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Pentagon Program To Launch Market To Bet On Future Terror Attacks

The Pentagon is setting up a system that would allow investors to earn money if they could predict key events in the war on terror including assassinations and suicide bombings.

The program, known as Policy Analysis Market, is a project of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA and two private companies including a subsidiary of the Economist magazine. John Poindexter is overseeing the project for DARPA. In the 1980s, he was President Reagan’s national security advisor and was convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra arms deal. [ See Related Democracy Now! coverage]

The system yesterday came under intense criticism by Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.

Wyden said "The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque.?

Dorgan added, "Can you imagine if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in . . . and bet on the assassination of an American political figure or the overthrow of this institution or that institution?"

DARPA yesterday defended the project as another tool in helping the U.S. fight the so-called war on terror. The government would be able to monitor all investments looking for tips for possible upcoming attacks. The market will be based on events that occur in or are connected to Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.

$600,000 have already been spent creating the system and the Pentagon wants $8 million more for the next two years.

Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Pay $300M For Helping Enron Deceive Investors

J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup have agreed to pay more than $300 million to settle charges that they knowingly deceived investors by helping Enron hide billions of dollars in loans.

J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, two of the nation?s largest banks, knowingly portrayed loans as cash generated by Enron. According to The New York Times what the banks did was deceiving but not illegal.

The Times reports ?these settlements are a strong signal that banks, accountants and lawyers can now be held responsible if a transaction is legal in every respect but results in a outcome that deceives investors.?

Saudis & Bush Hold Emergency Meeting Over 9/11 Report

President Bush will meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Faisal today to respond to Saudi criticism of the Congressional 9/11 report.

The Washington Post reports that it appears the Saudi government may urge the Bush administration to declassify 28 pages within the report that detail connections between Saudis and the 9/11 attack. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis and The New York Times reports that classified section shows that Saudis poured hundreds of millions into charities and other groups that assisted the hijackers.

AIDS Cases Rise For First Time In Decade

The number of AIDS cases in the U.S. has increased for the first time in a decade. This according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The overall number of news AIDS cases jumped 2.2 percent to just over 42,000. Among homosexual and bisexual men the number of new cases jumped over 7 percent.

Indiana Postpones Execution To Test DNA

This news from Indiana: four days before he was scheduled to be executed, Darnell Williams has been given a short new lease on life. Yesterday Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon postponed Friday?s execution to allow for last-minute DNA testing. Williams was convicted of killing two in 1986 but he never admitted to the murder.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia yesterday, attorneys for death row inmate Nicholas James Yarris, said new DNA testing proves he was not guilty of a 1983 rape and murder. The Associated Press reports he could become the first person on Pennsylvania’s death row to be cleared by DNA evidence.

Texas Dem. Lawyers Flee to NM to Protest GOP

For the second time in three months Democratic state lawmakers from Texas fled the state yesterday in an attempt to block a Republican move to redraw the state?s congressional districts to be more friendly to the GOP.

Eleven of the 12 Democrats went to Albuquerque. Three months ago, members of the Texas House holed themselves up in a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma.

NYC to Open First Public High School for LGBT Community

This fall New York City will open the nation?s first public school devoted to gay, bisexual and transgender students. About 100 students are expected to enroll in the Harvey Milk High School named after San Fransisco’s first openly gay supervisor who was assassinated in 1978.

Vatican Launches Campaign Against Same-Sex Unions

Meanwhile The Vatican is launching a worldwide campaign against marriage between same-sex couples.

Next week the Vatican will release a document titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons." It outlines how politicians and members of the church can oppose same-sex unions.

Bush Places New Sanctions on Burma

President Bush signed the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act to impose tough new sanctions on Burma. Bush also condemned the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

And a California Judge will decide this week whether a lawsuit against oil giant Unocal for its involvement in Burma can proceed. The suit alleges that the Burmese military used forced labor and rape to clear the way for an oil pipeline.

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