Protester interrupts Romney rally in Virginia 01 Nov 2012 Mitt Romney was interrupted at a rally Thursday in Virginia Beach, Va. A rowdy audience member took advantage of a pause during the Republican presidential nominee's speech and shouted "climate change caused Sandy!" He then flashed a sign that read "End Climate Silence." While Romney seemed to take the heckler protester in his stride, the crowd (and security) reacted much more strongly.
The Making of Romney's Storm Relief Event --A scramble to depoliticize a political campaign, and $5,000 in supplies from Wal-Mart. 31 Oct 2012 (Dayton, OH) The last-minute decision by Romney high command Monday to suspend politics while Sandy raged sent aides in Ohio scrambling to convert a scheduled victory rally into an apolitical "storm relief event" - a process that tested the campaign's agility and left a few threads of partisanship inadvertently hanging. ...The night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer... Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."
On Halloween, US military forces train for zombie apocalypse at counterterrorism summit --A zombie invasion would have characteristics similar to other catastrophic events and would be 'a federal incident,' a summit organizer says. 31 Oct 2012 Why is the US military preparing for a zombie apocalypse? That's the latest training exercise that US Marines and Navy special-operations forces will be taking part in on an island off the coast of San Diego - starting on Wednesday, aka Halloween. This scenario is dire, modeled in part on a public-service campaign that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched last year, warning that US citizens should be prepared in the event of a zombie invasion. It will play out Wednesday and Thursday at Halo's annual Counter-Terrorism Summit security conference, which will be attended by, among other people, former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden. Some 1,000 US military personnel, police, and state and federal government officials will be charged with responding.
U.S. intel budget topped $75 billion in 2012 30 Oct 2012 The U.S. spent $75.4 billion on its military and civilian spy agencies in the last fiscal year, officials announced Tuesday. The U.S. intelligence budget is divided between the Military Intelligence Program, which the Pentagon said was $21.5 billion for fiscal 2012, and the National Intelligence Program, which was $53.9 billion, according to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper. The National Intelligence Program (NIP) funds the CIA and other civilian agencies and provides some funding for the major military agencies such as the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency.
Yunus Rahmatullah: the US and UK caught committing a crime --A UK supreme court ruling on the unlawful detention of Yunus Rahmatullah exposes the complicity of Britain with the US 31 Oct 2012 Wednesday's decision by the UK supreme court in the case of Yunus Rahmatullah, a man detained by the British in Iraq, might seem to be about the hallowed writ of habeas corpus. In truth, its main significance may lie elsewhere. The court identifies this as the first instance in 150 years where the US has "dishonoured" an international agreement with the UK. As the US has given similar assurances in a spate of extradition cases in recent years, Britain must unfortunately ask the question: is the United States to be trusted?
UK secret courts' plans breach human rights, watchdog says 01 Nov 2012 The British government's plans for secret courts are incompatible with the Human Rights Act and the centuries-old common law right to fair trials, a government watchdog [Equality and Human Rights Commission] has warned. The Tory-led government's controversial changes to the British legal system, which are contained in the Justice and Security Bill, allow certain court evidence to be heard from behind closed doors. Under secret courts' plans that are known as Closed Material Procedures, the government could seek closed material proceedings in civil cases concerning matters of "national security," meaning that neither victims nor their lawyers would be able to hear arguments made against them by British intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6.
Court OKs warrantless use of hidden surveillance cameras --Federal court sides with Justice Department on police use of concealed surveillance cameras on private property 30 Oct 2012 Police are allowed in some circumstances to install hidden surveillance cameras on private property without obtaining a search warrant, a federal judge said yesterday. CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that it was reasonable for Drug Enforcement Administration agents to enter rural property without permission -- and without a warrant -- to install multiple "covert digital surveillance cameras" in hopes of uncovering evidence that 30 to 40 marijuana plants were being grown.
Libya mission was mainly CIA operation 02 Nov 2012 The US mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on September 11 was mainly a secret CIA operation, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, shedding new light on the deadly assault. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed on September 11 at the US consulate. The Wall Street Journal said the mission was mainly a CIA operation, adding that of the 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the assault, just seven worked for the State Department. It also identified the two security contractors killed in the attack -- former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty -- as working for the Central Intelligence Agency and not the State Department.
Syrian opposition rejects US meddling 02 Nov 2012 Members of the Syrian opposition have given an icy response to Washington's calls to revamp the movement's leadership, slamming it for attempting to dictate its will on Syrians. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a re-shaping of the Syrian opposition's leadership adding that the Obama administration was suggesting names and organizations that should be included in the new leadership that may emerge in the talks held next week in Qatar. "This direct tutelage and these dictates are not acceptable to the Syrian people anymore," said Zuhair Salem, the London-based spokesman for Syria's banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, which is a part of the Syrian National Council, AP reports. [See: US as 'Facehugger' by Lori Price.]
US plans to establish new Syrian opposition force in Qatar meeting 01 Nov 2012 The US has launched an aggressive campaign to re-establish a new Syrian opposition force with its Secretary of State rejecting existing opposition leaders as "a bunch of out-of-touch exiles" that should be replaced by a group representing active insurgents. "We've made it clear that the SNC (Syrian National Council) can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday during an official visit to Croatia. Clinton's assertions clearly confirm the leading role of the American government, the closest Israeli ally, in fueling the anti-Syria insurgency aimed at removing the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.
At least 23 killed in Riyadh fuel truck blast 01 Nov 2012 At least 23 people were killed when a fuel truck crashed into a flyover in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Thursday, triggering an explosion that brought down an industrial building and set fire to nearby vehicles. State-owned Ekhbariya television news channel reported on that the death toll had risen to 23 and emergency workers were still searching the collapsed building for more victims or survivors. Health ministry spokesman Saad al-Qahtani said 135 people were injured, mostly men and including some foreigners.
Worker says nuclear crisis crew in Japan wasn't told of high radiation danger 02 Nov 2012 The operator of a Japanese nuclear plant that went into a meltdown knew the risks from highly radioactive water at the site but sent in crews without adequate protection or warnings, a worker said in a legal complaint. The actions by Tokyo Electric Power Co. led to radiation injuries, said the contract worker, who was with a six-member team working at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant's Unit 3 reactor in the early days of last year's crisis. ...Shinichi, 46, described a harrowing scene of darkness and fear, wading with headlamps into a flooded basement through steaming radioactive water that felt warm even through workers' boots.
Iran Offers to Send Emergency Aid Team to Stricken New York 01 Nov 2012 Iranian rescuers and aid workers are on standby to fly to New York City to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the head of Iran's Red Crescent Organization said on Wednesday. "We are ready to help the flood-stricken people of America," Mahmud Mozaffar, who leads the organization, told the semiofficial Fars News Agency. His men stand ready to board planes and fly to the United States to help out, assuming the American government accepts Iran's offer, he said. "If American authorities agree, we can send our rescuers with equipment and tools to American cities in the shortest period of time," Mr. Mozaffar said.
N.J. to use military trucks as polling places 01 Nov 2012 New Jersey officials say they will deploy military trucks to serve as polling places on Election Day in storm-battered communities and are also extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. The trucks will be parked at polling places that don't have power. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno says it's unclear how many of the state's 3,000 polling places have electricity, but she'll know better Friday.
Sandy Responsible for 300,000 Gallon Oil Spill on U.S. East Coast 01 Nov 2012 The Coast Guard National Strike Force is overseeing clean up efforts at the Motiva petroleum terminals including its facility in Sewaren, N.J. A reported 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel has spilled into waters between New Jersey and New York from a New Jersey oil refinery that was closed due to Hurricane Sandy. Motiva, a joint venture of Shell Oil and Saudi Refining, said the spill occurred at its Sewaren, New Jersey, facility, along the Arthur Kill, the tidal waterway separating New Jersey from Staten Island, New York, reports the Chicago Tribune. At least two diesel storage tanks were damaged.
Storm Sandy: US death toll close to 100 02 Nov 2012 More than 90 deaths in the US have now been blamed on Sandy, the huge storm that has left residents on the east coast struggling to recover. Worst hit were New York City and New Jersey, with fuel shortages the latest in a series of post-storm challenges. Campaigning for Tuesday's presidential election - suspended earlier in the week - has fully resumed.
Over 1.3M customers still without power in NYS 02 Nov 2012 The Long Island Power Authority says it expects to restore the majority of customers who lost power by the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11. There were more than 436,000 LIPA customers still without service as of early Friday. LIPA says it is focusing on restoring power along main roads, traffic signals and schools. The news is better for Manhattan residents, where 226,000 buildings, homes and business remain without power.
NY rail restarting, NYC subway to start Thursday 31 Oct 2012 Limited commuter rail service will resume in New York starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a televised briefing. Limited New York City subway service, supplemented by buses bridging the gap between Brooklyn to Manhattan, will start Thursday, Cuomo said. There will not be an immediate resumption of subway service below 34th Street in Manhattan, as the area remains without power, Cuomo added. "Getting the water out of the tunnels is one of the main orders of business now," said Cuomo of the flooding inflicted by Hurricane Sandy.
Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Citing Climate Change 02 Nov 2012 In a surprise announcement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign, and he announced that he was endorsing President Obama [who gives billion$ in corporate welfare to the deadly nuclear power industry]. Mr. Bloomberg, a political independent in this third term leading New York City, has been sharply critical of both Mr. Obama, a Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the president's Republican rival, saying that both men have failed to candidly confront the problems afflicting the nation. But he said he had decided over the past several days that Mr. Obama was the best candidate to tackle the global climate change warming that the mayor believes contributed to the violent storm, which took the lives of at least 38 New Yorkers and caused billions of dollars in damage. [New York Times: It's global warming, which is a more specific and accurate connotation -- no matter many millions Exxon Mobil spends to pressure the lamestream media to say otherwise. --LRP]
Ex-Penn St. President Charged in Sandusky Case --'This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth.' 31 Oct 2012 Former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier was charged Thursday with hushing up child sex abuse complaints against Jerry Sandusky, making him the third school official to be accused of crimes in the alleged cover-up. Prosecutors also added counts against the two former underlings, Timothy M. Curley and Gary C. Schultz, who were already charged with lying to the grand jury that investigated the former Penn State assistant football coach. Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.