September 17, 2007

Blackwater USA to be kicked out of Iraq?

From TIME: Will Iraq Kick Out Blackwater?

TIME has obtained an incident report prepared by the U.S. government describing a fire fight Sunday in Baghdad in which at least eight Iraqis were reported killed and 13 wounded. The deadly incident occurred when a convoy of U.S. personnel protected by Blackwater security contractors came under small arms fire. Blackwater returned fire, resulting in the Iraqi deaths. The loss of life has provoked anger in Baghdad, where the Interior Ministry has suspended Blackwater's license to operate around the country. Several Iraqi government officials have indicated their opposition to Blackwater's continued presence in their country. If the suspension is made permanent, it could significantly impair security for key U.S. personnel in the country, a U.S. official in Baghdad told TIME. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose State Department depends on Blackwater to protect its Iraq-based staffers, called Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to say that the U.S. has launched its own investigation into the matter.

From the New York Times: U.S. Contractor Banned by Iraq Over Shooting

Blackwater USA, an American contractor that provides security to some of the top American officials in Iraq, has been banned from working in the country by the Iraqi government after a shooting that left eight Iraqis dead and involved an American diplomatic convoy.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, said Monday that authorities had canceled the company’s license and that the government would prosecute the participants. But under the rules that govern private security contractors here, the Iraqis do not have the legal authority to do so.

From the Associated Press: US Looks Into Blackwater Incident

The State Department moved quickly Monday to tamp down anger and possible repercussions after the alleged killing of eight Iraqi civilians in an incident involving a private security firm hired to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq.

Posted by Nathaniel at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2007

US to Announce New Middle East Arms Deal


U.S. officials say the Bush administration is expected to ask Congress to approve a major arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations, partly to counter Iran's rising influence in the region.

Administration officials say the package, worth at least $20 billion will include sophisticated weaponry, including satellite-guided bombs.

The administration is also expected to propose a new 10-year aid package for Israel worth $30 billion, as well as a 10-year package for Egypt worth $13 billion.

Problem: a lot of people in the Middle East don't like us.
Bush's solution: kill everyone.
[ Click. ]

Posted by Nathaniel at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2007

Regulating the Monopoly on Death and Violence

A little more craziness than usual in the world today.. JFK airport bombing plot foiled, US Navy ship shelling a small Somali village, officially approved and controlled pre-G8 riot taking place.. just a few that stand out amid the everyday mess on Google News. I guess death and violence are OK as long as they're government-approved.

Protesters attack riot police at G8 summit

[...] "The police were attacked massively from the violent protesters," said Police spokesman Frank Scheulen. "They threw bottles, fire crackers, rocks and Molotov cocktails."

He estimated the number of violence-minded demonstrators at about 2,000. Police put the size of the demonstration at 25,000, while organisers said it was 80,000.

Demonstrator Peter Mueller had tears streaming from bloodshot eyes after the tear gas was released. "As long as the police were in the background it was OK, but as soon as one took a step closer, it went out of control," he said. [More on the story here...]

Four arrested in plot on JFK airport

Four people, including a former member of Guyana's parliament, have been arrested in connection with a plot against ground operations at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, U.S. officials said on Saturday.

Another one of the suspects was a former airport cargo worker at the airport. The four were charged with conspiring to attack the airport by planting explosives to blow up the airport's major jet fuel tanks and pipeline, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The plot was foiled well before it came to fruition and the FBI said there was no threat to the public from the plot. [More on the story here...]

US Navy Ships Fire on Northern Somalia Village

Officials in Somalia say U.S. naval warships have bombarded a remote coastal village where suspected Islamist insurgents had set up a base.

The attack happened Friday night when a Navy destroyer opened fire around the village of Bargal, located in northern Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Officials say the extremists arrived in Bargal earlier this week, then fought with troops from the region.

A U.S. Department of Defense spokesman would not confirm or deny the report. He would only say the United States remains committed to reducing terrorist capabilities when it finds them. [More on the story here...]

Posted by Nathaniel at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2007

Watson gets his Genome Sequence

Co-Discoverer Of DNA Presented With His Own Genome Sequence

James Watson, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the DNA double helix was presented this week with his own genome sequence.

Watson, who is also the father of the Human Genome project, is the first human to be given the data that surrounds his own personal genome sequence.

The project to unravel Watson's DNA took two months and cost 1 million US dollars. It was a joint effort between 454 Life Sciences, a US subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche AG, based in Connecticut, and another American organization, the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) in Houston, Texas.

Watson, who is 79, and Francis Crick, who died in 2004, won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for their discovery of the DNA double helix.

Cool. Futuristic. Read the rest here.

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Posted by Nathaniel at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)