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, January 15, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday January 15 2008 - (813)

Tuesday January 15 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Iraq Defense Minister: Need For U.S. Security Help For Another 10 Years
2008-01-15 03:29:14
The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq's borders from external threat until at least 2018.

Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.

Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Qadir’s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.

President Bush has never given a date for a military withdrawal from Iraq but has repeatedly said that American forces would stand down as Iraqi forces stand up. Given Qadir’s assessment of Iraq’s military capabilities on Monday, such a withdrawal appeared to be quite distant, and further away than any American officials have previously stated in public.

Read The Full Story

Texans Report Seeing UFO
2008-01-15 03:28:43
In the farming community of Stephenville, Texas, where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.

Several dozen people - including a pilot, county constable and business owners - say they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.

"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times," said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. "It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."

While federal officials say there's a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said the object's lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane. People in several towns who reported seeing it over several weeks have offered similar descriptions of the object.

Read The Full Story

Allies Feel Strain Of Afghan War
2008-01-15 03:28:13

The U.S. plan to send an additional 3,200 Marines to troubled southern Afghanistan this spring reflects the Pentagon's  belief that if it can't bully its recalcitrant NATO allies into sending more troops to the Afghan front, perhaps it can shame them into doing so, said U.S. officials.

Yet the immediate reaction to the proposed deployment from NATO partners fighting alongside U.S. forces was that it was about time the United States stepped up its own effort.

After more than six years of coalition warfare in Afghanistan, NATO is a bundle of frayed nerves and tension over nearly every aspect of the conflict, including troop levels and missions, reconstruction, anti-narcotics efforts, and even counterinsurgency strategy. Stress has grown along with casualties, domestic pressures and a sense that the war is not improving, according to a wide range of senior U.S. and NATO-member officials who agreed to discuss sensitive alliance issues on the condition of anonymity.

While Washington has long called for allies to send more forces, NATO countries involved in some of the fiercest fighting have complained that they are suffering the heaviest losses. The United States supplies about half of the 54,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, they say, but the British, Canadians and Dutch are engaged in regular combat in the volatile south.

Read The Full Story

Villagers Challenge Chinese Land Policy
2008-01-14 16:04:09
About 1,000 farmers gathered in the village meeting hall here at 8 a.m. on Dec. 19 and proclaimed what amounted to a revolt against China's communist land-ownership system.

The broad, flat fields surrounding Changchunling belong to the farmers who work them, they declared, and not to the local government. The farmers then began dividing up the village's collective holdings, with the goal of making each family the owner of a private plot.

"There is no justification for taking the land away from the farmers," said one of the participating peasants.

The redistribution exercise at Changchunling was not an isolated incident. Rather, it marked what appears to be the start of a backlash against China's system of collective land ownership in rural areas.

Read The Full Story

Sensationalist Media Did Pentagon's Bidding In Fake Naval 'Provocation' With Iran
2008-01-14 16:03:30
The United States has lodged a formal diplomatic protest against Iran for its "provocation" in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6. But new information reveals that the alleged Iranian threat to American naval vessels may have been blown out of proportion. Democracy Now! spoke with investigative historian Gareth Porter.

Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez: The United States has lodged a formal diplomatic protest against Iran for its "provocation" in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday morning. But new information reveals that the alleged Iranian threat to American naval vessels in the Strait might have been blown out of proportion.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon released video of Iranian patrol boats approaching American warships and an audio recording of a direct threat in English. The accented voice says, "I am coming to you," and then adds, "You will explode after a few minutes."

Iranian voice: I am coming to you. U.S. naval officer: Inbound small craft, you're approaching a coalition warship operating in international waters. Your identity is not know. Your intentions are unclear. You're sailing into danger and may be subject to defensive measures. Request you establish communications now or alter your course immediately to remain clear. Request you alter course immediately to remain clear. Iranian voice: You will explode after a few minutes. U.S. naval officer: "You will explode after a few minutes."

Gonzalez: That was an audio recording released by the Pentagon along with the video of the encounter between American warships and Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz.

But a Navy spokesperson told ABC News Thursday that the threat might not have come from the Iranian patrol boats, but from the shore or another ship passing by. The spokesperson added, "I guess we're not saying that it absolutely came from the boats, but we're not saying it absolutely didn't."

Iran has denied all allegations of a confrontation and released its own video of the encounter. This is an excerpt of the Iranian video broadcast on Thursday showing what seems to be a routine exchange between an Iranian Navy patrol boat and the American ship.

Iranian naval patrolman: Coalition warship 73, this is Iranian Navy patrol boat. Request side number [inaudible] operating in the area this time. Over. U.S. naval officer: This is coalition warship 73. I'm operating in international waters.

Read The Full Story

Mysterious Crowd Suddenly Stopped Bhutto's Car, Officer Says
2008-01-14 16:02:21
Two new reports on the assassination last month of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto suggest that the killing may have been an ambitious plot rather than an isolated act of violence and that the government of President Pervez Musharraf knows far more than it's admitted about the murder.

A police officer who witnessed the assassination said that a mysterious crowd stopped Bhutto's car that day, moving her to emerge through the sunroof. And a document has surfaced in the Pakistani news media that contradicts the government's version of her death and contains details on the pistol and the suicide bomb used in the murder.

The witness was Ishtiaq Hussain Shah of the Rawalpindi police. As Bhutto's car headed onto Rawalpindi's Liaquat Road after an election rally Dec. 27, a crowd appeared from nowhere and stopped the motorcade, shouting slogans of her Pakistan Peoples Party and waving party banners, according to his account.

Bhutto, apparently thinking she was greeting her supporters, emerged through the sunroof of the bulletproof car to wave.

It was Shah's job to clear the way for the motorcade. But 10 feet from where he was standing, a man in the crowd wearing a jacket and sunglasses raised his arm and shot at the former prime minister. "I jumped to overpower him," the deputy police superintendent said later. "A mighty explosion took place soon afterwards."

Read The Full Story

Drug Approved, But Is The Disease Real?
2008-01-14 15:59:50
Fibromyalgia is a real disease. Or so says Pfizer in a new television advertising campaign for Lyrica, the first medicine approved to treat the pain condition, whose very existence is questioned by some doctors.

Other doctors - including the one who wrote the 1990 paper that defined fibromyalgia but who has since changed his mind - say that the disease does not exist and that Lyrica and the other drugs will be taken by millions of people who do not need them.

For patient advocacy groups and doctors who specialize in fibromyalgia, the Lyrica approval is a milestone. They say they hope Lyrica and two other drugs that may be approved this year will legitimize fibromyalgia, just as Prozac brought depression into the mainstream.

As diagnosed, fibromyalgia primarily affects middle-aged women and is characterized by chronic, widespread pain of unknown origin. Many of its sufferers are afflicted by other similarly nebulous conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.

Because fibromyalgia patients typically do not respond to conventional painkillers like aspirin, drug makers are focusing on medicines like Lyrica that affect the brain and the perception of pain.

Read The Full Story

Tensions Between Russia, Britain Escalate
2008-01-14 15:58:51
A British cultural organization on Monday defied a Russian government order to close offices in two cities, creating a fresh strain in the already tense relations between Russia and Britain.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Russia to its offices and threatened a series of punitive measures, including refusing to renew the visas of the organization’s staff and opening tax proceedings against the group.

The ambassador, Anthony Brenton, remained publicly defiant after the meeting, saying that the organization planned to continue operating all of its offices. Brenton also said that Russia’s demands violated international law on consular activities.

The stand-off marked a fresh impasse between the two governments, which have been at odds over a series of espionage and extradition disputes.

The latest disagreement centers on the operations of the British Council, an organization that is operated and funded by the British government to encourage cultural exchange between the two countries.

Read The Full Story

Poll: McCain Vaults Into GOP Lead; Obama Gains
2008-01-14 03:46:40

The first contests of the 2008 presidential campaign have led to a dramatic shake-up in public opinion nationally, with Sen. John McCain now leading the Republican field and Sen. Barack Obama all but erasing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-overwhelming advantage among Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. 

As the campaigns head into the next round of voting this week, the competitive contests in both parties have captured the public's attention. Four in five are closely tuned in, and a third are "very closely" following the races, a sharp increase from a month ago, and well higher than the proportions saying so at this stage in 2000 or 2004.

Clinton had dominated in national polls from the outset, holding a 30-point advantage as recently as a month ago, but the competitiveness of the first two contests appears to have reverberated among Democrats across the country.

In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton  (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Illinois). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent.

Read The Full Story

Suspect In Pregnant Marine Death May Be Headed To Texas
2008-01-14 03:46:06
The key suspect in the brutal slaying of a 20-year-old pregnant Marine was spotted in Louisiana and could be headed into Texas, authorities said Sunday as federal officials issued a fugitive warrant for his arrest.

Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean was seen getting on or off a Greyhound bus in Shreveport, Louisiana, Saturday night, said Shreveport police Chief Henry Whitehorn, Sr.

"We're working with the U.S. Marshal's Service and other law enforcement agencies trying to locate him," Whitehorn told the Associated Press. "We don't know if he is still in the area. We believe it may have just been a pass through. We received information he may be headed into Texas."

On Saturday, authorities said they recovered what they believe to be the burned remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child from a fire pit in Laurean's backyard, where they suspect he burned and buried her body. Those remains have been sent to the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a formal identification.
Read The Full Story

FBI Wants Instant Access To British Identity Data
2008-01-15 03:28:56
Americans seek international data base that will contain iris, palm and finger prints.

Senior British police officials are talking to the FBI about an international database to hunt for major criminals and terrorists.

The U.S.-initiated program, "Server in the Sky", would take cooperation between the police forces way beyond the current faxing of fingerprints across the Atlantic. Allies in the "war against terror" - the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand - have formed a working group, the International Information Consortium (IIC), to plan their strategy.

Biometric measurements, irises or palm prints as well as fingerprints, and other personal information are likely to be exchanged across the network. One section will feature the world's most wanted suspects. The database could hold details of millions of criminals and suspects.

The FBI is keen for the police forces of American allies to sign up to improve international security. Britain's Home Office Monday confirmed it was aware of Server in the Sky, as did the Metropolitan police.

Read The Full Story

FDA Says Food From Cloned Animals Is Safe
2008-01-15 03:28:30

A long-awaited final report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concludes that foods from healthy cloned animals and their offspring are as safe as those from ordinary animals, effectively removing the last U.S. regulatory barrier to the marketing of meat and milk from cloned cattle, pigs and goats.

The 968-page "final risk assessment," not yet released but obtained by the Washington Post, finds no evidence to support opponents' concerns that food from clones may harbor hidden risks.

Recognizing that a majority of consumers are wary of food from clones - and that cloning could undermine the wholesome image of American milk and meat - the agency report includes hundreds of pages of raw data so that others can see how it came to its conclusions.

The report also acknowledges that human health concerns are not the only issues raised by the emergence of cloned farm animals.

Read The Full Story

European Union Reviews Biofuels As Environmental Doubts Grow
2008-01-15 03:27:56

A European drive to run vehicles on biofuels instead of petrol and diesel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to be reviewed after concerns about its environmental impact.

Stavros Dimas, the European Union (E.U.) environment commissioner, said a European target to boost biofuel production risked causing more damage than Brussels realized, but he insisted that biofuels still had benefits, and their impact on food supplies and biodiversity could be limited by the introduction of strict sustainability standards.

Europe has pledged that biofuels, such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel, will make up 10% of transport fuel by 2020; Britain has a separate target of 5% biofuels in petrol and diesel by 2010.

Supporters argue that biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because the plants they are made from absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Yet a number of studies have raised doubts about the green credentials of many of the leading candidates, such as palm oil and ethanol made from corn. Critics say biofuels compete for land with staple food crops, and vast areas of rainforest are cleared to grow them.

Read The Full Story

Cholesterol Drug Zetia Shows No Benefit In Drug Trials
2008-01-14 16:03:50

A clinical trial of Zetia, a cholesterol-lowering drug prescribed to about 1 million people a week, failed to show that the drug has any medical benefits, Merck and Schering-Ploughsaid on Monday.

The results will add to the growing concern over Zetia and Vytorin, a drug that combines Zetia with another cholesterol medicine in a single pill. About 60 percent of patients who take Zetia do so in the form of Vytorin, which combines Zetia with the cholesterol drug Zocor. 

While Zetia lowers cholesterol by 15 percent to 20 percent in most patients, no trial has ever shown that it can reduce heart attacks and strokes - or even that it reduces the growth of the fatty plaques in arteries that can cause heart problems.

This trial was designed to show that Zetia could reduce the growth of those plaques. Instead, the plaques actually grew almost twice as fast in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor than in those taking Zocor alone.

Patients in the trial who took the combination of Zetia and Zocor were receiving it in the form of Vytorin pills. The trial, called Enhance, lasted two years and covered about 720 patients with extremely high cholesterol, mostly in the Netherlands.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: The End of the Road For George W. Bush
2008-01-14 16:02:53
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Chris Hedges and appeared in the's online edition for Sunday, January 13, 2008. Mr. Hedges' commentary follows:

The Gilbert and Sullivan charade of statesmanship played out by George W. Bush and his enabler, Condoleezza Rice, as they wander the Middle East is a fitting end to seven years of misrule. Despots stripped of power are transformed from monsters into buffoons. And this is the metamorphosis that is eating away at the Bush presidency.

Bush stood in Jerusalem, uncomfortable and palpably bored. He mouthed platitudes about a peace settlement that mocked the humanitarian crisis he aided and abetted in Gaza, the rapacious land grab by Israel in the West Bank and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The diminished George Bush, increasingly irrelevant at home and abroad, is fading into insignificance. A year from now one half expects to see him stand up at the next president's inauguration and screech "I'm melting! I'm melting!" as he sinks into a puddle of slime. He will return, I expect, to his ranch, where he will be able to spend the rest of his life doing the only task for which he has shown any aptitude - cutting down brush with a chain saw.

He may yet rise again to torment us with an attack on Iran, condemning more innocents to slaughter. He and his cigar-smoking soul mate Ehud Olmert would like to go out with one more flash of mayhem and violence. But even this will not ultimately save him. Bush will soon be reduced to the cipher he once was, left to spend the rest of his life trying to salvage a legacy of shame and deceit. In a just world he would be put on trial, if not by the International Criminal Court of Justice then by the U.S. Congress. He would be forced to face up to his lies and wars of aggression. But the moral rot that infects the nation has seeped into the bowels of the legislative as well as the executive branch.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Is Religion A Threat To Democracy?
2008-01-14 16:01:24
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Ira Chemus and appeared on's website edition for Sunday, January 13, 2008. Mr. Chemus' commentary follows:

It's a presidential campaign like no other. The candidates have been falling all over each other in their rush to declare the depth and sincerity of their religious faith. The pundits have been just as eager to raise questions that seem obvious and important: Should we let religious beliefs influence the making of law and public policy? If so, in what way and to what extent? Those questions, however, assume that candidates bring the subject of faith into the political arena largely to justify - or turn up the heat under - their policy positions. In fact, faith talk often has little to do with candidates' stands on the issues. There's something else going on here.

Look at the TV ad that brought Mike Huckabee out of obscurity in Iowa, the one that identified him as a "Christian Leader" who proclaims: "Faith doesn't just influence me. It really defines me." That ad did indeed mention a couple of actual political issues - the usual suspects, abortion and gay marriage - but only in passing. Then Huckabee followed up with a red sweater-themed Christmas ad that actively encouraged voters to ignore the issues. We're all tired of politics, the kindly pastor indicated. Let's just drop all the policy stuff and talk about Christmas - and Christ.

Ads like his aren't meant to argue policy. They aim to create an image - in this case, of a good Christian with a steady moral compass who sticks to his principles. At a deeper level, faith-talk ads work hard to turn the candidate - whatever candidate - into a bulwark of solidity, a symbol of certainty; their goal is to offer assurance that the basic rules for living remain fixed, objective truths, as true as religion.

In a time when the world seems like a shaky place - whether you have a child in Iraq, a mortgage you may not be able to meet, a pension threatening to head south, a job evaporating under you, a loved one battling drug or alcohol addiction, an ex who just came out as gay or born-again, or a president you just can't trust - you may begin to wonder whether there is any moral order in the universe. Are the very foundations of society so shaky that they might not hold up for long? Words about faith - nearly any words - speak reassuringly to such fears, which haunt millions of Americans.

Read The Full Story

Six Killed In Luxury Hotel Attack In Kabul
2008-01-14 15:59:23
Militants with suicide vests, grenades and AK-47 rifles attacked Kabul's most popular luxury hotel Monday evening, killing at least six people in a coordinated assault rarely seen in the Afghan capital, said witnesses and a Taliban spokesman.

It appeared to be the first direct attack on a hotel in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The assailants also appeared to concentrate on the hotel's gym and spa, where foreigners relax and work out.

The 6:12 p.m. assault came on a night the Norwegian embassy was holding a meeting at the Serena Hotel. An American inside said she saw a body she believed to be dead and pools of blood in the lobby.

The militants killed six people and wounded six, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary. One of the attackers was shot to death and the Taliban spokesman said a second died in the suicide explosion.

Read The Full Story

Ford Slaps Brand Enthusiasts, Returns Love With Legal Punch
2008-01-14 14:36:42
While brands certainly don't want people using their products, logos and other related imagery to create products of their, own, the hammer that Ford legal dropped on the Black Mustang Club seems a bit heavy handed. Recently the club created a calendar which contained images of club member's cars photographed by the member's themselves. Ford didn't take kindly to this and asked CafePress, the service the group had chosen to print the calendars, to kill the project claiming all the images in the calendar are the property of Ford...including the Black Mustang Club logo.
Read The Full Story

Ice Loss Escalating In Antarctica
2008-01-14 03:46:27
Ice sheets melting in an area once thought to be unaffected by global warming.

Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates.

While the overall loss is a tiny fraction of the miles-deep ice that covers much of Antarctica, scientists said the new finding is important because the continent holds about 90 percent of Earth's ice, and until now, large-scale ice loss there had been limited to the peninsula that juts out toward the tip of South America. In addition, researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years - as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world.

"Without doubt, Antarctica as a whole is now losing ice yearly, and each year it's losing more," said Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking despite land temperatures for the continent remaining essentially unchanged, except for the fast-warming peninsula.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman: Close Guantanamo
2008-01-14 03:45:49
The chief of the U.S. military said Sunday he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been ''pretty damaging'' to the image of the United States.

''I'd like to see it shut down,'' Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.

His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison's opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make and that he understands there are numerous complex legal questions the administration believes would have to be settled first, such as where to move prisoners.

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