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.

November 1-15, 2004

November 15, 2004

The Other Face of U.S. 'Success' in Fallujah

US accused of ‘torture flights’
"An executive jet is being used by the American intelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to countries that routinely use torture in their prisons. The movements of the Gulfstream 5 leased by agents from the United States defence department and the CIA are detailed in confidential logs obtained by The Sunday Times which cover more than 300 flights."

November 14, 2004

The final battle
"The picture is at best patchy. In the battle for Falluja the fate of those who have remained - perhaps between 30,000 and 50,000 in a city whose population is normally 250,000 - remains largely unknown. And for a reason. One of the first actions of US troops in the hours before the full-scale assault on the city from the north was to the seize its general hospital to prevent what one US officer described as 'insurgent propaganda' over casualty figures."

Attacks Spread Through Iraq's Sunni Areas

Civilian cost of battle for Falluja emerges

Humanitarian aid barred from Falluja
"But the US military said it saw no need for the Iraqi Red Crescent to deliver aid to people inside Falluja and said it did not think any Iraqi civilians were trapped inside the city. 'There is no need to bring [Red Crescent] supplies in because we have supplies of our own for the people,' said US marine Colonel Mike Shupp. 'Now that the bridge [into Falluja] is open I will bring out casualties and all aid work can be done here [at Falluja's hospital],' he added. He said he had not heard of any Iraqi civilians being trapped inside the city and did not think that was the case."

November 12, 2004

Curfews as Iraq rebellion spreads

Mosul Chaos

Suharto critic was poisoned
"A leading Indonesian human rights activist who died on a flight to Amsterdam in September was poisoned with arsenic, Dutch officials said yesterday after an autopsy. Munir, 38, a lawyer and vocal critic of the former Indonesian dictator, Suharto, died hours before his flight landed in the Netherlands where he planned to study."

Ashcroft says judges threaten national security by questioning Bush decisions
"In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called 'a profoundly disturbing trend' among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war."

Airlines Ordered to Expose Data
"Homeland security officials accidentally revealed on Friday that the Transportation Security Administration will soon officially order America's airlines to turn over a month of passenger data to test a new passenger screening system. The final rule (.pdf) ordering the airlines to provide data on all June 2004 domestic flights will be issued formally on Monday by the Transportation Security Administration. The airlines must comply by Nov. 23. The TSA announced in late September its intention to order all 72 domestic airlines to turn over the passenger records -- which can include credit card numbers, phone numbers, addresses and health conditions -- in order to stress-test a centralized passenger screening system called 'Secure Flight'."

US Orders Airline Passenger Data Handover
"The government decided to order carriers to turn over their passenger records after airlines objected to voluntary participation in earlier tests due to passenger complaints and lawsuits. Some airline-supplied information will be compared with commercial databases used by banks, mortgage and credit agencies to check if identities given to airlines are accurate and to resolve false positive matches with the watch list."

Secret Service pays visit to Boulder High
"Bob Dylan's Masters of War is a hard-hitting, anti-war song produced more than 20 years before any current Boulder High School student was born. More than 40 years after its release, the song has been resurrected at Boulder High with huge and confusing repercussions that prompted Secret Service agents to pay the campus a visit Thursday."

Well that settles it then!
Introducing the 'Self-Activating System and Method for Alerting When an Object or a Person is Left Unattended'.

November 11, 2004

New rebel tactics emerge in Fallujah

U.S. Launches Second Phase in Fallujah

Iraqi Gov't Warns Media About Coverage
"The warning came in a statement sent to news organizations by Iraq's Media High Commission, which cited the 60-day state of emergency declared Sunday on the eve of the offensive in Fallujah. 'You must be precise and objective in handling news and information,' the statement said."

Vanunu arrested by Israeli police
"The bishop of the Jerusalem church where Vanunu has lived since his release said he saw him seized by between 30 and 50 men, many armed with machine guns."

CIA officer quits to speak freely about problems with intelligence community
"'I have concluded that there has not been adequate national debate over the nature of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and the forces he leads and inspires, and the nature and dimensions of intelligence reform needed to address that threat,' Scheuer said in a statement sent to reporters Thursday via electronic mail.
During a wide-ranging interview Sunday evening, Scheuer was highly critical of the Sept. 11 Commission's 'refusal' to point fingers at senior government officials whose actions contributed to the attacks. Rather than changing the structure of government, as Congress is considering, he said a signal must be sent that people will be held accountable for their actions."

Suit Challenges Boston Airport Profiling
"Security at Logan International Airport, praised for its overhaul after Sept. 11, 2001, has come under fire for a technique that allows police to stop and question people they believe are behaving suspiciously."

Call to kill terrorists 'in the name of the Lord' sparks outcry
"In a televised debate on CNN, Falwell said President Bush should 'blow them (the terrorists) all away in the name of the Lord.'"

Foster Kids on Mind-Altering Drugs?
"A sampling of state records released by the State Comptroller's office shows two out of three foster kids in Texas appear to be on psychotropic meds. The Medicaid prescription records are from November of last year and show that many kids are taking two or more of these drugs."

November 9, 2004

'Scores of civilians' killed in Falluja

In Fallujah, U.S. Declares War on Hospitals, Ambulances
"In a series of actions over the weekend, the United States military and Iraqi government destroyed a civilian hospital in a massive air raid, captured the main hospital and prohibited the use of ambulances in the besieged city of Fallujah."

Geneva Conventions Section IV Articles 18-23
"Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict."

'Watching tragedy engulf my city'

U.S. Helicopter Shot Down in Falluja -Witness

Rebels Kill 25 Police in Attacks in Iraq's Baquba

Sunni party quits interim government

Rumsfeld: Strike Won't Kill Many Iraqis

Judge halts legal proceeding at Guantanamo
"A federal judge shut down the first American military commission since World War II yesterday, ruling that the Bush administration violated the Geneva Conventions in its handling of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The ruling, the first test of a US Supreme Court decision in June granting legal recourse in civilian court to the 550 or so 'enemy combatants' being held at Guantanamo, delivered a new legal blow to President Bush's unorthodox war on terrorism policies."

Key Dates in Attorney General Ashcroft's Tenure

FCC Rules VoIP an Interstate Service
"Voice over IP services are interstate in nature and not subject to traditional state public utility regulation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided today. The ruling gives the FCC the responsibility and obligation to decide what regulations apply to Internet telephony."

November 7, 2004

35 Killed, Including 2 Americans from Juan Cole

U.S. Forces Storm Into Western Fallujah

Fighting breaks out in besieged Falluja

US begins its biggest urban offensive since Vietnam with long-awaited Fallujah assault

Iraq Declares 60-Day State of Emergency

Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle
"Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel. They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah."

After the Taliban, women still suffer
"The election was no feminist glory either. While half the women in the north voted, only 20 per cent did so in Kandahar. In neighbouring Uruzgan province their turnout was just 2 per cent. 'It's not like the Taliban put a cage around women and took it with them when they left,' said Rangina Hamidi, 27, an Afghan American who returned to run an aid project for women. 'A lot of women led the same life before the Taliban, after them and they still do today'. Those in rural areas are invisible, hidden inside high-walled compounds. Hamidi visited one household where six women - spanning three generations - had not stepped outside their front door for the three years. 'The understanding is that you walk in the door on your wedding day and leave in a coffin,' she said."

Hizb Allah plane overflies Israel
"Neither Lebanese police nor the UN interim force in Lebanon present in the area were able to confirm or deny the flight. Separately, an Israeli unmanned surveillance aircraft crashed down in al-Bayyada area in Naqura near the Israeli-Lebanese borders, a Lebanese security source told Aljazeera's correspondent in Beirut."

Clarke: Nations using internet to spy
"Clarke said he suspects Russia and China are the most pervasive users of internet for intelligence-gathering on suspected enemy states and plotting ways to use the information for military purposes. 'Maybe the United States too,' he said."

Warren's vote tally walled off
"Citing concerns about potential terrorism, Warren County officials locked down the county administration building on election night and blocked anyone from observing the vote count as the nation awaited Ohio's returns. County officials say they took the action Tuesday night for homeland security, although state elections officials said they didn't know of any other Ohio county that closed off its elections board. Media organizations protested, saying it violated the law and the public's rights. The Warren results, delayed for hours because of long lines that extended voting past the scheduled close of polls, were part of the last tallies that helped clinch President Bush's re-election."

GOP headquarters in N. Carolina vandalized
"Investigators also found a partially burned, two-headed effigy in military fatigues. One head had the face of Bush and the other the face of Kerry."

November 5, 2004

U.S. Urges Civilians to Flee Targeted Falluja
"U.S. troops sealed all roads to Falluja and urged women, children and non-fighting age men to flee, but said they would arrest any man under 45 trying to enter or leave the city."

Prayers and tears in Falluja
"A lot of people have left Falluja. Mostly only men remain. This used to be a city of 500,000 people. Now, my guess is there are about 100,000 still here. Some people who tried to leave earlier on found they had to come back because there was no way of surviving away from their homes. Iraq is a difficult place to live at the moment. There are not many opportunities."

Army finds no fault in Palestine Hotel shelling
"Nineteen months after a U.S. Army tank opened fire on a Baghdad hotel full of journalists, killing two and wounding three others, the Pentagon has released a redacted report concluding that coalition forces bore "no fault or negligence" in the shelling."

U.S. Soldiers Face Murder Charges for Iraq Killing
"The newspaper quoted the two Army staff sergeants as saying they shot and killed the Iraqi boy in a 'mercy killing' as he lay moaning on the ground in an August incident in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City. The two soldiers told U.S. officials that they killed the teenager in order to 'put him out of his misery,' the newspaper said. But Iraqi witnesses, including a relative of the dead boy who had pleaded for U.S. troops to help him, were enraged by the killing, which seemed certain to reignite a debate about the conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.The boy was shot as U.S. medics rushed to treat a half dozen or so of those wounded when U.S. troops opened fire on a garbage truck after mistakenly concluding that it was planting roadside bombs, the newspaper said, quoting Iraqi witnesses and U.S. military officials."

Bush Terror Point Man Quits After Botched Report
"Cofer Black, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, caused an embarrassment this year when the administration had to revise a faulty report he oversaw that had been used to argue Bush was winning the war on terrorism."

Defense stocks surge after Bush win

Christians See Court Appointments as Top Bush Aim
"'We have high hopes of changing the judiciary. Every judicial appointment that President Bush makes will make the courts less radical and more in tune with the voters who turned out in Tuesday's election,' said Gary Bauer, a prominent Christian conservative leader and president of American Values, a conservative pressure group."

Goss Picks Undercover Officer as No. 3 at CIA
"CIA Director Porter Goss has chosen an undercover officer identified only by his nickname "Dusty" as executive director, the third-highest position at the spy agency and responsible for its day-to-day operations."

U.S. Unsure if Election Terror Plot Foiled
"'It's very hard to prove a negative,' Michael Garcia, chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview Thursday."

Read a Book, Get Oral Sex?
"The advertisements that ran on about 200 buses across the city in recent months carried posters displaying a suggestively posed woman in hot pants kneeling among a pile of books beside the snappy slogan 'Read Books, Get Brain'. What unhip, unsuspecting local transportation officials did not know was that 'get brain' is street slang for oral sex."

November 3, 2004

U.S. Planes Pound Rebel Targets in Iraq's Falluja

Iraqis Ignore U.S. Vote Amid Bloodshed

US Popular Vote by County (in .pdf format)

California Votes to Expand Criminal DNA Bank
"Proposition 69 allows police to take DNA samples from people convicted of any felony, rather than from a list of about 30 offenses designated under current law."

November 2, 2004

Privacy Villain of the Week: Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program
"Speed-cameras and radio-frequency toll tags just aren't enough for some bureaucrats when it comes to tracking and tracing Americans on the highways. It seems a little-known agency ensconced within the Department of Transportation has a plan to track every car on every road, 24 hours a day and seven days a week."
And meanwhile, a House-Senate conference committee is undecided on whether or not alleged 9/11-related legislation should include a biometric 'integrated screening system' that would allow the Department of Transportation and the Homeland Security Secretary to throw up checkpoints along highways that fall under the nebulous term 'critical infrastructure'."

The Mystery of the Coca Plant That Wouldn't Die

November 1, 2004     Dia de Los Muertos

Falluja suffers US strikes

Heavy Clashes in Ramadi as U.S. Troop Buildup Begins

At Least 24 Dead, Dozens Wounded
Monday in Iraq from Prof. Juan Cole

U.S. Increases Troops in Iraq Ahead of January Poll

Full transcript of bin Ladin's speech
"Following is the full English transcript of Usama bin Ladin's speech in a videotape sent to Aljazeera. In the interests of authenticity, the content of the transcript, which appeared as subtitles at the foot of the screen, has been left unedited."

CIA accused of Abu Ghraib beatings
"Testifying under a grant of immunity, the witness, identified only by his rank as a hospital corpsman, said he kicked al-Jamadi several times, slapped him in the back of the head and punched him. Five or six other CIA personnel in the 'romper room' laid their hands on the prisoner, he said, but did not provide details. Sometime later, al-Jamadi was found dead in a shower room at Abu Ghraib less than an hour after two CIA personnel brought him into Abu Ghraib as a 'ghost detainee', according to army Major-General George Fay's report on the notorious prison."

U.S. Deploys Satellite Jamming System
"The so-called Counter Communications System was declared operational late last month at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the Air Force Space Command said on Friday in e-mailed replies to questions from Reuters. The ground-based jammer uses electromagnetic radio frequency energy to knock out transmissions on a temporary and reversible basis, without frying components, the command said."

For Domestic Consumption: The War on Violence and Unintentional Injury (US)
(A topic in which our Government is certainly well-versed!)
"There is a critical need for highly qualified scientists to carry out research on violence and unintentional injury that can help in the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective injury prevention programs. In particular, scientists are needed who bring an understanding and sensitivity to the problems of violence and unintentional injury as they affect minority communities. The purpose of this extramural research training grant program is to attract young scientists to the field of injury prevention by encouraging doctoral candidates from a variety of disciplines to conduct violence and unintentional injury prevention research and hopefully carry this focus on throughout their careers."

Taxpayer Dies After Official Error
"A Polish taxpayer died from a heart attack after a demand for immediate payment in full of 80,000 zlotys ($23,560) following a mistake by the tax office."
There's an old saying about boiling a frog slowly...

New film pokes fun at Bush-speak
"Also recalled are 'ingrinable' - as in prescription drugs will be an ingrinable part of the medical plan - 'strategery' and 'hopefuller'."
I'd like to see him get a whack at 'impreachment' and 'testermony'! At least his VP has proven articulate in some regards...

Now, if Supporters Can Just Remember to Vote
"Voters in Alaska will decide on Tuesday whether to make their state the first in the country to legalize the sale, possession or use of marijuana by adults. Alaska already allows legal possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, the most liberal policy among the 50 U.S. states, thanks to a 1975 state Supreme Court ruling. 'Our territory and now state has traditionally been the home of people who prize their individuality and who have chosen to settle or to continue living here in order to achieve a measure of control over their own lifestyles which is now virtually unattainable in many of our sister states,' the oft-quoted ruling said. Supporters say further decriminalizing pot would allow local governments and the state to regulate and tax it and free up police to pursue serious crimes."
There's a punch line in there somewhere...?!

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