crowd control
number 122    
09.30.07
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

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   Links of the Week

US District Court opinion
striking down President Bush's
executive order restricting
public availability of
p
residential records

Women and peace and
security : United Nations
Secretary General report

Shifting Targets : The
Administration’s plan for Iran,
by Seymour M. Hersh

Autumn Maple with Poem Slips,
c.1675


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May Day  
March in
Chicago
ma
source: US Census
Bureau
citizens with a bachelor's
degree or higher
selected states
%                 20                  40
ky
ut
wv
wi
verbatim                                         number 24.1
"It’s also
important for
people to know...
...we just want to live
under those universal
values, God-given
values."
Washington  DC
10.11.02
...we never seek to
impose our culture
or our form of
government...
Public health officials and consumer
groups have responded with growing
alarm to the emerging scientific
consensus that chemical compounds
found in a wide range of common
household products may pose
serious health risks for humans. The
California state legislature recently
approved legislation banning the use
of certain phthalates, extensively
used in plastics, in the manufacture
of children’s toys. Last month, a
group of 38 prominent scientists
issued an unusually urgent warning
that the compound bisphenol-A, one
of the highest volume chemicals in
the world, is probably responsible for
significant reproductive dysfunction
in humans.

The chemicals are so widely used in
plastics manufacturing, and released
into the atmosphere in such volumes,
that
studies show that most animals and
humans on earth have detectable
levels in their bodies. Consumer
societies that routinely use plastic
house wares, sanitary products, and
packaging are subject to particularly
high levels of the microscopic plastic
compounds, which doctors say are
especially harmful to infants.
Researchers say that the levels of
the chemicals commonly observed in
humans exceed the levels in animals
that showed adverse health effects in
laboratory tests.

Representatives for the plastics
industry dismissed the warnings
about bisphenol-A, describing the
scientists’ statement as alarmist and
the evidence as inconclusive.
California chemical lobbyists  similarly
questioned the science behind the
ban on phthalates, which is awaiting
the signature of the governor.     
it's
all true
US law enforcement agencies
made a total of 829,627 marijuana
arrests in 2006, the fourth
consecutive new record,
according to statistics released by
the FBI. 89 percent of these
arrests, or 738, 916, were for
simple possession with no intent
to distribute. According to the
Washington, DC-based Marijuana
Policy Project, arrests for
possession of marijuana
exceeded arrests for all violent
crimes combined.

“The bottom line is that we are
wasting billions of dollars each
year on a failed policy,” said MPP
executive director Rob Kampia.
“Despite record arrests,
marijuana use remains higher
than it was 15 years ago, when
arrests were less than half the
present level.”

A study published this week by
public policy analyst Jon Gettman
estimates that the costs of
administering marijuana-related
cases in the criminal justice
system are more than $10 billion
a year. The study also concludes
that government regulation of
marijuana sales would generate
more than $30 billion annually in
revenues.      
it's all true
General Peter Pace, who
leaves the chairmanship of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff this week,
took an opportunity recently to
clarify his position on whether
or not gays should be allowed
to serve in the US military.  
Pace told the Senate that his
“upbringing is one that says
that sex between anyone other
than a man and woman inside
the bonds of marriage is a
sin.”  

Pace made the statement
before the Senate
Appropriations Committee in
testimony regarding a
supplemental funding proposal
for the occupation of Iraq.  
Pace's remarks were met by
jeering from audience
members causing Committee
Chair Senator Robet Byrd (D-
WV) to clear the gallery.  

Pace’s statement was
prompted by a question from
Senator Tom Harkin who
asked Pace if he wanted to
clarify statements that he
made earlier this year about
homosexuals that Harkin said
were perceived as “hurtful” by
some in the US military.  Last
March Pace told the editorial
board of the Chicago Tribune
that he did not “believe the
United States is well served by
a policy that says it is OK to be
immoral” referring to the “don’t
ask, don’t tell” policy in the
armed forces.

“Are there wonderful
Americans who happen to be
homosexual serving in the
military?  Yes,” Pace testified,
but, the US Military Code of
Justice should not “condone
activity” that counters "God’s
law.”              
it's all true
The Department of Homeland
Security announced a revision of its
policy regarding passenger
screening that requires the
Transportation Security
Administration to vet all US air
passengers before every commercial
air flight.  Currently, employees of US
airline companies check airline
passengers against a “terrorist watch
list” that has been developed by DHS.

The new predeparture regulation
requires air carriers to transmit to the
TSA all "manifest information on
passengers as each passenger
checks in for the flight, up to the time
when aircraft doors are secured.”  
The TSA will then decide which
passengers will be
able to board the airplane and travel
to their destinations.  The
department said that the change
“enables our frontline personnel to
get passenger information prior to
boarding” to “better identify
individuals who may pose a known or
suspected threat.”  

Homeland Security said that it might,
in the future, ask airlines to provide
additional information such as
gender and a physical description of
travelers, but for now, the new rules
currently only require that airlines
provide traveler name and itinerary.  
The department said the airline’s
provision of any “other personal data
will be completely voluntary” at this
time.
The data received by DHS from
airlines is entered into the agency’
s Automated Targeting System.  
The system holds the name and
itinerary information of all
travelers, but also contains the
incidental impressions and notes
taken by TSA employees in
secondary screenings and
interviews.  Records obtained by
travelers through freedom of
information requests disclosed that
screeners recorded and reported
a wide variety of information about
passengers including, traveler’s
races, descriptions of personal
items they were carrying, the
names and addresses of people
they were staying with, and the
titles of books travelers were
carrying with them.    
it's all true
US sniper units in Iraq were secretly
ordered to scatter military material in
public places as “bait,” and then
shoot whoever happened to pick it
up. Because they were in possession
of the bait, typically wires and
detonation devices, the slain civilians
were then classified as enemy
combatants, according to testimony
at a court martial in Baghdad last
week. The tactic was first revealed in
a report by the
Washington Post,
which obtained court documents
detailing the baiting program as
implemented by the Pentagon’s
Asymmetric Warfare Group.

The AWG provided sniper units with
“drop weapons” to use in the baiting
operations. In a sworn statement,
Captain Matthew P. Didier said, “If
someone found the item, picked it up
and attempted to leave with the item,
we would engage the individual, as I
saw this as a sign they would use the
item against US forces.” Other
testimony at last week’s court martial
of Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval
confirmed that US sniper units
participated in numerous baiting
operations. Sandoval, who was
convicted of planting evidence but
cleared of murder charges in the
shooting of an Iraqi civilian, claimed
that he had acted within the
parameters of the baiting program.

The Asymmetric Warfare Group
advises forces on how to deal with
the unconventional methods of
insurgents, including improvised
explosive devices. Within months of
the introduction of the baiting
program, at least three US soldiers
were implicated in a series of
incidents in which evidence was
planted to make unprovoked
shootings seem
justified. Two other members of
Sandoval’s unit are awaiting trial
on charges of murdering Iraqi
civilians. Based on the apparent
success of Sandoval’s defense,
lawyers for the accused snipers
are expected to argue that the
existence of the baiting program
makes the rules of engagement in
Iraq unclear.

One of the accused soldiers,
Sergeant Evan Vela, testified at
Sandoval’s trial that his immediate
superior ordered him to shoot an
unarmed man in the head at close
range, and then again as he lay
on the ground. Vela and Staff
Sergeant Michael A. Hensley then
placed an AK-47 rifle near the
body. Vela and others testified
that they felt pressure from their
commanders to register higher
numbers of enemy combatants
killed.         
it's all true
A report submitted to Congress this
week details actions by the private
mercenary army Blackwater USA in
Iraq that reveals the company has a
record of instigating violent
confrontations that have resulted in
the deaths of dozens of Iraqi
civilians.  

The report was based upon State
Department reports and internal
documents and memoranda from
Blackwater which revealed that the
company has been involved in an
average of 1.4 shooting incidents per
week since 2005 and that in 80
percent of those incidents,
Blackwater employees fired the first
shots.  The chairman of the House
Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, Henry Waxman,
said that the State Department has
acted as “Blackwater’s enabler” by
refusing to hold the company to
account for the aggressive rampages
that have been reported.  Waxman
also said that a senior military official
had told him, “Blackwater’s actions
are creating resentment among Iraqis
that may be worse than Abu
Ghraib.”  Blackwater is the private
security firm contracted by the US
State Department to provide security
for officials in Iraq.

The report said that Blackwater has
been involved in nearly 200 shooting
incidents in Iraq, which is more
that the combined incidents reported
by the other private security firms
operating under State Department
contract in Iraq.  The incidents
primarily involve situations where
employees of Blackwater fired into
crowds from moving vehicles.  
Blackwater’s own statistics showed
that over 80 percent of the
“escalation of force” incidents its
employees were involved in resulted
in either property damage or
casualties.  The report detailed
several instances where employees
attempted to cover up murders of
Iraqi civilians and attempted to pay
off the families of shooting victims.  
The report revealed that the State
Department assisted in ferrying a
Blackwater employee out of Iraq who
is known to have killed the
bodyguard of the vice president of
Iraq in a drunken rage.

In recent testimony before Congress,
the owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince
said that Blackwater could do little
when confronted with allegations that
its employees have murdered Iraqi
civilians.  Prince told Congress, “We
fire them, we fine them, but we can’t
do anything else.”  When asked by
Rep Danny Davis (D-IL) if he would
at least acknowledge that Black
Water employees had killed
“innocent Iraqis“, Prince responded,
“There could be ricochets, there are
traffic accidents, this is war.”  
it's all
true
Blackwater’s Jingoistic Jarheads Jeopardize Generals’
Chaos
Police Target
High Crimes,
Misdemeanors
General Sets Pace
For Religious
Bigotry
Secret Strategy Encourages Entrapment, Exaggerates
Effects
Plastic Pollution Requires Drastic Solution
TSA Passenger Check-in Procedure Flies in the Face of
Freedom
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