Considering that the management team at the private security firm Blackwater USA is pretty well connected at the highest levels of government, I have to wonder whose toes have been stepped on for this to happen:
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press.
This follows the insistence by the government of Iraq that Blackwater cease operations in their country, in spite of the company’s contract to provide security for State Department officials there.
Somebody’s unhappy with Blackwater. Somebody with juice.
John Edwards reveals what universal health care means to him: Forced doctor visits.
“It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care,” he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”
What’s the penalty for choosing to ignore your doctor’s advice after a mandatory visit? Do you get kicked out of the program? Would parents who choose not to give their children, say, Ritalin that’s been prescribed during a mandatory visit find themselves charged with child abuse?
It looks like the FMD outbreak in England escaped from a biolab:
The foot and mouth outbreak at a farm in Surrey may have been caused by a leak from a nearby animal research laboratory.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the virus is the same as one being used at Pirbright Laboratory, just a few miles from the farm.
Defra could not say definitely if the laboratory was the source of the disease, but immediately increased the size of the protection zones covering farms in the area.
Experts said the strain was not one recently found in animals, but was similar to ones used in diagnostic laboratories and vaccine production.
In a statement, Defra said: “The present indications are that this strain is a 01 BFS67-like virus, isolated in the 1967 foot and mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain.”
The strain is present at the Pirbright site’s Institute of Animal Health and was used in a vaccine batch manufactured last month, Defra said.
The outbreak five years ago cost British farmers about $17 million and led to the slaughter of up to 10 million animals. Like this:
That’s why putting a lab to study FMD in the heartland is a bad idea. We haven’t had an outbreak in the U.S. since the 1929. The next one will devastate American agriculture.
The Brits have another confirmed foot-and-mouth outbreak:
Cattle at a farm in Surrey have been found to be infected with foot-and-mouth disease.
Some 60 animals on the farm near Guildford have tested positive for the disease which wreaked havoc in 2001.
A 3km protection zone has been put in place around the premises and a UK ban imposed on movement of all livestock.
In accordance with legislation, all cattle on the Surrey premises will be culled, said a government spokesman.
As well as the 3km protection zone, there is also a 10km surveillance zone where nearby animals are monitored.
The outbreak in 2001 led to between 6.5 million and 10 million animals being destroyed and cost as much as £8.5bn (about $17.4 billion). Many farms and other rural businesses were ruined.
Squirrels in paw-to-paw combat training
As if the story of honey badgers set loose by British operatives rampaging through southern Iraq wasn’t enough, comes now a report that Iranian intelligence has arrested 14 squirrels as foreign spies.
Iranian intelligence operatives recently detained over a dozen squirrels found within the nations borders, claiming the rodents were serving as spies for Western powers determined to undermine the Islamic Republic.
“In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran’s borders,” state-sponsored news agency IRNA reported. “The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services.”
Iranian police commander Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqadam confirmed the report, saying that a number of squirrels had been caught bearing foreign spy gear within Iran’s borders.
The squirrels deny any connection to foreign governments and have protested their arrest as a violation of their civil rights.
Pat Buchanan reminds us that Scooter Libby was the slick Beltway attorney who helped Marc Rich secure his pardon from Bill Clinton.
Washington insiders take care of their own.