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.
September 16-30, 2004
September 30, 2004
U.S. Launches Assault on Rebel-Held Iraqi Town
"U.S. forces in Iraq on Friday launched a big offensive in the rebel stronghold of Samarra and said they had secured key government and police buildings. The assault followed U.S. pledges to wrest control of major centers, including Samarra, Falluja and Ramadi, from insurgents who have used them as bases for attacks across the country. The aim was to stabilize Iraq before January's elections."
Baghdad Bombings Kill 35 Children
"A series of bombs killed 35 children and seven adults Thursday as U.S. troops handed out candy at a government ceremony to inaugurate a new sewage treatment plant."
28 Palestinians, 3 Israelis Die in Gaza Fighting
An October Surprise for Bush and the FBI?
Interview with Sibel Edmonds
Major defense contractors reap billions in no-bid contracts, report finds
"Much of the approximately $900 billion the Defense Department has spent on contracts since 1998 has been issued without competitive bidding and effective oversight, according to a new report on Pentagon contracting released Wednesday. In the report, the Center for Public Integrity found that more than $360 billion worth of contracts - about 44 percent of the total - were awarded without full and open competition."
Report on U.S. Role in Allawi Speech Stirs Complaint
"President Bush came under fire from a senior Senate Democrat on Thursday after the Washington Post said the U.S. government and a representative of Bush's reelection campaign helped draft Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's speech to Congress last week."
September 29, 2004
Attacks and ambushes in and around Baghdad kill at least 13
Growing Pessimism on Iraq
"People at the CIA 'are mad at the policy in Iraq because it's a disaster, and they're digging the hole deeper and deeper and deeper,' said one former intelligence officer who maintains contact with CIA officials. 'There's no obvious way to fix it. The best we can hope for is a semi-failed state hobbling along with terrorists and a succession of weak governments.'"
Iraq War Plans 'Were Drawn Up Before Vote'
"Details from the secret briefing paper, published in London's Evening Standard, suggest that military commanders took part in a war planning conference with US counterparts as early as June 2002."
US-Backed Warlords Big Threat to Afghan Elections
Sharon says U.S. should also disarm Iran, Libya and Syria
"In a meeting with U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton yesterday, Sharon said that Israel was concerned about the security threat posed by Iran, and stressed that it was important to deal with Iran even while American attention was focused on Iraq. Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials that he had no doubt America would attack Iraq, and that it would be necessary thereafter to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea."
In ACLU Case, Federal Court Strikes Down Patriot Act Surveillance Power As Unconstitutional
"Saying that "democracy abhors undue secrecy," a federal court today struck down an entire Patriot Act provision that gives the government unchecked authority to issue 'National Security Letters' to obtain sensitive customer records from Internet Service Providers and other businesses without judicial oversight. The court also found a broad gag provision in the law to be an 'unconstitutional prior restraint' on free speech."
Photographs of RFID Clothing Labels "Unauthorized" - Advanstar threatens CASPIAN founder: Pull or else
"Advanstar made the decision to designate Albrecht as 'press' for the event. A sign posted at the entrance to the exhibit hall indicated anyone designated as 'press' could take photographs. In addition to representing her organization's online RFID publication, www.spychips.com, Albrecht attended the event to gather information for a well-known computer industry magazine."
The freedom to edit
"This week, a group of American publishers filed suit against the Treasury secretary and the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department over the editing of books and manuscripts from countries, like Iran and Sudan, that are the targets of sanctions."
September 28, 2004
Iraq Study Sees Rebels' Attacks as Widespread
"Over the past 30 days, more than 2,300 attacks by insurgents have been directed against civilians and military targets in Iraq, in a pattern that sprawls over nearly every major population center outside the Kurdish north, according to comprehensive data compiled by a private security company with access to military intelligence reports and its own network of Iraqi informants. The sweeping geographical reach of the attacks, from Nineveh and Salahuddin Provinces in the northwest to Babylon and Diyala in the center and Basra in the south, suggests a more widespread resistance than the isolated pockets described by Iraqi government officials."
Pentagon link to Guinea coup plot
"Ms Whelan told the group the Pentagon was keen to see them operate in Africa, saying: 'Contractors are here to stay in supporting US national security objectives overseas.' They were cheaper, and saved the use of US forces in peacekeeping and training. She added: 'The US can be supportive in trying to ameliorate regional crises without necessarily having to put US troops on the ground, which is often a very difficult political decision - Sometimes we may not want to be very visible.'"
The Story That Didn't Run
"Asked for evidence to support President Bush's contention in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa, the administration turned over the Niger documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Within two hours, using the Google search engine, IAEA officials in Vienna determined the documents to be a crude forgery."
N.Y. Times Sues Ashcroft in Leak Probe
"The paper said the government intends to get the records, which reflect confidential communications between the journalists Philip Shenon and Judith Miller and their sources, from third parties unlikely to be interested in challenging its authority. The lawsuit said the Justice Department has advised the Times that it plans to obtain records of all telephone calls by Shenon and Miller for 20 days in the months immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."
Ex-Superfund Official Guilty in Fraud
"The former head of the federal Superfund environmental cleanup program was found guilty Monday of concocting a scheme to defraud a client who had hired her consulting company for an environmental cleanup project."
September 27, 2004
US Forces Bomb Falluja and Rebel Areas of Baghdad
U.S. Tanks, Aircraft Bombard Sadr City -Residents
Judge ends Chalabi case for lack of evidence
"A senior Iraqi judge said Monday that he had closed a case brought against Ahmad Chalabi, the former exile once backed by the Pentagon, for suspected involvement in a counterfeiting operation."
France seeking to put pullout on agenda
"France said Monday that it would take part in a proposed international conference on Iraq only if the agenda included a possible U.S. troop withdrawal, thus complicating the planning for a meeting that has drawn mixed reactions. Paris also wants representatives of Iraq's insurgent groups to be invited to a conference in October or November, a call that would seem difficult for the Bush administration to accept."
Israel May Not Be Able to Destroy Nukes
"Israel's national security adviser, Giora Eiland, was quoted Monday by the Maariv daily as saying Iran will reach the 'point of no return' in its nuclear weapons program by November rather than next year as Israeli military officials said earlier."
Israelis kill 7 Palestinians; CNN crewman abducted
Nigerian Oil Delta Rebels Say 'War' Starts Oct 1
"The Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force, in a communique issued late on Monday after a meeting of its central command, also advised all foreigners to leave the delta, according to the group's leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. The delta pumps all of Nigeria's 2.3 million barrels per day output."
CIA's Iraq plan shot down
"The Bush administration has been forced to scale back a plan proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates, favoured by Washington, in the Iraq elections after lawmakers raised questions about the idea when it was sent to Capitol Hill."
Spy imagery agency takes new role inside United States after Sept. 11
Drift of altered grass sharpens gene debate
"Any Roundup-resistant strains that might somehow develop outside of intentionally planted areas could be treated with other weedkillers, the company said."
Which company has secret, item-level RFID tagging plans?
Classic Car Lovers Dismayed by New Law
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill requiring that cars 30 years and older be tested under California's strict smog regulations, closing a loophole over the protests of classic car collectors,"
September 26, 2004
Violence Kills 23 - US Soldiers Wounded at Karama
Abuse, Torture and Rape Reported at Unlisted U.S.-run Prisons in Iraq
Iraqi civilian casualties mounting
"Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis - most of them civilians - as attacks by insurgents, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry and obtained exclusively by Knight Ridder."
US arrests senior Iraqi commander
"Gen Lahibi, who served in Saddam Hussein's army, is the most senior member of the new Iraqi security forces to be detained on suspicion of collaborating with militants."
Israel Claims Killing of Hamas Operative
"In a hit claimed by Israeli security officials, a senior Hamas operative was killed in a car bombing Sunday outside his house in Damascus, the first such killing of a leader of the Islamic militant group in Syria."
Key Bush Assertions About Iraq in Dispute
"Many of President Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday."
Powell Says Iraqi Security Situation Worsening
Ridge Reports Investments in Homeland Security Contractors
"Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge had investments last year in a number of companies with contracts with his department and others who want to profit from homeland security, a new list of his assets shows."
September 24, 2004
U.S. Documents Question Iraqi Police Training
Three More U.S. Sailors Charged in Iraqi Prisoner Abuse
Poppy crop in Afghanistan to jump 40 percent this year: State Department
Rumsfeld admits armed services may have to grow
GOP admits to mailers suggesting Bible ban
"The Republican National Committee says it mailed fliers to voters in two states suggesting liberals want to ban the Bible, the New York Times reported."
Homeland Security issues advice to businesses on terror attacks
September 23, 2004
Recent events in Iraq by Juan Cole
Of Iron Fists and Oil Sabotage
Violence, Allawi, Sistani and Elections
Iraq Violence Kills at Least 24, Wounds over 100
Rumsfeld Suggests Limited Iraq Election
"If there were to be an area where the extremists focused during the election period, and an election was not possible in that area at that time, so be it. You have the rest of the election and you go on. Life's not perfect," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Secret Service Reviews Comments By Dead Soldier's Mom
Public schools no place for teachers' kids
"More than 25 percent of public school teachers in Washington and Baltimore send their children to private schools,"
September 21, 2004
Car Bomb in Baghdad Kills at Least 2 - Police
"A car bomb exploded in western Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding 40, police said."
US forces attack Sadr City
Eyeing Iran Reactors, Israel Seeks U.S. Bunker Bombs
"The Pentagon said in June it was considering the sale to Israel of 500 BLU-109 warheads, which can penetrate 15 feet of fortifications, in a package meant to 'contribute significantly to U.S. strategic and tactical objectives.'"
US to sell Israel 5000 smart bombs
"The deal is worth $319 million and was revealed in a Pentagon report made to the US Congress a few weeks ago, Israeli daily Haaretz said on Tuesday. Funding for the sale will come from US military aid to Israel."
US 'hated for its freedom', is it...?
Bush, in Shift, Taps Into Emergency Iraq Funds
"The decision follows last week's announcement that President Bush plans to divert nearly $3.5 billion from Iraqi water, power and other reconstruction projects to improve security."
"With the rate of spending in Iraq already at more than $1 billion a week, the Pentagon may not have enough money to 'get past Christmas,' let alone wait until February, said John Pike, a defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org. He said the White House could need closer to $75 billion next year."
US runs low on soldiers
"Where to find the extra troops to fight a seemingly intractable insurgency that echoes Vietnam has become a pressing question. And although you wouldn't hear it from the Bush Administration, the prospect of deploying a draft for the first time in a generation may be edging towards reality."
1 in 3 IRR soldiers fail to report for mobilization
"About 30 percent of the 3,664 Individual Ready Reserve soldiers who have been called to active duty failed to report for mobilization, an Army Reserve official said."
TSA issues draft order to airlines for passenger records
"The agency issued documents Tuesday for the Secure Flight program, which is intended to compare information on passengers against government watch lists of suspected terrorists. TSA published a privacy impact assessment and system of records notice for the program, along with a draft order that would require airlines to turn over records on people who flew within this country in June."
DeLay aides indicted
"A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, yesterday handed down indictments against three aides to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), including a first-degree felony charge of money laundering against James Ellis, who runs DeLay's PAC."
Three Linked to DeLay Indicted in Texas Scandal
"Three men with close ties to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were indicted on Tuesday along with eight companies for illegal fund-raising activities in a political action committee formed by the powerful Texan."
The Former Cat Stevens Gets Plane Diverted
"'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' said Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy."
House Approves Penalties for False Web Records
"The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would increase jail time for identity thieves and other fraudulent Web users who register sites under false identities."
"'The government must play a greater role in detecting those who conceal their identities online,' said Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, a sponsor of the bill."
Microsoft to Share Source Code With Governments
"Microsoft Corp. announced this week it is making the programming code for its Office 2003 software suite available to government agencies around the globe,"
September 19, 2004
U.S. is hoping to retake rebel-held areas of Iraq
"'We need to make a decision on when the cancer of Falluja is going to be cut out,' the U.S. commander said."
Uh huh - the old "pot n' kettle jig"...
No respite for Falluja
Iran rejects order by UN energy agency to halt nuclear program
Hamas leader killed in Gaza attack
"A Palestinian resistance leader has been killed and six other people have been wounded in an Israeli helicopter strike on a car in Gaza City."
Saudi scholar jailed over TV remarks
"'The judge did not go into the details of my father's comments to the press. He said the five-year sentence is a punishment merely for his appearance on Aljazeera and speaking in a mosque,' said Abd Allah. 'Addressing the public leads to sowing sedition,' he quoted the judge as saying."
Republican senators sound the alarm over Iraq
"The administration did find a strong supporter in one Republican senator, Jon Kyl of Arizona, who spoke on CBS. He said Bush had been a consistent and committed leader of the Iraq war. Of its critics, he said, 'hand-wringing does not win wars... War is tough,' Kyl said, 'and there are casualties and just before victory sometimes it gets most violent.' However, no one was saying 'that we don't have to change course,' he said. But Kyl added, 'Freedom's on the march.'"
How was your breakfast on September 11, 2001, Jon Kyl?
Pentagon blocks site for voters outside U.S.
Annalee Newitz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit San Francisco group for protecting people's digital rights, said: 'It's extremely ironic that the government is doing nothing to address the security of electronic voting machines' in the United States, 'which have been proven to be vulnerable to hacking, yet they block Web sites for expatriate Americans.'"
There was a little 'dust-up' in my neighborhood just before this last weekend- here's a few links about the Ranch Rescue business.
I found this article particularly funny, in a morbid sort of way...
September 18, 2004
U.S. planes hit targets near Falluja
"Witnesses said the strikes began late Thursday at a village called Zobaa, about 18 miles, or 30 kilometers, south of Falluja, and lasted for three hours. The bombardment destroyed almost a dozen homes, they said, and left scores of people buried beneath rubble. Rescue efforts continued throughout Friday. The American military said its planes were aiming at insurgent strongholds, and that it might have killed as many as 60 fighters. The Health Ministry said of those wounded, 17 were children and 8 were women."
September 17, 2004
'Devastating' Secret Papers Reveal Pre-War Iraq Warnings
"No 10 had no immediate comment on the claims that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had written to Mr Blair a year before the conflict saying post-war Iraq would pose major problems."
Scamming the Media, Parlock Style
"Parlock was at a rally on Thursday to greet Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards, who was on a swing through West Virginia and Ohio. Parlock brought his three children and a Bush/Cheney sign to show support for his beloved President. According to him, a Kerry-supporting union guy wearing an IUPAT shirt ripped up the Bush sign his little girl was carrying, making her cry."
Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon
"Kathryn Harrington was flying home from vacation last month when screeners at the Tampa, Fla., airport found her bookmark. It's an 8.5-inch leather strip with small lead weights at each end. Airport police said it resembled a weighted weapon that could be used to knock people unconscious."
September 16, 2004
More deaths in Iraq as clashes continue
US gives conflicting accounts of rocket attack that killed 13 dead
"The US sought yesterday to defend the two helicopter pilots who fired seven rockets into a crowd on Sunday killing 13 people and wounding 41, saying they had come under "well-aimed ground fire". This is different from the first statement by the US military claiming that they had opened fire with rockets in order to prevent a Bradley fighting vehicle hit by a bomb from being looted of arms and ammunition."
US media covers up American war crimes in Iraq
US Officials Differ on Strength of Iran Nuke Claim
"A senior U.S. official said on Thursday that satellite images of a suspected nuclear site in Iran demonstrated its intention to develop atomic weapons, but other U.S. officials questioned the strength of the claim."
Been There, Done That...
US debates military strikes on 'nuclear Iran'
Bush rejects bleak Iraq intelligence assessment
"The White House responded by saying that progress was being made on all fronts of the president's five-point plan for Iraq's economic and political reconstruction,"
Both Hands and a Flashlight!
GIs claim threat by Army
"Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq."
US may run out of guard and reserve troops for war on terrorism: report
"The US military may run out of national guard and reserve troops for the war on terrorism because of existing limits on involuntary mobilizations, a congressional watchdog agency warned in a report."
Clarksville police apologize for raiding wrong home
"Smith said the mix-up on the addresses came from the drug agents with the Major Crimes unit, who got their information from an informant. But even though the address was reportedly checked before the raid, the wrong house was still entered."
Johnny Ramone of 'The Ramones' Dies at 55
Keep the Faith!