interpreting the constitution
number 15      
08.07.05
Photographs Somewhat Unflattering to Pentagon
The Pentagon has defied a federal
judge's order to release graphic
evidence of prisoner abuse by US
military personnel. The 87
photographs and four videos all show
acts of abuse against prisoners at
Iraq's Abu Ghraib detention facility.
The release last year of a small
number of photos from the prison
caused an international scandal, and
military officials have steadfastly
opposed further publication of
images of prisoner abuse.

Pentagon lawyers filed a sealed brief
with the judge explaining their
reasons for withholding the images.
Lawyers for the
American Civil Liberties Union, which
is seeking the release of the photos
as part of a larger Freedom of
Information Act lawsuit, complained
that the government was essentially
using stalling tactics. Earlier, lawyers
for the Pentagon argued against
releasing the photos and videos  on
the grounds that further humiliation
of the victims depicted would ensue,
in violation of the Geneva
Conventions.

Speaking in 2004, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld told Congress that
the photographs show behaviour by
US personnel that is "blatantly
sadistic, cruel,
and inhumane." Republican
Senator Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina, a member of the Senate
Armed Services Committee that
viewed the images said at the
time: "We're talking about rape
and murder, and some very
serious charges."

Investigations by the military into
the abuses at Abu Ghraib have
resulted in charges several
lower-level soldiers. No military
personnel higher than facility
commander  Janice Karpinski
have been disciplined. No
charges of rape or murder have
been filed.
interpreting the constitution

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one nation, under surveillance

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News
The energy bill that was
passed by both houses of
Congress before the summer
recess contains over $10
billion in tax breaks and
authorized subsidies for the
energy industry, with the
prospect of many billions
more in future benefits.The
subsidies and tax breaks are
largely targeted toward
traditional energy companies
in the oil, coal, and nuclear
industries.

Proponents of alternative
energy research criticized the
legislation, saying it does little
to reduce US dependence on
foreign sources of petroleum.
Democratic congressmen
noted that the bill lacked any
provision addressing
skyrocketing gasoline prices.
Even the conservative Cato
Institute was critical of the
level of subsidies to an
energy industry "in no need of
taxpayer assistance."

Prior to passage of the bill,
Republicans removed an
amendment that would have
tripled the damages the
Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission could assess in
cases of market manipulation
by energy companies. Also
rejected was an attempt by
Western congressmen to
seek refunds to their states
for overcharges relating to
the  Enron price rigging
scandals of 2000 and 2001.
Two Yemeni men have told a horrific
tale of torture and imprisonment that
substantiates allegations by the
United Nations that the United States
has established a world-wide secret
detention system.  The men,
recently released to Yemeni
custody, have revealed to
government officials and Amnesty
International that they were housed
in solitary confinement in what they
describe as a modern prison facility
hidden underground.

The two men were held for over a
year and a half without seeing
daylight, shackled for a majority of
the time in solitary confinement
without the right to speak to
attorneys, representatives from
Yemen, human right’s organizations
or their families.

Amnesty International reported that
the Yemenis were both originally
arrested in Jordan and flown first to
what was described as an “old-style”
detention center in an unknown
country.  They were then transferred
to a final modern purpose built
underground prison where American
personnel who were reported to be
dressed “like Nijas” interrogated
them every day.  Each of the
airplane transfers took three to fours
hours.

Earlier this year the United Nations’
special rapporteur on torture alleged
the existence of secret US military
“prison ships” believed to be
operating in the Indian Ocean.  The
UN has requested from the United
States a complete list of its secret
military prison camps and detention
centers.  The US has not responded
to this request but has previously
denied the existence of secret
prison facilities.

Sharon Critoph of Amnesty
International said that Yemeni
officials have “no reason to be
holding the men except that the
American authorities have put a
condition” that the two men cannot
be released from Yemeni
redstat
Weather
The city of Austin, TX has asked the
local business community to refrain
from using an asphalt sealant made
from coal-tar because it has been
found to contaminate rainwater runoff
with cancer causing chemicals.

The Austin Watershed Protection
Development Review Department
working with the US Geological
Survey tested runoff from urban
parking lots sealed with a commonly
used asphalt sealant that contains
chemicals called polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs).  The
chemicals are released when
automobile exhaust, automobile
lubricants and even rubber tires come
into contact with the asphalt that the
coal-tar emulsion sealant is applied
to.

The Austin study found localized
concentrations, or “hot spots” of
PAH levels that were 65 percent
higher than water runoff from
untreated asphalt parking lots or
cement parking lots.  Thirteen
percent of Austin’s creeks and
streams are affected by the
contaminated runoff.

It is not known how many parking
lots in the United States are coated
with coal-tar sealant, but asphalt
based sealant is more commonly
used in the western states and coal
tar sealant use is
more prevalent in the Midwest.  In the
Austin study, groundwater tested
near parking lots sealed with the
asphalt-
based sealant was ten times less
polluted with PAHs than groundwater
tested on nearby lots sealed with the
coal-tar based sealant.  

Coal tar is a known carcinogen and
scientists warn that workers who
spread the sealant may risk
contamination through inhalation
exposure unless they take
precautions to protect themselves.  
The sealant is spread on parking lots
in urban areas primarily to make the
lots look shiny and newly paved.
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previous editions

Links of the Week

The full text of Robin Cook's
resignation speech in the
House of Commons 18 March
2003

Malcolm Lowry's  Under the
Volcano information site

contact us
one nation, under surveillance
US Department of Homeland
Security has instituted a program
whereby all vehicles entering the
United States from Canada and
Mexico will be fitted with a computer
surveillance chip that will allow
department officials to monitor the
movements of those vehicles on
America’s roadways.

The wireless radio frequency
transmitting chips became
mandatory at five designated high
traffic border crossings as of last
week and officials at Homeland
Security have a congressional
mandate to roll out the alien
monitoring computer chip system at
115 airports, 15 seaports and 50 of
America’s busiest land border
crossings.

The program is referred to by
Homeland Security as the “Secure
Electronic Network for Travelers’
Rapid Inspection”, or SENTRI. The
monitoring program envisions the
collection of large amounts of
biographic and biometric information
about foreign nationals who are then
required to carry an identifying
computer chip upon their entry into
the United States that can be read
remotely by law enforcement officials.

The initiative to require computer
identity tagging of all foreign visitors
is a component of the US Visit
Program that was made law in 2003
and is currently being phased in by
the Department of Homeland
Security. The US Visit Program is
described by border security
personnel as a “continuum of
security measures that begins before
an individual
enters the United States and
continues
through the arrival and departure” of
foreign nationals who cross the
borders.

The long-range goal is to fit all
visitors entering the United States
with radio frequency identification
tags that can be monitored remotely
by government border officials. This
includes visitors from the 27
countries whose citizens are not
currently required to apply for visas
for short US visits. Homeland
Security spokespersons hailed
computer chip surveillance as a
“major transformation” of how the
department tracks aliens and
gathers information. Since 2003, 35
million visitors to the United States
have passed through the system of
which 700 individuals were refused
entry; 00002% of all foreign
nationals screened.
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page
custody.  Critpoh called for the US to
end the practice of the secret
detention of terror suspects stating,
“not only do such conditions
encourage torture and ill treatment,
but to be ‘disappeared’ from the face
of the earth without knowing why or
for how long is a crime under
international law."
redstateupdate.net
verbatim             number 3.3
"In my line of
work         you got to
keep             
repeating things...
...over and over
and over again
for the truth
to set in...
...to kind of catapault
the propaganda."
Greece NY        05.24.05
Detention Liners and Subterranean Gulags
Taxpayers To
Pay  The Energy
Bill
Toxic Chemicals  Parked In City Drinking Water
Transmitters Tuned To Track Tourists' Travels
 
source: Viroqua
Institute
Five states with the highest
rates of incarcerated African
Americans - number per
100,00 residents
0        1000    2000    3000   
4000
AZ

OK

TX

IA

WI
previous editions archive
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