The Sunday Times reports:

A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims.

However, Edmonds said: “He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”

She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

“If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” she said.

“For example my wife — who in a way was military issue, but that’s another story — works on a large military installation and just informed me this week that the U.S. government, in all its wisdom, has decided that programs like MapQuest, Google Maps and Google Street Maps will no longer be authorized on military and government computers.” –Don Jewell, GPS World

British nukes were protected by bike locks
How to arm a atomic bomb

Meirion Jones, Newsnight producer, reports:

Newsnight has discovered that until the early days of the Blair government the RAF’s nuclear bombs were armed by turning a bicycle lock key.

There was no other security on the Bomb itself.

While American and Russian weapons were protected by tamper-proof combination locks which could only be released if the correct code was transmitted, Britain relied on a simpler technology.

In CRYPTO-GRAM, Bruce Schneier, reports:

We’ve opened up a new front on the war on terror. It’s an attack on the
unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it’s a war on different. If you
act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and
even arrested — even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of
doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants
and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation
of reported threats.

This isn’t the way counterterrorism is supposed to work, but it’s
happening everywhere. It’s a result of our relentless campaign to
convince ordinary citizens that they’re the front line of terrorism
defense. “If you see something, say something” is how the ads read in
the New York City subways. “If you suspect something, report it” urges
another ad campaign in Manchester, UK. The Michigan State Police have a
seven-minute video. Administration officials from then-attorney general
John Ashcroft to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to President Bush have
asked us all to report any suspicious activity.

The problem is that ordinary citizens don’t know what a real terrorist
threat looks like. They can’t tell the difference between a bomb and a
tape dispenser, electronic name badge, CD player, bat detector, or trash
sculpture; or the difference between terrorist plotters and imams,
musicians, or architects. All they know is that something makes them
uneasy, usually based on fear, media hype, or just something being

Levitating Man Draws Crowd At White House

WRC-TV via MSNBC reports:

WASHINGTON - People snapped pictures and stared as a man “levitated” in front of the White House on Monday.

Dutch magician Wouter Bijdendijk, also known as Ramana, said he couldn’t say much about his magic trick.

“This is an art,” he said. “And in India, they see it also as a science. I hope I make people wonder.”

A crowd gathered to watch the magician’s spectacle. Some took pictures, other videotaped and at least one man checked around Bijdendijk for props.

“I just wanted to show that reality is not all that you think that it is,” Bijdendijk said.

Michael Hoffman, Army Times, reports:

A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with six nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

TIM CORNWELL, () reports:

A PASTA price backlash is looming in Italy, the cost of a Hovis loaf has hit £1 in some shops in Britain and desperate Spanish farmers are selling off suckling pigs they can no longer afford to feed.

There was no respite in sight yesterday for food consumers or producers as the price of wheat soared further, to record highs.

Reports of damage to Australia’s crop, set against rising global demand for basic foodstuffs, saw wheat buyers rush to lock in supplies. Resulting heavy demand drove up prices in the United States and Europe.

European wheat futures hit a record 300 a tonne yesterday, after a year in which prices have doubled.

RIA Novosti reports:

MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - NATO jets escort almost all Russian strategic bombers engaged in long-range patrols, Alexander Drobyshevsky, an aide to the commander of Russia’s Air Force told RIA Novosti Thursday.

He said the flights were resumed late on September 5 in accordance with a previously-approved plan. The Tu-95MC Bear bombers fly over the Pacific, the Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, and are refueled in mid-air.

Laura MacInnis, reports:

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

“There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people,” it said.

Stew Magnuson, National Defense Magazine, reports:

The U.S. Army quietly entered a new era earlier this summer when it sent the first armed ground robots into action in Iraq.

So far, the robot army’s entrance into the war has been a trickle rather than an invasion.

Only three of the special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system (SWORDS) have been deployed so far.

The Army has authorized the purchase of 80 more robots — which are being touted as a potentially life-saving technology — but acquisition officials have not come forth with the funding.

“As [soldiers] use them and like them, I’ve heard positive feedback, they want 20 more immediately. It’s a shame we can’t get them to them,” Michael Zecca, SWORDS program manager, told National Defense.

The three robots, which tote M249 rifles and are remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal, have been in Iraq since April and are with the 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade.

In Crypto-Gram, Bruce Schneier wrties:

Watch the video very carefully; it’s President Bush working the crowds
in Albania. 0.50 seconds into the clip, Bush has a watch. 1.04 seconds
into the clip, he had a watch.

The U.S. is denying that his watch was stolen:  ”Photographs showed
Bush, surrounded by five bodyguards, putting his hands behind his back
so one of the bodyguards could remove his watch.”

I simply don’t see that in the video. Bush’s arm is out in front of him
during the entire nine seconds between those stills.

Another denial: “An Albanian bodyguard who accompanied Bush in the town
told The Associated Press he had seen one of his U.S. colleagues close
to Bush bend down and pick up the watch.”

That’s certainly possible; it may have fallen off.

But possibly the pickpocket of the century. (Although would anyone
actually be stupid enough to try? There must be a zillion
easier-to-steal watches in that crowd, many of them nicer than Bush’s.)

Video clip:

The Associated Press, via reports:

ZURICH, Switzerland - What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

“We’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it’s not a problem,” Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.

Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.

Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn’t have an army.

Bruce Schneier writes:

I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.


Photo: Kids
Locked up in custody for two hours: Tree-climbing friends Katy Smith, left, Sam Cannon and Amy Higgins

KHUSHWANT SACHDAVE, Daily Mail (UK), reports:

To the 12-year-old friends planning to build themselves a den, the cherry tree seemed an inviting source of material.

But the afternoon adventure turned into a frightening ordeal for Sam Cannon, Amy Higgins and Katy Smith after they climbed into the 20ft tree - then found themselves hauled into a police station and locked in cells for up to two hours.

Their shoes were removed and mugshots, DNA samples and mouth swabs were taken.

Officers told the children they had been seen damaging the tree which is in a wooded area of public land near their homes.

Questioned by police, the scared friends admitted they had broken some loose branches because they had wanted to build a tree house, but said they did not realise what they had done was wrong.

Officers considered charging the children with criminal damage but eventually decided a reprimand - the equivalent of a caution for juveniles - was sufficient.

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, reports:

Apple has lost its bid to force websites to reveal the identity of their sources. Apple argued that because the websites weren’t “real news agencies” they shouldn’t be entitled to the protection that newspapers and other news-gatherers enjoy. This was pretty off-message from the “think different” company that has talked a big game about empowering average people to do extraordinary things.

Apple further argued that it had no means to discover the identities of its leaking employees save compelling the sites to reveal them. The courts rejected this too, saying first that Apple could get at those sources by investigating its employees, and wanted to get out of doing a dirty job by putting the sites on the spot. The court further elaborated on the public value of free speech, saying that free speech was more important than trade secrets.

This is new law, specifically that “the federal Stored Communications Act protects private e-mail from civil subpoenas” — that means that ISPs and other entities who store email have the law on their side when people sue their customers.

EFF and its allies at cyber-law clinics argued this case, and it’s an important win for bloggers and other citizen journalists who now know that the courts will give them the same respect afforded to big corporate news-gatherers.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals on Friday roundly rejected (.pdf) Apple’s argument that the bloggers weren’t acting as journalists when they posted internal document about future Apple products. “We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes ‘legitimate journalis(m).’ The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here,” the court wrote.

“Beyond casting aspersions on the legitimacy of petitioners’ enterprise, Apple offers no cogent reason to conclude that they fall outside the shield law’s protection.”

Andy Lines,, reports:

ROCK star Morrissey has revealed he was quizzed by the FBI and Special Branch over his criticism of the US and Britain.

Morrissey, 46, has previously branded George Bush a terrorist and blasted the Iraq war.

The ex-Smiths singer, who lives in Los Angeles, said: “The FBI and Special Branch have investigated me and I’ve been interviewed and taped.

Cameron W. Barr, Washington Post Staff Writer, reports:

Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.

The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words “Homeland Security.” The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.

After the two men made their announcement, one of them challenged an Internet user’s choice of viewing material and asked him to step outside, according to a witness. A librarian intervened, and the two men went into the library’s work area to discuss the matter. A police officer arrived. In the end, no one had to step outside except the uniformed men.

AP Photo
About 2,000 people gathered in the main square of Mongolia’s capital on Monday, demanding their president resign. (AP)

The Associated Press reports:

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia About 2,000 people rallied in the central square of Mongolia’s capital on Monday in a new wave of protests over official corruption, demanding the resignation of the country’s president and dissolution of parliament.

Hundreds of people gathered in Ulan Bator’s vast central square at noon (0400GMT), and roared their approval as protest leaders called out for the resignation of President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, who they called “the father of corruption.”

David Eimer in Beijing fro the (UK) Independent, reports:

Bhutan has accused China of allowing gangs of mushroom thieves to cross the disputed border between the two countries illegally in search of rare and exotic fungi.

Lawmakers from the tiny mountain kingdom between India and Tibet claim that Tibetans are crossing into Bhutan to harvest Cordyceps mushrooms, which are prized for their qualities as an aphrodisiac and which can sell for up to £4,000 a kilogram.

BoingBoing reports:

Suspicions confirmed: The U. Mass student who said he was visited by DHS agents after requesting a copy of Mao’s “Little Red Book” made the whole thing up.

[Y]esterday, the student confessed that he had made it up after being confronted by the professor who had repeated the story to a Standard-Times reporter.

The professor, Brian Glyn Williams, said he went to his former student’s house and asked about inconsistencies in his story. The 22-year-old student admitted it was a hoax, Williams said.

‘’I made it up,” the professor recalled him saying. ‘’I'm sorry. . . . I’m so relieved that it’s over.”


JAMES RISEN and ERIC LICHTBLAU, The New York Times, reports:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible “dirty numbers” linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

Melanie Hunter, Senior Editor, reports:

( - President Bush and the current administration have borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 presidents combined, a group of conservative to moderate Democrats said Friday.

Blue Dog Coalition, which describes itself as a group “focused on fiscal responsibility,” called the administration’s borrowing practices “astounding.”

According to the Treasury Department, from 1776-2000, the first 224 years of U.S. history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions, but in the past four years alone, the Bush administration borrowed $1.05 trillion.

“The seriousness of this rapid and increasing financial vulnerability of our country can hardly be overstated,” said Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition and member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Joe Baker, Senior Editor, The Rock River Times, reports:

As if the indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby wasn’t enough to give the White House some heavy concerns, a report from the Government Accounting Office takes a big bite out of the Bush clique’s pretense of legitimacy.

This powerful and probing report takes a hard look at the election of 2004 and supports the contention that the election was stolen. The report has received almost no coverage in the national media.

The GAO is the government’s lead investigative agency, and is known for rock-solid integrity and its penetrating and thorough analysis. The agency’s agreement with what have been brushed aside as “conspiracy theories” adds even more weight to the conclusion that the Bush regime has no business in the White House whatever.

Greg Szymanski reports:

The members of a peaceful freedom-fighting group want no part of neo-cons running the imperialistic U.S. government. Plan to secede from the U.S. gaining momentum in the fiercely independent Green Mountain state.

The neo-con band of criminals running Washington, trampling on civil rights at home and invading countries at will overseas, has led a large group of strong-minded Vermont freedom-fighters with no choice but to secede from the United States.

And last Friday at the state capital building in Montpelier, a historic independence convention was held, the first of its kind in the United States since May 20, 1861, when North Carolina decided to leave the Union.

Al jazeera reports:

According to most recent surveys, just 28 percent of Americans think the president is doing a good job, the lowest in a decade. But pollsters say that even without running a poll; just wandering down to the local coffee shops you will see the amount of anger and frustration as a result of Iraq war, the mounting casualties, skyrocketing energy prices and the government’s policy.

“More and more Americans are angry,” says retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004. “They are angry about the president’s incompetence and his general unwillingness to acknowledge with some humility that he has made some terrible and tragic mistakes regarding the mission in Iraq.”

Last month, thousands of American anti-war protesters, carrying signs that read “Bush Lied, Thousands Died,” and “End the Occupation,” rallied in Washington and other U.S. cities demanding the return of U.S. troops and the end of Iraq war- It was the largest gathering since the war began in March 2003.

“We believe we are at a tipping point whereby the anti-war sentiment has now become the majority sentiment,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator for ANSWER, a famous antiwar group.

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