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, 2005

December 31, 2005

US to spend 30million on Iraq prisons to hold insurgents
"American forces in Iraq have launched a 30 million programme to expand military prisons after the number of suspected insurgents in custody doubled to 15,000.
The prison building programme will be completed in April and should end the overcrowding at many facilities, where there are currently five prisoners for every four spaces.

The number of suspects in captivity has more than doubled in the past 15 months."

German official wants to tag Islamic militants
"Known Islamic militants should be electronically tagged so their movements can be tracked, a regional German interior minister proposed on Wednesday."

British police get more arrest powers

CIA watchdog looks into 'erroneous renditions'

Guantanamo hunger strike numbers surge
"The number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners taking part in a nearly five-month-long hunger strike has surged to 84 since Christmas Day, the US military says.

Forty-six detainees at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, joined the protest on the key Christian holiday last Sunday, said Army Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Martin, a military spokesman."

Bush was denied wiretaps, bypassed them

Secret court modified wiretap requests: Intervention may have led Bush to bypass panel

The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail

The Fast Rise and Steep Fall of Jack Abramoff

Unraveling Abramoff: Key Players in the Investigation of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

TSA to Train Screeners to Quiz Passengers in the Hopes of Spotting Potential Terrorists

FAA releases spaceflight rules
"More than 120 pages of proposed rules, released Thursday, governing the future of space tourism touch on medical standards for passengers, preflight training and other topics.
Legislation signed a year ago by President Bush and designed to help the space industry flourish at its outset without too much government interference requires the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a 'phased approach' to regulating commercial human spaceflights."

Marriott Discloses Missing Data Files

Potential Legislation on Wyoming Gun Laws
"The Wyoming legislature is considering two laws that would drastically change gun laws in the state.

Representative Becket Hinckley of Cheyenne is planning to sponsor a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without going through the application process.

Two other legislators are sponsoring a measure that would make Wyoming a 'no retreat' state."

Manassas Changes Definition Of Family
"That is because a zoning ordinance adopted this month by the city of Manassas redefines family, essentially restricting households to immediate relatives, even when the total is below the occupancy limit.

The rule, which has alarmed civil libertarians and housing activists, is among a series of attempts by municipalities across the nation to use zoning powers to deal with problems they associate with immigrants, often illegal, who have settled in suburbs, typically in shared housing to help with the rent or mortgage."

December 24, 2005

Pentagon Forced To Ship Ray Gun to Iraq
"After over a decade of development and testing, and several false starts, the U.S. Department of Defense has finally agreed to ship it's microwave Active Defense System (ADS) to Iraq. In the past few months, another $7 million was spent on more testing, to make sure this 'non-lethal' device lives up to its name. In testing to date, the ADS has been fired over 2,300 times. The defense bureaucrats are deathly afraid that this non-lethal weapon will kill or maim someone. They know well that the blowback from that would be lethal to the careers of those who signed off on ADS being non-lethal. The current problem is that commanders overseas are making noise about how much they want ADS. Apparently some of that noise has gotten to Congress, and parts of the Pentagon."
David Codrea says - "Boy, if I had a ray gun, nobody could force me to do anything."

Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey
"Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts."

EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap'
"An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003."

Unable to End 'Unlawful' Detention, Judge Says
"A federal judge in Washington ruled yesterday that the continued detention of two ethnic Uighurs at the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is 'unlawful,' but he decided he had no authority to order their release.
The Uighurs - along with seven other detainees who have been found to be 'no longer enemy combatants' - are in Guantanamo's Camp Iguana, a less-restrictive area of the prison. They were cleared by a combatant status review tribunal about nine months ago, but no solution for their release has been reached. Robertson wrote that their situation is untenable."

Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say
"Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible 'dirty numbers' linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."

Appeals Court Refuses to Transfer Padilla
"In a sharp rebuke, a federal appeals court denied Wednesday a Bush administration request to transfer terrorism suspect Jose Padilla from military to civilian law enforcement custody.

The three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also refused the administration's request to vacate a September ruling that gave President Bush wide authority to detain 'enemy combatants' indefinitely without charges on U.S. soil.

The decision, written by Judge Michael Luttig, questioned why the administration used one set of facts before the court for 3 1/2 years to justify holding Padilla without charges but used another set to convince a grand jury in Florida to indict him last month."

Pentagon Will Review Database on U.S. Citizens
"Pentagon officials said yesterday they had ordered a review of a program aimed at countering terrorist attacks that had compiled information about U.S. citizens, after reports that the database included information on peace protesters and others whose activities posed no threat and should not have been kept on file."
William Arkin comments on this story over on the Soapbox side in the articles for December 24th.

Life Sentences Mandated for Killing Police Officers
"Spurred by the recent shooting deaths of two New York City police officers and showing an unusual spirit of compromise, state lawmakers approved legislation on Wednesday to stiffen penalties for illegal guns and mandate a life sentence for anyone convicted of murdering a police officer."
It was just after the sheep had returned, on a pleasant evening when the animals had finished work and were making their way back to the farm buildings, that the terrified neighing of a horse sounded from the yard. Startled, the animals stopped in their tracks. It was Clover's voice. She neighed again, and all the animals broke into a gallop and rushed into the yard. Then they saw what Clover had seen.     **

Judge Orders Jail For Man Who Ran Porn Site With War Dead Photos
"The man who runs a pornographic Web site that includes pictures of Iraqi war dead is back in jail for operating the site as he awaits trial on obscenity charges."

'Ohio Patriot Act' May Soon Become Law
"A contentious bill awaiting Ohio Governor Bob Taft's signature would give state law-enforcement officials sweeping powers to question, detain and arrest people. It would allow authorities to demand identification in a broad range of circumstances, and it asks local law enforcement agencies to begin enforcing federal immigration law. The bill also exempts businesses from telling the public about safety and security threats."

Hackers Break Into Computer-Security Firm's Customer Database
"Guidance Software - the leading provider of software used to diagnose hacker break-ins - has itself been hacked, resulting in the exposure of financial and personal data connected to thousands of law enforcement officials and network-security professionals.

Guidance alerted customers to the incident in a letter sent last week, saying it discovered on Dec. 7 that hackers had broken into a company database and made off with approximately 3,800 customer credit card numbers. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company said the incident occurred sometime in November and that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service on a more detailed investigation."

Tow firm shooter faces gun charge
"A Jackson businessman who shot and killed a suspected burglar is facing a new charge because of a conviction more than two decades ago.

Fred James Perry, 55, owner of Livingston Towing & Recovery at 3228 Medgar Evers Blvd., has been charged as a felon in possession of a firearm."

Knoxville citizens train to fight terror
"For the first time in America, the Governor's Office Of Homeland Security is training a select group of people from Knoxville on how to better track terrorist activity.

With help from the Department of Homeland Security, the state office is teaching civilians how to use a terror tracking program, called the Homeland Security Information Network. It's terror training for the average citizen.
Ann Lacava is one of the civilians enrolled in the training. 'I think the big thing is people are realizing that civilians can play a part.'"

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