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Sunday, Jul 31st

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Canada's man in Tehran was a CIA spy

Ken Taylor, the Canadian diplomat celebrated 30 years ago for hiding U.S. embassy personnel during the Iranian revolution, actively spied for the Americans and helped them plan an armed incursion into the country.

Mr. Taylor, ambassador in Iran from 1977 to 1980, became “the de facto CIA station chief” in Tehran after the U.S. embassy was seized by students on Nov. 4, 1979, and 63 Americans, including the four-member Central Intelligence Agency contingent, were taken hostage.

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Judge dumps suit over Bush-era wiretapping

A federal judge has dismissed AT&T customers' lawsuit over wiretapping conducted under former President George W. Bush, a challenge the judge had allowed to proceed before Congress intervened.

To establish the right to sue, a private citizen must demonstrate a "direct, personal stake in the outcome" and cannot merely claim "a right to have the government follow the law," Walker said. Because the AT&T customers have no evidence that they were personally wiretapped, he said, they cannot differentiate themselves from "the mass of telephone and Internet users in the United States."

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Blackwater in Pakistan: Gates Confirms

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that Blackwater is operating in Pakistan. In an interview on Express TV, Gates, who was visiting Islamabad, said, "They [Blackwater and another private security firm, DynCorp] are operating as individual companies here in Pakistan," according to a DoD transcript of the interview."

Today, the country's senior minister for the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Bashir Bilour, also acknowledged that the company is operating in Pakistan's frontier areas.

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Obama continues to assail Supreme Court decision

President Obama continued to assail the Supreme Court decision striking down century-old limits on corporate spending in political campaigns, saying Saturday that the ruling "strikes at our democracy itself."

Speaking in his weekly address, Obama said the ruling this week "handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists - and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence."

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TVNL Comment:  This is an understatement.  The SC decision instantly changed the US into a corporatist state in which big bucks, domestic and international, will determine what laws are passed and who passes them.  It's over.

Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds

More than 40 sites across Iraq are contaminated with high levels or radiation and dioxins, with three decades of war and neglect having left environmental ruin in large parts of the country, an official Iraqi study has found.

The joint study by the environment, health and science ministries found that scrap metal yards in and around Baghdad and Basra contain high levels of ionising radiation, which is thought to be a legacy of depleted uranium used in munitions during the first Gulf war and since the 2003 invasion.

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Anti-abortion group to screen TV ad to 100m Super Bowl viewers

Next month's Super Bowl broadcast, which garners an enormous TV audience, will feature an advert paid for by an anti-abortion evangelical Christian group.

A former college football star known for his outspoken beliefs will appear in the costly 30-second spot bought by Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based ministry influential in Christian conservative politics.

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Past Decade Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows

The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show.

The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said.

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Indefinite Guantanamo detention plans condemned

The American Civil Liberties Union has criticised a recommendation that 47 Guantanamo Bay inmates should be held indefinitely without trial. Justice department officials said the men were too dangerous to release, but could not be tried as evidence against them would not stand up in a US court.

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said their detention would reduce the camp's closure to a "symbolic gesture". The White House said the president did not have to accept the recommendation.

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FBI records show broadcaster Paul Harvey had deep ties to J. Edgar Hoover

Previously confidential files show that Harvey, who died last February at 90, enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval.

Harvey tried to be of service beyond the FBI as well, writing in 1956 to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who had made a name for himself by hunting down alleged Communists in the federal bureaucracy, with tips about "known Reds" at a Texas Air Force base.

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