U.S. agents can seize travelers’ laptops


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers’ laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.

Agents are empowered to share the contents of seized computers with other agencies and private entities for data decryption and other reasons, the newspaper said.

DHS officials said the policies applied to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens, and were needed to prevent terrorism.

The measures have long been in place but were only disclosed in July, under pressure from civil liberties and business travel groups acting on reports that increasing numbers of international travelers had had their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices removed and examined.

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Cheney considered a ‘False Flag Attack’ to start war with Iran

EXCLUSIVE: To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them

Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh – a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker – revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.

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The Last Hurrah for the Banking System

The Bush administration will be mailing out another batch of “stimulus” checks in the very near future. There’s no way around it. The Fed is in a pickle and can’t lower interest rates for fear that food and energy prices will shoot to stratosphere. At the same time, the economy is shrinking faster than anyone thought possible with no sign of a rebound. That leaves stimulus checks as the only way to “prime the pump” and keep consumer spending chugging along. Otherwise business activity will slow to a crawl and the economy will tank. There’s no other choice.
The daily barrage of bad news is really starting to get on people’s nerves. Most of the TV chatterboxes have already cut-out the cheery stock market predictions and no one is praising the “impressive powers of the free market” anymore. They know things are bad, real bad. A pervasive sense of gloom has crept into the television studios just like it has into the stock exchanges and the luxury penthouses on Manhattan’s West End. That same sense of foreboding is creeping like a noxious cloud to every town and city across the country. Everyone is cutting back on non-essentials and trimming the fat from the family budget. The days of extravagant impulse-spending at the mall are over. So are the “big ticket” purchases and the “go-for-broke” trips to Europe. Consumer confidence is at historic lows, disposal income is a thing of the past, and all the credit cards are at their limit. The country is drowning in red ink.

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Strike on Iran still possible, U.S. tells Israel

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense chief, is visiting as Washington is perceived to be softening its stance toward Tehran.

July 30, 2008 WASHINGTON — Bush administration officials reassured Israel’s defense minister this week that the United States has not abandoned all possibility of a military attack on Iran, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran.

In meetings Monday and Tuesday, administration officials told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear program remains on the table, though U.S. officials are primarily seeking a diplomatic solution.

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Nuclear-Powered Amphibious Assault Ships?

Most new large U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships would be required to be nuclear powered under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2009 which the House of Representatives has passed by a vote of 384 to 23. It now goes to the Senate where many senators are uneasy about the scheme as is the Navy and the shipbuilding industry in the U.S.

As to safe-energy and environmental advocates, “This reckless plan gives ‘we’ll fight them on the beaches’ a whole new sinister meaning,” says Linda Gunter of Beyond Nuclear of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. “If one of these amphibious ships is hit, or has an accident, we would be fighting a tide of radioactivity on beaches that could leave them contaminated indefinitely.”

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Obama reportedly told Democrats Israel will hit Iran if sanctions fail

Ehud Olmert

Obama won’t rule out Iran strike

Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) purportedly told House Democrats in a private meeting Tuesday that Israel may strike Iran if sanctions on the country fail to prevent development of nuclear technology.

According to an attendee who spoke to ABC News’ Jake Tapper, Obama quipped, “Nobody said this to me directly but I get the feeling from my talks that if the sanctions don’t work Israel is going to strike Iran.”

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The war between the United States and Iran is on

AP photo / Brennan Linsley
Members of the Iranian resistance group Mujahadeen-e Khalk, or MEK, guard a road leading to the group’s main training camp, watched over by a U.S. Army Abrams tank in background, near Baqubah in north-central Iraq.

Acts of War

By Scott Ritter

The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities that result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions that took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the U.S. government to justify the ongoing global war on terror. Iran, we are told, is not just a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, but is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world today.

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Economy hitting the elderly especially hard


Matt Jackson of the Meals On Wheels program waits to deliver a meal to a home in Charleston, W.Va. The program is losing volunteer drivers nationwide because of rising gas prices.

Bankruptcies soar as retirees, agencies struggle to keep up with rising costs

Bob Emily put in an honest day’s labor every day of his life.

“I worked for the railroad, for the town marshal, security, bars, Sealy down here, UPS,” said Emily, 82, of Commerce City, Colo. “Worked hard all my life until I got sick.”

Then the bills started piling up.

“Hospital bills built up,” said Emily, who didn’t have health insurance. “I had to get loans to take care of my bills. Then I was getting behind on the loans.”

Every day, more calls and letters would come in from creditors and collectors. “I just got tired of it,” Emily said, so three months ago, he filed for bankruptcy.

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The Big Bailout: America as a Full-Spectrum Kleptocracy

Its name somewhat anachronistically means “assembly of old men.” George Washington famously – and, it must now be admitted, with excessive optimism – characterized it as an institutional saucer intended to cool legislation passed in the intemperate heat of the moment. Its members demand, with entirely unwarranted self-approval, to be called, collectively, the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

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George Bush blasted by Pakistan PM

PAKISTAN’S Prime Minister lashed out at George W. Bush during talks in Washington yesterday, “reproaching” the US President over a US Hellfire drone missile strike inside Pakistani territory only hours before the leaders met.

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