Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Saturday, August 07, 2010

CNN host returns ADL award over stance on Islamic center - CNN.com

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International...Image via Wikipedia
CNN host returns ADL award over stance on Islamic center - CNN.com

New York (CNN) -- Fareed Zakaria, the CNN host and Newsweek columnist, has returned a prestigious prize to the Anti-Defamation League, another rebuke for the esteemed civil rights group's opposition to an Islamic center near ground zero.
Zakaria, who received the ADL's Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize five years ago, gave back the honor to ADL for publicly siding "with those urging the relocation" of the center, which would be located near the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"I cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it and am returning both," he said.
It is the latest in a wave of stinging criticism toward the Jewish organization's position from a range of people and groups, including those in the Jewish community, and the ADL said it was "saddened and stunned" by Zakaria's decision.
The ADL, which exists to fight discrimination, especially anti-Semitism, has said the center's backers had "every right to build at this site" and that "the bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But at the same time, it said "that building the center at the site will cause some victims more pain -- unnecessarily -- and that is not right."
In a letter dated Friday to ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, Zakaria explained that he had been "delighted and moved" to be picked for the award "because of the high esteem" he had for the ADL.
"I have always been impressed by the fact that your mission is broad -- 'to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens' -- and you have interpreted it broadly over the decades. You have fought discrimination against all religions, races, and creeds and have built a well-deserved reputation," Zakaria said.
That's why, he said, he was "stunned" that the ADL used its "immense prestige to take a side that is utterly opposed" to its own "animating purpose." He said the group's statements that it "must honor the feelings of victims even if irrational or bigoted, made matters worse."
Zakaria said he hopes his move will complement those who are urging the ADL "to reconsider and reverse" its stance.
"This decision will haunt the ADL for years if not decades to come. Whether or not the center is built, what is at stake here is the integrity of the ADL and its fidelity to its mission. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain your reputation," he said.
Foxman responded with a letter to Zakaria, saying he's "not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision."
"As someone I greatly respect for engaging in discussion and dialogue with an open mind, I would have expected you to reach out to me before coming to judgment," Foxman said.
Foxman reiterated that the group isn't opposing the right for an Islamic center or a mosque to be built and that it has and will continue to stand up for Muslims and others who are "targets of racism and bigotry."
More...


Fareed Zakaria is an excellent journalist whose integrity is beyond reproach. This was a courageous step taken towards an organization that is usually on the right side of history.  Their stance against the mosque is inexplicable given their progressive history.  Shame on them.  This is America where we have a First Amendment that protects everyones right of freedom of religious expression and freedom of association.  This is a stain on the legacy of a very good organization.  Whoever made this decision should be fired.

John H. Armwood

AP Interview: WikiLeaks to publish new documents - Yahoo! News

AP Interview: WikiLeaks to publish new documents - Yahoo! News

BERLIN – The online whistle-blower WikiLeaks said it will continue to publish more secret files from governments around the world despite U.S. demands to cancel plans to release classified military documents.
"I can assure you that we will keep publishing documents — that's what we do," a WikiLeaks spokesman, who says he goes by the name Daniel Schmitt in order to protect his identity, told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.
Schmitt said he could not comment on any specific documents but asserted that the publication of classified documents about the Afghanistan war directly contributed to the public's understanding of the conflict.
"Knowledge about ongoing issues like the war in Afghanistan is the only way to help create something like safety," Schmitt said. "Hopefully with this understanding, public scrutiny will then influence governments to develop better politics."
He rejected allegations that the group's publication of leaked U.S. government documents was a threat to America's national security or put lives at risk.

GOP avoids gay marriage ruling - Maggie Haberman - POLITICO.com

GOP avoids gay marriage ruling - Maggie Haberman - POLITICO.com

When a federal judge in California last week ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, several political observers braced for a flood of Republican blasts on the issue that could end up resonating in campaigns nationally.

Instead, the anticipated GOP bang over the ban — known as Proposition 8 — amounted to little more than a whimper. There were angry columns and cries of protest from right-wing groups and conservative writers, but the majority of the Republican establishment kept on a bread-and-butter message — and party leaders are encouraging them not to stray.

It also was expected that Democrats, outside of deep-Blue states, would not press the issue in broad strokes — but the relative calm from a party whose last president called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage and denounced activist judges was telling about the meta-narrative of the 2010 cycle.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Strange Fruit: Anniversary Of A Lynching : NPR

Strange Fruit: Anniversary Of A Lynching : NPR

Eighty years ago, two young African-American men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched in the town center of Marion, Ind. The night before, on Aug. 6, 1930, they had been arrested and charged with the armed robbery and murder of a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and the rape of his companion, Mary Ball.

That evening, local police were unable to stop a mob of thousands from breaking into the jail with sledgehammers and crowbars to pull the young men out of their cells and lynch them.

News of the lynching spread across the world. Local photographer Lawrence Beitler took what would become the most iconic photograph of lynching in America. The photograph shows two bodies hanging from a tree surrounded by a crowd of ordinary citizens, including women and children. Thousands of copies were made and sold. The photograph helped inspire the poem and song "Strange Fruit" written by Abel Meeropol — and performed around the world by Billie Holiday.

But there was a third person, 16-year-old James Cameron, who narrowly survived the lynching.

Pentagon Asks WikiLeaks to ‘Do the Right Thing’ - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Asks WikiLeaks to ‘Do the Right Thing’ - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon demanded on Thursday that WikiLeaks “do the right thing” and remove from its Web site tens of thousands of classified documents about the war in Afghanistan, and return to the military thousands of others that it had not yet made public.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said the Web site’s disclosure last week of a six-year archive of some 77,000 documents gave the Taliban and other militant groups insights into American military tactics and techniques, showed how the United States protects its troops in war zones and revealed the names of Afghan informants and how the military cultivates them.

Most of Mr. Morrell’s briefing focused on the information WikiLeaks had already made public. But Pentagon officials are especially concerned about 15,000 additional documents that WikiLeaks has withheld so far to remove identifying information.

“Public disclosure of additional Defense Department classified information can only make the damage worse,” Mr. Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon. “We are asking them to do the right thing. We hope they will honor our demands and comply with our demands.”

Mr. Morrell’s appeal is the Obama administration’s latest response to the disclosure, which has set off a criminal inquiry by the Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prompted a sweeping Pentagon review of the documents to hunt for any information damaging to troop safety and national security, and increased pressure on President Obama to defend his war strategy.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons | World news | The Guardian

Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons


The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres and P W Botha
The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres,
now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa.
Photograph: Guardian

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.
The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.
The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa's post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky's request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week's nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.
They will also undermine Israel's attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.
A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were "never any negotiations" between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.
The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials "formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal".
Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.
The memo, marked "top secret" and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: "In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere."
But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: "Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available." The document then records: "Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice." The "three sizes" are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.
The use of a euphemism, the "correct payload", reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong's memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.
In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.
Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel's prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.
The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with "special warheads". Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer.

Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: "It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement... shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party".
The agreement also said that neither party could unilaterally renounce it.
The existence of Israel's nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. "The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date," he said. "The South Africans didn't seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime's old allies."
_________________________________________________
President Peres should resign based upon these revelations.  His purposeful deception is reprehensible.  This activity was an act of pure evil.  The apartheid era South African regime was one of the most barbaric governments of the 20th century.  To offer such a regime nuclear weapons is unfathomable, a moral lapse of gargantuan proportions.   The State of Israel owes an apology to the people of South Africa.  The Israel government should have the moral courage to admit its wrongdoing, apologize and move on.  Unfortunately there is little likelihood that this will happen.  This is sad.

John H. Armwood

BBC News - US attends first Hiroshima atomic bomb anniversary

BBC News - US attends first Hiroshima atomic bomb anniversary

The Japanese city of Hiroshima is marking the 65th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

For the first time, a representative of the United States, which dropped the bomb on the city, is attending.

About 140,000 people were killed or died within months of the bomb being dropped by a US aircraft in 1945 in the final days of World War II.

Japan surrendered after a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later on 9 August.

Washington's decision to send its ambassador to Tokyo, John Roos, is being seen by some in Japan as a sign that President Barack Obama may decide to visit Hiroshima when he comes to Japan.

If so, he would be the first sitting US president to visit the city.

Mexico Court Upholds Gay Marriage Law - NYTimes.com

Mexico Court Upholds Gay Marriage Law - NYTimes.com

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's supreme court on Thursday upheld a landmark law that allows gay marriage in the capital city, bucking a challenge raised by the conservative government of President Felipe Calderon.

This year, Mexico City became the first capital in mainly Catholic Latin America to pass a law allowing gay couples the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexuals.

But Calderon's government and his right-wing National Action Party, or PAN, argued the law was unconstitutional on grounds it would be destructive to families. The powerful Catholic hierarchy in Mexico calls gay marriage immoral.

While the supreme court decided gay marriage was constitutional, it will review the adoption clause on Monday.

"Those of us who are in favor of this (law) are in favor of diversity and tolerance," Supreme Court Justice Arturo Zaldivar said during the court's deliberations.

"Our constitution does not establish a concept of marriage," he said.

Since the law was passed, more than 300 same-sex couples have tied the knot, the majority of them men.

Activists see the law as part of a sea change in attitudes on homosexuality in much of traditionally macho Latin America.

Argentina this year passed a law allowing gay marriage nationwide, the first such measure in the region. Neighboring Uruguay allows same-sex couples to adopt under civil unions, but not to marry.

Mexico City's bill was pushed through by leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has backed other liberal measures like the legalization of abortion, which remains illegal in most cases across the rest of the country.

Kagan Joins Supreme Court After 63-37 Vote in Senate - NYTimes.com

Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court justiceImage via Wikipedia
Kagan Joins Supreme Court After 63-37 Vote in Senate - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court on Thursday, giving President Obama his second appointment to the high court in a year, and a political victory as the Senate neared the end of its business for the summer.

Ms. Kagan, a former dean of the Harvard Law School and a legal adviser in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, was approved by a vote of 63 to 37 after hearings and floor debate that showcased competing views of Democrats and Republicans about the court, but exposed no significant stumbling blocks to her confirmation.

She becomes the fourth woman ever named to the court, and will join two other woman currently serving, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Obama administration nominee, who was confirmed almost exactly one year ago.

“Her qualifications, intelligence, temperament and judgment will make her a worthy successor to Justice John Paul Stevens,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said of Ms. Kagan.

Five Republicans joined 56 Democrats and two independents in supporting the nomination; 36 Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, opposed her. In a sign of the import of the moment, senators were asked to record their votes from their desks.

The sharp partisan divide over the nomination illustrated the increasing political polarization of fights over high court nominees, who in years past were backed by both parties in the absence of some disqualifying factor. Ms. Kagan received fewer Republican votes than Justice Sotomayor, who was supported by nine in her 68-31 confirmation on Aug. 6, 2009. Democrats balked at President George W. Bush’s nominee, Samuel A. Alito Jr., with only four endorsing him in a 58 to 42 vote in January 2006.

At age 50, Ms. Kagan could have a long tenure on the court, but her confirmation is not seen as significantly altering the current, closely divided ideological makeup of the court, which is often split 5-4 on major decisions.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

More billionaires take Buffett's pledge to give it away | Money & Company | Los Angeles Times

More billionaires take Buffett's pledge to give it away | Money & Company | Los Angeles Times

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates say they’ve gotten pledges from 38 other super-rich Americans to give most of their wealth away to charity or other philanthropic causes during their lifetimes or at their death.

In an announcement Wednesday, Buffett said the campaign he and Gates began -- the Giving Pledge -- now includes commitments from billionaires including Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp., Domino’s Pizza Founder Tom Monaghan and Hilton Hotels’ Barron Hilton.

The full list is at givingpledge.org.

“We’ve really just started, but already we’ve had a terrific response,” Buffett said in a statement.

The campaign, launched in June, asks wealthy individuals and families to formally pledge more than 50% of their money to philanthropic causes or charity, presumably rather than leaving it in the family. It’s a moral commitment, not a legal one.

The plan took root after a May 2009 meeting Buffett and Gates set up for a small group of the super-rich, including Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, George Soros and Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad.

Of course, many of the wealthiest people who’ve joined the campaign may already have expected to give away most of their wealth. But Buffett said on a conference call Wednesday that “at least a couple” of the new pledge signers had changed their previous plans and increased their anticipated giving to 50% or more.

GivingPledge says the commitments “do not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.”

-- Tom Petruno

U.S. Court Overturns Calif. Same-Sex Marriage Ban - NYTimes.com

U.S. Court Overturns Calif. Same-Sex Marriage Ban - NYTimes.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Saying that it unfairly targets gay men and women, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, handing supporters of such unions a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court.

Wednesday’s decision is just the latest chapter of what is expected to be a long legal battle over the ban – Proposition 8, which was passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote.

Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who heard the case without a jury, immediately stayed his decision pending appeals by proponents of Proposition 8, who confidently predicted that higher courts would be less accommodating than Judge Walker. But on Wednesday, at least, the winds seemed to be at the back of those who feel that marriage is not, as the voters of California and many other states feel, solely the province of a man and a woman.

"Proposition 8 cannot survive any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause," wrote Mr. Walker. "Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest."

‘Static Kill’ Appears to Be Working in Well, BP Says - NYTimes.com

‘Static Kill’ Appears to Be Working in Well, BP Says - NYTimes.com

HOUSTON – An operation that pumped heavy drilling mud to plug BP’s runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has been so successful that Obama administration officials said on Wednesday they are convinced it will never leak again.

BP began the effort, known as a static kill, late Tuesday and stopped pumping after about eight hours to verify that they had filled the Macondo well with mud without springing any new leaks.

Senior government scientists and BP engineers combed through data throughout the day to evaluate the condition of the well piping and whether it made sense to pour cement for a final plug from a surface ship above the well or through a relief well still being drilled.

Technicians said a decision whether to fill the well with cement this week might come later in day. But they said there was no doubt the static kill represented a major step in finally bringing the volatile well under control.

“We have reached a static position in the well that allows us to have high confidence that there will be no oil leaking into the environment,” retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, head of the federal spill response told reporters at a White House briefing. “And we have significantly improved our chances to finally kill the well with the relief well.”

Oil in Gulf Poses Only Slight Risk, New U.S. Report Says - NYTimes.com

Oil in Gulf Poses Only Slight Risk, New U.S. Report Says - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.

A government report finds that about 26 percent of the oil released from BP’s runaway well is still in the water or onshore in a form that could, in principle, cause new problems. But most is light sheen at the ocean surface or in a dispersed form below the surface, and federal scientists believe that it is breaking down rapidly in both places.

On Tuesday, BP began pumping drilling mud into the well in an attempt to seal it for good. Since the flow of oil was stopped with a cap on July 15, people on the Gulf Coast have been wondering if another shoe was going to drop — a huge underwater glob of oil emerging to damage more shorelines, for instance.

Assuming that the government’s calculations stand scrutiny, that looks increasingly unlikely. “There’s absolutely no evidence that there’s any significant concentration of oil that’s out there that we haven’t accounted for,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the lead agency in producing the new report.

She emphasized, however, that the government remained concerned about the ecological damage that has already occurred and the potential for more, and said it would continue monitoring the gulf.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

After Afghan War Leaks, Revisions in a Shield Bill - NYTimes.com

After Afghan War Leaks, Revisions in a Shield Bill - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — Democratic senators who have been working on legislation providing greater protections to reporters who refuse to identify confidential sources are backpedaling from WikiLeaks, the Web site that recently disclosed more than 75,000 classified documents related to the Afghanistan war.

Senators Charles E. Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, Democrats of New York and California, are drafting an amendment to make clear that the bill’s protections extend only to traditional news-gathering activities and not to Web sites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents. The so-called “media shield” bill is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.

“WikiLeaks should not be spared in any way from the fullest prosecution possible under the law,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “Our bill already includes safeguards when a leak impacts national security, and it would never grant protection to a Web site like this one, but we will take this extra step to remove even a scintilla of doubt.”

The bill would allow reporters, when faced with subpoenas seeking to compel them to testify about their confidential sources, to ask a federal judge to quash the demand rather than fining or jailing them for contempt of court if they refuse to comply. About three dozen states have such a law for state courts.

Under the bill, federal judges would evaluate requests to quash a subpoena by balancing the public interest against the need to identify a source, providing different levels of protection depending on the nature of the case.

The information seeker would also have to exhaust all other means of obtaining the names before seeking a journalist’s testimony, though matters involving threats to national security would be exempted from some protections.

It is not clear whether WikiLeaks — a confederation of open-government advocates who solicit secret documents for publication — could be subject to a federal subpoena. Federal courts most likely do not have jurisdiction over it or a means to serve it with such a subpoena.

Moreover, WikiLeaks says that its Web site uses technology that makes it impossible to trace the source of documents that are submitted to it, so even if the organization were compelled to disclose a source, it is not clear that it would be able to do so.

Still, in case WikiLeaks or a similar organization sought to invoke a shield law, proponents of the legislation are trying to create legislative history that would show judges that Congress did not intend for the law to cover such organizations. The idea, aides said, would be to add language bolstering a section defining who would be covered by the law as a journalist — an area that can be tricky in an era of blogging and proliferation of online-only news media outlets.

Paul J. Boyle, senior vice president for public policy at the Newspaper Association of America — which supports the bill — said Senate aides had asked his group to consult on the proposed changes.

Feds Threaten To Sue Arizona Sheriff In Rights Case : NPR

Feds Threaten To Sue Arizona Sheriff In Rights Case : NPR

The county sheriff in Phoenix, known for his efforts against illegal immigrants, is refusing to cooperate in a civil rights investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday. It threatened to sue if he refused to cooperate with the next phase of the probe.
The department has been investigating Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office for alleged discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures. Arpaio is increasingly becoming known as the Arizona sheriff who conducts random raids on places he thinks might be employing illegal immigrants.
His deputies recently raided a suburban Phoenix library at 2:30 a.m., presumably, Justice officials said, to arrest members of the
Enlarge
Although a federal judge suspended several controversial provisions of Arizona's new immigration law, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, shown in front of the county jail last week, said he did not need the law in order to detain undocumented immigrants during a planned crime sweep in Phoenix.
janitorial staff who may have been in the country illegally.
The day after a court put on hold part of Arizona's immigration law that allowed police to ask for proof of citizenship, Arpaio announced an immigration raid that netted three dozen people, six of whom had no documentation.
In a letter, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez gave the sheriff's office until Aug. 17 to turn over documents first requested last year in what the department calls an inquiry into claims of discrimination based on national origin.

2 Guyanese Guilty in Plot to Bomb J.F.K. Airport - NYTimes.com

2 Guyanese Guilty in Plot to Bomb J.F.K. Airport - NYTimes.com

A federal jury found two Guyanese men guilty on Monday of conspiring to attack Kennedy International Airport, concluding a monthlong trial that focused on their plan to blow up fuel tanks and set off a series of explosions along a pipeline that cuts through New York City.

The plot never advanced beyond the conceptual stage, and the planning sessions, some of which were recorded by a confidential informant, were alternately grandiose and absurd in some of its details. Talk of destroying the American economy mixed with suggestions of a “ninja-style” attack.

As in some other recent terrorism cases, the threat as officials described it at the time of the arrests seemed to exceed the suspects’ capacity. Like most of those cases, though, it resulted in conviction.

The defendants, Russell M. Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, had been monitored from an early stage in the plot by the informant, who posed as a member of the group, which included a number of other participants.

The informant, Steven Francis, had recorded the men at the airport during surveillance missions and on international trips to secure financial and logistical support for the attack.

The recordings were used by federal prosecutors to portray Mr. Defreitas, 67, an immigrant who became a United States citizen and is a former cargo handler at the airport, as the “homegrown extremist” who conceived and drove the plot.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Wikileaks editor interrogated by US border police - Americas, World - The Independent

Wikileaks editor interrogated by US border police - Americas, World - The Independent


A senior volunteer for Wikileaks in the US has been detained, questioned and had his phones seized when he returned to the country from Europe, as the FBI steps up its investigation into the leak of thousands of Afghanistan war secrets to the whistleblower website.

Jacob Appelbaum, who has stood in for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange since he was advised not to travel to the US, spent three hours at a New York airport while customs officers photocopied receipts and searched his laptop, and he was again approached and questioned by FBI officers at a computer hackers conference in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Two officers approached Mr Appelbaum after he had given a talk on how to subvert Chinese government internet surveillance at the annual DefCon conference. He declined to talk to them.
_______________________________________
This detention by the U.S. government seems like an act of pure naked intimidation without a basis in law. Wikileak actions do not appear tobe in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793 : US Code - Section 793 and they are protected by the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in NEW YORK TIMES CO. v. UNITED STATES, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) both linked below. It should be noted that no criminal charges have been filed.  They may try to get a judge to jail him based upon civil contempt if he fails to reveal the source of the leaked documents.

John H. Armwood

Related U.S. Statute and The Pentagon Papers Case




"We granted certiorari in these cases in which the United States seeks to enjoin the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing the contents of a classified study entitled "History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Viet Nam Policy." Post, pp. 942, 943.
    "Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity." Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58, 70 (1963); see also Near v. Minnesota,283 U.S. 697 (1931). The Government "thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint." Organization for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415, 419 (1971). The District Court for the Southern District of New York in the New York Times case and the District Court for the District of Columbia and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the Washington Post case held that the Government had not met that burden. We agree.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is therefore affirmed. The order of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is reversed and the case is remanded with directions to enter a judgment affirming the judgment of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. The stays entered June 25, 1971, by the Court are vacated. The judgments shall issue forthwith. So ordered."

Related articles by Zemanta