Monday, April 25, 2011

Over 450 escape from Afghan prison, Taliban claims responsibility

Over 450 escape from Afghan prison, Taliban claims responsibility

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhuanet) -- More than 450 prisoners have been whisked out of jail in Afghanistan, by Taliban insurgents. Many among those who escaped were Taliban commanders .

This is Sarposa Prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city.

On Sunday, the prison housed more than 1-thousand inmates until the jailbreak occurred overnight.

Tooryalai Wesa, Kandahar Governor, said, "Around 475 prisoners escaped from the jail. Among them, only one was a criminal prisoner, all others were political prisoners."

But a Taliban spokesman said more than 500 inmates were freed, and about 100 of them were Taliban commanders.


Special Report: Afghanistan Situation

How they lied when Pat Tillman Died

Terrorism and the ISI Pakistan connection

Terrorism and the ISI | Mother Jones

Here's an interesting tidbit from today's WikiLeaks release of the military's assessment of every prisoner ever held at Guantánamo Bay. Neither the Washington Post nor the New York Timesbothered to mention it, so this passage is from the Guardian:

US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation alongside groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence. Interrogators were told to regard links to any of these as an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity.

....The inclusion of association with the ISI as a "threat indicator" in this document is likely to pour fuel on the flames of Washington's already strained relationship with its key regional ally. A number of the detainee files also contain references, apparently based on intelligence reporting, to the ISI supporting, co-ordinating and protecting insurgents fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, or even assisting al-Qaida.

As with so many documents released by WikiLeaks, this is hardly a surprise in one sense. Still, it's one thing to "know" something and quite another to see it officially documented in a classified file.


JB Campbell: Killing Pat Tillman

JB Campbell: Killing Pat Tillman : Veterans Today

Today is the seventh anniversary of Pat Tillman’s assassination in Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004 Tillman and several other Army Rangers were given an odd order to split their motorized squad and proceed toward a village called Magarah. The original mission was to recover a broken-down Humvee from a rocky and almost impassable trail through a steep gorge. The Humvee was being towed by a local “jinga” truck, rather than by one of the working Humvees. Tillman and the others got to the village before the guys with the towed Humvee and were waiting for them when three Afghan kids fired an RPG, with an effective range of 250 yards, from 800 yards. It hit on the wall of the gorge and made some noise and loosened up some dirt and rocks. But, no harm done. Nevertheless, the vaunted Rangers lost control of themselves and fired their arsenal of a .50 caliber Browning, 40mm grenade machine gun, .30 caliber machine guns and .223 caliber machine guns plus their small .223 rifles, called M-4s. They fired until they were out of ammo and had to get into their reserve ammo supply.

Tillman and the other guys were watching this show from above. Tillman’s sergeant, Matthew Weeks, ordered him and Bryan O’Neal and an Afghan named Thani to go down on foot closer to the road, which they did. The lead Humvee came within view of Tillman and from a range of about one hundred feet, opened up on him and the two others, killing the Afghan and wounding Tillman after he waved his arms at them not to shoot. They dove behind a couple of one-foot high rocks and O’Neal asked if he was okay. One of Tillman’s legs was severely wounded. He threw a purple smoke grenade to show they were Americans and kept yelling at the nearby Humvee shooters. Both Tillman and O’Neal waved their arms at the Humvee. The Rangers in the Humvees stopped shooting for a minute. Tillman and O’Neal thought it was safe to show themselves.

Tillman identified himself loudly, saying “Hold your fire! I’m Pat f****** Tillman!” Specialist Trevor Alders opened up again with his .223 machine gun and hit Pat Tillman from about one hundred feet away. Now, both Tillman and O’Neal were in the same uniforms as the other Rangers, wearing the distinctive Kevlar helmets, carrying the same M-4 rifles. The Humvee guys knew that the other guys were up ahead and still they did this.

Here’s where it gets strange. The autopsy photos supposedly show three .223 holes in Tillman’s forehead, in a two- to three-inch group. I haven’t seen the photos. It is not possible to shoot a three-inch group into a guy’s forehead with a machine gun from one hundred feet, for several reasons. Number one, high-power rounds do not follow each other single file into the target; they veer off a little from the recoil of the one just before. Yes, once you get the gun settled down from the first few rounds, you can bring it to bear pretty closely but not that closely. A look at the rock next to Tillman’s position with about twenty hits on it shows the shotgun-like spread resulting from the weapons jumping around slightly. A hundred foot range allows a pretty good spread from any machine gun.

Number two, the Kevlar helmet covers the forehead and generally stops the .223 round. Number three, the guy drops from the first hit and you can’t follow him down to put the second and third rounds next to the first hole. Number four, a .223 round to the forehead doesn’t leave any forehead for the next two rounds to put holes in. The only way you can get a group of three .223 rifle bullets so tight is to kill the guy with the first shot and then shoot him again twice more when you get next to him. But three high-power holes in a tight little group? No way.

Now, the story has changed a little since the original lies were told. Now it’s said that the back of his head was missing, which would make sense after just one .223 hit him in the front, except for that helmet. Jack Kennedy was apparently hit with a .223 round from a Remington XP-100 and the back of his head was missing, too. But it’s come out that SPC O’Neal has said that all that was left of Tillman’s head was a flap of face-skin, which makes sense if three .223 rounds hit him in the head, so devastating is any high-power rifle round. Except for the helmet.

I didn’t know about the facial devastation until today. Like everyone else interested in this, I’d read that Tillman’s head looked pretty normal except for the three .223 bullet holes in his forehead, which meant only one thing: a low-power .22 pistol. The report that almost all of his head was gone indicates that he was not hit by Trevor Alders and his machine gun from a hundred feet but by someone else much closer with his M-4 carbine. The M-4 is just an M-16 with a short barrel and collapsible stock. The pathologist reported that the range of the shots was maybe five feet, which definitely makes it murder. How do you shoot holes in a guy’s forehead when he’s wearing a Kevlar helmet?

Stan Goff, a Ranger veteran writing for Counterpunch, assures us that Tillman was not assassinated but just killed by bad fire control, that the bizarre performance of the Rangers that day could not have been contrived to culminate in Tillman’s murder. He doesn’t explain how Pat f****** Tillman could be mistaken for a bad guy wearing what he was wearing, yelling and waving his arms, popping purple smoke in daylight, diving for cover behind a low rock, not shooting at anyone.

It didn’t have to happen that particular day. It just had to happen sometime when there were guns going off to make it “a mistake.” It was as good a day as any to kill Pat Tillman, because he had to be killed.

Tillman had naively made contact with the CIA’s Noam Chomsky to discuss his plans to reveal what he knew about the lies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in the War on Terror. He was apparently also angry about the US Army’s support of the Afghan opium trade, started up by the army after the Taliban had eradicated it one hundred percent during their four-year reign. The US Army authorized the Northern Alliance to resume poppy production, according to Fox News shortly after we invaded Afghanistan.

The thing was, if you’ve forgotten, Pat Tillman had forsaken his multi-million dollar pro-football contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join his brother Kevin in the Army Rangers to hunt down the CIA’s Osama bin Laden directly after the attack on the World Trade Center in late 2001. Never mind that Osama had immediately denied any involvement in the massacre and had in addition pointed to the US government and the Mossad, the latter’s role now confirmed by the revelations of Dimitri Khalezov.

Pat Tillman was probably the greatest recruiting asset that the Neo-Cons had, until they sent him and Kevin from Afghanistan to Iraq in ‘03. Tillman became quite bitter and outspoken about the invasion of Iraq, figuring Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. So they were sent back to Afghanistan, where they discovered the opium trade being protected and supported by the US Army. Now, they’re both pretty upset. Pat Tillman went from the Neo-Con dream to nightmare and needed to be shut up before he could tell America about the lies of its leaders.

Ironically, the Tillman brothers were part of the security detail of the joint services “rescue” of Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital in April ’03. The Lynch saga was clumsy neo-con propaganda, a totally fictional tale of non-existent heroics and sexual assault following a vehicle accident. The truth was that Iraqi doctors had treated Lynch properly and well, saving her life, and repeatedly notifying the Americans of her location and condition, urging them to come get her. The rescue was as phony as the legend cooked up by the DC liars. Lynch did perform heroically when she revealed the lies that had been told about her. She’d been knocked unconscious in the accident and never shot or stabbed anyone nor pulled grenade pins with her teeth, etc., etc.

The death of Pat Tillman got the same heroic legend as Jessica Lynch got, with the first version being that he was shot by the Taliban while getting out of his Humvee. The second version, told to the family about the time of the funeral, was that he was shot while leading a charge up the hill toward the enemy. The third lie was that it was “friendly fire.” Friendly fire refers to the accidental killing of your own guys, which happens all the time, since weapons training regarding safety and fire control are virtually non-existent in the military. Such things have to be trained from childhood, over years.

Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, wrote a good book about all this in 2008 in which she suggested that her son was deliberately murdered by his fellow Rangers, reserving most of her anger for General Stanley McChrystal, who led the lying coverup of the murder. Since then, she appears to have dropped the charge of assassination, for what reason is not clear. But there can be no doubt that the Rangers shot Pat Tillman deliberately and with malice on April 22, 2004. They shot and wounded him first and then waited while he popped purple smoke to let them know he was “friendly.” Then they started shooting again and didn’t stop until he was dead. The army gave him a Mafia funeral with the same Mafia sanctimony that Johnny Torrio sent to Dion O’Bannion’s funeral. The family only found out weeks later that it wasn’t enemy fire that killed Pat. It took a little longer to realize it wasn’t friendly fire, either.

Spartanburg City Council passes smoking ban

Spartanburg City Council passes smoking ban |
Published: Monday, April 25, 2011 at 8:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 at 8:35 p.m.

City Council approved a smoking ban Monday night that bans smoking in restaurants and at city-sponsored events.

With two members voting in opposition, council decided on a more restrictive ban than staff initially proposed.

Numerous business owners and residents spoke against a smoking ban during a public hearing, but the vast majority of those who attended the meeting spoke in favor of a smoking ordinance.

Councilwoman Linda Dogan and Councilman Robert Reeder voted against the ordinance.

If council approves final reading on the ordinance, it will go into effect on Sept. 1. The ordinance restricts smoking in all restaurants and bars. Restaurants would be allowed to have a designated smoking area.

C. Edwards Cigar Bar would be exempt from the ordinance since a majority of its revenue is from the sale of tobacco products. No smoking would be permitted at city-sponsored outdoor events such as Music on Main, Jazz on the Square, International Festival or Spring Fling after Councilman Jerome Rice proposed the city lead by example and not allow designated smoking areas during those events.

Smokers would be required to be at least 15 feet from entrances and exits to commercial locations with public access.

The ordinance does not ban smoking in public parks or sidewalks.

Check for more on this breaking story.

Drug-bashing RI Republican charged with drug use

Drug-bashing RI Republican charged with drug use | The Raw Story
By Kase Wickman
Monday, April 25th, 2011 -- 11:12 am

Robert Watson, a high-ranking Republican state legislator in Rhode Island, is in hot water after being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Drug charges alone would be bad enough for a public official, but Watson, Rhode Island's House minority leader, is still remembered for his controversial anti-drug, anti-gay and anti-immigrant remarks.

In February, Watson said the Rhode Island legislature had their priorities right "if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana."

Watson was a guest on a radio show soon after the luncheon where he made the misstep, and in response to the outcry over his comments said, “I reject the suggestion that it's insulting." He went on to say that lawmakers were "preoccupied with a number of issues, primarily social issues," when Watson thought they should focus on the economy.

"I apologize when appropriate and/or necessary," Watson told the Providence Journal in February. "I identify this situation as representing neither circumstance."

Watson was pulled over at a police checkpoint Friday, East Haven police told the Associated Press. Police noted a "strong odor of marijuana" coming from Watson's car, and charged him with possession and driving under the influence. The lawmaker was released after he promised to appear in court, and has not yet issued a statement.

Important Announcement Tomorrow from Ron Paul

Into The Fire - Full Film

Gallup: Majority of Human Race Does Not See Global Warming as Serious Threat

Gallup: Majority of Human Race Does Not See Global Warming as Serious Threat |

( - Most of the human race does not see global warming as a serious threat, according to a Gallup poll released last week that surveyed individuals in 111 countries.

Respondents were asked: “How serious of a threat is global warming to you and your family?” They were given the options of anwering: not at all serious, not very serious, somewhat serious or very serious.

Worldwide, only 42 percent told Gallup they believed global warming was either a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” threat. Gallup did not publish the separate percentages for each answer.

In the United States, 53 percent said they believed global warming was a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” threat to themselves and their families. That was down from 63 percent in polling that Gallup did on the question in the United States in 2007 and 2008.

Of the 111 countries that Gallup polled, Greece ranked as No.1 for popular fear of global warming. In that southern European country 87 percent said global warming was a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” threat.

The US military praises Iraqi security forces as they crack down on press freedom.

The US military praises Iraqi security forces as they crack down on press freedom. -

Source: ALJazeera

In February, in places like Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit, protesters took to the streets, intent on reform - focused on ending corruption and the chronic shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs - but not toppling the government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The response by government security forces, who have arrested, beaten, and shot protesters, leaving hundreds dead or wounded, however, was similar to that of other autocratic rulers around the region.

Attacks by Iraqi forces on freedom of the press, in the form of harassment, detention, and assaults on individual journalists, raids of radio stations, the offices of newspapers and press freedom groups have also shown the dark side of Maliki's regime.

Many journalists have been prevented from covering protests or have curtailed their reporting in response to brutality, raising the spectre of a return to the days of Saddam Hussein's regime when press freedom was a fiction.

Maliki's US allies, however, have turned a blind eye to the violence and repression, with the top spokesman for the US military in Iraq praising the same Iraqi units which eyewitnesses have identified as key players in the crackdown while ignoring the outrages attributed to them.

In addition to providing training to these units, the US military is currently focused on upgrading the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, including the creation a national intelligence and operations centre and more sophisticated use and understanding of social media, which some fear may further increase state repression.

Read Full Article Here...

Residents flee as river overflows Missouri levee

Residents flee as river overflows Missouri levee - Beaumont Enterprise

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (AP) - Thunder roared and tornado warning sirens blared, and all emergency workers in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff could do Monday was hope the saturated levee holding back the Black River would survive yet another downpour.

Murky water flowed over the levee at more than three dozen spots and crept toward homes in the flood plain. Some had already flooded. If the levee broke - and forecasters said it was in imminent danger of doing so - some 7,000 residents in and around Poplar Bluff would be displaced.

One thousand homes were evacuated earlier in the day. Sandbagging wasn't an option, Police Chief Danny Whitely said. There were too many trouble spots, and it was too dangerous to put people on the levee. Police went door-to-door encouraging people to get out. Some scurried to collect belongings, others chose to stay. Two men had to be rescued by boat.

"Basically all we can do now is wait, just wait," Whitely said.

It could be a long week of waiting for the rain to stop in Poplar Bluff and other river towns in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. Storms have ripped through parts of middle America for weeks, and they were followed Monday by heavy rain that pelted an area from northeast Texas to Kentucky.

In communities already hit by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, residents watched rivers and lakes rise with a growing sense of dread. Some rented moving trucks to haul their possessions to safety, while others evacuated quickly, carrying their belongings in plastic bags.

Read more:

THE TAX MAN: 41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes -- and they're not alone

THE TAX MAN: 41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes -- and they're not alone - Home - The Daily Bail

Originally published in Sep. 2010.

Good to hear that Geithner is not alone in tax evasion. Federal employees owe more than $1 billion in back taxes, and the White House has its share.


Reprinted with permission.

Over the years a lot of suspicion has built up across the country about Washington and its population of opportunistic transients coming to see themselves as a special kind of person, somehow above average working Americans who don't labor down in that monument-strewn former swamp.

Well, finally, an end to all those undocumented doubts. Thanks to some diligent digging by the Washington Post, those suspicions can at last be put to rest.

They're correct. Accurate. Dead-on. Laser-guided. On target. Bingo-bango. As clear as it's always seemed to those Americans who don't feel special entitlements and do meet their government obligations.

We now know that federal employees across the nation owe fully $1 billion in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

As in, 1,000 times one million dollars. All this political jabber about giving middle-class Americans a tax cut. Thousands of feds have been giving themselves one all along -- unofficially. And these tax scofflaws include more than three dozen folks who work for the president with that newly decorated Oval Office.

The Post's T.W. Farnum did some research and found that out of the total sum, just 638 workers on Capitol Hill owe the IRS $9.3 million in back taxes. As in, overdue. The IRS gets stiffed by the legislative body that controls its budget. How Washington works.

Now, back taxes have been a problem for the Obama-Biden administration. You may recall early on that Tom Daschle was the president's top pick to run the Health and Human Services Department. But it turned out the former Democratic senator, who was un-elected from South Dakota in 2004, owed something like $120,000 to the IRS for things from his subsequent benefactor that he just forgot to pay taxes on. You know how that is. $120G's here or there. So he dropped out.

And then we learned this guy Timothy Geithner owed something like $42,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, which is one of the agencies that he'd be in charge of as secretary of the Treasury. The fine fellow who's supposed to know about handling everyone else's money. In the end this was excused by Washington's bipartisan CYA culture as one of those inadvertent accidental oversights that somehow never seem to happen on the side of paying too much taxes.

And under Geithner's expert guidance the U.S. economy has been, well, wow! Just look at it.

Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents' names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama's very own White House owe the government they're allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS' parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis' husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System's board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.

Then, we come to the Department of Homeland Security, which is run by Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who preferred to call terrorist acts "man-caused disasters." Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants.

Within that department, there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174.

And they're checking our pockets for metal and coins?

-- Andrew Malcolm

Careful Planning Behind Fed's Press Conference

Careful Planning Behind Fed's Press Conference -

The Federal Reserve's first ever public press conference will be a carefully choreographed affair.

What would be mundane matters for most other institutions—such as who gets in, how Chairman Ben Bernanke should kick things off, and how questions will be asked—have potentially market-moving importance in this instance and require planning.

Take the issue of Mr. Bernanke's opening statement. When he stands before reporters Wednesday at 2.15 p.m., a little less than two hours after the committee's statement is released, he will likely make only a brief opening comment before jumping into questions. The goal is to kick things off without a long monologue that might distract investors from what the policy making Federal Open Market Committee says in its official post-meeting statement before the briefing.

Mr. Bernanke will try to emphasize summing up the decision and thinking of the broad consensus of the FOMC, which consists of 12 regional Fed bank presidents and the current five Fed board governors, rather than his own thoughts. In all, he'll talk for about 45 minutes.

Who gets in requires advanced planning. There isn't a hedge fund manager who wouldn't like to be there, nor a fair share of financial bloggers. To keep the press conference manageable, Fed officials decided to limit attendance to individuals who represent news organizations accredited by Congress and only one per organization. That leaves it open to potentially hundreds of news organizations, including newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times, foreign press, television, radio stations and magazines.

Then there is the matter of how questions get asked. Mr. Bernanke has taken questions from the media twice before at the National Press Club. On both occasions, reporters wrote down questions on cards and a moderator from the media chose which ones to ask. This news conference will be more traditional and less confining—hands will go up, the chairman or his staff will call upon reporters and the questioning will begin. Reporters might get a chance to ask follow-ups.

Mr. Bernanke will of course prep beforehand on what he thinks might be asked, as he does before congressional briefings, but he doesn't get advanced notice on what reporters are going to ask.

The Fed's meeting will conclude a bit earlier than usual, and the central bank will put out its formal policy statement at 12:30 p.m., rather than at 2:15 p.m., as had been the custom previously. The press conference kicks off at 2:15 p.m. At that time, the Fed also will release its updated forecasts for the economy, something investors in the past only learned about in the minutes released three weeks after a meeting.

The forecasts will look like part of the minutes of the FOMC meeting, which includes projections for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the longer-run. The forecasts will be broken down as the Fed usually does—showing the highest and lowest forecasts for growth, unemployment and inflation, and also what the Fed calls the central tendency, which excludes the three highest and three lowest forecasts.

Ron Paul on The View 04/25/11

Are These the 20 Signs That Point to a Global Food Crisis?

Are These the 20 Signs That Point to a Global Food Crisis? | The Blaze

On Sunday we heard the head of the World Bank say that he’s “concerned” about food prices, and that we’re “one shock away from a full-grown crisis.” Heavy stuff. But get ready, it’s about to get cinder-block-around-your-feet-in-a-lake heavy.

“In case you haven’t noticed, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis,” writes Michael Snyder over at Zero Hedge. “At some point, this crisis will affect you and your family. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.”

In order to prove his case, Snyder provides “20 signs that a horrific global food crisis is coming.” The first seven are below:

#1 According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.

#2 The world is losing topsoil at an astounding rate. In fact, according to Lester Brown, “one third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes”.

#3 Due to U.S. ethanol subsidies, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is now used for fuel. This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.

#4 Due to a lack of water, some countries in the Middle East find themselves forced to almost totally rely on other nations for basic food staples. For example, it is being projected that there will be no more wheat production in Saudi Arabia by the year 2012.

Army orders more weapons sights

Army orders more weapons sights -

LEXINGTON, Mass., April 25 (UPI) -- BAE Systems will provide more thermal weapon sights to the U.S. Army under a $56 million contract that continues production of the widely used system.

The second-generation thermal sights give soldiers a day/night advantage to detect, observe and engage the enemy on the battlefield by providing imagery independent of darkness, smoke and other common battlefield obscurants.

Under the contract, BAE Systems will provide light, medium and heavy variants for use on individual and crew-served weapons.

The new order is the most recent under a five-year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract administered by the Army's Research and Development Command Acquisition Center. A previous award increased BAE Systems' total thermal weapon sight contract value to more than $1 billion since 2004.

BAE Systems has delivered more than 94,000 sights to meet Army fielding requirements to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. BAE Systems provides thermal weapon sights to the United States and several other countries.

Read more:

Guantanamo documents name Pakistan ISI as al Qaeda associate

Guantanamo documents name Pakistan ISI as al Qaeda associate | Reuters

ISLAMABAD | Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:30pm EDT

(Reuters) - The U.S. military classified Pakistan's top spy agency as a terrorist support entity in 2007 and used association with it as a justification to detain prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, according to leaked documents published on Sunday that are sure to further alienate Pakistan.

One document (, given to The New York Times, say detainees who associated with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate "may have provided support to al-Qaida or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces."

The ISI, along with al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence, are among 32 groups on the list of "associated forces," which also includes Egypt's Islamic Jihad, headed by al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Shirin Ebadi: Iran's Democratic Movement 'Well Alive'

Obama Sends Drones To Support Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (AKA Al-Qaed...

Orly Taitz is working for Benjamin Netayahu

Gold and silver prices hit record high - Business News, Business

Gold and silver prices hit record high - Business News, Business - The Independent

Monday, 25 April 2011

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The prices of gold and silver have hit new record highs as continued tensions in the Middle East and North Africa drive investors to safe-bet investments.

Gold rose to 1,518.30 US dollars (£918.70) an ounce at one stage during morning trading in Europe before falling back, while silver briefly hit an all-time high of 49.79 US dollars (£30) an ounce.

Investors have turned to precious metals as a haven against recent turmoil in Libya, Syria and Yemen, while rating agency Standard and Poor's downgrade to the outlook for US debt also triggered a flight to safety.

The US dollar has also been under pressure since the S&P blow - which stripped its rating to negative from stable - further fuelling the rise in gold prices.

The record gold and silver prices are expected to boost mining stocks when the London market reopens tomorrow following the holiday weekend.

Gold, a traditional safe haven, has soared in value in recent years as investors have been spooked by economic uncertainty.

Gold eased back at the start of the year after a run of positive economic data, but has since bounced back due to gloomy global developments.

Violence and political uncertainty in North Africa and the Middle East continued to escalate today.

In Libya, forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi unleashed a barrage of shells and rockets at the western city of Misrata following a bloody weekend.

Elsewhere, in Syria, troops in armoured vehicles and tanks have stormed the southern town of Daraa and opened fire, according to witnesses, in the latest crackdown on a five-week uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime.

In Yemen, two protesters were killed in separate anti-government demonstrations, despite President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreeing yesterday to a proposal for him to hand power to his vice president.