Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

Body Scanners May be Emitting More Radiation Than What is Recorded

Body Scanners Radiation
© Empowered News

Body scanners used in airports have been subjected to re-testing after transportation officials discovered that erroneous recording of radiation levels were made by some personnel.

The move comes after the Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday even allayed fears of the radiation risk from the controversial body scanners.

"The amount of radiation is approximately (the same as that received) as two minutes in the air," Napolitano told a Senate panel on Wednesday, citing independent studies to back her claim.

But a subsequent internal review of 15 airports over the last two years showed some discrepancies with radiation level data and the TSA ordered the machines to be tested again. On Friday, the agency said the issues found were "record-keeping errors."

Arrow Down

U.S. Treasury Drew Down Its Cash Balance by $81.6 Billion in Just First 4 Days of March

The U.S. Treasury is depleting its cash at an accelerating pace, drawing down its cash balance by $81.6 billion in the just the first four days of March, leaving the federal government with only $108.9 billion on hand, according to the Daily Treasury Statement released Monday afternoon.

A view of the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington
© AP File Photo/Evan VucciA view of the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington
At the beginning of February , the Treasury had $349.1 billion in cash on hand, but spent that down by $158.5 billion during the month, ending February with only $190.6 billion on hand.

Were the government to continue to draw down its cash balance at the $20.4 billion-per-day rate that prevailed in the first four days of March, it would spend its way through its final $108.9 billion in little more than five days.

Bad Guys

US: Assembly Passes Union Measure After Bitter Debate

Wisconsin State Patrol officers remove a demonstrator against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair plan after she refused to leave the Assembly antechamber Thursday.
After an epic month of political struggle and three final hours of bitter debate, Republican lawmakers in the Assembly on Thursday gave Gov. Scott Walker his bill to repeal most collective bargaining by public employee unions.

Legislators voted 53-42 along largely partisan lines to pass the budget-repair proposal, but only after police carried demonstrators out of the Assembly antechamber.

But even with the battle won by Republicans, a wider war now remains for both sides, one expected to be fought in the courts and through recall efforts against 16 state senators.

All Democrats voted against the bill and were joined by four Republicans - Dean Kaufert of Neenah, Lee Nerison of Westby, Travis Tranel of Cuba City and Richard Spanbauer of Oshkosh. All other Republicans and the body's lone independent, Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc, voted for the bill.

Walker hailed the vote.

"I applaud all members of the Assembly for showing up, debating the legislation and participating in democracy," he said in a statement. "Their action will save jobs, protect taxpayers, reform government and help balance the budget."

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said that the governor would sign the bill "as soon as possible."


The mad dog bites back: Libyan Rebels Flee Before Gaddafi's Forces as NATO Vetoes No-fly Zone Without UN Resolution

Hundreds of rebel fighters have retreated from the strategic oil port of Ras Lanouf as Muammar Gaddafi's army pounds the town with artillery.

The rebels fled eastward in cars and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns.
Battle: A rebel vehicle is hit by a shell fired by soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, during a battle along the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jiwad today.
Forced back: The rebels take over as shrapnel from exploding tank shells fired by Gaddafi's troops rains down on them near the town of Ras Lanuf

All out assault: Gaddafi's tanks head towards Ras Lanuf as the rebels flee before them

Chaotic: The fighters could not resist the full onslaught of Gaddafi's troops who have fought back after initial defeat

One said government forces were raining rockets or tank shells on the city in what appeared to be preparation for a full-scale advance.

Shells fell near a city hospital and hit a series of residential buildings as Gaddafi's tanks moved further along Libya's main Mediterranean coastal road than they have been since the rebels seized most of the country's east.

An opposition fighter with a Kalashnikov rifle said he had fled the frontline outside Ras Lanouf.

NATO defence ministers met in Brussels today to discuss the escalating crisis. Britain had been pushing for a no-fly zone over Libya but after hours of talks, members concluded that the action would not be taken without a unanimous UN resolution.

However, the body resolved to increase the number of ships in the Mediterranean and to tighten up the arms embargo. Extra humanitarian assistance will also be offered.

The meeting came just hours after France became the first country to formally recognise the rebels' Interim Governing Council as Libya's legitimate government.
Rallying cry: Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, today vowed to retake the eastern half of his country. He is pictured during a TV interview in Tripoli today

Paris said it planned to exchange ambassadors after President Nicolas Sarkozy met two representatives of the group based in the eastern city of Benghazi.

'It breaks the ice,' said Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman. 'We expect Italy to do it, and we expect England to do it.'

Germany said it froze billions in assets of the Libyan Central Bank and other state-run agencies. The U.S., UK, Switzerland, Austria and other countries have also frozen Gaddafi's assets.

Evil Rays

US: TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation

The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation - 247 machines at 38 airports - after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

The TSA says that the records reflect math mistakes and that all the machines are safe. Indeed, even the highest readings listed on some of the records - the numbers that the TSA says were mistakes - appear to be many times less than what the agency says a person absorbs through one day of natural background radiation.

Even so, the TSA has ordered the new tests out of "an abundance of caution to reassure the public," spokesman Nicholas Kimball says. The tests will be finished by the end of the month, and the results will be released "as they are completed," the agency said on its website.

TSA officials have repeatedly assured the public and lawmakers that the machines have passed all inspections. The agency's review of maintenance reports, launched Dec. 10, came only after USA TODAY and lawmakers called for the release of the records late last year.

War Whore

NATO to Send Ships Towards Libya

© Photo: APNATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at headquarters in Brussels, March 10, 2011
NATO defence ministers agreed today to send more naval ships off Libya's coast and to renew military planning for a possible no-fly zone pending a UN mandate, the alliance's chief said.

"It has been decided to increase the presence of NATO maritime assets in the central Mediterranean," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference after a meeting of defence chiefs.

The naval ships would bolster surveillance of Libya and monitor an existing arms embargo against the country, where Moamer Kadhafi's troops are battling opposition forces.

The ministers also called for urgent "detailed planning" for humanitarian efforts and for possible measures to enforce the arms embargo in case required by any new UN Security Council resolution, he said.

There was no decision to launch a no-fly zone against the regime -- a step favoured by Britain and France -- but the alliance endorsed further military planning if the United Nations endorsed the move.


Libyan Hospital Vacated After Air Blitz

Shrapnel flies through the air as a tank shell explodes near Libyan revolutionary fighters in Ras Lanuf on March 10, 2011.
Employees at the main hospital in Libya's northern city of Ras Lanuf have evacuated the medical center following an air strike launched against it by pro-Gaddafi forces that injured over 17 people.

On Thursday, Libyan warplanes launched a blitz on revolutionary forces' positions in the oil port, maintaining a counteroffensive against opposition fighters in an effort to contain their advance toward the embattled Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold in the capital Tripoli.

The shells landed about 500 meters (0.3 mile) from the hospital in the center of the city, AFP reported. The blitz comes as Gaddafi's military has been making more use of its air power advantage to attack protesters.

Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi closed in on revolutionary forces on Wednesday in the city of Zawiyah, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Tripoli, and surrounded them with tanks and snipers in the main square.


UK: Thousands Evacuated from Heathrow's Terminal 5 As Armed Police Swoop on Man With Suspect Suitcase

Thousands of passengers were evacuated after officers moved in on the British suspect, aged in his 30s
Heathrow's Terminal 5 check-in area was shut down for more than an hour today after armed police swooped on a man with a suspect package.

Thousands of passengers were evacuated after officers moved in on the British suspect, aged in his 30s.

Flyers had to wait outside for around 90 minutes before they were allowed back into the largest terminal at the airport which is used exclusively by British Airways.

Security workers are believed to have become suspicious when he walked into the building carrying a suitcase this afternoon.

Officers only evacuated people from the check-in area who had not been through passport control.

Police cordoned off a small area while they dealt with the incident.

Around 70,000 passengers go through Terminal 5 each day and up to 5,000 passengers are thought to have been disrupted.

A spokesman for BAA said that no flights had to be cancelled.

War Whore

US: Republican Accused of McCarthyism Over Radical Islam 'Show Trial'

Qaeda is targeting Muslim Americans for recruits to terrorism and the community must do more to combat Islamic radicalisation, a U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday as he opened hearings that have been criticised as a witch hunt.
A Republican congressman who has convened a public inquiry into radical Islam in the United States has been accused of staging a "show trial" reminiscent of the McCarthy-era hunt for communist sympathisers.

Representative Peter King, who heads the House homeland security committee, has come under withering criticism for the hearings, which begin today against a backdrop of increased terror plots by American Muslims.

Protesters and critics ranging from Islamic associations, civil liberties groups and law enforcement officials have said that by concentrating on extremism within the Muslim community, Mr King risked alienating Muslims who have supported police efforts to track terror suspects.


US: Justice Department Investigating Death Threats Against Republican Senators, Representatives

Seventeen Republican Senators in addition to Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald received the email threat that stated they should put their "things in order because you will be killed and your families also will be killed."

The email, which in the subject said "Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!," was sent at 9:18 p.m. Wednesday, after the Senate, with Democrats absent, voted to eliminate most collective bargaining provisions for most public workers.

In addition, all of the Assembly Republicans, including Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, received an email death threat about 10:30 Wednesday night, said John Jagler, a spokesman for Jeff Fitzgerald. That email stated "Vote no and save your life."

Jagler said the threat talked about shooting the representative and planting bombs in places he frequented.

The state's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the email threat against the senators and several other threats from a variety of sources, said Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Cosh said Thursday he was not at liberty to say anything more about the threats and investigation.

Andrew Welhouse, a spokesman for Scott Fitzgerald, said the email threat was turned over to Capitol Police, who also are investigating.