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Orchestrated New York Terror Plot Exploited to Increase Funding
May 22, 2009

As it turns out the so-called Muslim terrorists busted in New York, who supposedly wanted to blow up synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military airplanes flying out of the New York Air National Guard base, were petty criminals set-up by the FBI.

“Last year, the four men began communicating with an FBI informant who sold them fake explosives and inactive missiles,” reports the Christian Science Monitor. “While the bombs these terrorists attempted to plant tonight were — unbeknownst to them — fake, this latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In other words, the men were patsies that posed absolutely no threat to New York and without the involvement of the FBI there would have been no terror plot. In fact, as Paul Joseph Watson notes today, the men “have turned out to be semi-retarded potheads” that did not possess the intelligence or wherewithal to engage in terrorist activities. Even the Associated Press admits they were “amateurs every step of the way. They had trouble finding guns and bought cameras at Wal-Mart to photograph their targets. One was a convicted purse snatcher, another smoked marijuana the day the plot was to be carried out.”

The New York terror plot is reminiscent of the so-called Miami Seven case. In that case, the FBI promised a group of semi-retards and losers money and explosives for an FBI-cooked up plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. It took two hung juries before 5 of the 7 supposed terrorists were convicted earlier this month.

It didn’t take long for officials to exploit the alleged terror plot and call for Congress to “increase anti-terror funding to New York and other areas that suffered a significant reduction a few years ago,” according to Fox News.

“There isn’t enough money devoted to states and cities to foil these kinds of plots,” complained Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland School and Law and the director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security. “When you compare the amount of money given to failing banks and insurance companies to the amount not given to highly motivated local enforcement agencies, it really is a tragedy,” he said.

Congress scaled back funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative in 2006, cutting it about $125 million to $711 million. DHS cut its urban security funds for New York by 40 percent to provide more to mid-size cities, provoking criticism from lawmakers and local officials. The grant for New York was cut to $124 million from about $207 million in 2006.

“This alleged plot shows that — even though we have not been attacked domestically since 9/11 — we must remain vigilant concerning the potential radicalization and recruitment of individuals in the United States for terrorist activity,” declared Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, told a New York radio station that the incident was another example of the FBI doing its job — that is to say, creating absurd terror cells out of whole cloth and then busting them in order to legitimatize throwing billions of dollars down a rat hole.

The orchestrated plot also takes heat off the DHS as it comes under scrutiny for producing the “rightwing extremist” document by turning the focus back on Muslims.

“It’s fair to say that homegrown terrorism is a serious threat and something that law enforcement agencies and the government are taking seriously at the federal and local levels,” said a Homeland official. “This is something that people have been concerned about for a number of years.”


Tennessee speeders could get fingerprinted
Bill ignites debate about privacy vs. cost savings

Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature.

Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints. Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights.

"The way I see it, if they take your fingerprint, they have access to your history and that's an invasion of privacy," said Martha Simms, 27, a mother of two who recently got a speeding ticket in Davidson County.

State Sen. Joe Haynes and State Rep. Mike Stewart co-sponsored the bill, which gives police departments the choice of collecting a signature or a fingerprint, or collecting a signature and a fingerprint. The bill has been approved by the state House of Representatives, and senators will vote on the measure Wednesday.

The bill, if passed, will take effect on July 1. At that time, any police department within the state could require fingerprinting as a means of identification, said Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat. "It's their discretion," he said. Metro Nashville would use prints If the bill is approved, the Metro Nashville Police Department plans to start requiring fingerprints by the end of the year. Police reports would be filed electronically, as would traffic and misdemeanor citations.

"This police department intends to use the fingerprint the same way as a signature is currently used," Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said. "If a person who has stolen someone's identity gives a wrong name, an officer will be able to catch that immediately. And, if they have an outstanding warrant, be it for a misdemeanor or a serious felony, an officer will be able to see that as well."

Instead of purchasing electronic signature pads to allow motorists to sign for traffic tickets, Metro wants to use electronic fingerprint readers because they cost about $500,000 less than signature pads.

It makes sense for police to ultimately use an electronic method of keeping track of their data, and fingerprinting is less expensive than using signature identification software," said Stewart, a Nashville Democrat.

But citizen Simms rejects the cost-saving argument. "We're already paying taxes anyway and they always go up regardless. So, why not spend a little more and buy the signature pads instead,'' Simms said.

In Metro Nashville, 151,587 traffic citations were issued in 2007. On average, Metro police say, between 12,000 and 13,000 moving violations are issued per month.

Chris Stanley, 19, a student at Nashville Auto Diesel College, has received two tickets since moving to Nashville a year ago. "I wouldn't give them my fingerprint,'' he said. "They would have to arrest me."

According to Aaron, someone who refuses to provide a fingerprint will be arrested.

"It would be the same thing as a person not signing for a citation if they were stopped today," he said. "This department has no plans to create a database for all these fingerprints. They won't be captured and kept forever." Legislator is skeptical If police departments use the fingerprints as Metro intends, then that's enough reassurance for Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"As long as the police department is ensuring that it will not create a database using the fingerprints collected on traffic citations and that those fingerprints will be used only to identify the person being stopped and for no other purposes," Weinberg said, "then the police department appears to be using the technology appropriately."

But Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, is skeptical and takes issue with the legislation. "If someone said this 15 to 20 years ago, people would be rioting about it. Now it just seems like a lot of people are giving up and giving away their freedoms," Campfield said. "It's scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don't think it is, then you're just kidding yourself."

If the bill passes, Tennessee would join other states and cities that have adopted fingerprinting for traffic citations.

The police department in Green Bay, Wis., has been fingerprinting traffic offenders for two years, said Lt. Mark Hellman. Some citizens were concerned at first, he said.

"I think they saw that it wasn't that big of deal, and that the ones who were most worried about it were likely the ones who were doing something wrong," Hellmann said. "What they didn't understand was that a routine traffic stop on the street is an arrest, technically, even if you aren't taken into physical custody, and during an arrest, you are fingerprinted."

Police in Phoenix have been collecting fingerprints since 1995, using them to prevent identity theft and to identify immigrants who are in the country illegally.


U.S. appeals to China to help stabilize Pakistan
China National News
Monday 25th May, 2009

Washington, May 25 : The Obama administration has appealed to China to provide training and even military equipment to help Pakistan counter a growing militant threat, U.S. officials said.

According to Los Angeles Times, the proposal is part of a broad push by Washington to enlist key allies of Pakistan in an effort to stabilize the country.

The U.S. is seeking to persuade Islamabad to step up its efforts against militants, while supporting the fragile civilian government and its tottering economy, The News reports.

Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration's special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, has visited China and Saudi Arabia, another key ally, in recent weeks as part of the effort.

The American appeal to China underscores the importance of Beijing in security issues.

Washington considers China to be the most influential country for dealing with isolated, militaristic North Korea. Beijing also plays a crucial role in the international effort to pressure Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

China traditionally has been reluctant to intervene in the affairs of other countries.


North Korea carries out nuclear test
25 May, 2009, 19:22

North Korea has successfully carried out an underground nuclear test, officials in the country have confirmed.

“Judging by the data we received from the Far East it looks rather unusual. We’ve registered it as a seismological event, but the data is rather unusual. It may be an earthquake but it looks like an explosion,” said seismologist Yuri Levin.

There have been conflicting reports concerning the magnitude of the earthquake, with the US geophysicists saying that the earthquake registered about 4.5 points at Richter scale, while Russian ones are claiming it was around 5.1 points.

According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, an underground nuclear explosion equivalent to 10-20 kilotons was registered at 04:54 Moscow time on May 25.

Also, a high-ranking official from the Russian Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass that the test “was made at the same location in the northeast of North Korea where the first nuclear underground test was conducted in 2006."

Back then the test was equivalent to 5-15 kilotons, then Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov said. In comparison, the uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was equivalent to 15 kilotons, and the Nagasaki one – to 21 kilotons.

International reaction

The Immediate reaction from the west was strongly critical.

President Barack Obama has called the North Korean nuclear test “a challenge to the world community.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned the test as "erroneous, misguided and a danger to the world."

“We absolutely need to condemn those tests. I find it right that the UN Security Council is meeting. We should do our best to make sure that these talks start again and North Korean isolation will come to an end,” said Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“I hope the Security Council will take the necessary responsive measures,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Similar sentiments came from other states, particularly Asian ones.

“The testing is a flagrant violation of the existing UN Security Council resolutions, and the government of Japan strongly protests against North Korea for this nuclear testing,” commented Kazuo Kodama, Press Secretary, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

South Korea has condemned the new nuclear test conducted by North Korea, saying it is “a serious threat and a challenge” to the whole world community. The South Korean President’s spokesman, Lee Dong-Kwan, said that Seoul is planning to urge the UN Security Council to take active counter-measures.

South Korea and Japan have agreed on pushing for North Korea to be punished by the UN, Itar-Tass also reports.

China was resolutely opposed to North Korea’s nuclear test, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement according to Xinhua news agency.

The statement voiced a strong demand that North Korea “live up to its commitment to non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and stop any activity that might worsen the situation and return to the track of the six-party talks.”

The US said that though North Korea’s actions haven’t come as a surprise after what it had been saying and doing lately, they are a matter of grave concern to all nations.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking official from the South Korean President’s administration has claimed that North Korea warned the US authorities about the nuclear test in advance, Itar-Tass news agency reports.

The source also said that South Korean special services had been monitoring the test preparations: “That test was not a surprise for us as we expected it and kept an eye on the site where it was conducted.”

North Korea's nuclear test threatens regional peace and warrants a firm response, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said, according to Reuters news agency.

"These irresponsible acts by North Korea warrant a firm response by the international community. The European Union will be in contact with its partners to discuss appropriate measures," Solana said.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has said the UN Security Council will hold an emergency session in New York later on Monday to discuss the issue.

Russia denounces North Korea's nuclear test
Kremlin has labelled North Korean underground nuclear test a direct violation of UN security council resolution.

Still, Russia's Foreign Ministry has made a statement urging Pyongyang to display “a responsible attitude for the sake of stability in the region” and saying that “only six-party talks may resolve the North Korean nuclear problem.”

"The latest steps of North Korea have escalated tensions in Northeast Asia and endangered regional security and stability. Recognizing the lawful concerns of North Korea, we do not see any real alternative in the provision of its security other than political and diplomatic efforts and the formation of relevant regional institutions with the participation of all interested sides," the Ministry said.

Russia is concerned with what’s happening on the peninsula because North Korea is a neighboring country, although the border between them is only about 18 kilometres long.

Even so, should any nuclear incident occur on the peninsula, Russia would be one of the first countries affected.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is now on visit to Lebanon, has expressed his concerns over the issue.

“Japan suggested convening the UN Security Council today at 16:00 NYC time, and the delegations of the countries that have seismic monitoring stations should have information by that time which will help us understand what exactly happened,” Lavrov said.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions

The Korean nuclear dispute has been ongoing since 2003. Six-party talks between Pyongang, Seoul, Washington, Moscow, Tokyo and Beijing haven’t brought any clear results.

It is hard to say at the moment what North Korea is trying to gain from this nuclear test, but one of the things that nuclear experts are talking about is the fact that Pyongyang is trying to set itself as a major player in the world arena, and attract attention to what is happening on the peninsula.

A source from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that "the most important thing at the moment is not to go off into hysterics and overreact, as unfortunately happened after North Korea's rocket launch."

“The situation is difficult, as it concerns the implementation of UN Security Council's resolutions, guarantees of stability, of non-proliferation and on the whole, prospects for solving the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula," the source added.

Last month, Pyongyang pulled out of six-nation talks including Russia and the United States, which were convened to deal with the communist country's nuclear programme.

It also warned that it would revive the programme and carry out new tests.

North Korea's first nuclear test was carried out in October 2006.

The chances to get N.Koea back to negotiation table Analysts say that urging Pyongyang to return to negotiations will be one difficult task. Those who have been to North Korea say that learning what’s on the mind of the people there is even harder, as North Koreans are a very secretive people. Experts are now trying to determine what exactly Pyongyang is trying to achieve by deliberately infuriating the world community. “North Korea now wants to show it is a nuclear power and wants to set its own terms during negotiations,” supposes Georgy Toloraya, Director of Korean Programmes.

Russia has vast experience in underground nuclear weapon tests. In Soviet times, hundreds of such experiments were held with no consequences. Environmentalists in the country’s Far East do not fear any ecological disasters following this test in North Korea. But clearly, Russia has a reason to be worried, being North Korea’s neighbour.

The borderline between Russia and North Korea is only 18 kilometers long, and Russia would be one of the first countries to be affected should any nuclear incident happen on the peninsula. So Moscow will be pressing for the quickest possible solution to this issue at the negotiating table.

Konstantin Kosachev, the Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, says these tests show that North Korea isn't scared of sanctions.

“Further sanctions could be counterproductive because North Korea has already demonstrated that it will not accept any sanctions. This country is ready to exist under any hard sanctions implemented by the international community. So, sanctions do not bring a solution: it lies at the negotiating table. We need to motivate North Korea to come back to this table.”

North Korea's latest nuclear test shows that its nuclear programme has evidently been making progress, Colonel General Viktor Yesin, an authoritative Russian expert and former chief of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces' General Staff, told Interfax-AVN on Monday.

"North Korea had produced a total of 38.5 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium by 2009. Of this amount, 2.1 kilograms were used during the nuclear test in October 2006. It is impossible to say now how much plutonium was used during the May 25 test. Given the announced yield of the nuclear explosion, it could be equivalent to four-five kilograms. This is my tentative estimate," Yesin said.

According to Yesin, the remaining plutonium is most likely being used to make nuclear ammunition.

"Some experts suggest that North Korea could have up to six samples of nuclear ammunition with simplified plutonium implosive nuclear charges," he said.

Yesin believes that Pyongyang will be able to allocate another eight kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium from its irradiated nuclear fuel stockpiles in the near future and it will allow North Korea "to produce two more samples of nuclear ammunition."

As for the consequences of the test for North Korea, Yesin said that the UN Security Council will most likely adopt yet another resolution condemning Pyongyang, "though it would be naïve to expect North Korea to obey to it. Out of all members of six-party talks which have been held since 2003, only Beijing possesses real leverage to influence Pyongyang as North Korea’s economic situation is fully dependent on supplies from China."


Iran, Pakistan sign gas pipeline deal
Tehran Times Economic Desk

TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari inked an agreement in Tehran on Sunday finalizing the deal to transfer gas from Iran to Pakistan.

National Iranian Gas Export Company Managing Director Seyyed Reza Kasaiizadeh and Seyyed Hassan Nawab, the CEO of Pakistan’s Inter-State Gas Systems, put the finishing touches on the deal after two days of negotiations, the Fars News Agency reported.

A Pakistani delegation headed by Pakistani Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain arrived in Tehran on May 23 to work out the final details of the deal based on the new price formula suggested by Iran and approved by Pakistan’s cabinet on April 10.

According to the deal, Iran will initially transfer 30 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan but will eventually increase the gas transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day.

The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project was conceptualized in 1990. Negotiations over the project were initiated in 1994 between the three countries but there were obstacles to closing the three-way deal due to tension between India and Pakistan, according to IRNA.

India has not participated in the last several rounds of talks, but Iran has encouraged India to rejoin the process.

The IPI gas pipeline is a proposed 2,775-kilometer pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India.

The project is expected to greatly benefit India and Pakistan, which do not have sufficient natural gas to meet their rapidly increasing domestic demand for energy.


Over My Dead Body!!

Are the governments of the world preparing to vaccinate the entire populace? It seems that may be the case. According to Reuters 4.9 billion vaccinations against the supposed swine flu could be ready shortly. Documents have been leaked that suggest the CDC is preparing to have a Day of Planning for an H1N1 Vaccination Campaign. The WHO" is also now saying that because of the outbreak in Japan they may be forced to declare a level 6 pandemic

Flu stories traveling faster than flu itself
May, 2009, 00:55


China warns Federal Reserve over 'printing money'
China has warned a top member of the US Federal Reserve that it is increasingly disturbed by the Fed's direct purchase of US Treasury bonds.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
24 May 2009

Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said: "Senior officials of the Chinese government grilled me about whether or not we are going to monetise the actions of our legislature."

"I must have been asked about that a hundred times in China. I was asked at every single meeting about our purchases of Treasuries. That seemed to be the principal preoccupation of those that were invested with their surpluses mostly in the United States," he told the Wall Street Journal.

His recent trip to the Far East appears to have been a stark reminder that Asia's "Confucian" culture of right action does not look kindly on the insouciant policy of printing money by Anglo-Saxons.

Mr Fisher, the Fed's leading hawk, was a fierce opponent of the original decision to buy Treasury debt, fearing that it would lead to a blurring of the line between fiscal and monetary policy – and could all too easily degenerate into Argentine-style financing of uncontrolled spending.

However, he agreed that the Fed was forced to take emergency action after the financial system "literally fell apart".

Nor, he added was there much risk of inflation taking off yet. The Dallas Fed uses a "trim mean" method based on 180 prices that excludes extreme moves and is widely admired for accuracy.

"You've got some mild deflation here," he said.

The Oxford-educated Mr Fisher, an outspoken free-marketer and believer in the Schumpeterian process of "creative destruction", has been running a fervent campaign to alert Americans to the "very big hole" in unfunded pension and health-care liabilities built up by a careless political class over the years.

"We at the Dallas Fed believe the total is over $99 trillion," he said in February.

"This situation is of your own creation. When you berate your representatives or senators or presidents for the mess we are in, you are really berating yourself. You elect them," he said.

His warning comes amid growing fears that America could lose its AAA sovereign rating.


Oil Industry Braces for Trial on Rights Abuses
Sat, 23 May 2009

Developing nations take oil companies to court
Fourteen years after the execution of the Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigeria’s former military regime, Royal Dutch Shell will appear before a federal court in New York to answer charges of crimes against humanity in connection with his death.

The trial, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, will examine allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr. Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta where it operated.

Shell strongly denies the charges.

But the trial is the latest in a series of cases aimed at some of the world’s biggest oil companies, asserting misdeeds in developing countries where they were once seen as unassailable. Oil companies are being sued on charges of environmental damage, collusion with repressive governments and contributing to human rights abuses, among others.

Chevron, for example, could face up to $27 billion in liability in Ecuador for pollution of the jungle.

Exxon Mobil is being sued by Indonesian villagers from the province of Aceh who allege human rights violations committed by soldiers hired to guard a natural gas plant.


Fourteen years after the execution of the Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigeria’s former military regime, Royal Dutch Shell will appear before a federal court in New York to answer charges of crimes against humanity in connection with his death.

The trial, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, will examine allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr. Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta where it operated.

Shell strongly denies the charges.

But the trial is the latest in a series of cases aimed at some of the world’s biggest oil companies, asserting misdeeds in developing countries where they were once seen as unassailable. Oil companies are being sued on charges of environmental damage, collusion with repressive governments and contributing to human rights abuses, among others.

Chevron, for example, could face up to $27 billion in liability in Ecuador for pollution of the jungle.

Exxon Mobil is being sued by Indonesian villagers from the province of Aceh who allege human rights violations committed by soldiers hired to guard a natural gas plant.

And these legal challenges are just the latest tests for an industry increasingly hard pressed to find new sources of petroleum.

The most prominent case of supposed company complicity — the execution of Mr. Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Ogoni tribe — led to fierce protests against Shell, which was already under heavy criticism from environmentalists for its record in the Niger Delta. The event, which ignited worldwide condemnation of Nigeria, prompted changes in Shell’s approach to community relations in Nigeria and elsewhere.

While civilian rule has returned to Nigeria, violence in the delta has escalated in recent years, fueled by poverty, corruption and graft. Over the last week, there has been a new round of fighting between government forces and militant rebel groups, which have declared an “all-out war” in the region and threatened the operations of oil companies.

The civil suit was brought by relatives of Mr. Saro-Wiwa and other victims of Nigeria’s former military regime, who are taking advantage of a Supreme Court decision that gives foreign victims of human rights abuses a measure of access to American courts.

The suit asserts that in the early 1990s, Shell became worried about Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s campaign to protest the impact of oil production throughout the Niger Delta. The suit asserts that Shell feared Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s activities would disrupt its operations and tarnish its image abroad, and “sought to eliminate that threat, through a systematic campaign of human rights violations.”

Shell said the allegations were “false and without merit.” In a statement, Stan Mays, a company spokesman, said: “Shell in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence,” and, in fact, "attempted to persuade that government to grant clemency."

The case could have global repercussions for the oil industry, said Arvind Ganesan, the head of the business and human rights practice at Human Rights Watch.

In the last decade, oil companies have been under increasing pressure to comply with strict standards of behavior while operating in countries with poor human rights records and few democratic controls.

“The lesson here is that these cases aren’t going away,” Mr. Ganesan said. “If a jury found Shell guilty, this would change the behavior of the industry pretty quickly.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York law firm specializing in human rights, on behalf of Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s son and other plaintiffs who fled Nigeria’s military regime and did not trust they could sue Shell in Nigerian courts even after civilian rule returned in 1999.

The current suit was brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act, an arcane law written in 1789 to fight piracy, which is increasingly being used for lawsuits asserting human rights violations that occurred overseas. The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in 2004 that foreigners could use American courts in limited cases, like crimes against humanity or torture. While sovereign states cannot be sued, American courts have accepted that a wide variety of actors, including corporations, can be called to account.

So far no corporation has been found guilty under the alien tort law, though human rights lawyers note that several cases are still moving through the court system.

In 2004, Unocal, a California oil company accused of using slave labor in the construction of a pipeline in Burma during the 1990s, agreed to compensate villagers there. The terms of the settlement were not made public.

Last year, Chevron was cleared of wrongdoing by a jury after being accused of complicity in the shooting of Nigerian villagers who occupied an offshore oil barge in 1998 to protest its environmental record and hiring practices.

Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta, a region of mangroves and swamps roughly the size of Maryland where most of Nigeria’s oil is located, have long been criticized by environmentalists. Shell drilled the country’s first successful well in 1956, and has since dominated Nigeria’s oil sector, through decades of civil war, military rule and authoritarian governments.

In recent years, protests against government corruption have become more violent. The operations of Shell, in particular, have been come under attack from militant groups seeking a greater share of the country’s oil wealth.

For Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., who returned to Nigeria from exile in 1999, the trial could provide bittersweet vindication of his father’s campaign.

“My father always said that one day Shell would be on trial,” said Mr. Saro-Wiwa, who now works as an adviser to the government on community issues. “It’s important for those involved in the conspiracy against my father to be held to account. It’s a communal exorcism, if you like, for Shell to account and bear responsibility for what it did.”

The elder Mr. Saro-Wiwa, who founded the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni Peoples in 1990, was one of the most vocal critics of Shell for the damage done to the delta communities, including gas flaring and the destruction of mangroves to make way for pipelines.

According to the lawsuit, a Shell official identified Mr. Saro-Wiwa as being “influential” in organizing the protests and sought the assistance of the Nigerian government to silence him.

The company is also accused of paying soldiers who committed human rights abuses and providing them with transportation, including helicopters. During a military raid, one plaintiff, Karalolo Kogbara, was shot by Nigerian troops while she was speaking out against the destruction of crops bulldozed to build a pipeline.

“We are not saying that Shell just did business in a bad place,” said Jennie Greene, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Shell was an actor here. Shell wasn’t just standing by.”

Mr. Saro-Wiwa was arrested in 1994 and put on trial before a special military court along with the other Ogoni advocates, on charges that human rights groups and Western governments said were trumped up. Despite international pressure, Shell initially refused to intervene, saying at the time, “the company does not get involved in politics.”

The lawsuit charges that Shell bribed at least two crucial witnesses to change their testimony during the trial. It also asserts that Shell’s manager in Nigeria at the time, Brian Anderson, met with Owens Saro-Wiwa, Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s brother and also a plaintiff, and tried to pressure the jailed activist to abandon his struggle in exchange for help in securing his release. Mr. Saro-Wiwa reportedly refused.

Shell’s chief executive eventually faxed Gen. Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s military ruler, a request for a pardon after Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s appeal for clemency was denied. By then it was too late: Mr. Saro-Wiwa and the other advocates were hanged on Nov. 10, 1995.

Shell denied it had sought to silence Mr. Saro-Wiwa.

“Shell attempted to persuade that government to grant clemency; to our deep regret, that appeal — and the appeals of many others — went unheard,” Shell said in its statement. “We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news.”


UPDATE - HR 1207 Now Up To 179 co-sponsors!
Updated on May 22.

On record so far on www.thomas.gov.

Title: To amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (introduced 2/26/2009) Cosponsors (179) Latest Major Action: 2/26/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

Here's 3 related (WORKING) links for easy access:

DEMOCRATIC List of Shame

REPUBLICAN List of Shame

S 604: F R Sunshine Act of 2009. Companion bill to HR1207

HR 1207 Co-Sponsors (as of 5/22/2009)
Rep Kagen, Steve [WI-8] - 2/26/2009
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] - 2/26/2009
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] - 2/26/2009
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 2/26/2009
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] - 2/26/2009
Rep Posey, Bill [FL-15] - 2/26/2009
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] - 2/26/2009
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] - 2/26/2009
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 2/26/2009
Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 2/26/2009
Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 3/5/2009
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] - 3/6/2009
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] - 3/6/2009
Rep Young, Don [AK] - 3/6/2009
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] - 3/6/2009
Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] - 3/6/2009
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] - 3/6/2009
Rep Heller, Dean [NV-2] - 3/6/2009
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] - 3/6/2009
Rep Taylor, Gene [MS-4] - 3/6/2009
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 3/9/2009
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] - 3/10/2009
Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] - 3/10/2009
Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] - 3/10/2009
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] - 3/10/2009
Rep Grayson, Alan [FL-8] - 3/11/2009
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 3/11/2009
Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] - 3/16/2009
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] - 3/16/2009
Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] - 3/17/2009
Rep Castle, Michael N. [DE] - 3/17/2009
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] - 3/18/2009
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] - 3/19/2009
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] - 3/19/2009
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 3/19/2009
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] - 3/19/2009
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] - 3/19/2009
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] - 3/19/2009
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] - 3/23/2009
Rep Deal, Nathan [GA-9] - 3/23/2009
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] - 3/23/2009
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] - 3/24/2009
Rep Blunt, Roy [MO-7] - 3/24/2009
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 3/26/2009
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] - 3/26/2009
Rep Paulsen, Erik [MN-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] - 3/30/2009
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] - 3/31/2009
Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2] - 4/1/2009
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] - 4/1/2009
Rep Fallin, Mary [OK-5] - 4/2/2009
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] - 4/2/2009
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] - 4/2/2009
Rep Lucas, Frank D. [OK-3] - 4/21/2009
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] - 4/21/2009
Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] - 4/21/2009
Rep Bilbray, Brian P. [CA-50] - 4/21/2009
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] - 4/21/2009
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] - 4/21/2009
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] - 4/21/2009
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] - 4/21/2009
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] - 4/21/2009
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 4/21/2009
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 4/21/2009
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 4/21/2009
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] - 4/21/2009
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] - 4/21/2009
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] - 4/21/2009
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] - 4/21/2009
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] - 4/22/2009
Rep Massa, Eric J. J. [NY-29] - 4/22/2009
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] - 4/22/2009
Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] - 4/22/2009
Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] - 4/22/2009
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] - 4/22/2009
Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 4/22/2009
Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] - 4/22/2009
Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] - 4/23/2009
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] - 4/23/2009
Rep Inglis, Bob [SC-4] - 4/23/2009
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 4/23/2009
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] - 4/23/2009
Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. [SC-1] - 4/28/2009
Rep Biggert, Judy [IL-13] - 4/28/2009
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 4/28/2009
Rep Tiahrt, Todd [KS-4] - 4/28/2009
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] - 4/28/2009
Rep Putnam, Adam H. [FL-12] - 4/28/2009
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] - 4/28/2009
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] - 4/28/2009
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] - 4/28/2009
Rep Hoekstra, Peter [MI-2] - 4/28/2009
Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] - 4/28/2009
Rep Granger, Kay [TX-12] - 4/28/2009
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] - 4/28/2009
Rep Barrett, J. Gresham [SC-3] - 4/28/2009
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] - 4/28/2009
Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] - 4/28/2009
Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] - 4/29/2009
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 4/29/2009
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] - 4/29/2009
Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45] - 4/29/2009
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] - 4/29/2009
Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] - 4/29/2009
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 4/29/2009
Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] - 4/29/2009
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] - 4/29/2009
Rep Buyer, Steve [IN-4] - 4/30/2009
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] - 4/30/2009
Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] - 4/30/2009
Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] - 5/4/2009
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] - 5/4/2009
Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] - 5/4/2009
Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] - 5/4/2009
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] - 5/4/2009
Rep Moran, Jerry [KS-1] - 5/4/2009
Rep Cassidy, Bill [LA-6] - 5/4/2009
Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2] - 5/4/2009
Rep Crenshaw, Ander [FL-4] - 5/4/2009
Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] - 5/4/2009
Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] - 5/4/2009
Rep McHugh, John M. [NY-23] - 5/4/2009
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 5/6/2009
Rep Linder, John [GA-7] - 5/6/2009
Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] - 5/6/2009
Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] - 5/6/2009
Rep Dent, Charles W. [PA-15] - 5/6/2009
Rep Radanovich, George [CA-19] - 5/6/2009
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] - 5/6/2009
Rep Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie [SD] - 5/6/2009
Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7] - 5/6/2009
Rep Adler, John H. [NJ-3] - 5/6/2009
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] - 5/7/2009
Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] - 5/7/2009
Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 5/7/2009
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] - 5/7/2009
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 5/7/2009
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] - 5/7/2009
Rep Shadegg, John B. [AZ-3] - 5/7/2009
Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 5/7/2009
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] - 5/7/2009
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 5/11/2009
Rep Hastings, Doc [WA-4] - 5/11/2009
Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7] - 5/11/2009
Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] - 5/11/2009
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] - 5/11/2009
Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 5/11/2009
Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] - 5/12/2009
Rep Fortenberry, Jeff [NE-1] - 5/12/2009
Rep Mack, Connie [FL-14] - 5/12/2009
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 5/12/2009
Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] - 5/12/2009
Rep Maffei, Daniel B. [NY-25] - 5/12/2009
Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] - 5/12/2009
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] - 5/13/2009
Rep Minnick, Walter [ID-1] - 5/13/2009
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] - 5/13/2009
Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] - 5/13/2009
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] - 5/13/2009
Rep Perriello, Thomas S.P. [VA-5] - 5/13/2009
Rep Ortiz, Solomon P. [TX-27] - 5/14/2009
Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] - 5/14/2009
Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] - 5/14/2009
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 5/20/2009
Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny [FL-5] - 5/20/2009
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] - 5/20/2009
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] - 5/20/2009
Rep Reichert, David G. [WA-8] - 5/20/2009
Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] - 5/20/2009
Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 5/20/2009
Rep Schauer, Mark H. [MI-7] - 5/20/2009
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] - 5/20/2009
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] - 5/20/2009
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 5/21/2009
Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 5/21/2009
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] - 5/21/2009
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] - 5/21/2009

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