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2010 November 10 | Activist News

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »


U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »


The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: November 10, 2010

Uganda: Oil Discovery Sparks Land Grab in Buliisa

The Independent
November 10, 2010

U.S. military helping Mexican troops battle drug cartels

Washington Post
November 10, 2010
By Mary Beth Sheridan

The U.S. military has begun to work closely with Mexico’s armed forces, sharing information and training soldiers in an expanding effort to help that country battle its violent drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

U.S. military officials have been hesitant to discuss publicly their growing ties with Mexico, for fear of triggering a backlash among a Mexican public wary of interference. But current and former officials say the U.S. military has instructed hundreds of Mexican officers in the past two years in subjects such as how to plan military operations, use intelligence to hunt traffickers and observe human rights.

The Pentagon’s counternarcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled, from $12.2 million in 2008 to more than $34 million in 2010, according to estimates by the Government Accountability Office. While that is a small fraction of the Mexican anti-drug money provided by the State Department, the funding is significant because of the history of chilly relations between the two militaries.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently reflected U.S. alarm over the Mexican cartels, saying that in some cases they were “morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency.” The comment was splashed across front pages in Mexico, and President Obama hastened to assure angry Mexicans that he did not characterize the traffickers as a rebel movement.

Even so, U.S. military officials see similarities with their own counterinsurgency efforts and are passing on to the Mexicans some of the techniques they have honed, such as analyzing intelligence to track down enemy fighters.

“We have tried to share many of the lessons we’ve learned in chasing terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Gen. Victor Renuart, who recently retired as head of the U.S. military’s Northern Command, which oversees the bilateral cooperation.

Mexico historically has been among the most reluctant countries in the hemisphere to cooperate with U.S. forces, in part because of lingering bitterness over invasions. Mexico still will not permit U.S. military trainers or advisers to deploy there full time.

Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/09/AR2010110907297.html?nav=rss_email/components

US soldier in court over alleged Afghan killing spree

November 9, 2010

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (AFP) – The alleged head of a rogue US army unit accused of murdering Afghan civilians for sport appeared in court, as more gruesome details of a killing spree emerged.

Facing a pre-trial hearing, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs is accused of leading the attacks in southern Afghanistan earlier this year involving around a dozen soldiers in all, in which the victims’ bodies were allegedly mutilated.

If proved in a full court martial, the crimes would be among the worst committed by US forces in Afghanistan, and could deal a blow to efforts to win over the support of ordinary Afghans in the war-torn country.

Gibbs, appearing for the first time in court, sat quietly between two defense attorneys as investigating officer Colonel Thomas Molloy read the charges.

He faces three counts of premeditated murder of Afghan civilians and related charges.

Specifically the 26-year-old is accused of carefully orchestrating the killings to make it appear US soldiers were in danger in part by stealing Russian-made weapons to place near the bodies.

Prosecutors also allege that Gibbs asked another soldier to help him cut off the fingers from an Afghan corpse.

“Sergeant Gibbs, do you understand what you are charged with?” asked Molloy.

“Yes, sir,” replied Gibbs.

Obtaining details from eye-witnesses has proved difficult as anyone directly involved in the alleged atrocities invoked their right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination.

Even private Justin Stoner, whom Gibbs and other soldiers allegedly beat after he blew the whistle on widespread hashish use in the unit and later led investigators to the murders, refused to testify.

When asked why, he replied simply: “Fifth Amendment.”

But Army investigators say they took statements from Stoner and others that Gibbs led four other soldiers in killing Afghan people for sport over several months this year in southern Kandahar province.

The accused soldiers were all members of the Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Division’s Stryker brigade at Forward Operating Base Ramrod.

Special Agent Anderson Wagner, an investigator who testified by speakerphone, said Stoner told him someone from the unit once showed him finger bones and “told him that if he didn’t want to end up like that guy he better keep his mouth shut about everything that’s going on.”

Full Article Here – http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/101110/world/afghanistan_unrest_us_prosecute_military 

Number of Uninsured American Adults Hits Record High

November 9, 2010

TUESDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) — Nearly 50 million Americans have gone without health insurance for at least part of the past year — up from 46 million people in 2008, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Those people included not only those Americans living in poverty, but an increasing number of middle-income people, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The bottom line is that uninsurance of young and middle-class adults increased by 4 million people from 2008 to the first quarter of 2010,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said during a news conference Tuesday.

What’s more, the number of people without insurance for a year or more increased from 27.5 million in 2008 to 30.4 million in the first quarter of 2010, Frieden said. “That’s an increase of 3 million of chronically uninsured adults.”

These findings debunk two myths about health insurance, Frieden said. “The first myth is that it’s only the poor who are uninsured. In fact, half of the uninsured are over the poverty level,” he said.

“The second myth is that it’s only healthy people who are uninsured and that young healthy people make a choice not to have health insurance

. In fact, more than two out of five individuals who are uninsured at some point during the past year had one or more chronic diseases,” he said.

During the past 10 years, the number of U.S. adults without insurance for at least part of the year has risen an average of 1.1 million people a year, and about half are middle-income adults, according to the report.

People without health insurance are more likely to skip medical care because of cost. This can lead to poorer health, higherlong-term health care costs and early death, the report said.

Uninsured adults with chronic medical problems are three times more likely to skip medical care, compared to those with insurance. For instance, more than 40 percent of people without insurance who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma skipped getting care due to costs, the report found.

And 30 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 with a disability skipped or delayed some medical care in the past 12 months because of cost. Disabled persons were twice as likely as those without a disability to skip or put off medical care, according to the report.

Full Article Here – http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diabetes/articles/2010/11/09/number-of-uninsured-american-adults-hits-record-high.html

Chromium plume spreads in Calif. town’s water

November 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A tiny desert town whose plight was made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich” has seen a dramatic increase in the size of a toxic plume of chromium as it has spread to multiple groundwater wells.
Water regulators earlier this year discovered a well with increasing concentrations of the cancer-causing pollutant and now even more wells have been uncovered with elevated levels, said Lauri Kemper, assistant executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control board.
The water board on Monday ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to do additional groundwater monitoring at the site near Hinkley, about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
“The more dispersed chromium continues to move,” Kemper told The Associated Press on Tuesday. 
“Because of the widespread nature of the lower concentration chromium, it’s difficult to capture 
the contamination.”
The contamination was first publicized during a 1996 court case in which PG&E settled with more than 600 Hinkley residents for $333 million. Many sick residents blamed the contaminated water for their crippling health problems that included Hodgkin’s disease and breast cancer.
Brockovich was a legal assistant when she uncovered that PG&E knowingly polluted the city’s water supply. The subsequent 2000 movie, “Erin Brockovich,” featured Julia Roberts and garnered the actress an Academy Award.
Tests showed the plume was spreading again in 2008, and PG&E took action that it thought had contained the contamination. Tests in March showed that it was growing again, and it is now more than two miles long and a mile wide.

Full Article Here – http://apnews.myway.com/article/20101109/D9JCSBC01.html

AFRICA: EU-India deal could threaten access to essential HIV drugs

November 9, 2010

NAIROBI, 9 November 2010 (PlusNews) – As Indian and European officials meet in Brussels to thrash out the details of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), civil society activists are concerned the deal could mean tighter intellectual property protections that could reduce access to cheap Indian generic drugs.

“The European Union is pushing for data exclusivity, which means Indian generics manufacturers would no longer be able to use existing studies to make identical drugs, a practice recommended by WHO [UN World health Organization] – they would have to conduct their own clinical trials, which would be unethical and redundant since we already have evidence that the drug works, but also, the data exclusivity could last anywhere between five and 10 years, delaying poor countries’ access to these drugs for long periods,” Michelle Childs, director of policy and advocacy for Médecins Sans Frontières’ campaign for access to essential medicines, told IRIN/PlusNews.
More than 80 percent of all donor-funded antiretroviral drugs used in developing countries are Indian generics; the availability of cheap ARVs has enabled more than five million people globally to access essential HIV treatment. Until 2005, the country did not grant patents on medicines, but World Trade Organization (WTO) rules now require India to grant patents. Indian law only grants patents on drugs that show a therapeutic benefit over existing ones; activists fear that trade agreements like the EU-India one could override these public health concerns.

According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society this year, “future scale-up using newly recommended ARVs will likely be hampered until Indian generic producers can provide the dramatic price reductions and improved formulations observed in the past”. The authors recommend that rather than agreeing to inappropriate intellectual property obligations through FTAs, India and its trade partners “should ensure that there is sufficient policy space for Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers to continue their central role in supplying developing countries with low-priced, quality-assured generic medicines”.

Childs accused Europe of employing “dirty legal tricks” to circumvent India’s public health protections and boost its own pharmaceutical industry, which could have fatal consequences.

No charges in CIA waterboarding video destruction

BBC News
November 9, 2010

No criminal charges will be filed against CIA officials involved in destroying videotapes of harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, the US justice department has said.

The CIA destroyed 92 tapes of al-Qaeda operatives Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri being waterboarded in 2005.

Jose Rodriguez, a former clandestine officer, approved the move out of concern the tapes could harm the CIA.

The investigation has spanned nearly three years.

Mr Rodriguez’s order to destroy the tapes, which were held in a safe in a secret Thailand prison where the two al-Qaeda members were interrogated, countered instructions given to him by Central Intelligence Agency lawyers and the White House.

Investigations will continue to help determine whether CIA officers went beyond the legal advice given to them on the treatment of suspects, an official told the Associated Press news agency.

Exhaustive investigation’

Jon Durham, the prosecutor assigned to the case by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, decided not to charge the undercover officers and lawyers at the CIA over the destruction of the tapes.

Matthew Miller, a justice department spokesman, said that “a team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter”.

The justice department’s decision is the “right decision because of the facts and the law”, Robert Bennett, a lawyer for Mr Rodriguez, said in a statement.

Mr Bennett added that Mr Rodriguez should be considered an “American hero, a true patriot who only
 wanted to protect his people and his country”.

CIA director Leon Panetta said in a statement that he welcomed the justice department’s decision.

“We will continue, of course, to co-operate with the Department of Justice on any other aspects of the former programme that it reviews,” he said.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11723140

Gulf oil spill: President’s panel says firms complacent

BBC News
November 9, 2010

Three major companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lacked a safety culture and made serious mistakes ahead of the catastrophe, the key inquiry into the disaster has said.

The White House oil spill commission said there was a culture of complacency at BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

“There was not a culture of safety on that rig,” co-chair Bill Reilly said.

The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and polluted hundreds of miles of coast.
‘Rush to completion’

Mr Reilly called for “top-to-bottom reform” at the companies involved in the well, known as the Macondo well, and faulted a “sweep of bad decisions” by the three companies.

At a meeting on Tuesday of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, investigators, witness and panel members said BP was hurried and could have operated more safely if it had taken time to acquire necessary material and kit.

“There appeared to be a rush to completion of the Macondo well and one has to ask where the drive came from that made people determine they couldn’t wait for sound cement or the right centralisers,” Mr Reilly said.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11720907

US may break promise to leave Iraq

Associated Press
November 9, 2010

The United States is open to the idea of keeping troops in Iraq past a deadline to leave next year if Iraq asks for it, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

“We’ll stand by,” Gates said. “We’re ready to have that discussion if and when they want to raise it with us.”

Gates urged Iraq’s squabbling political groups to reconcile after eight months of deadlock. Any request to extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq would have to come from a functioning Iraqi government. It would amend the current agreement under which U.S. troops must leave by the end of 2011.

“That initiative clearly needs to come from the Iraqis; we are open to discussing it,” Gates said.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have said for months that they expect Iraqi leaders to eventually ask for an extension of the military agreement with the U.S., but the political impasse has put the idea on hold.

A spike in violence in Iraq over the past two weeks has underscored the continued potency of al-Qaida and other Sunni extremists.

“We have been pretty clear to the Iraqis that what we seek, and hope they will come together on, is an inclusive government that represents all of the major elements of Iraqi society and in a nonsectarian way,” Gates said. “It is our hope that that is the direction they are moving in.”

He spoke following a meeting with Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Leaders of Iraq’s major political blocs met Monday for the first time since parliamentary elections in March. The 90-minute televised session, the start of three days of talks, did not lead to a breakthrough.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/break-promise-leave-iraq/

EPA subpoenas Halliburton over gas drilling

Associated Press
November 9, 2010

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency subpoenaed energy giant Halliburton Tuesday, seeking a description of the chemical components used in a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA said it issued the subpoena after Texas-based Halliburton refused to voluntarily disclose the chemicals used in the controversial drilling practice, also known as “fracking.” Halliburton was the only one of nine major energy companies that refused the EPA’s request.

The agency said the information is important to its study of fracking, in which crews inject millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals underground to force open channels in sand and rock formations so oil and natural gas will flow.

The EPA is studying whether the practice affects drinking water and the public health.

A Halliburton spokeswoman said the company was disappointed by the EPA’s action.

“Halliburton welcomes any federal court’s examination of our good-faith efforts with the EPA to date,” said spokeswoman Teresa Wong.

The subpoena is the latest bad news for Halliburton, which has been under fire for its role in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Investigators for a presidential panel say the company pumped faulty cement into the well that later blew out, killing 11 people and spewing more than 200 million gallons of crude oil.

The company also has faced renewed criticism over a provision in the 2005 energy law that prevents the EPA from regulating fracking. The exemption is commonly called the “Halliburton loophole,” in reference to the company’s pioneering role in fracking. An energy task force convened by former Vice President Dick Cheney, a onetime Halliburton CEO, had urged the EPA exemption.

Wong said the EPA’s request, made in September, was overly broad and could require the company to prepare about 50,000 spreadsheets.

“We have met with the agency and had several additional discussions with EPA personnel in order to help narrow the focus of their unreasonable demands so that we could provide the agency what it needs to complete its study of hydraulic fracturing,” Wong said. Halliburton turned over nearly 5,000 pages of documents last week, she said.

Drilling companies have largely sought to protect their chemical formulas, calling them proprietary. Environmentalists are concerned that the chemicals, some of them carcinogens, will taint underground water supplies.

A 2009 report prepared for the Energy Department said sand and chemicals typically account for less than 2 percent of fracturing fluids, with water making up 98 to 99.5 percent.

The EPA is taking a new look at fracking as gas drillers swarm to the lucrative Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio and blast into other shale formations around the country.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101109/ap_on_bi_ge/us_natural_gas_drilling