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 16-30, 2004

November 28, 2004

U.S. Sends in Secret Weapon: Saddam's Old Commandos

Protesters issue Ukraine ultimatum

Israel shocked by image of soldiers forcing violinist to play at roadblock
"Of all the revelations that have rocked the Israeli army over the past week, perhaps none disturbed the public so much as the video footage of soldiers forcing a Palestinian man to play his violin. The incident was not as shocking as the recording of an Israeli officer pumping the body of a 13-year-old girl full of bullets and then saying he would have shot her even if she had been three years old. Nor was it as nauseating as the pictures in an Israeli newspaper of ultra-orthodox soldiers mocking Palestinian corpses by impaling a man's head on a pole and sticking a cigarette in his mouth. But the matter of the violin touched on something deeper about the way Israelis see themselves, and their conflict with the Palestinians.'"

Terror case hinges on informer
"In time, this informer, Mohamed Alanssi, would come undone. This month he set himself on fire outside the White House because of a dispute with the FBI. This act has damaged what may be the biggest terrorism financing case in this country."

Social Security future to entail vast borrowing
"The White House and Republicans in Congress are all but certain to embrace large-scale government borrowing to help finance President Bush's plan to create personal investment accounts in Social Security, according to administration officials, members of Congress and independent analysts."

Who Ducks Military Funerals?
"This is a tabulation of Bush Administration war officials and others who have not appeared in the Associated Press archive of photographs of funerals of US military war dead from March 1, 2003 to November 26, 2004."

Final battle to rid the US of 'barbaric' cockfighting
"The risks 'must be greater than the rewards', Pacelle said. 'Cockfighting is a gateway to other activities such as narcotics and firearms trafficking. This is not a group of people that should be allowed to ply their trade.'"

November 27, 2004

No let-up in Iraq violence

Falluja - America's hollow victory
"In reporting that six police stations in Mosul had been overrun, no explanation was given as to how 5000 American-paid Iraqi police could have been "overwhelmed" without a single casualty on either side. The six heavily barricaded police facilities were occupied, looted of weaponry, munitions and flak jackets and then destroyed without interference."

Iraqis emerge amid the ruins of Falluja

The Facts in Iraq
Epidemics - Casualties - Resistance - Security - Infrastructure - Public Opinion - "Bring it On!"

6,635 bodies in Baghdad mortuary: counting cost of crime and chaos
Figures compiled at the central mortuary, on file and indisputable, shine a light through the murk of estimate and rumour surrounding casualty rates in Iraq. Of the 6,635 suspicious deaths in Baghdad recorded this year at the city’s Medical-Legal Institute, the complex incorporating the central mortuary, more than 75 per cent were killed by a bullet. Stabbing is the next most common cause of death."

New Labour’s police state   (UK)
"As I was about to pass through the door to freedom, I am ashamed to say that I snapped. The knowledge that we could, so easily, have avoided the whole drawn-out, expensive and upsetting procedure was too much for me. I turned to the police constable and said, 'You really are a prize wanker.' At this point, and in full view of my solicitor, he lost it. He grabbed my lapels, and pushed me up against the wall. My solicitor yelled, 'You have just assaulted my client!'

Four other police officers rushed into the corridor, accompanied by the desk sergeant. 'Right, rearrest him: public order, breach of the peace,' shouted the sergeant at me. ‘You’ll be spending the night here.’ My solicitor said that she wanted the assault entered in the daybook, and that we would be bringing an action. So they let me go."

November 25, 2004   Thanksgiving Day   (alternate versions)

U.S. struggles to find troops for Iraq, Afghanistan

Complaints Rise out of Training for Duty in Iraq
"Members of a National Guard battalion preparing for deployment to Iraq said this week that they are under lockdown and being treated like prisoners rather than soldiers by Army commanders at the remote desert camp where they are training."

Thatcher stunned as court orders he face coup questions

New Ohio voter transcripts feed floodtide of doubt about Republican election manipulation

Film flap: Local shutterbug 'exposed' in D.C.
"Continuing on, Emory spied a sign on a security hut that caught his fancy: '100 percent ID check.' Emory snapped a shot of the sign with the security booth and White House in the background, and he and Wittenberg meandered on. 'We'd gone 15 to 20 yards when this man appears, and he wants to confiscate my film,' says Emory."
Additional information

New smart phone can predict owner's behaviour
"Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed the system, which logs the ID code of every Bluetooth chip the phone passes, the location of every phone mast it contacts, every person phoned or texted and when applications are used. Data is then stored on a server which uses software to recognise any patterns in behaviour and predict what may happen next."

November 24, 2004

Officials Seize 8,000 Black Market Flu Vaccines

Flu shots fly in from Canada: Vaccine dearth prompts S.F. doctor to import his own supply
"O'Keefe's San Francisco patients are getting their flu shots now. Convinced that the drugs made by Aventis Pasteur in France are no different from those it made in Pennsylvania, he does not intend to make his patients sign any waivers for their French-via-Canada vaccine."

November 23, 2004

US revises Mosul plans
"This is the city where US forces killed the sons of Saddam. Last year the Americans thought they had fought off their enemies and freed Mosul for good. But now the city is back under nightly curfew. Many Iraqis still live amid fear and uncertainty. And the Americans have found their way into another fight."

U.S. Media Miss Rumsfeld's 'Dirty Wars' Talk
"For almost two decades, the United States has urged Latin American militaries to move away from the Cold War ''national-security'' doctrines that resulted in so many abuses in the region. But last week Rumsfeld appeared to be preaching the virtues of reviving such an approach, perhaps under a new name, like 'national sovereignty'.

Indeed, in remarks to his fellow-defence ministers, Rumsfeld even suggested that, given the challenges posed by 21st-century threats, it was time to re-think the separation of the armed forces from the police -- a major reform pursued by U.S. and Latin American human-rights organisations as a way of asserting civilian control over the military and reducing abuses."

Concerns About Mental Health Screening Legislation
"The Labor HHS appropriations bill contains block grant money that may be used by the States for a number of different programs at their discretion. Some critics are concerned that states will use this money to implement some form of mandatory mental testing program for all students throughout the school system. This concern stems largely from recommendations of New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, a non-policy making body created by President Bush in 2002 to propose ways of eliminating waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the mental health care delivery system. The Commission went far beyond their mission and recommended that schools be used as the means for discovering mental health problems."

November 22, 2004

Greetings from Falluja

Morale is the latest enemy for the Black Watch
"But it is more than just the uncertainty that has dented troop morale. Two Ministry of Defence announcements last week added to the feeling of some troops that they have been badly let down by political and military masters who simply don't care."

Poll leaves Ukraine on edge of revolt
"Ukraine stood on the brink of revolt last night after opposition supporters, regional authorities and the international community claimed the country's presidential elections had been rigged."

Civil Contingencies Act 2004 gets Royal Assent (UK)
(text of Civil Contingencies Bill)

An Intrusive new search
"Passengers chosen for secondary screening or whose clothing appears suspicious or bulky are now subject to frisking--in a pretty intrusive way. In late September, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began allowing security checkpoint screeners to manually pat down women's breasts and the genital and derriere regions of both sexes during searches."

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents
"According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters."

November 21, 2004

Return date uncertain for Fallujah residents
"The blistering eight-day offensive levelled much of the city of 300,000, the majority of whom made a dramatic exodus ahead of the US military's overwhelming display of force. The fighting left the now-deserted city in shambles, littered with rubble, unexploded ordnance and corpses, and US and Iraqi forces are only now making small steps towards reconstruction. But how long it will take to demolish unsound buildings, restore basic services, destroy unexploded ordnance and pull the bodies from the rubble is unknown."

November 19, 2004

US battle plans begin to unravel
"In the New York Times this week the first crack appeared in the armor of the 'victory in Fallujah' facade maintained by the major US media since the battle began. Eric Schmitt and Robert Worth discuss a secret Marine Corps report that reveals the major bind the US has gotten itself into by sweeping through Fallujah and attempting to pacify it. This US strategy has created exactly the dilemma that many critics of the war had been predicting: in order to hold Fallujah the United States has to keep large numbers of troops there, and then the Americans will not have sufficient troops to handle the uprising elsewhere in the Sunni areas."

Troops raid Mosul hospital
"They stormed the building overnight and arrested three suspects, according to the US military. A US military spokesman said: 'You can call it an insurgent hospital from what we found there. They probably just went in and took it over. There are a lot of things to be answered. The three detained will hopefully provide intelligence how all this worked.'"
Ever read The Walrus and the Carpenter?

Media Repression in 'Liberated' Land
"Journalists are increasingly being detained and threatened by the U.S.-installed interim government in Iraq. Media have been stopped particularly from covering recent horrific events in Fallujah."

800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah
"Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of U.S. military reprisal, a high-ranking official with the Red Cross in Baghdad told IPS that 'at least 800 civilians' have been killed in Fallujah so far."

U.S., Iraqi Troops Storm Baghdad Mosque

University researchers challenge Bush win in Florida
"According to the study, counties with electronic voting machines were significantly more likely to show increases in support for Bush between 2000 and 2004 compared to counties with paper ballots or optical scan equipment."

Court Dismisses Lawsuits Against Gun Industry
"The Illinois Supreme Court has dismissed two lawsuits filed against gun makers, distributors and retailers, a move hailed by Second Amendment supporters as a 'victory for common sense over political demagoguery'. In one case, the City of Chicago and Cook County, claiming a 'public nuisance,' sued gun manufacturers, hoping to recover the costs of dealing with violent crime. In the other case, families of crime victims sued the gun industry over the deaths of their loved ones."

November 18, 2004

World Leaders Get Huge Vote of ‘No-Confidence’ from their Populations
"The findings of a World Economic Forum survey on security and prosperity - the Voice of the People survey - carried out by Gallup International, makes grim reading for the world’s leaders, particularly its politicians. Around the world respondents to the survey overwhelmingly found that political leaders are: dishonest; have too much power; and are too easily influenced by people more powerful than themselves (approximately 6 out of 10 citizens around the world associated these characteristics with politicians)."

Reporter Convicted for Not Naming Source
"A TV reporter was convicted of criminal contempt Thursday for refusing to say who leaked him an FBI videotape of a politician taking a bribe - the latest in a string of cases in which journalists have been threatened with jail for protecting a source."

GOP tosses ethics rule so DeLay can keep post
"House Republicans adopted a rule change Wednesday that would allow their powerful majority leader, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, to keep his post if he is indicted on state corruption charges stemming from a fund-raising scandal that has already involved three of his associates."

Addiction to porn destroying lives, Senate told
"Comparing pornography to heroin, researchers on Thursday called on Congress to finance studies on "porn addiction" and launch a public health campaign about the dangers."
All that's old is new again - The War on Fuzzy Bits continues!

November 17, 2004

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill
"Several lobbying camps from different industries and ideologies are joining forces to fight an overhaul of copyright law, which they say would radically shift in favor of Hollywood and the record companies and which Congress might try to push through during a lame-duck session that begins this week. The Senate might vote on HR2391 (.pdf), the Intellectual Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill would also undo centuries of "fair use" -- the principle that gives Americans the right to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask permission or pay."

November 16, 2004

Iraqis Remove Corpses Under U.S. Oversight
"'This exemplifies the horrors of war,' said Marine Capt. P.J. Batty, from Park City, Utah, of the body pickup. 'We don't wish this upon anyone, but everyone needs to understand there are consequences for not following the Iraqi government.'"

US forces arrest senior Iraqi official
"US forces have detained the deputy head of Iraq's interim parliament and senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party in a dawn raid on his Baghdad home. Nasir Ayif was taken into custody in the northwestern Jamiah neighbourhood in response to the party's opposition to the US-led offensive on Falluja, party official Iyad al-Samarrai said."

Psychologists blast Rush Limbaugh for mocking traumatized Kerry voters
"The Boca Raton News reported last week that more than 30 distraught Kerry supporters in South Florida contacted the non-profit AHA following their candidate’s Nov. 3 concession to President Bush. AHA officials have diagnosed the disorder as Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST) and have scheduled the first of several free group therapy sessions for just after Thanksgiving. Cooperman, whose professional practice is based in Delray Beach, said the election-related symptoms she sees in the Kerry supporters more than quality PEST as 'a legitimate syndrome or disorder within the trauma spectrum,' according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

U.S. Launches Giant Study on Children
"'From the water we drink and the air we breathe to the foods we eat, it is important to know how environmental factors impact the health of our children. Only a study of this size and scope holds the promise of shaping the care of children for the next century,' said the EPA's Paul Gilman."

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