one nation, under surveillance
number 118    
09.02.07
interpreting the constitution

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Inside
Wrigley Field
verbatim                                                                 number 23.2
"I don't know whether I'm
going to win or not.
I think I am...
...I do know I'm ready for the
job. And, if not, that's just the
way it goes."
    Des Moines  IA     08.21.00
source: University of
Kassel
Water availability in
thousands of cubic meters
per person s
elected countries
0                 90              177
us
gabon
botswana
canada
Recent studies show that the rate
of mortality for newborns in the
US ranks at the bottom of the list
of industrial countries and that the
number of mothers who die in
childbirth is rising in the US.

A study by Save the Children
found that the infant mortality rate
in the US, five deaths for every
1000 births, was tied with
countries such as Hungary, Malta
and Slovakia.  The researchers
also found that infant mortality
rates in the US were almost
double that average for
disadvantaged and minority
mothers.  Babies born in the US
are three times more likely to die
in their first months than babies
born in Japan, and US infants are
more than two times more likely to
die in their early months than
babies born in Iceland, Norway,
and Finland.

A study by the National Center for
Health Statistics found that the
number of American women who
die in childbirth has risen for the
first time since 1977.  The Center  
reported that the rate of mothers
who died in labor rose to 12 per
100,000 in 2003.            
it's all true
The Bush Administration said that it
intends to send Justice Department
attorneys to a court hearing
scheduled for this week in a case
where privacy advocates, European
regulators and US clients of an
international financial consortium
allege that their privacy has been
compromised because the
consortium has handed vast amounts
of financial data over to the CIA at
the government’s demand since
2001.

Justice Department lawyers will likely
seek to quash the case by invoking
the “states secrets privilege” claiming
that if the case is allowed to go
forward secret government methods
and targets of investigation will be
revealed.  

The case involves the Belgium
financial cooperative called Swift,
which is one of the world’s largest
international banking and financial
institutions.  The Swift consortium
routes trillions of dollars between
brokerage houses and international
banking firms everyday.  Beginning
shortly after the terror attacks of
2001 in America, Swift agreed to
transfer records concerning millions
of private financial transactions to the
Treasury Department and the CIA in
response to broad ranging
subpoenas from US government
attorneys.  The government made
the broad demands
for the records so that it could review
the millions of transactions in an
attempt to trace terrorist financing
schemes.

A federal judge in Chicago agreed
with the plaintiffs that Swift’s
provision of the private financial
records may violate the privacy rights
of the cooperative’s clients and ruled
to allow the lawsuit to proceed in
June.  At a hearing in July, attorneys
for the Justice Department argued
that if the judge were to allow the trial
to continue, secret national security
programs would be exposed.  Justice
Department lawyers asked that the
case be dismissed to “protect Swift
from the burden of further litigation”
and to “preserve” the government’s
program of reviewing private financial
transactions.

An attorney for the plaintiffs told the
New York Times that the
government’s review of Swift’s
transactions is an “Orwellian example
of government overreaching” that is
“not consistent with the values upon
which our country was founded.”

The Bush administration has invoked
the state secrets privilege 39 times in
the past six years.  The privilege was
invoked about two times a year
during preceding
administrations.                 
it's all true
Newly released FBI documents reveal
the existence of a surveillance
sub-structure that the government
uses to be able to listen to any
phone conversation, read e-mails,
track conversations as they take
place and even listen into
conversations on push-to-talk
communications devices.

Documents released under the
Freedom of Information Act to the
Electronic Frontier Foundation
described the surveillance system
called the Digital Collection System
Network that allows the FBI to
instantly listen to or record the
majority of communications in the US
through direct links into the switching
equipment owned by the
nation’s largest telecommunications
companies.  

Analysis of the documents by
Wired
Magazine
disclosed that the system
is controlled by a sophisticated
software suite that allows FBI agents
to remotely set up a wiretap on any
phone, pinpoint the location of the
caller and recipient of any
communications on that line and
create digital wiretap files of
conversations that can be stored or
subjected to data mining.  The DCSN
system can tap landlines, cell phones
and voice-over-internet
communications.  

The scope of the DCSN system was
not known before the court ordered
the
release of the documents to the EFF.  
The system was developed over the past
thirteen years after the Clinton
administration passed a law that was
intended to modernize wiretapping to
keep up with cellular and digital
technology.  The Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
mandated that phone companies build
surveillance “back doors” into all existing
and future telecommunications switching
equipment.  The FBI has spent more than
$600 million to develop the system that
allows agents to log-on directly to the
switching equipment of the nation’s
telecommunications
companies.                   
it's all true
Staff attorneys at the Justice
Department are increasingly
unwilling to participate in cases
involving the detainees being
held by the Bush
administration as “enemy
combatants” at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba. Up to a quarter of
the department’s civil appellate
lawyers have quietly refused to
handle cases against the
detainees’ appeals, which are
to be argued in the District of
Columbia Circuit Court,
according to
US News and
World Report
. Observers say
the silent rebellion will only add
to the turmoil at the
department, which will be run
on an interim basis by Solicitor
General Paul Clement after
Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales steps down later this
month.

The appeals were placed
under the jurisdiction of the
civil appellate staff by a judge’
s order last February.
Although the Justice
Department has no formal
procedure allowing staff
attorneys to decline certain
cases,
US News found that a
significant number have “opted
out” of the detainee litigation
because of their
disagreements with the
government’s legal position,
and that the “objectors have
created some tension among
the appellate staff.”  
Department spokesmen
declined to comment on the
report.

While the detainees’ appeals
proceed in the DC Circuit
Court, the ruling that landed
the cases there is due to be
revisited by the US Supreme
Court during its fall session, as
it reviews the Military
Commissions Act.      
it's all true
With the contract between the big
three US auto manufacturers and the
United Auto Workers Union set to
expire in less than two weeks, the
industry is pressuring the union to
agree to major new concessions in
pay and benefits. Two of the
companies, Ford and General
Motors, have told union negotiators
that they will consider moving all
manufacturing operations overseas
in an effort to reduce labor costs they
say are making the American auto
industry uncompetitive, according to
a report in the British
Observer
newspaper. The threat to close down
all North American operations was
revealed as the UAW membership
voted on a strike authorization ballot
last week.

The companies say they need to cut
“labor costs,” which are primarily
pension and benefit commitments, by
up
to a third, to operate profitably in the
US market. Talks are underway to
arrange a reallocation of the pension
and healthcare costs for retirees,
with the companies seeking to
transfer the obligations to the union.
According to the
Observer, “If a
deal cannot be reached, Ford and
GM negotiators have said the
companies will have no choice but to
move their North American
operations to countries in Latin
America and Asia where
manufacturing costs are cheaper.”

This summer, Detroit’s three largest
auto makers saw their combined
share of the US market drop below
50 percent for the first time in
history.  Analysts note that tight
credit and decreased consumer
spending, fallout from the mortgage
banking crisis, can be expected to
impact US auto sales.       
it's all true
Iranian uranium enrichment activities
have slowed considerably since May,
with the nuclear facility at Natanz
operating well below the capacity
required to produce weapons-grade
material, according to a report by the
United Nations nuclear watchdog
agency.

The modest rate of production and
the relatively low quality of the
enriched uranium mean that the
nation is a long way from mounting a
secret nuclear weapons program,
say sources familiar with the latest
round of negotiations between
Iranian officials and UN inspectors.
The report, which was prepared by
the International Atomic Energy
Agency, also noted that Tehran had
cooperated with agency efforts to
resolve outstanding issues, and had
scaled back construction work on a
planned reactor at Arak. Despite the
evidence of the largely upbeat
report, representatives of the Bush
administration continued to escalate
allegations that Iran is pursuing
nuclear weapons.

The conclusions of the report are
likely to dampen international support
for a US-backed initiative seeking
tough new UN sanctions against
Tehran. IAEA inspectors found that
the Natanz facility had about 2000
operational centrifuges, arranged in
12 cascades, in place in mid-August,
well below the amount needed to
produce the highly-enriched material
needed for a weapons program. The
low-grade uranium being produced is
suitable for nuclear power
generation, which is the stated
purpose of the Iranian research. A
senior UN official told the
Reuters
news service,  “Iran made a fast start
but then there was a leveling off.
We don’t know the reasons, but
the slow pace continues.”

Nuclear technology experts were
surprised by the lack of progress
at Natanz, saying that the plant is
producing only 15 percent of the
enriched uranium projected by
recent analyses. While it is
possible that Iranian scientists
have encountered significant
technical obstacles, diplomatic
observers say that Tehran may
have intentionally slowed the
program for political reasons. But
increased cooperation with the
IAEA did not affect the US push
for a new package of sanctions
against Iran, with President Bush
saying last week that Iranian
development of nuclear
technology puts the entire Middle
East “under the shadow of a
nuclear holocaust.”                   
it's
all true
Surveillance Substructure Simplifies Spying on
Citizens
Bank Provides Statements to CIA, Waives
Fees
US Health Care
Fails to Deliver
Negotiators Get Mileage From Auto Industry
Breakdown
White House Unveils New Threats in Face of Iranian Cooperation
Appellate Mutiny
Draws Little Scrutiny
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