Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday October 2 2007 - (813)

Tuesday October 2 2007 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Poll: Public Wants War Funding Cut
2007-10-02 03:20:33
Poll finds most in U.S. oppose Bush, congressional Republicans on upcoming policy battles.

Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority support an expansion of a children's health insurance bill he has promised to veto, putting Bush and many congressional Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion on upcoming foreign and domestic policy battles.

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll also shows deep dissatisfaction with the president and with Congress. Bush's approval rating stands at 33 percent, equal to his career low in Post-ABC polls. And just 29 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, its lowest approval rating in this poll since November 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. It also represents a 14-point drop since Democrats took control in January.

Despite discontent with Congress this year, the public rates congressional Republicans (29 percent approve) lower than congressional Democrats (38 percent approve). When the parties are pitted directly against each other, the public broadly favors Democrats on Iraq, health care, the federal budget and the economy. Only on the issue of terrorism are Republicans at parity with Democrats.

Part of the displeasure with Congress stems from the stalemate between Democrats and the White House over Iraq policy. Most Americans do not believe Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war, with liberal Democrats especially critical of their party's failure to force the president into a significant change in policy.

Read The Full Story

Former U.S. Diplomats Warn Bush Administration That Mideast Peace Summit Faces Failure
2007-10-02 03:19:56
The Bush administration was warned Monday by former senior U.S. diplomats that it is setting itself up for the failure of its Middle East peace summit by neglecting to lay the groundwork for a successful meeting of American, Israeli and Arab leaders.

The conference represents the Bush administration's most serious attempt to engage in Middle East peacemaking after seven years of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The meeting as it stands now seems to be something of a gamble," the former diplomats warned Secretary of State  Condoleezza Rice in a letter which was obtained by the Guardian Monday. "The chances of a perceived failure, even without a breakup, are profound."

Read The Full Story

Federal Judge Rules Former Presidents Can't Withhold Records
2007-10-02 03:19:17
Presidents don't have indefinite veto power over which records are made public after they've left office, a federal judge ruled Monday.

In a narrowly crafted ruling, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly invalidated part of President Bush's 2001 executive order, which allowed former presidents and vice presidents to review executive records before they are released under the Freedom of Information Act.

By law, the National Archives has the final say over the release of presidential records and Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Bush's executive order "effectively eliminates" that discretion. It allows former presidents to delay the release of records "presumably indefinitely," she said.

The judge ordered the National Archives not to withhold any more documents based on that section of the executive order.

The ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by the American Historical Association and other organizations, which argued that Bush's Executive Order 13,233 was an "impermissible exercise of the executive power."

Read The Full Story

Report Details Killings By Blackwater USA Staff In Iraq
2007-10-02 03:18:51
Security contractor has been involved in at least 195 "escalation of force" incidents in Iraq since 2005. State Department papers tell of coverup.

Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 "escalation of force" incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.

In one of the killings, according to a State Department document, Blackwater personnel tried to cover up what had occurred and provided a false report. In another case, involving a Blackwater convoy's collision with 18 civilian vehicles, the firm accused its own personnel of lying about the event.

The State Department made little effort to hold Blackwater personnel accountable beyond pressing the company to pay financial compensation to the families of the dead, the documents indicate. In a case involving a drunken Blackwater employee who killed a security guard to one of Iraq's vice presidents last Christmas Eve, U.S. government personnel helped negotiate a financial settlement and allowed the employee to depart Iraq.

Read The Full Story

Obama Has Strong Fundraising Quarter, Getting $20 Million In Campaign Donations
2007-10-02 03:17:14

Democratic presidential candidates continued to pile up record amounts of campaign cash over the past three months, newly released figures show, further distancing them from their Republican counterparts.

Aides to Sen. Barack Obama (Illinois) reported raising more than $20 million during the past three months, bringing the total he has raked in this year to close to $75 million for his primary campaign. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York) Monday night had not yet reported her total for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, but her campaign predicted last week that the figure would be $17 million to $20 million.

Among them, the Democratic candidates have raised an estimated $225 million during the first nine months of the year. By the time Republicans reveal their latest numbers this week, they could be more than $80 million behind, according to preliminary reports from GOP campaign aides.

Read The Full Story

Britney Spears Loses Sons' Custody To Kevin Federline
2007-10-02 03:16:11
Britney Spears has lost custody of her two sons after a Superior Court judge ruled Monday that her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, would take custody beginning Wednesday until further order of the court.

Spears, the 25-year-old pop star, and Federline, 29, had joint custody of sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, after their divorce last July. The same judge, Scott M. Gordon, ordered Spears last month to undergo random drug and alcohol testing twice a week, having found that she had engaged in “habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol.”

The latest order followed a motion by Federline’s lawyers and was handled in a closed-door hearing, the Associated Press reported. The judge’s order did not state the reason for the change in custody, the A.P. reported, and all transcripts of the proceedings were sealed.

Lawyers for Federline and Spears did not return calls.

Read The Full Story

UPDATE: NATO Ships Rescue 2 Survivors Of Red Sea Volcano Eruption
2007-10-01 06:34:02
Northern side of Red Sea island "nothing but red lava".

NATO ships rescued two survivors and spotted three bodies off the coast of a small Red Sea island Monday morning, following a spectacular volcanic eruption the night before, said a NATO commander.

According to Rear Adm. Michael Mahon of the U.S. Navy, the two were among eight missing Yemeni military personnel, who were on Jazirt Atta-Ir island when the volcano erupted, and were receiving medical treatment aboard Canadian and U.S. ships. Mahon also said that three bodies have been spotted in the water and were being recovered.

The ships - part of a six-ship NATO task force en route to the Suez Canal - were only 26 nautical miles away when the eruption took place.

"It was extremely, extremely brilliant, quite bright off the bow," said Ken Allan of the Canadian Navy's HMCS Toronto. "Of course the closer we got to the area, the brighter it got. We could actually see the lava spouting out. It was quite brilliant, huge smoke, ash going ... up into the sky."

Read The Full Story

U.S. Is Top Arms Seller To Developing World
2007-10-01 02:40:26
The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study to be released Monday. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers.

The global arms market is highly competitive, with manufacturing nations seeking both to increase profits and to expand political influence through weapons sales to developing nations, which reached nearly $28.8 billion in 2006.

That sales total was a slight drop from the 2005 figure of $31.8 billion, a trend explained by the strain of rising fuel prices that prompted many developing states - except those that produce oil - to choose upgrading current arsenals over buying new weapons.

The report, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations,” was produced by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and presents a number of interesting observations linking arms sales and global politics. For example, Russia has been a major supplier of weapons to Iran in past years, including a $700 million deal for surface-to-air missiles in 2005.

Read The Full Story

Supreme Court Faces Broad Array Of Potentially Divisive Issues
2007-10-01 02:39:36
U.S. high court will consider lethal injection, workplace fairness, drug sentences, stock fraud and inmates rights among other issues.

The Supreme Court Monday opens a new term that includes a rich mix of cases - on election law, sentencing in drug cases, executions by lethal injection, age bias in the workplace and the rights of employees who put their money into 401(k) accounts.

The court will also consider - again - whether the detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a right to plead their innocence before a judge.

Three years ago, the justices ruled that the right to habeas corpus written into American law extended to the terrorism prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. This seemed to open the door to hearings before an independent judge.

Read The Full Story

Rebels Accused Of Killing Darfur Peacekeepers
2007-10-01 02:38:48
10 African Union troops die in raid, 50 are missing.

Hundreds of rebels overran an African Union camp in Darfur, killing at least 10 soldiers and leaving 50 more unaccounted for, in the deadliest assault since the peacekeeping mission began three years ago. The attack in Haskanita, near the border of north and south Darfur, completely destroyed the base. Seven peacekeepers were injured.

"There is a great feeling of shock here," said Noureddine Mezni, a spokesman for the African Union (A.U.) mission in Sudan, in a telephone interview from Khartoum. "These were people helping the local population." He said several A.U. teams were trying to find the 50 missing peacekeepers. "We cannot track them now ... maybe we will find them later," he said.

The attack drew immediate international condemnation, with the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, calling it "a murderous and unacceptable act".

Haskanita has seen heavy recent fighting between government forces and rebel militias from the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army Unity faction, which have accused Khartoum of trying to grab land ahead of scheduled peace talks in Libya this month, and before the deployment of a new, vastly beefed-up peacekeeping mission.

Read The Full Story

Amazon Jungle Could Be Lost In 40 Years
2007-10-02 03:20:16
Development threatens world's oldest rainforest; conservationists attack plans for transportation routes.

The Amazonian wilderness is at risk of unprecedented damage from an ambitious plan to improve transport, communications and power generation in the region, conservationists warned Monday.

Development plans have been drawn up to boost trade links between 10 economic hubs on the continent, but threaten to bring "a perfect storm of environmental destruction" to the world's oldest rainforest, according to a report from Conservation International.

Projects to upgrade road and river transport, combined with work to create dams and lay down extensive power and communications cabling, will open up previously inaccessible parts of the rainforest, raising the risk of widespread deforestation that could see the loss of the entire Amazon jungle within 40 years, said the environmental group.

Dr. Tim Killeen, a scientist with Conservation International, examined the projects funded under the multinational government-backed Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA). He found that the environmental impact of individual projects had often been well assessed, but there had been a failure to look at their collective impact on the region.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Airports Increase Security Over Remote-Controlled Toys
2007-10-02 03:19:34
Citing “credible specific information” about terror tactics, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers nationwide on Monday stepped up their scrutiny of passengers carrying remote-control toys aboard airplanes.

The move was not motivated by a specific terror plot, said Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Securityin charge of aviation security, but there is concern both in the United States and internationally that common remote-control toys could be used to detonate a bomb as part of a terror plot.

The aviation authorities decided against banning the devices in carry-on bags, but people carrying remote-control toys - including children - could be subject to a more intense search, in which the passenger is patted down and the baggage is checked by hand, said officials.

The new policy comes just days after the federal authorities in South Carolina disclosed that a Florida college student arrested in August on explosive-related charges had made a video that he posted on YouTube showing how to use such a remote-control toy as a detonator.

Read The Full Story

Congressional Democrats Want To Increase Legal Oversight Of War Contractors
2007-10-02 03:19:05
Emboldened by the Blackwater scandal, congressional Democrats are moving aggressively to tighten the reins on private contractors in Iraq.

The House will consider a bill this week by Rep. David Price that would make all contractors subject to prosecution by U.S. courts. This would close what he says is a dangerous loophole that leaves State Department contractors immune to prosecution.

In the Senate, lawmakers passed a $672 defense policy bill on Monday that would require detailed administration reports on the government's reliance of security contractors. The bill also would establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in wartime contracts.

The political developments come as the FBI announced it will investigate the role Blackwater USA played in the Sept. 16 shoot-out in Baghdad that killed 11 Iraqis.

The Blackwater allegations "have the potential to become a flashpoint in terms of Iraqi antagonism toward U.S. personnel, with wide-ranging implications for our mission and our troops," wrote Price, D-North Carolina, in a recent letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Read The Full Story

Student Newspaper Headline Ignites Free Speech Debate In U.S.
2007-10-02 03:17:55
Intellpuke: By way of alerting our readers, the following article contains the F-word, twice.

Editor faces dismissal for "vulgar" anti-Bush protest; communications board to rule if ethics code violated.

University officials in Colorado are on Thursday to decide the fate of a student editor who published a huge "Taser This ... Fuck Bush" headline. David McSwane, 20, is facing the sack over an incident that has grown from a campus row into a national debate about free speech. The board of student communications will decide at the hearing whether he violated the paper's ethics code that states that "profane and vulgar words are not acceptable for opinion writing".

In the wake of the row, many advertisers have cancelled tens of thousands of dollars worth of advertisements in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, which has been going since 1891 and which pays for itself. There have also been complaints from students, including a petition from the college Republicans calling for McSwane to resign.

Sympathizers, in emails to the university and at campus meetings, have expressed support on the basis that the constitution's first amendment protects freedom of expression. Others have called for leniency, saying the headline was part of the naivety that can happen in student journalism.

Read The Full Story

Barred From Another Term As President, Putin Charts Way Back To Power As Prime Minister
2007-10-02 03:16:46
Vladimir Putin Monday gave the strongest hint yet that he will remain at the center of power in Russia for the forseeable future, saying the possibility of him becoming prime minister after the presidential election in March was "entirely realistic".

The president, who has stressed his wish to stay involved in high-level politics, cannot seek a third term under the constitution, but there is nothing to prevent him becoming prime minister. He could then return for a non-consecutive, and legal, third term as president in 2012.

Putin has so far been coy about his future, but he made a surprise announcement as he met members of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party and agreed to head the party's list for parliamentary elections in December. Popular figures often head party lists, elected according to proportional representation, but many drop out afterwards and do not become parliament members.

"Heading the government is a realistic idea," Putin told the party's congress when asked about his plans. He added that it was "early" to be discussing himself as a candidate, but he would be prepared to take the prime minister's post on two conditions: that United Russia won the parliamentary poll and that a "decent, competent and effective person with whom I could work" was elected as president in spring 2008.

Read The Full Story

Budget Deal In Michigan Allows State Government Operations To Continue
2007-10-02 03:15:58
Michigan's government resumed full operations on Monday morning after lawmakers approved two tax increases and gave themselves an extra month to resolve a $1.75 billion budget deficit.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat, told the employees to report to work on Monday after the Republican-led Senate approved the tax increases by separate 20-to-19 votes. The second decision came about 4 a.m., and both required a tie-breaking vote from Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry, Jr.

“This budget agreement is the right solution for Michigan,” Governor Granholm said in a statement. “We prevented massive cuts to public education, health care and public safety while also making extensive government reforms and passing new revenue. With the state back on solid financial footing, we can turn our focus to the critical task of jump-starting our economy and creating new jobs.”

Read The Full Story

'U.S. Plan To Bomb Iran'
2007-10-01 02:40:40
Australia, Britain and Israel "expressed interest" in U.S. "surgical" bombing raid.

Australia, Britain and Israel have "expressed interest" in a U.S. campaign to launch "surgical" bombing raids on Iran targeting the Revolutionary Guard facilities, one of the U.S.' leading investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, reports.

In a lengthy article in the latest issue of The New Yorker, Hersh details how the U.S. is making plans for a strike on Iran, beefing up intelligence resources within the CIA and shifting its rhetorical campaign in a bid to win support from the American people should the strikes proceed. 

Hersh says the Administration has stopped trying to justify the campaign on the basis of curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions, to redefining the war in Iraq as a strategic battle.

This is because there is a consensus within the intelligence community that  Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb, Hersh said in an interview on CNN on Sunday.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Air Force Arranged No-Work Contract
2007-10-01 02:40:07
Experts question official's deal with non-profit.

While waiting to be confirmed by the White House for a top civilian post at the Air Force last year, Charles D. Riechers was out of work and wanted a paycheck. So the Air Force helped arrange a job through an intelligence contractor that required him to do no work for the company, according to documents and interviews.

For two months, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser and received about $13,400 a month at Commonwealth Research Institute, or CRI, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, according to his resume; but during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

Riechers said in an interview that his interactions with Commonwealth Research were limited largely to a Christmas party, where he said he met company officials for the first time.

"I really didn't do anything for CRI," said Riechers, now principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. "I got a paycheck from them."

Riechers's job highlights the Pentagon's ties with Commonwealth Research and its corporate parent, which has in recent years received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of grants and contracts from the military, and more than $100 million in earmarks from lawmakers.

Read The Full Story

As Legislature Squabbles, Michigan State Government Partially Shuts Down
2007-10-01 02:39:07
Michigan's state government partially shut down early Monday as the new fiscal year began with no budget deal in place to plug a $1.75 billion deficit.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm was still awaiting key votes on a tax increase from the Republican-controlled Senate after 12:01 a.m., the deadline for approving a state budget. The state has no authority to spend money without a budget in place.

Parts of a temporary budget fix that would have avoided a shutdown were approved Sunday, but lawmakers at midnight were still scrambling to reach a deal on the tax increases.

Granholm was waiting for the tax measures before signing a 30-day continuation budget.

In one of the first signs a shutdown was looming, campers were asked to leave some Michigan state parks Sunday night.

Read The Full Story

Breaking News: 'Catastrophic' Volcanic Eruption In The Red Sea Off Yemen Coast
2007-10-01 00:28:16
A volcano has erupted on a tiny island off the coast of Yemen, spewing lava and ash hundreds of feet into the air, a Canadian naval vessel near the island in the Red Sea reported Sunday. There were no reports of deaths, but at least nine people were missing.

The Yemeni government asked NATO to assist in searching for survivors on Jabal al-Tair island, which lacks a settled population but includes military installations.

The Yemeni news agency SABA confirmed the eruption and said a military garrison on the island is being evacuated. It wasn't clear how many people are stationed on the island, which is used for naval control and observation because large cargo ships pass nearby.

Ken Allan, a Navy spokesman, said a NATO fleet just outside the territorial waters of the island reported seeing a "catastrophic volcanic eruption" at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT). The two-mile-long island is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) off the coast of Yemen.

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home