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 16-30, 2005

June 29, 2005

US to expand its prisons across Iraq
"The new constructions will give the United States the capacity to hold up to 16,000 people in Iraq, military spokesman Lieutenant Guy Rudisill said."

Iraqi journalist shot, US forces accused

Islamic Law Controls the Streets of Basra

Israel urges harder int'l line towards Iran

Bush warns Blair he must boost UK forces
"Britain is coming under sustained pressure from American military chiefs to keep thousands of troops in Iraq - while going ahead with plans to boost the front line against a return to 'civil war' in Afghanistan."

Troops sent to Iraq minus a third of essential gear  (UK)
"The government sent troops to war in Iraq without a third of the equipment it had identified as urgently required for operations, a critical parliamentary report has concluded.

The report described the failure as 'highly regrettable'."
"Yes, there's a lot of it about. Probably a virus. Uh, keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or anything, try and favour the other leg." *  *

Ministers plan to sell your ID card details to raise cash  (UK)
"Personal details of all 44 million adults living in Britain could be sold to private companies as part of government attempts to arrest spiralling costs for the new national identity card scheme, set to get the go-ahead this week.

The Independent on Sunday can today reveal that ministers have opened talks with private firms to pass on personal details of UK citizens for an initial cost of £750 each."

Rights report says US detentions were abuse of law
"The United States abused a law intended to keep witnesses from fleeing when it jailed dozens of Muslim men after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a report Monday by two major rights groups.

The 70 men, all but one of them Muslim, were suspected by the Justice Department of involvement in terrorism but were held as material witnesses rather than criminal suspects, said Jamie Fellner of Human Rights Watch, which released the report with the American Civil Liberties Union."

US suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships: UN official

Eyeballing DoD's Massive Spying on Youngsters by Cryptome
Regarding the US DoD database of potential military recruits - officially known as the 'Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database' - to be compiled by BeNOW corp.

The High Cost of a Rush to Security
"'We are a threat-driven, risk-management organization,' said Tom Blank, the TSA's acting deputy administrator. 'We knew we were threatened. There were bad guys out there. We never questioned that we needed to do this within the time frame Congress mandated. . . . Any time you are on a war footing, you will pay a premium for products and services.'"

Chicago pairing surveillance cameras with gunshot recognition systems

Former IRS agent acquitted of fraud charges
"A federal jury has acquitted a former San Jose Internal Revenue Service special agent of helping to prepare false tax returns.

Joseph Banister, 42, whose Web site proclaims, 'The Income Tax Is a Hoax,' was found not guilty Thursday of conspiracy and three counts of assisting the filing of false tax returns after a weeklong trial in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge William Shubb in Sacramento."

Jurors Acquit Ex-IRS Agent
"A former IRS special agent who has become a prominent leader among challengers of the U.S. income tax was acquitted this week on federal charges that he had helped file false tax returns."

Proposal: Take Souter home for hotel
"After a Supreme Court ruling last week that gave local governments power to seize private property, someone has suggested taking over Justice David Souter's New Hampshire farmhouse and turning the property into a hotel.

'The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare,' Logan Darrow Clements of California wrote in a letter faxed to town officials in Weare on Tuesday."

Report says United States still world's biggest jailer
"The United States again leads the world in putting criminals in jail, ahead of Russia and Belarus, according to figures released Monday by British academics.

The International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College, London, said the United States held 714 prisoners per 100,000 people and has topped the list since 2000."

State Guard forms anti-terrorism intelligence unit
"Three decades after aggressive military spying on Americans created a national furor, California's National Guard has quietly set up a special intelligence unit that has been given 'broad authority' to monitor, analyze and distribute information on potential terrorist threats, the Mercury News has learned.

Known as the Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence Fusion program, the project is part of an expanding nationwide effort to better integrate military intelligence into global anti-terrorism initiatives."

State Assembly approves medical marijuana
"The Rhode Island Senate Tuesday approved legislation that protects patients and their primary caregivers who use and prescribe marijuana for medical reasons from arrest."

June 25, 2005

Mosul Police Station blown Up, many Dead - 31 Killed Saturday, Dozens Wounded by Prof. Juan Cole

Baghdad bombs kill over 30 after Brussels talks

Censorship by Dahr Jamail
"The newspaper has been translating various articles of mine into Turkish and running them, particularly those concerning the most recent Fallujah massacre. The reporter who was interviewing me today told me that the former American consulate here, Eric Edelman, asked the Prime Minister of Turkey to pressure his paper to not run so many of my stories."

Italy: judge orders the arrest of 13 CIA agents
"An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 agents of the Central Intelligence Agency for allegedly kidnapping an Egyptian cleric on a Milan street two years ago and transporting him to a prison in Egypt for questioning, Italian prosecutors and investigators said Friday.
Investigators said the 13 agents are identified by their real names - as well as their assumed names - in the court documents, which remained under seal Friday. In the warrant, Nobili said that all 13 suspects had links to the CIA and that several were serving as diplomats at the U.S. Consulate in Milan, investigators said.

The judge's decision marks the first time that a foreign country's criminal justice system has tried to prosecute American intelligence agents for carrying out the CIA's policy of 'extraordinary rendition,' in which terrorism suspects captured abroad are sent by the United States to countries that are known for torturing its prisoners."

£220bn stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers

Pentagon creating student database
"The Defense Department yesterday began working with a private marketing firm to create a database of all U.S. college students as well as high-school students between ages 16 and 18, to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment.

The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

The data will be managed by Wakefield, Mass.-based BeNow, one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits."

Feds Launch Prescription Pot Sweep
"Federal drug agents launched a wide-ranging crackdown on medical marijuana providers in northern California, raiding pot clubs, homes and businesses in San Francisco and arresting a husband and wife in Sacramento."

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

Woman carrying $47K in bra at airport sues
"A Quincy woman who apparently stuffed $46,950 in cash in her bra before trying to board a plane to Texas for plastic surgery has sued a federal agency, demanding the return of her money.

The money was seized from Ileana Valdez, 26, after a security check at a metal detector at Logan International Airport on Feb. 3. Valdez told authorities she was heading to Texas for plastic surgery on her buttocks and breasts."

Feds check passports against terror list
"The federal government plans to begin checking the name of everyone who applies for a U.S. passport against a list of suspected terrorists and their associates, according to the State Department.

The department's Office of Passport Services is 'currently working on an agreement with the Terrorist Screening Center that would provide information on American citizens who are ... considered persons of concern due to a nexus to terrorism or an ongoing investigation,' Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Moss told a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity."

Ashcroft Gone, Justice Statues Disrobe

June 20, 2005

Iraqi Lawmakers Call for Foreign Troops to Withdraw
"Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from their country in a letter released to the media June 19.
Eighty-two Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni Arab, Christian and communist deputies made the call in a letter sent by Falah Hassan Shanshal of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the largest group in parliament, to speaker Hajem al-Hassani."

Many Iraqis killed in multiple attacks

British bombing raids were illegal, says Foreign Office
"A sharp increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war 'to put pressure on the regime' was illegal under international law, according to leaked Foreign Office legal advice.

The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began 'spikes of activity' designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war."

Your ISP as Net watchdog
"The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities."

Federal Agency Collected Extensive Personal Data About Airline Passengers Despite Pledge
"A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn't, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press."

Bush says US is in Iraq because of attacks on US
"'Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror,' said the president. 'These foreign terrorists violently oppose the rise of a free and democratic Iraq, because they know that when we replace despair and hatred with liberty and hope, they lose their recruiting grounds for terror,' he argued."
Lucky guess or irony...?

June 17, 2005

News from and about Iraq from Prof. Juan Cole at Informed Comment
Mosque Attack Wounds 4 - US Raids against al-Dhari, Muqtada
48 Dead in Guerrilla Violence - Suicide Bombing in Khalis Targets Iraqi Troops
Guerrillas Kill 29 Iraqis Tuesday, Wound over 100 in North - 3 US Servicemen Dead - Kurds Abducting Arabs, Turkmen in Kirkuk

U.S. jets drop 500 lb bombs in Iraq operation
"U.S. F-16 fighter planes dropped a series of 500 lb (220 kg) bombs on insurgent targets in western Iraq overnight as the U.S. military launched a heavy offensive against rebels near the Syrian border."

US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war
"American officials lied to British ministers over the use of 'internationally reviled' napalm-type firebombs in Iraq.

Yesterday's disclosure led to calls by MPs for a full statement to the Commons and opened ministers to allegations that they held back the facts until after the general election.

Despite persistent rumours of injuries among Iraqis consistent with the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm, Adam Ingram, the Defence minister, assured Labour MPs in January that US forces had not used a new generation of incendiary weapons, codenamed MK77, in Iraq."

Chinese Target Web's 'Prohibited Language'
"Microsoft's Chinese staff could not be reached immediately for comment. However, a spokesman at the tech giant's headquarters in Seattle acknowledged that the company is cooperating with the Chinese government to censor its Chinese-language Web portal."

Halliburton to build new $30 mln Guantanamo jail
"A Halliburton Co. unit will build a new $30 million detention facility and security fence at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States is holding about 520 foreign terrorism suspects, the Defense Department announced on Thursday."

Guantanamo inmates can be held 'in perpetuity' -U.S
"Republican senators called on Wednesday for the rights of foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay prison to be legally defined even as the Bush administration said the inmates could be jailed there 'in perpetuity.'"

MasterCard security breach could hit 40 mln cards
"MasterCard International on Friday said a security breach of credit card payment data had exposed about 40 million cards to potential fraud in the biggest such privacy violation ever reported.

An unauthorized person infiltrated cardholder data at CardSystems Solutions Inc., which processes transactions for MasterCard. About 13.9 million of those credit cards at risk are MasterCard-branded cards, the company said."

U.S. Offshoring of Personal Data Grows
"According to the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, CA there have been close to 60 reported security breaches of customer financial information from United States corporations thus far in 2005, involving 13.5 million customers’ identities. The companies include Choicepoint, Inc., Bank of America Corp., Wachovia Corp., Ameritrade Holding Corp., DSW Shoe Warehouse, Time Warner Inc., LexisNexis and most recently Citbank Financial Group. While most lost data has involved data storage tapes lost in transit by courier services or UPS, others involved computer security breaches. And as corporate America looks for ways to shore up its security problems rather than face the wrath of Congress, an even more unwieldy problem is brewing abroad.

As holes still exist in protecting the personal information of both customers and employees of corporations in the United States, many of these same corporations, which include the largest financial institutions and two of the three credit reporting agencies, have offshored information technology units which include-back office functions from customer service to software development and engineering."

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