Archive for March 6th, 2007

Scooter Libby–GUILTY

Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been found guilty of lying to a probe into the leak of classified information.

Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff was found guilty on two counts of perjury, one count of making a false statement, and one count of obstruction of justice.

He was acquitted of one count of making a false statement.

On these charges, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail, CNN correspondents say.


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Libby Verdict Reached

Developing…The jury in the trial of Lewis “Scooter” Libby has reached a verdict, CNN reports. The verdict is to be read around 12pm EST.

Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff has been been accused of lying to a probe into the leak of classified information.


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Nine US Soldiers Die In Iraq Bombings

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Nine American soldiers died in explosions north of Baghdad, the U.S. military announced Tuesday after the deadliest single day for U.S. troops in Iraq in nearly a month.

Six soldiers died when a bomb exploded Monday near their vehicles during a combat operation in Salahuddin province, the military said. Three others were wounded in the blast.

Another three soldiers died the same day in a roadside bomb attack in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

Two suicide bombers exploded themselves in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims south of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people, police said.

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White House Likely to Update War Request

WASHINGTON — The White House is ready to ask Congress for more money for President Bush’s plan _ already hotly debated _ to send 21,500 new combat troops into Iraq.

The move would pay for support personnel and otherwise update last month’s request for the Iraq war. It probably will draw criticism from Democrats who say the Pentagon had low-balled estimates of the costs of Bush’s plan for improving security in Baghdad and Anbar province.

The latest request could come as early as Tuesday, modifying last month’s $93.4 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30.

Though the changes may be relatively modest, they nonetheless are embarrassing to the White House and the Pentagon, which earlier dismissed criticism from lawmakers that the original $5.6 billion estimate for the troop buildup was too low.

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US has no case for redefining torture: study

Psychological torture, including some of the techniques reportedly used on Guantanamo Bay detainees, appears to inflict the same kind of long-term mental damage as physical abuse, a study released Monday said.

Researchers who evaluated the mental health of soldiers and civilians tortured during the 1990s Balkan wars found that victims of psychological abuse were just as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression as victims of classic physical torture methods.

The researchers also reported that the torture victims rated some techniques such as stress positions, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding as distressing as most physical torture methods.

“Ill treatment during captivity, such as psychological manipulations, humiliating treatment, and forced stress positions, does not seem to be substantially different from physical torture in terms of the severity of mental suffering they cause,” the study’s authors wrote.

“Thus, these procedures do amount to torture, thereby lending support to their prohibition by international law,” they wrote in the journal of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The investigators said their findings undermine moves by the US government to narrow its definition of torture in order to free interrogators to use certain psychological methods aimed at breaking a prisoner’s resistance.

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Ann Coulter may soon be feeling the effects of her remarks at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in the pocketbook.

At least four companies have decided to pull advertisements from Coulter’s website in the wake of the controversy that erupted after the conservative columnist called presidential candidate John Edwards a “faggot” last Friday, reports CNN.

Verizon, Netbank, and Sallie Mae have all removed ads from the website. The ads were pulled in part due to a grassroots effort by a DailyKos diarist, who is reporting that Washington Mutual has also pulled ads from the website.


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The promotion of a neoconservative to a key position at the U.S. State Department may be yet another signal of impending war with Iran, Salon reports.

“As they have done many times before, neoconservatives, with Iran in their sights, have installed one of their own at State to block any war-avoiding rapprochement,” writes Glenn Greewald for Salon.

Last Friday, Eliot Cohen was chosen by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be new Counselor of the State Department.

“It is not hyperbole to say that Cohen is as extremist a neoconservative and warmonger as it gets,” says Greenwald, who quotes a conservative writer’s point that Cohen “was an early supporter of the military intervention in Iraq” and opposed negotiations with Iran and Syria.

Greenwald argues that Cohen is even “far more extremist than just that.”

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NASA can’t pay for killer asteroid hunt

WASHINGTON – NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn’t enough money to pay for the task so it won’t get done.

The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington.

Congress in 2005 asked NASA to come up with a plan to track most killer asteroids and propose how to deflect the potentially catastrophic ones.

“We know what to do, we just don’t have the money,” said Simon “Pete” Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

These are asteroids that are bigger than 460 feet in diameter – slightly smaller than the Superdome in New Orleans. They are a threat even if they don’t hit Earth because if they explode while close enough – an event caused by heating in both the rock and the atmosphere – the devastation from the shockwaves is still immense. The explosion alone could have with the power of 100 million tons of dynamite, enough to devastate an entire state, such as Maryland, they said.

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