US to cut troops in Afghanistan

US to cut troops in Afghanistan
US to cut troops in Afghanistan

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, has signed orders that will reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 16,000 from 19,000 by next spring.

The orders mean the Louisiana-based Fourth Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division will deploy only 1300 soldiers to Afghanistan videos porno instead of all 4000 as previously scheduled, a senior military officer told The New York Times on Tuesday.

The troops staying at home will be on standby, the official told the newspaper, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pentagon porno chilango spokesman Larry Di Rita told the newspaper the decision to reduce a portion of the army unit scheduled to replace the 173rd Airborne Brigade, now in southern Afghanistan, was based on recommendations from the senior US commanders in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Di Rita was quoted as saying: “The overall level of security forces in the country, Nato’s role, and the political developments are all moving in the right direction.”

A Pentagon redtube spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Rumsfeld signed the troop reduction orders on Monday and a formal Pentagon announcement is expected on Tuesday, The New York Times said.

The American troop reduction has been anticipated since Nato agreed to assume control of an American command in southern xnxx Afghanistan next year, the report said.

Nato is looking to raise its 9000-strong ISAF peacekeeping force to about 15,000 troops from early next year. It will spread its bases in the north and west, and the capital Kabul, to the more volatile south, a base for many insurgents.
A pilot has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for killing Indonesia’s top human rights activist in a crime judges said was xvideos politically motivated.

Judge Cicit Sutiarso did not say whether the court believed that Pollycarpus Priyanto was acting on someone else’s orders when he placed a lethal dose of arsenic in food served to Munir Thalib, on a Garuda airlines flight to Amsterdam on 7 September 2004.

Critics youporn have said that Priyanto, a pilot who was off duty on that flight, was a scapegoat and that the masterminds, possibly members of the State Intelligence Agency, had escaped punishment.

The judge told a packed court on Tuesday: “The accused’s motivation to kill Munir was because he was a vocal critic of the government and the Indonesian military.”

The trial is seen as a key test of whether the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president, can break with the traditions of the Suharto government, when state sponsored killings were common and the legal system was perceived as
bound to the ruling elite.

Nigeria pipeline blast kills eight

Nigeria pipeline blast kills eight
Nigeria pipeline blast kills eight

A suspected dynamite attack on a major Nigerian oil pipeline has killed eight people and cut output from the world’s eighth largest exporter by 7%, authorities say.

The sabotage by unidentified armed men on the pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell also caused a major oil spill and fire in the remote southern Niger Delta, the company said on Tuesday.

“The attack was xvideos very devastating … the whole community has been razed down by the explosion. Eight corpses have been recovered so far and many more are still missing,” Monwan Etete, chairman of Andoni local government area, said in the Rivers state capital, Port Harcourt.

Shell closed two oilfields to help curb the fire and said that 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil output had been “deferred”. The company originally said in a statement that only 170 bpd were affected.

Villagers affected

“The fire may youporn have been caused by a dynamite attack carried out by unknown persons,” Shell’s statement said.

Video footage showed flames as tall as a four-storey building from a slick on the water’s surface.

Villagers were seen paddling to safety in dugout canoes.

Nigeria pumps 2.4 million barrels
of oil per day

The pipeline blast followed shortly after two other security incidents at oil and gas installations in the delta, which pumps almost serviporno all of Nigeria’s 2.4 million bpd, Shell said.

An unknown armed man attacked a security post in the nearby Cawthorne Channel field, and there was another attempted attack on a tugboat servicing the liquefied natural gas plant at Bonny.

A senior oil industry official, asking not to be named said “this seems to suggest coordinated attacks, but it’s difficult to be conclusive about it”.

Political link?

The violence could be linked to the downfall of the former governor of neighbouring Bayelsa state, who is due to face money-laundering charges on Wednesday, or to frustration by oil thieves who have seen their activities curtailed by security forces recently, the oil industry official added.

Industry porno officials estimate that large-scale crude oil theft has dropped from 100,000 bpd earlier this year to about 20,000 bpd recently because of a heavier military presence in the vast wetlands region.

“What is clear is that this was sabotage with malicious intent,” the source said.

Report: Bush authorised spying on Americans

Report- Bush authorised spying on Americans
Report: Bush authorised spying on Americans

The chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee says he will investigate a report that the government eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States.

“There is no doubt that this is inappropriate,” said Arlen Specter, a Republican, calling hearings early next year “a very, very high priority”.

Fellow Republican Senator John McCain, who challenged George Bush, the US president, for the White House in 2000 said the story about the National Security Agency’s actions, first reported in Friday’s New York Times, was troubling.

The NSA is normally barred from eavesdropping within the country, and the report is expected to trigger debate about whether the practice violates the US constitution.

US authorities normally need court orders before they can conduct spying within the country.

“This is Big Brother run amok”

Edward Kennedy,
US senator

Neither Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, nor White House press secretary Scott McClellan would confirm or deny the report which said the super-secret NSA had spied on as many as 500 people at any given time since 2002 in this country.

That year, following the September 11 attacks, Bush authorised the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of people inside the United States, the Times reported.

McClellan said the White House has received no requests for information from lawmakers because of the report.

“Congress does have an important oversight role,” he said.

Before the programme began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations.

‘Shocking’

Overseas, 5000 to 7000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time.

“This is Big Brother run amok,” declared Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.

Senator Russell Feingold called it a “shocking revelation” that “ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American”.

“[The president is] fully committed to upholding our constitution and protect the civil liberties of the American people. And he has done both”

Scott McClellan
White House press secretary

Administration officials reacted to the report by asserting that the president has respected the constitution while striving to protect the American people.

Rice said Bush had “acted lawfully in every step that he has taken”. And McClellan said Bush “is going to remain fully committed to upholding our constitution and protect the civil liberties of the American people. And he has done both”.

The report surfaced as the administration and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill were fighting to save provisions of the expiring USA Patriot Act that they believe are key tools in the fight against terrorism.

An attempt to rescue the approach favoured by the White House and Republicans failed on Friday morning.

The Times said reporters interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the programme and granted them anonymity because of the classified nature of the programme.

Terror plots

Government officials credited the new programme with uncovering several terrorist plots, including one by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting al-Qaida by planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, the report said.

Some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the programme that they refused to participate, the Times said.

Questions about the legality of the programme led the administration to temporarily suspend it last year and impose new restrictions.

Asked about this on NBC’s “Today” show, Rice said, “I’m not going to comment on intelligence matters”.

“I can only comment to say that the president has been very clear that he has not ordered people to do things that are illegal,” she added.

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the group’s initial reaction to the NSA disclosure was “shock that the administration has gone so far in violating American civil liberties to the extent where it seems to be a violation of federal law”.

Bush admits giving spying orders

Bush admits giving spying orders
Bush admits giving spying orders

The US president has said he has no intention of stopping his personal authorisations of a post-September 11 secret eavesdropping programme in the United States, defending it as crucial in preventing future attacks.

“This is a highly classified programme that is crucial to our national security,” President Bush said in a radio address delivered live from the White House on Saturday.

“This authorisation is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties, and that is exactly what I will continue to do.”

Members of Congress have demanded an explanation of the programme, revealed in Friday’s New York Times, and want to know whether the monitoring by the National Security Agency without obtaining warrants from a court violates civil liberties.

Bush said the programme was narrowly designed and used “consistent with US law and the constitution”. He said it was used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who had been determined to have “a clear link” to al-Qaida or related terrorist organisations.

Review

The programme is reviewed every 45 days, using current threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the programme, the president said.

“He’s President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for”

Russell Feingold,
Democrat senator

Without identifying specific politicians, Bush said congressional leaders had been briefed more than a dozen times on the programme’s activities.

The president also said the intelligence officials involved in the monitoring received extensive training to make sure that civil liberties were not violated.

Appearing angry at points during his eight-minute address, Bush said he had re-authorised the programme more than 30 times since the 11 September attacks and planned to continue doing so.

“I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups,” he said.

Bush’s remarks echoed those issued on Friday night by a senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity. His unusual discussion of classified activities showed the sensitive nature of the programme, whose existence was revealed as Congress was trying to renew the Patriot Act.

‘Breathtaking’

Reacting to Bush’s defence of the NSA programme, Russell Feingold, a Democrat senator, said the president’s remarks were “breathtaking in how extreme they were”.

Feingold said it was “absurd” that Bush said he relied on his inherent power as president to authorise the wiretaps.

“If that’s true, he doesn’t need the Patriot Act because he can just make it up as he goes along,” he said.

“I tell you, he’s President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for.”

Cheney defends secret spying

Cheney defends secret spying
Cheney defends secret spying

Dick Cheney, the US vice president, has vigorously defended the Bush administration’s use of secret spying in the United States and the expansion of presidential powers.

Cheney said on Tuesday he believes the power of the presidency has indeed contracted since the Vietnam and Watergate era.

He was talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan, where he visited quake-hit areas in Kashmir, to Muscat, Oman, on an overseas mission.

Cheney said he believes the American people support President George W Bush’s terror-fighting strategy.

“If there’s a backlash pending” because of reports of National Security Agency surveillance of calls originating within the United States, he said, “I think the backlash is going to be against those who are suggesting somehow that we shouldn’t take these steps to defend the country”.

He added: “It’s not an accident that we haven’t been hit in four years.”

Cheney was speaking amid a burgeoning controversy at home over Bush’s acknowledgment of a four-year-old administration program to eavesdrop – without court-approved warrants – on international calls and e-mails of Americans and others inside the US with suspected ties to al-Qaida.

Concerns

Some Democrats have said they never approved the domestic wiretapping programme, undermining suggestions by the US president and his senior advisers that the plan was fully vetted in a series of congressional briefings.

Jay Rockefeller, the Senate intelligence committee’s top Democrat, said in a handwritten letter to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, in July 2003: “I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse, these activities.

Cheney was in Pakistan on a one-
day trip to vist quake-hit areas

“As you know, I am neither a technician nor an attorney.”

Rockefeller is among a small group of congressional leaders who have received briefings on the administration’s four-year-old programme to eavesdropping.

The government would still seek court approval to snoop on purely domestic communications, such as calls between New York and Los Angeles.

Some legal experts described the programme as groundbreaking.

And until the highly classified programme was disclosed last week, those in Congress with concerns about having the National Security Agency spy on Americans raised them only privately.

Forceful defence

Bush, accused of acting above the law, issued on Monday a forceful defence of the programme he first authorised shortly after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Despite the defence, there was a growing storm of criticism in Congress and calls for investigations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse, these activities”

Senator Jay Rockefeller,
Senate intelligence committee’s top Democrat

Until the past several days, the White House had informed only Congress’ top political and intelligence committee leadership about the programme that Bush has reauthorised more than three dozen times.

The spying uproar was the latest controversy about Bush’s handling of the “war on terror”.

It follows allegations of secret prisons in Eastern Europe and of torture and other mistreatment of detainees, and an American toll in Iraq that has exceeded 2150.

US senators seek probe into spying

US senators seek probe into spying
US senators seek probe into spying

Rebuffing assurances from George Bush, the US president, Republican and Democratic members of the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee have called for an immediate inquiry into his authorisation of spying on Americans.

Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, Republican Senators, joined Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden, Democratic Senators on Tuesday in calling for a joint investigation by the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees into whether the government eavesdropped “without appropriate legal authority”.

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers have already backed a plan for a congressional hearing into the programme, first revealed by The New York Times last week.

But the White House on Tuesday brushed aside calls for congressional hearings.

“This is still a highly classified programme and there are details that it’s important not be disclosed,” Scott McClellan, White House spokesman, said.

Robust defence

Bush, Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, and other senior administration officials have defended the policy of authorising – without court orders – eavesdropping on international phone calls and e-mails by Americans suspected of links to terrorism.

They argue it was legal and provided the agility – beyond a 1978 law allowing court-warranted eavesdropping – to help defend the country after the 11 September, 2001 attacks.

Cheney insists that the spying
programme was justified

The White House also sought to play down the impact on civil liberties, arguing the programme was narrow in scope and that key congressional leaders were “briefed in the appropriate way” about the programme.

Senior Democrats said those briefings left out key details and that Congress was prevented from exercising its oversight authority because the information was classified.

Cheney, speaking to reporters during an overseas trip, forcefully defended the eavesdropping programme as necessary to the nation’s defence.

“The president and I believe very deeply that there is a hell of a threat,” he said, adding this obliged them to “do everything in our power to defeat the terrorists”.

“And I don’t think that there is anything improper or inappropriate in that and my guess is that the vast majority of the American people support that, support what we’re doing, believe we ought to be doing it,” he said.

“So there’s a backlash pending, I think the backlash is going to be against those who are suggesting somehow we shouldn’t take these steps in order to defend the country,” he said, speaking on a plane to Oman from Pakistan.

Raging controversy

The eavesdropping programme is the latest in a series of administration policies in Bush’s declared war on terrorism that have prompted questions over whether the line has been crossed between protecting the public and protecting civil rights.

The senators calling for an investigation demanded detailed information on the programme, including on its legality.

“It is critical that Congress determine, as quickly as possible, exactly what collection activities were authorised, what were actually undertaken, how many names and numbers were involved over what period, and what was the asserted legal authority for such activities. In sum, we must determine the facts,” they said in a joint letter.

N Ireland bombing suspect charged

N Ireland bombing suspect charged
N Ireland bombing suspect charged

A 34-year-old man has been charged with supplying the car used in the 1998 Omagh bombing, one of the bloodiest attacks in three decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

The unnamed man, from Dundalk in Ireland, was arrested just across the border in Newry, in British-ruled Northern Ireland, on Monday by police investigating the Real IRA bombing, in which 29 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Tuesday said the suspect had been “charged with supplying a maroon-coloured Vauxhall Cavalier to terrorists between 11-16 August 1998”.

The spokeswoman confirmed the car was the one in which the Real IRA hid a 225-kg bomb which exploded with devastating effect in the Northern Irish market town.

Upcoming court appearance

The man is due to appear before magistrates in Enniskillen, in the west of the province, on Wednesday.

The Real IRA is a breakaway faction opposed to the 1997 ceasefire called by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in its campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland.

No one has yet been charged with murder over the Omagh attack, although one man is awaiting trial accused of possessing the timer power unit used to detonate the device.

The only person so far jailed in connection with Omagh, Dundalk publican Colm Murphy, had his conviction quashed by a Dublin appeals court last month and is facing a re-trial.

Relatives of some of the victims are suing five men who they blame for the attack, in a civil action.