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Thursday, Dec 18th

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ACLU challenges secrecy provisions of US whistleblower law, says gag orders hide Iraq fraud

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the constitutionality of a law that requires whistleblowers with allegations of war profiteering or other contract fraud to file their lawsuits in secret.

The secrecy requirements of the federal False Claims Act violate freedom-of-speech protections and have kept war fraud complaints in Iraq and elsewhere hidden from public view, the ACLU says in its lawsuit.

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The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza nursery schools

The fighting in Gaza is "war deluxe." Compared with previous wars, it is child's play - pilots bombing unimpeded as if on practice runs, tank and artillery soldiers shelling houses and civilians from their armored vehicles, combat engineering troops destroying entire streets in their ominous protected vehicles without facing serious opposition. A large, broad army is fighting against a helpless population and a weak, ragged organization that has fled the conflict zones and is barely putting up a fight. All this must be said openly, before we begin exulting in our heroism and victory.

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In a break from Bush administration, Holder tells senators that waterboarding 'is torture'

Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Jr. forcefully broke from the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies Thursday, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantanamo Bay detainees in U.S. courts.

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Israeli forces shell UN headquarters in Gaza

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to end the devastating offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers, said the Israeli defense minister told him there had been a "grave mistake."

An Israeli spokesman said the bombardment, which left three people wounded, was under investigation.

Bullets also entered another building housing The Associated Press offices, entering a room where two staffers were working but wounding no one. The Foreign Press Association, representing journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories, demanded a halt to attacks on press buildings.

TVNL Comment: Based on history the term "under investigation" must be Hebrew for "in the process of being ignored!"

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USDA unable to weed out unapproved modified foods

The U.S. food supply is at risk of being invaded by unapproved imports of genetically modified crops and livestock, a USDA internal audit report released Wednesday said.

Although the implications associated with Americans consuming unapproved GMO food are unknown, the health and environmental concerns that it poses could threaten commerce.

TVNL Comment: Threaten "commerce?" Money is the only thing in the world that matters in a capitalists society. They are talking about something that potentially threatens the food chain itself and they are worried about business!

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HRW slams Bush's award of freedom medal to Colombia's Uribe

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday heaped scorn on a move by President George W. Bush to bestow the highest US civilian honor to Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe.

"My understanding is that the Medal of Freedom was given because of Uribe's promotion of democracy, freedom and human rights," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) at a Washington press conference.

"Personally, I have a hard time figuring out who is more audacious, President Bush for giving the human rights award, or President Uribe for receiving it."

Roth added: "Neither Bush nor Uribe has anything to be proud about in the human rights arena.

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UK Foreign Minister: 'War on terror' was wrong

The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups with little in common. Terrorist groups need to be tackled at root, interdicting flows of weapons and finance, exposing the shallowness of their claims, channelling their followers into democratic politics.

The "war on terror" also implied that the correct response was primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife.

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A Wind Turbine for Every Rooftop?

These days, there are more and more options for those of you who want a small wind turbine out in the yard or on your roof. They range from the standard to the somewhat bizarre, and come in sizes that can power several major appliances all the way up to your whole house and beyond. In the right conditions, wind power can be much more economical than other renewable energy options such as solar or geothermal.

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Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

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