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Al Qaeda’s ambitions to use planes as weapons started much earlier than was previously known, according to explosive testimony given by one of the group’s first pilots. Secretly imprisoned by the U.S. for a decade, American citizen Ihab Mohamed Ali revealed how Osama bin Laden’s plan to kill the Egyptian president gave birth to the strategy used in the 9/11 attacks.
Walker and Bush: Meet Your Republican Presidential Frontrunners
Yes, it is only 2015. Yes, elections are a never-ending process. And yes, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are the “frontrunners” for the GOP nomination. NBC News has done a poll of all the polls and found that the former Governor of Florida and the current Governor of Wisconsin are “pulling away” from the crowded field. They scored in the top three in polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And they are raising money and leveraging their influence. As The New York Times pointed out, Jeb is no stranger to using his family name to build his personal wealth and relentless campaign machinery. Scott Walker is the darling of the billionaire Koch Brothers, giving him access to a bottomless political ATM card. Unlike Common Core enthusiast Bush, Walker has an anti-intellectual ace up his sleeve. He burnished his conservative credentials by picking a fight with the University of Wisconsin, and parlayed dropping out of college into populist street cred.
Lawmakers Push for Obama to Break Seal on 9/11 Pages
Three lawmakers—Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)—are lobbying fellow members to sign a resolution forcing the release of the infamous “28 Pages” of the 9/11 report. Those redacted pages link Saudi Arabia to the al Qaeda plot that brought down the World Trade Center, according to those who’ve seen them. So far, 11 representatives have signed on. Eight are Democrats. Last Friday, President Obama told families of the 9/11 victims that he had no objection to releasing the pages, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
In Battle Against ISIS, U.S. Reverts to Not Counting Civilian Casualties
America’s war against the Islamic State is the cleanest in history. So far, the United States has not killed a single civilian during its steady bombing campaign in Northern Iraq and Syria. At least, that’s the conclusion you’ll reach if you use the Pentagon’s official statistics on civilian casualties because … the official policy is to NOT count civilian casualties. If this policy sounds familiar … it’s because it is. The Bush Administration forbade the counting of civilian deaths during the early stages of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That was eventually reversed after pressure from critics in those countries, but it has led to difficulty nailing down the number of civilian deaths in those wars. It’s déjà vu all over again.
The Bad Cop Database
Politicians spend a lot of time and energy on the crisis of “bad teachers.” Now the Legal Aid Society—America’s largest organization of public defenders—is marshaling data to track and help root out New York’s bad cops. The idea is simple. The New York–based nonprofit’s staff of lawyers—who represent approximately 230,000 people per year—are compiling a database of misdeeds, civil rights violations and wrongdoing by NYPD officers. That data is otherwise unavailable since the NYPD doesn’t make public the data it collects on officer transgressions. What this fully transparent alternative offers is a chance to cross-reference the track record of arresting officers, when defendants accuse them of malfeasance. This tool may make it easier to identify faulty arrests, avoid wrongful convictions and, hopefully, identify the “bad apples” who are increasingly giving cops a bad name.
Here’s How You Can Find Out If The NSA Shared Your Data With British Spies
A court in the United Kingdom recently ruled that British spy agency GCHQ’s access to NSA spy data was illegal. However, all current GCHQ spying activities were also rubber-stamped by the court because the “illegality” was based on the public’s ignorance of the “safeguards” built into the spying regime. The public now knows about the safeguards, ergo the spying regime is now “legal.” But the ruling had one other effect—it forced the agency to inform anyone who’d been kept in the dark about their inclusion in the program. So, people can find out if their data was obtained illegally. Although it may take months or years to fulfill your request, feel free to submit it here.
Life on Earth is Older Than You Think
Ever make an accounting mistake when doing your taxes? What’s a hundred here or there, right? Well, imagine being off by a cool billion! That’s the upshot of a new study published in the journal Nature. Based on new analysis of the oldest rock, scientists may have underestimated how long life has existed on the Earth … by a billion years. The new start-date comes from the finding that life forms, which didn’t depend on oxygen, began building the foundation for evolution around 3.2 billion years ago. But don’t bother asking GOP “frontrunner” Scott Walker what he thinks about this breakthrough.
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