US general says ‘spectacular’ Qaeda attacks rise in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) – A US commander on Wednesday said the number of “spectacular” assaults by Al-Qaeda in Iraq has increased although the overall number of attacks was down and 20 key militants have been killed or caught.ADVERTISEMENT

Major General Mark Hertling, commanding general of coalition forces in northern Iraq, gave no specific examples of what he termed “spectacular” attacks, referring only to big car bombs and to suicide attacks.

“These spectacular events and intimidation are designed to incite fear in the population,” Hertling told a news conference in Baghdad.

Suicide bombers have continued to carry out bloody attacks in recent weeks, with one killing 25 people and wounding 85 on Christmas Day, when he slammed his vehicle into a truck carrying gas cylinders at a checkpoint in the northern oil town of Baiji.

The same month, a woman suicide bomber killed 16 people in the offices of a local anti-Qaeda front in Muqdadiyah, in Diyala province, while another bomber killed 13 people inside a cafe near the Diyala provincial capital Baquba.

None of the recent attacks, however, has brought the sort of death tolls seen in 2006 and earlier in 2007 when the numbers killed could exceed 100, and the general’s definition of spectacular was unclear.

Several members or leaders of “Awakening” groups — local men paid by the US to fight Al-Qaeda — have also been killed recently.

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AT&T and Other I.S.P.’s May Be Getting Ready to Filter

For the last 15 years, Internet service providers have acted – to use an old cliche – as wide-open information super-highways, letting data flow uninterrupted and unimpeded between users and the Internet.

But I.S.P.’s may be about to embrace a new metaphor: traffic cop.

At a small panel discussion about digital piracy at NBC’s booth on the Consumer Electronics Show floor, representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and the telecom giant AT&T said the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.

Such filtering for pirated material already occurs on sites like YouTube and Microsoft’s Soapbox, and on some university networks.

Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

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Ex-CIA Official May Refuse To Testify About Videotapes

Not just any former CIA official but the head of clandestine operations such as rendition, waterboarding, torture, kidnapping and murder, all in the name of “the war on terror”.

A former CIA official at the center of the controversy over destroyed interrogation videotapes has been blocked by Justice Department officials from gaining access to government records about the incident, according to sources familiar with the case.

Federal Judge Won’t Review Destruction Of CIA Videotapes
Thursday, Jan. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET: National Security and Intelligence
The former official, Jose Rodriguez Jr., has also told the House intelligence committee through a letter from his attorney that he will refuse to testify next week about the tapes unless he is granted immunity from prosecution for his statements, the sources said.

The panel has issued a subpoena for Rodriguez, the former chief of clandestine operations who issued the order to destroy the videotapes in 2005. He and other former CIA officials are also being blocked from gaining access to documents about the incident, sources said.

Blackwater dropped blinding tear gas on Iraqis, US soldiers in 2005

Blackwater security contractors employed in Iraq dropped a blinding riot-control gas on Iraqi civilians and US military personnel on a busy Baghdad street in May 2005, according to the reporter who first broke the NSA wiretapping scandal in the New York Times.”The copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders,” James Risen writes. “An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.”

CS gas — 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile — is among the most common tear gases used by law enforcement and militaries in conflict zones.

Use of CS gas in war is prohibited by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (signed in 1993), as it could trigged retaliation with more toxic substances such as nerve gas. “A 1975 presidential order allows their use by the United States military in war zones under limited defensive circumstances and only with the approval of the president or a senior officer designated by the president,” the Times notes.

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If you believe Iran “harassed” US ships, you have forgotten USS Vincennes

The US navy claimed yesterday that Iranian fast boats harassed them in the Straits of Hormuz. On July 3, 1988, USS Vinceness shot down Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) killing 290 innocent civilian from six nations including 66 children.

The US navy initially claimed that they mistakenly identified the passenger liner as an Iranian fighter, and denied that they were not inside Iranian territorial waters.

But the official ICAO investigation found that the US Navy guided missile cruiser’s attempts to contact Iran Air 655 were sent on the wrong frequency and addressed to a non-existent “Iranian F-14”.

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9/11 and the incompetence excuse: Could a bunch of sociopathic screw-ups really pull off the crime of the century?

By Warren Pease
Online Journal Contributing Writer


Jan 9, 2008, 00:18

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Many who deny government complicity in 9/11/01 maintain that some of the best evidence against official involvement in the crime of the century lies in the Bush administration’s unbroken record of sheer incompetence, an argument bolstered by the perception that key members of the administration, notably The Commander Guy, spent that entire day running around like headless chickens.

On the contrary, they did no such thing. Rather, the administration was highly competent and enormously successful that day — they just had different criteria for success than would sane people. And they’ve been highly competent ever since. You just have to adjust your standards for evaluating success, then view the past six years through the PNAC/neocon lens. Let’s review some of their primary accomplishments — on 9/11 and in the six eternal years since:

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Diebold Voting Machine Contractor Executive Has Criminal Background

It has been revealed that a high ranking executive at the company that was contracted to program all of New Hampshire’s Diebold voting machines has a criminal record and has previously defended the illegal act of “swapping out” memory cards for the machines during live elections.

The revelations, which were uncovered by investigative journalist and vote fraud expert Bev Harris of Blackboxvoting.org and announced yesterday on the Alex Jones show, once again plunge Diebold and the controversial electronic voting systems into the spotlight.

Harris reports that Ken Hajjar, the Marketing and Sales Director at LHS Associates was arrested, indicted, and pleaded guilty to “sale / CND” (sale of controlled narcotic drugs) and sentenced to 12 months in the Rockingham County Correctional facility, and fined $2000. As things go for the politically connected, he was then given a deferred sentence and $1000 of his fine was suspended.

LHS Associates is a private company that counted over four fifths of the New Hampshire vote with no oversight whatsoever and also holds Diebold contracts for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

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