding Terror Battle Under Guise of Charter Flights

Microsoft, HP partner on national ID systems
"The identity management market is expected to grow from the current $4.8 billion to $10.7 billion by 2007, HP said."

Pentagon delays release of May recruiting data
"Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the May numbers for the active-duty and reserve components of the all-volunteer military will be released on June 10.

'Military recruiting is instrumental to our readiness and merits the earliest release of data. But at the same time, this information must be reasonably scrutinized and explained to the public, which deserves the fullest insight into military performance in this important area,' Krenke said."

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