Tag Archives: CIA

Tunnel protest in Gaza turns violent

An Egyptian soldier was killed yesterday after gunfire with traded between the Egyptian military and Hamas during a protest by Palestinians over the building of a wall that would block tunnels currently used to smuggle supplies into Gaza. Tunnels are used to bring supplies as well as weapons into Gaza which has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since 2006, Reuters. More on the protests, Al Jazeera.

The attack that killed 7 CIA agents in Afghanistan last week was carried out by a double-agent whom Jordanian officials thought was only posing as an Islamic militant. Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi had been recruited to help provide intelligence on Al Qaeda. His writings on jihadist websites were well known, PBS Newshour.

The best and worst jobs in 2010, Reuters.

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Americans Sentenced to Prison in Italy Abduction Case

The Israeli Navy said today that it has seized an Iranian container ship carrying weapons. The large array, which included 600 tons of rockets, guns and other weapons, was expected to be shipped to the militia of the Islamist Hezbollah movement, Washington Post.

Officials have confirmed that a cat in Iowa has contracted the H1N1 virus, making it the first known case of swine flu in a feline. The cat has recovered, but two ferrets in Nebraska and Oregon have died from the virus. Many other kinds of influenza strains have seen human to cat transmission, and officials say it would be wise to take precautions around pets if infected with H1N1, AP.

Almost two dozens Americans have been sentenced to five years in jail by an Italian court on charges of seizing a suspected terrorist in Italy. The man, Abu Omar, says he was nabbed off the streets in Milan in 2003 and then sent to Egypt where he was tortured. Most of the convicted are suspected by Italy of being CIA agents. None of the convicted were arrested or stood trial, making them essentially international fugitives and unable to ever return to the country, CNN.

The trial of Amanda Knox, the American woman accused of murdering her British roommate as they studied abroad in Italy, is nearing its end. Knox has maintained her innocence, and what once looked like a slam dunk conviction is now not so clear. The prosecution’s biggest piece of evidence against Knox was a knife found with her DNA on it, but supporters say the scene was too distorted by police for a conviction. The jury will begin deliberations on December 4, CNN.

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U.S. Prosecutor to Invstigate CIA Detainee Abuse

Four people are being sought in the murder of a Texas doctor. Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez, 56, was shot and killed when he arrived home to find his home being burglarized. His wife and young son were with him, but hid in a closet and were not harmed. Authorities say they do not know if the home was targeted or if it was a random act, CNN.

U.S. prosecutor John Durham has been selected to investigate CIA detainee abuse. This comes on the heels of a new report that claims CIA agents “threatened to kill a key terror suspect’s children and sexually assault another’s mother,” BBC News.

Michael Jackson’s death has reportedly been ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County coroner. An anonymous official told the AP that lethal levels of the anesthetic propofol were found in Jackson’s system, Sky News.

Paleontologists say Angola “holds a ‘museum in the ground’ of rare fossils – some actually jutting from the earth – waiting to be discovered.” Bones were found in the 1960s, but three decades of war took hold of the country, making it impossible for paleontologists to excavate, AFP.

Breaking: President Obama will nominate Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term, aides report, New York Times.

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Today Marks 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Launch

Today is the 40th anniversary of the liftoff of Apollo 11, which delivered the first men to walk on the moon. Home base for the celebration is the website We Chose the Moon. The entire audio feed for the mission, from takeoff to moon walk to splash down, is available on the site. Follow @AP11_CAPCOM and @AP11_SPACECRAFT for retroactive tweets of the communication. Maps and video of all the lunar landings, BBC News. Where are they now? The men who walked on the moon, ABC News. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon after Neil Armstrong, says that it’s time to go Mars, Washington Post.

More information is out about the secret CIA program run by Vice President Cheney during the Bush administration. The program sought to establish a high level assassination squad that would target al-Qaeda leaders around the world. Congress, which is regularly in contact with the CIA about its operations, including top secret programs, was never briefed. It appears that the program was not continuously operational during the Bush administration and had mostly been shut down in 2004 after being labeled ineffective. However, new plans to move forward with training caused CIA Director Leon Panetta to shut down the program two months ago, Washington Post.

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan are meeting at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Egypt. NAM is composed of countries who chose not to align with either the United States or the Soviet Union. The group first met in 1961. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement today reaffirming each country’s desire to engage in dialogue. It was only their second meeting since the Mumbai terror attacks. Among other disputes, India maintains that Pakistan was either involved in the attack or did little to prevent it, Times of India.

The Spanish woman, who, after receiving in vitro fertilization in California, became the world’s oldest mom at the age of 66, has died just three years after giving birth. It was widely reported that the woman had been diagnosed with a tumor around the time of the birth. The children, twin boys, are being looked after by the woman’s nephew, CNN.

An update patch sent to Blackberry users in the United Arab Emirates appears to have actually been a program that could be used to spy on a user’s email and text messages. The true nature of program only came to light after UAE Blackberry users complained that the new patch drained their batteries, Wired.

Emmy nominations came out this morning. Favorites include last year’s winner for best comedy, 30 Rock, with 22 nominations and last year’s winner for best drama, Mad Men, with 16 nominations, complete list.  

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Cheney Told CIA Not to Brief Congress on Programs

More information is coming to light about Dick Cheney’s tight control of the CIA during the Bush administration. The New York Times has reported on a secret CIA program initiated after September 11, 2001. No details on what the program was have been made public, but Cheney instructed CIA Director Leon Panetta to hide the program from Congress, CNN.

Police in Greece demolished an illegal migrant camp in the port city of Patras. Bulldozers flattened makeshift housing but a volunteer tent for doctors and a makeshift mosque were allowed to stand.  Many of the migrants come from war-torn Afghanistan, BBC News.

500 people rallied in Toyko today  in support of the Uighurs of China. About 50 Uighur expatriates and hundreds of Japanese marched to show support for the Uighur cause and to ask Chinese President Hu Jintao to stop his propaganda campaign. It is still unclear who the majority of the 184 who died in last Sunday’s riot were. The Chinese government claims they were Han Chinese, but Uighur leaders say Uighurs were targeted by police, AFP.

Hundreds in Germany pay tribute to Marwa Sherbini, the Egyptian woman who was stabbed 18 times in a German courtroom last week by a man who was on trial for using racial slurs against her and ridiculing her use of the traditional headscarf. Sherbini was three months pregnant at the time of her death. Her husband was also injured as he tried to defend her from the attacker. It is unknown how the man managed to bring a knife into a courtroom, Al Jazeera.

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Guatemalans Call For President to Step Down

Crowds in Guatemala are gathering to call for their president to step down after the death of a lawyer was tied to the head of state. Rodrigo Rosenberg was killed Sunday while riding his bike, one day after he sent a video and letter to Guatemala media outlets accusing President Colom in case of his death. Rosenberg was the lawyer of a businessman who was killed last year, Sky News.

The Coral Triangle in southeast Asian waters is likely to vanish by the end of the century if humans don’t change their patterns, a new report is suggesting. The coral reefs and diverse wildlife are endangered because of global warming, as are humans as the area supports over 100 million people. The report says combating against climate change, overpopulation, and over-fishing can help save the area, CNN.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that the CIA and Bush administration misled her about the use of waterboarding on detainees. Speaker Pelosi told reporters that she was explicitly told at a 2002 briefing that waterboarding was not being used. Pelosi, and other leading Democrats, are calling for a “truth commission” to investigate the Bush administration’s actions regarding the War on Terror, USA Today.

Roxana Saberi was released from prison on Monday and has finally left Tehran. The Iranian-American journalist was jailed in Iran and senentenced to eight years for “spying.” Fortunately, international response caused an appeals court to reconsider her case and found her not guilty, NPR.

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EU Issues Travel Warning for U.S. and Mexico Due to Swine Flu Scare

Swine flu warnings reach Europe. The EU has advised caution in travel to the U.S. and Mexico, BBC News.  The U.S. has called the warning unwarranted, EU Business.

USA Today on the differences between Presidents Obama and Bush in the first 100 days of the Obama presidency.

Torture Debate: The FBI says leads on catching the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks were obtained without the use of torture. The FBI learned from prisoner Abu Zubaydah that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks and FBI agents familiar with the case said they got that information by bonding with the  prisoner as he recovered from a gunshot wound- not by torturing him. In some ways this is a conflict between the FBI, who used traditional law enforcement techniques to get information and the CIA, who used tactics such as waterboarding unsuccessfully. The CIA waterboarded Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times but never got any concrete information on Osama bin Laden. President Obama has rescinded White House approval to use techniques that violate the Geneva Conventions. The Justice Department is investigating Bush era officials who approved torture, NPR.

Interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times calling for the end of university education as we know it. Mark Taylor, chair of the religion department at Columbia, argues that graduate degrees are “the Detroit of higher learning,” putting students massively in debt for degrees that are not actually in demand.

George Zinkhan still at large. Police have few leads. Classes continues on schedule at the University of Georgia, Athens Online. See our previous coverage of the tragedy for more information.

Still little information on the Parente murder-suicide. We now know that William Parente’s wife and two daughters died by blunt force trauma and asphyxiation. William Parente cut himself and bled to death on the bathroom floor of the Towson Sheraton hotel room where the family was stying. The FBI has opened an investigation into Parente’s financial dealings, WBAL. Our previous update on the Parente murder-suicide.

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