Blackwater security guards to be charged over mass shooting in Iraq

Five security guards will be charged over the deaths of 17 Iraqis who were shot during an anti-American rally in Baghdad last year.

Blackwater security guards: Five security guards will be charged over the deaths of 17 Iraqis who were shot during an anti-American rally in Baghdad last year.
Blackwater gurads were hired to protect American diplomats Photo: AP

The employees of Blackwater Worldwide, who were hired by the US State Department to protect American diplomats, opened fire on a crowd who had gathered at an interstate in the Iraqi capital on September 16 2007.

Six guards have been under investigation since the attacks after witnesses claimed the shooting was unprovoked.

Blackwater continues to deny the allegations claiming its guards were ambushed by insurgents while responding to a car bombing.

Young children were among the victims and the shooting strained relations between the U.S. and Iraq.

Following the deaths, Blackwater became the subject insurgent propaganda videos in Iraq.

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Police officers investigated after assault of Mark Aspinall caught on CCTV

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Three police officers are being investigated after a soldier claimed he was repeatedly beaten while being pinned to the ground.

CCTV footage shows Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall, who was praised for his bravery against the Taleban in Afghanistan earlier this year, being held down by two officers while a third appears to hit him on the back.

Mr Aspinall, 24, was later found guilty of of assaulting the police offices but the convictions have been quashed on appeal after a judge watched a video of the incident.

The nine-minute video, obtained by the Sunday Mirror, shows a drunken Mr Aspinall gesticulating at three police officers in Wigan, Lancashire, in July.

It is claimed that he was mistakenly identified by the officers who had been called to deal with a man causing a nuisance to paramedics in the centre of the town.

Mr Aspinall is then seen tripping as he attempts to run away from the police and then is then held down by three officers in fluorescent yellow jackets.

An officer, identified in court as PC Peter Lightfoot, appears to twice push Mr Aspinall’s head on the ground in the middle of the road.

Two colleagues – PC Richard Kelsall and another named only as Sergeant Russell – pin down his legs.

When Mr Aspinall bites one of the officers legs, PC Lightfoot appears to scrape his face on the road. He then hits Mr Aspinall eight times on the back before he is put in the back of a police van.

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CIA lied about shoot-down of missionary plane, report says

An investigation by the agency’s inspector general finds that officials covered up details of the 2001 incident over Peru that killed two Americans and wounded three other people.

Reporting from Washington — An internal investigation by the CIA found that agency officials engaged in a cover-up to hide agency negligence in the downing of a private airplane over Peru in 2001 as part of a mistaken attack on an aircraft suspected of carrying illegal narcotics.

Excerpts of an internal CIA report released Thursday accuse agency officials of lying to members of Congress and withholding crucial information from criminal investigators and senior Bush administration officials.The disclosure could lead to the reopening of a probe into whether agency officials committed crimes in the attack on the aircraft, which was transporting American missionaries, and then covering it up.

The attack killed Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter and injured three others, including Bowers’ husband and young son. It was carried out by a Peruvian warplane working with CIA surveillance craft.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, described the revelations as “a dark stain” on the CIA and called for information to be shared with the Justice Department to determine whether reopening the investigation is warranted.

“To say these deaths did not have to happen is more than an understatement,” said Hoekstra, who added that the agency’s inspector general had uncovered “continuous efforts to cover the matter up and potentially block criminal investigation.”

Read moreCIA lied about shoot-down of missionary plane, report says

Pirates Demand $25 Million Ransom for Hijacked Tanker


An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, shows the Sirius Star Saudi oil supertanker. Source: U.S. Navy via Bloomberg News

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Somali pirates are demanding $25 million in ransom to release an oil-laden Saudi supertanker seized off the East African coast, and called on the ship’s owners to pay up “soon.”

“What we want for this ship is only $25 million because we always charge according to the quality of the ship and the value of the product,” a man who identified himself as Abdi Salan, a member of the hijacking gang, said in a telephone interview from Harardhare. The town is in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region close to where the ship is anchored. He didn’t give a deadline or say what would happen if the money isn’t paid.

The Sirius Star, which belongs to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned shipping line, Vela International Marine Ltd, and its crew of 25 were seized about 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) off Somalia on Nov. 15. It is carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude valued at about $110 million. Very Large Crude Carriers cost about $148 million new.

Read morePirates Demand $25 Million Ransom for Hijacked Tanker

Cheney and Gonzales indicted for organized crime

A grand jury in South Texas indicted U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for “organized criminal activity” related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons. The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it.


US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (R). According to November 18, 2008 media reports, US Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a South Texas grand jury on charges relating to alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers. Picture: AFP

The grand jury in Willacy County, in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border, said Cheney is “profiteering from depriving human beings of their liberty,” according to a copy of the indictment obtained by Reuters.

The indictment cites a “money trail” of Cheney’s ownership in prison-related enterprises including the Vanguard Group, which owns an interest in private prisons in south Texas.

Former attorney general Gonzales used his position to “stop the investigations as to the wrong doings” into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said.

Cheney’s office declined comment. “We have not received any indictments. I can’t comment on something we have not received,” said Cheney’s spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

The indictment, overseen by county District Attorney Juan Guerra, cites the case of Gregorio De La Rosa, who died on April 26, 2001, inside a private prison in Willacy County.

The grand jury wrote it made its decision “with great sadness,” but said they had no other choice but to indict Cheney and Gonzales “because we love our country.”

Texas is the home state of U.S. President George W. Bush.

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Identities sold online for £80

Complete identities are being sold online for just £80, internet experts have discovered.


The stolen personal data include credit card details, plus the cardholder’s name, address, passport and driving licence numbers.

Once stolen, the average identity yields online fraudsters around £15,000, researchers found.

Individual pieces of stolen data are available for as little as £5.

A study for Get Safe Online Week found one in five people use the same password for all their internet logins, leaving them wide open to hacking.

Half those surveyed did not update their anti-virus software often enough.

And nearly a quarter did not have any protection against spyware.

Read moreIdentities sold online for £80

Game beware: it’s the return of the poacher

As times get harder in Britain’s cities, armed gangs are heading for the countryside – and stealing deer, salmon and rabbits to feed a burgeoning black market in food. Andy McSmith reports


Masked poachers caught in the act, hunting rabbits on private land

Once, the poacher was a man with big pockets in his raincoat sneaking on to an aristocrat’s land to steal game for his family pot. Now he is likely to be part of a gang from town, in it for hard cash, rampaging through the countryside with guns, crossbows or snares.

Police in rural areas across Britain are reporting a dramatic increase in poaching, as the rise in food prices and the reality of recession increases the temptation to deal in stolen venison, salmon, or rarer meat and fish.

Organised and sometimes armed gangs of poachers are accused of behaving dangerously, intimidating residents, causing damage to crops or to gates and fences. Squads have also been out in the countryside “lamping”, poachers using lights to transfix animals.

Read moreGame beware: it’s the return of the poacher

Poverty, Pension Fears Drive Japan’s Elderly Citizens to Crime


Elderly customers shop in a grocery store in Tokyo, Aug. 12, 2005. Photographer: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg News

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — More senior citizens are picking pockets and shoplifting in Japan to cope with cuts in government welfare spending and rising health-care costs in a fast-ageing society.

Criminal offences by people 65 or older doubled to 48,605 in the five years to 2008, the most since police began compiling national statistics in 1978, a Ministry of Justice report said.

Theft is the most common crime of senior citizens, many of whom face declining health, low incomes and a sense of isolation, the report said. Elderly crime may increase in parallel with poverty rates as Japan enters another recession and the budget deficit makes it harder for the government to provide a safety net for people on the fringes of society.

“The elderly are turning to shoplifting as an increasing number of them lack assets and children to depend on,” Masahiro Yamada, a sociology professor at Chuo University in Tokyo and an author of books on income disparity in Japan, said in an interview yesterday. “We won’t see the decline of elderly crimes as long as the income gap continues to rise.”

Read morePoverty, Pension Fears Drive Japan’s Elderly Citizens to Crime

Tyson Foods Injects Chickens with Antibiotics Before They Hatch to Claim “Raised without Antibiotics”

(NaturalNews) Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the United States, has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch, but labels them as raised without antibiotics anyway. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label. The company has sued over its right to keep using it.

The controversy over Tyson’s antibiotic-free label began in summer 2007, when the company began a massive advertising campaign to tout its chicken as “raised without antibiotics.” Already, Tyson has spent tens of millions of dollars this year to date in continuing this campaign.

Poultry farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics to prevent the development of intestinal infections that might reduce the weight (and profitability) of the birds. Yet scientists have become increasingly concerned that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture may accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could lead to a pandemic or other health crisis.

After Tyson began labeling its chicken antibiotic-free, the USDA warned the company that such labels were not truthful, because Tyson regularly treats its birds’ feed with bacteria-killing ionophores. Tyson argued that ionophores are antimicrobials rather than antibiotics, but the USDA reiterated its policy that “ionophores are antibiotics.”

Read moreTyson Foods Injects Chickens with Antibiotics Before They Hatch to Claim “Raised without Antibiotics”