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Monday, Oct 20th

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US Can Hold Gitmo Detainees Indefinitely, Judge Says

A federal judge says the United States can continue to hold some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without any charges.

U.S. District Judge John Bates’ opinion issued last night limited the Obama administration’s definition of who can be held. But he said Congress in the days after Sept. 11, 2001 gave the president the authority to hold anyone involved in planning, aiding or carrying out the terrorist attacks.

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Soy Protein Used in "Natural" Foods Bathed in Toxic Solvent Hexane

Virtually all "protein bars" on the market today are made with soy protein. Many infant formula products are also made with soy protein, and thousands of vegetarian products (veggie burgers, veggie cheese, "natural" food bars, etc.) are made with soy protein. That soy protein is almost always described as safe and "natural" by the companies using it. But there's a dirty little secret the soy product industry doesn't want you to know: Much of the "natural" soy protein used in foods today is bathed in a toxic, explosive chemical solvent known as hexane.

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Former White House lawyer: Cheney dares US to indict him

Vice President Cheney is daring the Obama administration to indict him for authorizing torture, according to a former White House lawyer, and it’s time to call him out on his bluff.

Even more, they seem to be an in-your-face dare by Mr. Cheney to the U.S. criminal justice system: “I am Dick Cheney, I approved violations of the law in the name of the war on terror, and what are you going to do about it?”

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7/7 report reveals MI5's workings

The security service's limited resources meant extra checks were not carried out on the 7 July ringleader before the 2005 attacks, a report has said.

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) describes in detail what officers knew of Mohammed Sidique Khan before the suicide bombings in London, which killed 52 people.

This latest report, the second by Parliament's ISC into the bombings, will not end calls for a full public inquiry.

But the 108-page report does reveal, in unprecedented detail, the workings of the security service MI5 and how it goes about the shadowy business of uncovering plots to kill Britons.

In compiling their report, the ISC members, who have high-level security clearance, have been given full access to police and MI5 officers and files.

They also have access to the heads of all three intelligence agencies: MI5, SIS (MI6), and GCHQ, the government's communications centre in Cheltenham.

'Astounding figures'

The whole reason for commissioning this second report is that it turned out that the bombers were not after all "clean skins", which means unknown to the police and MI5.

That is what the public were told in 2005, but in fact Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were both tracked on the fringes of another terror plot investigation.

So the ISC has looked at the question of prioritisation in surveillance.

Specifically, it examined whether MI5 should have made Khan a priority back in 2004 and whether this would have prevented the London bombings.

The key suspect in the plot which MI5 was tracking at the time, Omar Khyam (since jailed for life), had over 4,000 telephone contacts.

These are illustrated in a diagram of mind-boggling complexity on page nine of the report.

The ISC says that at the time when he and his associates were being watched, in 2004, MI5 could only provide good intelligence coverage for one of the suspects, with "less good" coverage of another.

The names were left blank along with the exact numbers MI5 could watch at one time because the ISC does not want to give potential attackers an advantage.

But the ISC does say that MI5 "could only provide a reasonable level of coverage for 6% of the overall known threat".

'Poor communications'

More than 60% of MI5 targets had coverage described as "inadequate" or "none" - among these were 52 "essential" targets that had no coverage at all.

The report said these were "astounding figures".

It also said that between July 2004 and July 2005, 130,000 man-hours of surveillance were dedicated to international counter-terrorism targets, supporting around 70 operations.

"These numbers demonstrate just some of the vast amount of intelligence that MI5 gathered and assessed in this period", the report states.

The report talks in detail about the role of the Executive Liaison Groups (ELGs) which are "unique to major covert terrorism investigations".

These allow MI5 - which we learn does not use faxes - to share secret intelligence with the police.

On the basis of this, decisions are then made on how to go forward and gather evidence on suspects for prosecution.

The report says MI5 retains the lead for collecting, assessing and exploiting intelligence while the police leads on gathering evidence, obtaining arrests and preventing risks to the public.

'Psychology of extremism'

The ELG, we are told, decides when to hand over tactical direction from MI5 to the police and when to take "executive action" to stop the suspected plot and arrest the suspects.

The ISC does not rule out that future attackers could still slip through the intelligence net at some stage.

But they do point out that the (sometimes poor) communications between the police and MI5 back in 2004 are now a thing of the past.
SURVEILLANCE MI5 GAVE TO TARGETS IN 2004
# Good coverage: 0.13%
# Less good (some gaps): 6%
# Significant gaps: 33%
# Inadequate: 42%
# No coverage: 19% Source: ISC

Previously, the police and MI5 had a sometimes fractious relationship bordering on rivalry, with officers reluctant to share information.

Now, with nine regional Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) set up around Britain, the two organisations work side by side.

MI5, whose budget trebled between 2001 and 2008, has also devoted more resources to understanding the psychology of extremism to try to stay one step ahead.

TVNL Comment: This is a carbon copy of the 9/11 event. "Known" operatives conducting activities that mirror the drills that were taking place. They were patsies.But the fundamental dilemmas over priorities remain.

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Israeli troops kill U.N. truck driver at Gaza crossing

Israeli soldiers opened fire Thursday on a truck attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip, killing one United Nations-contracted driver and seriously wounding another, U.N. officials said.

The shooting occurred at the Erez checkpoint, the main entrance used by relief agencies to funnel badly needed food and medical supplies into Gaza, where Israel is waging a devastating, 13-day-long military campaign against the militant Islamic group Hamas.

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All Patriots Are Gun Owners But Not All Gun Owners Are Patriots

The reasons are clear to those of us who have followed and/or chronicled the decline of freedom over the last several presidential regimes. Always, whether it is a Republicrat or a Demopublican wearing the jackboot, there is the attempt on the part of the regime’s authoritarian torchbearers to disarm the American people in incremental steps. Since this nation’s beginnings, people everywhere have known that America, a nation born of secession and anti-authoritarian spirit, will be the toughest place on the planet to disarm. In spite of the progressive loss of freedom through creeping gun control legislation, overall, American patriots have withstood decades of challenges to the right to bear arms. The current race to stock up on defensive commodities means that some Americans are making it clear that any attempt at absolute gun control will be considered a crucial tipping point.

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Blair awarded $1m prize for international relations work

Over the two years he has spent as Middle East envoy, Blair's optimism about the chance of bringing peace has run up against the old, familiar challenges of Middle East peacemaking. Shortly after taking the job he spoke of a "moment of opportunity." Since then peace talks have restarted and then halted, a new right-wing government has come into power in Israel while Palestinian factions have deepened their divisions, and the conflict has claimed hundreds more lives.

TVNL Comment: Is "prize" Hebrew for "payoff?"

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Israel begins new settlement, despite U.S. opposition

Israel has moved ahead with a plan to build a new settlement in the northern West Bank for the first time in 26 years, pursuing a project the United States has already condemned as an obstacle to peace efforts.

The initiative began three years ago, under the auspices of then-defense minister Amir Peretz, who promised to transform a former army outpost into a permanent settlement for evacuees from the Gaza Strip. The move was then frozen due to American insistence.

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The thrill of killing in combat

BBC2 wanted a film about how it feels to kill. With our troops still engaged in Afghanistan, this was a chance to explore the previously taboo subject of what men do in the most extreme situations in battle.

War can be elating and killing can be the source of overwhelming pride, even ecstasy. This is not just the experience of a psychotic minority but of many normal infantry soldiers.

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