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.

December 16-31, 2004

December 30, 2004

Fallujah: Returning refugees jolted by conditions in city

Ramsey Clarke to defend Saddam
"Clark said in the Jordanian capital Amman that his principle concern was protecting the former president's rights, who only saw a lawyer for the first time this month - a year after his capture.

'In international law, anyone accused of crime has the right to be tried by a confident, independent and impartial court, and there can be no fair trail without those qualities,' he said.

'The special court in Iraq was created by the Iraqi governing council, which is nothing more than a creation of the US military occupation and has no authority in law as a criminal court,' he said."

Man convicted for Mugabe insult
"A Zimbabwe businessman who said President Robert Mugabe had 'printed useless money' has been convicted of denigrating the president.
Mr Gambitzs pleaded guilty to contravening the two-year-old law which outlaws insulting the president. The 72-year-old faces up to a year in jail when sentenced."

Images of Tsunami Sites
Before and After satellite images of some tsunami affected areas in Indonesia and Sri Lanka

December 28, 2004

Multiple Iraq blasts kill many police
"At least 27 Iraqi policemen have been killed and many others injured in attacks on police stations and checkpoints throughout Iraq."

Jet Is an Open Secret in Terror War
"The airplane is a Gulfstream V turbojet, the sort favored by CEOs and celebrities. But since 2001 it has been seen at military airports from Pakistan to Indonesia to Jordan, sometimes being boarded by hooded and handcuffed passengers.

The plane's owner of record, Premier Executive Transport Services Inc., lists directors and officers who appear to exist only on paper. And each one of those directors and officers has a recently issued Social Security number and an address consisting only of a post office box, according to an extensive search of state, federal and commercial records.

Bryan P. Dyess, Steven E. Kent, Timothy R. Sperling and Audrey M. Tailor are names without residential, work, telephone or corporate histories -- just the kind of 'sterile identities,' said current and former intelligence officials, that the CIA uses to conceal involvement in clandestine operations. In this case, the agency is flying captured terrorist suspects from one country to another for detention and interrogation."

CIA resists request for abuse data
"The CIA is refusing to disclose any information about abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, invoking a legal precedent that involved a secret project by billionaire Howard Hughes to recover a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine in the 1970s.
Most of the documents in a 70-item list sought by the ACLU and other civil rights groups were derived from media coverage since the disclosures of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. The rights groups have received more than 9,000 pages of documents from other government agencies, but have received nothing from the CIA."

December 26, 2004

Bombings and Assassinations Mar Christmas Day in Iraq

Palestinian fighter buried alive
"The troops then surrounded a four-storey residential building in which Thair Abu al-Kamil, reported to be a deputy leader of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was holed up, reports Ali al-Sumudi.

An exchange of gunfire was heard between al-Kamil and the troops before bulldozers arrived and demolished the building.

Al-Kamil was trapped inside and buried alive. It took more than an hour for his body to be retrieved."

December 24, 2004

At Least 30 Killed, Dozens Wounded in Iraq Violence

Falluja Returnees Angry, 'City Unfit for Animals'

US forces clash with fighters in Falluja

US forces seal off Mosul

U.S. to Take Bigger Bite of Iraq's Economic Pie
"The United States is helping the interim Iraqi government continue to make major economic changes, including cuts to social subsidies, full access for U.S. companies to the nation's oil reserves and reconsideration of oil deals that the previous regime signed with France and Russia."

US may strike at Ba'athists in Syria, official tells 'Post'
"The US is contemplating incursions into Syrian territory in an attempt to kill or capture Iraqi Ba'athists who, it believes, are directing at least part of the attacks against US targets in Iraq, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post."

Internet surge spurs Iran crackdown
"Iran's judiciary has threatened Internet journalists with torture and prison if they do not renounce accusations that authorities abused members of the electronic media and dissidents who were rounded up months ago."

Hawks Plan 'Peaceful' Regime Change in Iran
"A heavy-weight group of mostly neo-conservative hawks has published a new proposal for Iran policy that relies heavily on 'peaceful' strategies to achieve regime change, such as those used by Washington since the 1980s in Central and Eastern Europe, most recently in Serbia and Ukraine.

The group, the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), targets Iran's Supreme Authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the theocratic apparatus that supports him in the paper titled, 'Iran -- A New Approach', and assumes, 'Iran's people ... are our allies.'"

China and Venezuela make oil deal

More details emerge on AIPAC Chalabi boosters targeted in FBI probe

DARPA funds dozens of new urban-warfare tools
"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency late last week awarded 37 contracts for new urban-warfighting technologies. The agency last June had solicited proposals for casualty-reduction technologies; intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance devices; beyond-line-of-sight weapons; urban command and control tools; and training and simulation systems."

December 22, 2004

Baghdad - a few photos

Bush Says Troops Were on Mission of Peace
"A somber President Bush said on Tuesday U.S. troops killed in a deadly attack in northern Iraq were on a mission of peace as the heavy death toll presented him with a fresh challenge amid dwindling U.S. support for the war."

US air strike on Iraqi town kills civilians
"US warplanes have launched air strikes on the Iraqi town of Hiyt, west of the capital, killing six Iraqi civilians and wounding nine others."

Hassoun involved in undercover operation
"A brief court hearing Tuesday for a Utah Marine charged with theft and desertion revealed that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was involved with an undercover intelligence operation in Iraq because of his ability to speak Arabic.

The new information raises even more questions about the circumstances surrounding Hassoun's June 19 disappearance from a Marine camp outside Fallujah and raises concerns by Marine Corps officials about revealing the nature of the intelligence operation."

December 20, 2004

FBI E-Mail Refers to Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques
"A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as 'torture' and a June 2004 'Urgent Report' to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up."

Phoenix couple busted in bloody hogs-vs.-dogs matches
"A Phoenix couple are in custody after authorities in four states busted up a 'hog-dogging' fighting circuit that advertised bloody battles through the Internet.
The department's officials were joined by officers from the Maricopa and Yavapai county sheriff's offices in the raid at the Phoenix home. Officers found nearly 3 pounds of marijuana and a rifle at the home. The Phoenix pair face drug, weapon, child-abuse and animal-cruelty charges. Three children, ages 11, 9 and 8, were taken into custody by state Child Protective Services, Yavapai County sheriff's officials said. Although Arizona has laws outlawing dog fighting and cock fighting, there is no law banning fights between hogs and dogs, Decker said. But animal-cruelty charges can be pursued when someone knowingly causes harm to an animal."
Ponder that while munching your bangers... Then go visit the webpages of the Heritage K9 Hunting Club. (more here)

December 19, 2004

43 Dead, More than 95 Wounded in Najaf, Karbala - Ambush in Baghdad

Bangin' (on doors) in Fallujah
"Banging on doors is close to the highest-risk activity we do."
Yep, folks can be kinda' touchy about hearth-side manners...

Militants 'slithering around' in Fallujah tunnels
Hardly postive spin, but spinning hard nonetheless - rich in irony...

Top Lawyer Quits over 'Odious' Anti-Terror Laws
"A leading lawyer will no longer represent suspected terrorists in the wake of the Law Lords' damning verdict on the Government's 'odious' anti-terror laws, he said today.
'My role has been altered to provide a false legitimacy to indefinite detention without knowledge of the accusations being made and without any kind of criminal charge or trial.'"

U.S. takes border war on the road
"U.S. counterterrorism officials have set up a high-seas gantlet deploying Coast Guard cutters off Latin America and arresting foreign nationals trying to leave their own countries."

In the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo
"If you haven't read it, please start by reading John Perry Barlow's account of the history of People v. John Perry Barlow, because I don't want to tell the whole story that gave rise to that case here. You would do much better to start off with Barlow's own account, not least because of its account of how John Gilmore bailed him out of jail. (You might also want to see Barlow's collection of legal documents, some of which are alluded to below.)

On Wednesday I went to Superior Court for the hearing on John Perry's motion to suppress. The defense claimed that the search at the airport in 2003 was not "reasonable" and therefore that evidence obtained from it should not be admitted. The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, is accustomed to dealing with cases that arose at the San Francisco Airport, but it's not particularly used to constitutional challenges to aviation screening procedures, nor to having multiple camera crews turn out for a single pre-trial evidentiary hearing in a misdemeanor drug possession case."

Texas City Orders Topless Dancers to Wear Permits
"The rules, similar to regulations adopted in Houston and other U.S. cities, require dancers stay at least 3 feet from club patrons and wear the $50-permits while working. The driver's license-sized permits may be attached to dancers' G-strings, or to bracelets around their ankles."

December 16, 2004

Australian police get go-ahead on spyware
"The Surveillance Devices Act allows both federal and state police to use key logging and tracking software when investigating offenses that carry a maximum sentence of three years, according to the Sydney Morning Herald."

Law lords condemn Blunkett's terror measures
"Controversial anti-terror laws championed by David Blunkett in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks were dealt a devastating blow yesterday in a historic judgment by the House of Lords. Just hours after he resigned as Home Secretary, Mr Blunkett had to suffer the fresh humiliation of seeing one of his flagship policies being dismantled by the law lords.

They ruled that Mr Blunkett's determination to suspend the Human Rights Act and imprison foreign terror suspects without charge or trial was the 'real threat to the life of the nation'. The law lords' opinion, delivered by an eight-to-one majority, leaves the Government little option but to rethink its key policy on terrorism."

Smuggled tobacco makes smoking more dangerous
"Customs singled London out as the counterfeit capital of Britain, with 85 per cent of smuggled cigarettes sold believed to be fakes. In 'hot spots' such as Holloway Road in north London, and Dalston and Whitechapel in the east, all the seized cigarettes tested by Customs proved to be fake. Mr Healey said the government was now working with the tobacco manufacturers, which were now feeling the effect on their brands and their profits.
Chris Ogden, director of trade and industry affairs for the organisation, said: 'The successive duty rises from a string of chancellors has pushed up prices to one of the highest in the world so it is no wonder the UK is a magnet for counterfeiters.'"

Bush prepares for possible GPS shutdown
"President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology, the White House said Wednesday."

San Francisco Supervisors Propose Gun Ban
"City residents will vote next year on a proposed weapons ban that would deny handguns to everyone except law enforcement officers, members of the military and security guards. If passed next November, residents would have 90 days to give up firearms they keep in their homes or businesses."

Michigan Congressman calls for FBI investigation into Ohio election
"The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee asked the FBI on Wednesday to investigate an Ohio election worker's concern that a software company employee could have tampered with election results when working on machines before a ballot recount."

Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner
"Facing a barrage of calls from the media and the public, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office issued a statement Tuesday confirming that former investigative reporter Gary Webb committed suicide with two gunshots to the head. 'The cause of death was determined to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head,' the coroner's statement said."
With a revolver, no less!

2 deputies shot, along with suspect
"Two Maricopa County Sheriff's SWAT deputies, including the son of state Rep. Russell Pearce, were shot and injured early Thursday while executing a search warrant at a home.
Jean Burwell, who lives next door to the trailer and heard the shooting at about 6:35 a.m., said the people who live there moved in about six or seven months ago. 'I heard the wood crash in the gate,' said Burwell, 58. 'I heard glass being broken and then 10 quick shots.' SWAT deputies first knocked and announced in English and Spanish who they were and why they were there. When there was no answer, they broke down the door. Seven entered the home."

Newark Airport Screeners Spot -- Then Lose -- Fake Bomb
"In Tuesday night's test, a TSA supervisor secretly placed the bomb, which was designed to resemble the plastic explosive Semtex, inside a bag that was put through screening machines, Davis said. A baggage screening machine sounded an alarm, but workers somehow lost track of the bag, which was then loaded onto the Continental Airlines flight that was due to take off around 6 p.m."

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