Saturday, May 5, 2012

12-05-05 Focus on the US judiciary...


FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2012 07:23 PM MEDT

More federal judge abdication

The branch designed to be insulated from political pressures has been the most craven of all in the post-9/11 era


The abdication of U.S. federal judges in the post-9/11 era, and their craven subservience to Executive Branch security claims, has been a topic I’ve written about several times over the past couples of weeks. Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals adopted the argument of the Obama DOJ that John Yoo is needless to say ­ fully immune from any and all liability for having authorized the torture of Jose Padilla, on the ground that the illegality of Yoo’s conduct was not “beyond debate” at the time he engaged in it. Everything I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the identical shielding of Donald Rumsfeld by federal courts and the Obama DOJ from similar claims applies to yesterday’s ruling, and The New York Times has a good editorial today condemning this ruling as “misguided and dangerous.”


12-05-05 Remembering the Kent State shooting...

Questions Remain 42 Years After Kent State Shootings


Forty-two years ago on May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of unarmed students at Kent State University, firing between 61 and 67 shots over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and injuring nine others. The shootings at Kent State symbolized the deep divides that existed in America during the Vietnam War era and played a significant role in shaping the way a generation interacted with its government. The iconic images of the events of May 4, 1970 are just as powerful today as they were when news of the shooting sparked nationwide protests.
The only known audio recording of those events was made by Terry Strubbe, who placed a microphone out of his window and recorded 29 minutes of audio. At least two copies of the Strubbe tape were made, with one ending up in Yale University's Kent State Collection in 1989. In 2010, the Cleveland Plain Dealer engaged forensic audio engineers to examine a copy of the Yale recording made by Alan Canfora, one of the 13 victims of the Kent State shootings. 
That analysis made a stunning finding: Shots were fired before the National Guard opened fire. That evidence could be significant, because it could connect an FBI paid informant who was on campus that day and who possessed a gun that might have been the one caught by Strubbe's microphone.
In 2010, as chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I opened an inquiry into this evidence. I requested that Yale University make another copy of the Strubbe tape to ensure its authenticity, and sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Department of Justice undertake a forensic analysis of this authenticated recording. The DOJ obliged my request; and more than a year later, I received a reply. The DOJ concluded that the tape was unintelligible, but that the sounds preceding the fire from the guardsmen were likely to be the sound of Strubbe's dorm room opening and closing.
Despite the detailed response from the Justice Department, significant questions remain. There was no attempt to reconcile major discrepancies in conclusions among expert analysts. The role of Terry Norman, the FBI informant on campus that day, was not discussed. In order to lay these questions to rest, I wrote to the Justice Department requesting the full analysis used to reach their conclusions.
The Kent State shootings remain a significant event in American history. Nothing less than a full investigation is warranted.

12-05-05 Drones coming soon to the sky of a city near you...

Drones invade campus

Universities are buying drones faster than police departments -- and the military is helping foot the bill

(Credit: McGloughlin via Shutterstock/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock)
For all the attention given to U.S. law enforcement’s interest in adopting drones, the biggest users turn out to be not police departments, but universities. We learned this last week, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation forced the Federal Aviation Administration to reveal that it had approved 25 universities to fly drones in U.S. airspace. Not that universities were waiting on the FAA to begin working in the field: Last fall, Kansas State University created a degree in unmanned aviation. So far, 30 undergraduates have signed up.
The spreading drone curriculum is, for better and worse, a sign of the coming normalization of drones in American life. Interviews with university officials revealed widespread excitement about the possibilities of unmanned aviation technology, which has the potential to transform fields like agriculture and disaster response. The U.S. military, however, is funding parts of this academic research, and so are leading defense contractors. Whether their intentions are as pure as the universities’ is an open question.


12-05-05 Welcome Turkey!

Last New Visitor

Visited 7 minutes ago

12-05-05 Welcome UK!

Last New Visitor

United Kingdom 
Visited 18 minutes ago

12-05-05 Welcome India!

Last New Visitor

Visited 11 minutes ago