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 1-15, 2005

December 15, 2005

Congress Expects Up to $1B Wartime Request
"The Pentagon is in the early stages of drafting a wartime request for up to $100 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan, lawmakers say, a figure that would push spending related to the wars toward a staggering half-trillion dollars."

Military's Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive
"The center is not part of a news organization, but a military operation, and those writers and producers are soldiers. The 1,200-strong psychological operations unit based at Fort Bragg turns out what its officers call 'truthful messages' to support the United States government's objectives, though its commander acknowledges that those stories are one-sided and their American sponsorship is hidden.
What had begun as an ambitious effort to bolster America's image largely devolved into a secret propaganda war to counter the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon, which had money to spend and leaders committed to the cause, took the lead. In late 2002 Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters he gave the press a 'corpse' by closing the Office of Strategic Influence, but he intended to 'keep doing every single thing that needs to be done.'

The Pentagon increased spending on its psychological and influence operations and for the first time outsourced work to contractors. One beneficiary has been the Rendon Group, which won additional multimillion-dollar Pentagon contracts for media analysis and a media operations center in Baghdad, including 'damage control planning.' The new Lincoln Group was another winner."

Tens of thousands mistakenly matched to terrorist watch lists
"About 30,000 airline passengers have discovered since last November that their names were mistakenly matched with those appearing on federal watch lists, a transportation security official said Tuesday."

US terror watchlist 80,000 names long
"A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks is now 80,000 names long, a Swedish newspaper reported, citing European air industry sources."

TSA Expands Marshal's Scope
"Federal air marshals are expanding their work beyond airplanes, launching counterterror surveillance at train stations and other mass transit facilities in a three-day test program.

As of Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration said, teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers were descending on bus stations, ferries and transit systems across the country to protect them from potential terrorists."

Group warns bill contains national ID
"Among other provisions, the bill 'makes mandatory an employment eligibility verification system currently voluntary' by implementing a program confirming or denying 'the authenticity of Social Security numbers offered by new hires.' According to the committee, the bill 'requires that all employers within two years will begin checking any new hires against this database and begin checking all hires within six years.'"

E-tracking, coming to a DMV near you
"The U.S. Department of Transportation has been handing millions of dollars to state governments for GPS-tracking pilot projects designed to track vehicles wherever they go. So far, Washington state and Oregon have received fat federal checks to figure out how to levy these 'mileage-based road user fees.'

Now electronic tracking and taxing may be coming to a DMV near you. The Office of Transportation Policy Studies, part of the Federal Highway Administration, is about to announce another round of grants totaling some $11 million. A spokeswoman on Friday said the office is 'shooting for the end of the year' for the announcement, and more money is expected for GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking efforts."

Feds to Fund Controversial School Surveillance
"In its call for the grant proposals, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) - an arm of the Justice Department - says the money will be distributed to schools proposing 'effective technology solutions to protect the students, teachers, school personnel, and the educational infrastructure from criminal activities, particularly crimes of violence.'
In one of the more controversial areas of the grant solicitation, the NIJ states that 'non-cooperative' identification and tracking is preferred over a 'cooperative' system. A non-cooperative identification system captures and tracks personal or biometric data automatically, without a person knowing that they have been screened by a surveillance system."
As the twig is bent the tree inclines.

Getting your gun back will cost you - Sheriff charging for guns' return
"To the dismay of gun owners, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is now charging $54 to return firearms seized during arrests or searches - even if the gun was legally owned and not used in a crime.

Republican fesses up to blog ID raid
A Republican operative has admitted collecting identity data from a political Web log - a practice the state Republican Party earlier had blamed on Democrats.

This week, the GOP warned state party members that someone was compiling the online identities of visitors to the Web site The site is a popular political blog that invites comments from its readers, who can post their thoughts using nicknames."

December 2, 2005

Dahr Jamail is now hosting daily news translations from Iraq via The Mid East Wire.

Reservist faces graft charges on Iraq
"Investigators in a widening corruption probe of reconstruction contracts in Iraq brought charges yesterday against an Army lieutenant colonel who is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding lucrative contracts to a private contractor, and of stealing $100,000 from funds earmarked for Iraq reconstruction."
The macrocosm in microcosm.

U.S. military pays Iraqis for positive news stories on war
"U.S. Army officers have been secretly paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about American military operations and the conduct of the war in Iraq.

U.S. officials in Washington said the payments were made through the Baghdad Press Club, an organization they said was created more than a year ago by U.S. Army officers. They are part of an extensive American military-run information campaign - including psychological warfare experts - intended to build popular support for U.S.-led stabilization efforts and erode support for Sunni Muslim insurgents."

Singapore hangs Australian trafficker
"Nguyen, 25, was hanged before dawn despite numerous appeals from Australia for his life to be spared. He received a mandatory death sentence after being caught with 396 grams (14 ounces) of heroin at the city-state's Changi Airport in 2002."
Turn your clock back woman when you see me comin' round
My feet don't, feet don't even touch the ground
don't be cold, don't be cold

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