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, March 03, 2009

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday March 3 2009 - (813)

Tuesday March 3 2009 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Bush Administration Anti-Terrorism Documents Reveal Major Legal Errors
2009-03-02 22:44:48

The number of major legal errors committed by Bush administration lawyers during the formulation of its early counter-terrorism policies was far greater than previously known, according to internal Bush administration documents  released for the first time by the Justice Department Monday.

Those policies were based on at least 10 legal opinions conferring broad powers on the president that the Justice Department later deemed flawed and ordered withdrawn, including several approving the military's search, detention or trial of civilians in the United States without congressional input, according to the documents.

While the Bush administration had previously acknowledged rescinding two of those memos - authorizing the infliction of pain and suffering on detainees and claiming unquestioned authority to interrogate suspects outside the United States - the government's eventual repudiation or rewrite of the eight other early legal memos was secret until now.

In one of the newly disclosed opinions, Justice Department appointee John Yoo argued that constitutional provisions ensuring free speech and barring warrantless searches could be disregarded by the president in wartime, allowing troops to storm a building if they suspected terrorists might be inside. In another, the department asserted that detainees could be transferred to countries known to commit human rights abuses so long as U.S. officials did not intentionally seek their torture.

Read The Full Story

Taliban Rivals Unite To Fight U.S. Troop Buildup In Afghanistan
2009-03-02 22:44:28

Three rival Pakistani Taliban groups have agreed to form a united front against international forces in Afghanistan in a move likely to intensify the insurgency just as thousands of extra U.S. soldiers begin pouring into the country as part of Barack Obama's plan.

The Guardian newspaper has learned that three of the most powerful warlords in the region have settled their differences and come together under a grouping calling itself Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen, or Council of United Holy Warriors.

NATO officers fear that the new extremist partnership in Waziristan,Pakistan's tribal area, will significantly increase the cross-border influx of fighters and suicide bombers - a move that could undermine the U.S. president's Afghanistan strategy before it is formulated.

The unity among the militants comes after a call by Mullah Omar, the cleric who leads the Afghan Taliban, telling Pakistani militants to stop fighting at home in order to join the battle to "liberate Afghanistan from the occupation forces".

Read The Full Story

Raul Castro Replaces Top Cuban Officials
2009-03-02 22:43:49

President Raul Castro abruptly removed some of Cuba's most powerful officials Monday, putting a personal stamp on the government in the biggest shake-up since he took over from his ailing brother Fidel Castro a year ago.

The changes replaced some key Fidel loyalists, including the longtime foreign minister and the secretary of the council of state, with men closer to Raul. They also reduced the enormous powers of a vice-president credited with saving Cuba's economy after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Analysts saw no immediate indication that the changes are related to hopes for closer U.S.-Cuban ties now that both countries have new presidents.

The abrupt shake-up, which also consolidated some of Cuba's many ministries to create a "more compact and functional structure", was the first major reorganization under Raul Castro. It was announced at the end of the midday news, after the weather and sports.

The most prominent of those ousted, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, was the youngest of Cuba's top leaders and had been widely mentioned as a possible future president.

Read The Full Story

Dow Closes Below 6,800
2009-03-02 16:41:31
A blizzard of selling swept the Dow Jones industrials to its first close below 7,000 in almost 12 years Monday as despair grew that the recession would be longer and more painful than many investors expected.

The first trading day of the month was a rout, dragging the Dow down to another misery milestone: It has lost more than half its value since it hit a record high above 14,000 in October 2007. On Friday, stocks ended February with six straight months of losses.

The Dow closed down about 300 points at 6762.98 Monday, on a preliminary basis, its lowest finish since April 25, 1997. The index last closed below 7,000 on May 1, 1997.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index ended at 700.82, down 34.27. It hasn't closed below 700 since Oct. 29, 1996. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 55 to 1,322.

Now, many investors fear stocks could take a long time to regain all they have lost, dashing many Americans' dreams of retirement, college, a new home or car.

Read The Full Story

CIA Destroyed 92 Interrogations Tapes, More Than It Acknowledged
2009-03-02 14:24:40
New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations, far more than has previously been acknowledged.

The revelation Monday comes as a criminal prosecutor is wrapping up his investigation in the matter.

The acknowledgment of dozens of destroyed tapes came in a letter filed by government lawyers in New York, where the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking more details of the Bush administration's terror interrogation programs following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"The CIA can now identify the number of videotapes that were destroyed," said the letter by Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin. "Ninety two videotapes were destroyed."

ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said the CIA should be held in contempt of court for holding back the information for so long.

Read The Full Story

In Afghanistan, A Tactical Success, But A Strategic Defeat
2009-03-02 14:24:13
Afghan outrage at a U.S. raid highlights the challenges facing the new military push.

The U.S. soldiers entered the sleeping village in Logar province in the dead of night on Feb. 20, sure of their target and heavily armed. They surrounded a mud-walled compound, shouting commands, and then kicked down the gate as cries of protest erupted within.

Exactly what happened next is disputed, but shots were fired and a man inside fell dead. Four other men were grabbed and arrested. Then the soldiers departed, leaving the women to calm the frightened children and the rumors to spread in the dark.

By midmorning, hundreds of angry people were blocking the nearby highway, burning tires and shouting "Death to America!" By mid-evening, millions of Afghan TV news viewers were convinced that foreign troops had killed an unarmed man trying to answer his door.

"We are afraid of the Taliban, but we are more afraid of the Americans now," said Abdul Ghaffar, a truck driver in the raided village. "The foreign forces are killing innocent people. We don't want them in Afghanistan. If they stay, one day we will stand against them, just like we stood against the Russians."

Read The Full Story

Erik Prince, Blackwater Founder, Steps Down As CEO...Sort Of
2009-03-02 14:23:38
Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater who used an auto parts inheritance to build the security firm into one of the world's most respected - and reviled - defense companies in the world, said Monday he has stepped aside as chief executive.

Prince appointed a new president and chief operating officer in a management shake-up he said was part of the company's "continued reorganization and self-improvement." It comes just a couple weeks after changing its name to Xe, pronounced like the letter "z," in an effort to repair its severely tarnished name and reputation.

"As many of you know, because we focus on continually improving our business that Xe is in the process of a comprehensive restructuring," Prince wrote in a note to employees and clients. "It is with pride in our many accomplishments and confidence in Xe's future that I announce my resignation as the company's Chief Executive Officer."

Joseph Yorio, recently a vice president at DHL and a former Army special forces officer, will serve as president, replacing retiring executive Gary Jackson. Danielle Esposito, who has worked within Xe for nearly 10 years, will be the new chief operating officer and executive vice president.

Prince, who will retain his position as chairman of the company but remove himself from the day-to-day operations, founded Blackwater in 1997, initially to provide training to law enforcement and military. After Sept. 11, the bombing of the USS Cole and the start of the Iraq War, the company built a large presence in providing private security.

Read The Full Story

Putin And Medvedev Factions Locked In Kremlin Financial Power Struggle
2009-03-02 22:44:39
Russia's financial crisis is beginning to destabilize the delicate Kremlin power balance, with a struggle between rival clans eroding Vladimir Putin's authority and aggravating his relationship with his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev.

There are growing signs that a powerful group of military and security officials grouped around Putin are locking horns with economic liberals headed by Medvedev as the two groups fight for control of rapidly evaporating state finances.

Medvedev marked the first anniversary of his election victory Monday, but the triumphalism has long since dissipated.

Russia has been hit hard by the global crisis, with the stock market down almost 80% from its peak, and the ruble  sliding fast. Russia's top 10 billionaires alone lost an estimated $150 billion last year.

The sudden evaporation of Russia's newfound wealth has set the two Kremlin cliques on a collision course and put Putin - now prime minister - in an awkward position. As a former KGB agent he is heavily identified with the security group, known as the siloviki, but he also has strong personal loyalty to a small clique of liberals from his home town of St. Petersburg.

Read The Full Story

China Plans 59 Reservoirs To Collect Meltwater From Its Shrinking Glaciers
2009-03-02 22:44:08
China is planning to build 59 reservoirs to collect water from its shrinking glaciers as the cost of global warming hits home in the world's most populous country.

The far western province of Xinjiang, home to many of the planet's highest peaks and widest ice fields, will carry out the 10-year engineering project, which aims to catch and store glacier run-off that might otherwise trickle away into the desert.

Behind the measure is a concern that millions of people in the region will run out of water once the glaciers in the Tian, Kunlun and Altai mountains disappear.

Anxiety has risen along with temperatures that are rapidly diminishing the ice fields. The 3,800-meter Urumqi No.1 glacier, the first to be measured in China, has lost more than 20% of its volume since 1962, according to the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (Careeri) in Lanzhou.

To deal with the consequences, Xinjiang will set aside 200 million yuan (£20 million or $35 million) for each of the next three years. In the first phase, 29 reservoirs will be built with a combined capacity of 21.8 billion cubic meters of water, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Read The Full Story

Iran Arrests American Journalist Over 'Wine Purchase'
2009-03-02 22:43:36

A U.S. journalist has been arrested and detained in Iran, apparently after being reported to the authorities for buying a bottle of wine.

Roxana Saberi, 31 - who has worked for the BBC - was taken into custody more than a month ago, according to her Iranian-born father. Her whereabouts are unknown and it is unclear whether she is still being held.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hasan Qashqavi, Monday said Saberi had been engaged in "illegal activities" and had continued to work after her press credentials had been withdrawn.

"This reporter should not have been illegally seeking news and information from Iran," said Qashqavi. "Her accreditation was over in 2006, after Iranian authorities revoked her press card. Her activities since 2006 were completely illegal and unauthorized."

Read The Full Story

Dow Drops Below 7,000 For First Time Since 1997
2009-03-02 14:24:54

Investor concerns about financial companies and worries about Friday’s unemployment report continued to erode the markets on Monday as the Dow Jones industrial average fell below 7,000 for first time since October 1997.

The government on Monday morning agreed to provide another $30 billion to the insurance giant, American International Group, which also reported a $61.7 billion loss. On Friday, the federal government took a larger stake in Citigroup. 

Shortly before noon, the Dow was down 243 points, or 3.4 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined 3.7 percent, but remained above the 700 mark. The Nasdaq fell 2.9 percent.

“Another day, another 200 points,” David Dietze, chief investment strategist at Point View Financial Services, said, comparing the daily markets to water torture.

The decision by many companies to trim dividends - one of the incentives for owning stocks - was contributing to the sell-off, said Dietze. Earlier Monday, the large regional bank PNC Financial Services Group cut its dividend 85 percent and the International Paper Company cut its by 90 percent. Last week, the General Electric cut its dividend 68 percent, and JPMorgan Chase reduced its dividend 87 percent.

Read The Full Story

AIG Reports $61.7 Billion Loss As U.S. Gives More Aid
2009-03-02 14:24:28

The federal government agreed Monday morning to provide an additional $30 billion in taxpayer money to the American International Group (AIG)and loosen the terms of its huge loan to the insurer, even as the insurance giant reported a$61.7 billion loss, the biggest quarterly loss in history.

The loss of $22.95 a share compared with a fourth-quarter loss in the period a year ago of $5.3 billion or $2.08 a share. For the year, AIG lost $99.3 billion or $37.84 a share, compared with a profit of $6.2 billion or $2.39 a share for 2007.

In the quarter, AIG took a $21 billion charge related to taxes and wrote down $25.9 billion in assets, including mortgage-back securities and credit-default swaps.

The company’s general insurance business lost $2.8 billion compared with a profit of $2.1 billion in the quarter a year ago. Premiums dropped 16.3 percent to $9.2 billion and earnings from premiums fell 5.9 percent to $10.98 billion.

Read The Full Story

Freddie Mac Chief Moffett Resigns
2009-03-02 14:23:52
The struggling mortgage lending giant, Freddie Mac, said Monday that its chief executive, David M. Moffett, had resigned effective March 12.

The board, in a statement, said it was working with its regulatory overseer, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to find a successor.

Freddie Mac, and its larger sibling, Fannie Mae, were both taken over by the federal government in September amid losses because of a decline in the value of their holding, receiving a lifeline of $200 billion.

The resignation came a few days after Freddie Mac said it needed at least $15.2 billion in government aid because it lost nearly $59 billion last year as the foreclosure crisis mushroomed. The company said on Thursday that it lost $25.2 billion, or $4.47 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $3.6 billion, or $3.80 a share, a year earlier.

In a statement, Freddie Mac said that Moffett indicated that he wanted to return to a role in the financial services sector.

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