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interpreting the constitution
News
News
number 163    
07.27.08
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Three members of a US Air
Force ballistic missile crew are
facing disciplinary measures
after they fell asleep on duty
while in the possession of
classified launch codes for
nuclear weapons. The crew is
based at Minot Air Force Base
in North Dakota, the site of a
widely reported security
breach last summer, in which a
nuclear-armed B52 bomber
was allowed to operate in US
airspace. Pentagon officials
insist that the most recent
incident, described as “just a
procedural violation”, did not
compromise the security of the
missile launch codes, and
posed no danger to civilian
populations.

According to a Defense
Department investigation, the
crew had finished updating the
launch codes on
intercontinental ballistic
missiles in silos at a facility  70
miles east of Minot. Three
members of the four-man crew
then fell asleep while they
awaited transportation back to
the base. The Air Force
maintains the devices they
were holding contained the
expired launch codes, and
could not have been used to
deploy nuclear weapons.

Last month, Defense Secretary
Robert Gates fired the top Air
Force command in response to
the 2007 Minot security breach
and a separate incident in
which sophisticated nuclear
triggers were mistakenly
shipped to Taiwan. Democrat
Ike Skelton, who chairs the
House Armed Services
Committee, urged the
Pentagon to act decisively to
"restore the culture of respect"
for nuclear weaponry.  
it's all true
Drowsy Nuke Crew
No Cause for Alarm
Officials at the US Department of
Homeland Security have expressed
interest in a Canadian inventor’s
prototype for an electronic ID
bracelet that can be remotely
controlled to administer a debilitating
electric shock to the wearer. Possible
applications for the bracelet, which
the inventor has likened to the Taser
stun guns increasingly used by law
enforcement agencies, include
prisoner transportation, detainee
control, and even commercial airline
passenger security, according to a
DHS letter to the inventor. In the
event of a hijacking or other terrorist
incident, airline cabin crews would be
able to incapacitate suspects using
remote control units.

A video available at the website of
Lamperd Less Lethal, the Ontario-
based manufacturer of the bracelets,
describes
a range of uses for commercial
airlines. According to the video, the
devices could be issued to all
passengers, replacing standard
boarding passes. Airline personnel
could then use the bracelets for
identification and tracking of
passengers and their luggage
throughout their travels. If necessary,
the bracelet could be used to shock
the wearer, “completely immobilizing
him/her for several minutes.”

The company calls its product the
EMD Safety Bracelet, an abbreviation
for the Electro Muscular Disruption
technology upon which it is based.
Lamperd Less Lethal specializes in
high tech gear for civil defense
agencies. The company's website,
under the slogan "Keeping the
Situation Under Control," features a
direct line especially for US
government procurement
officers.            
it's all true
Shock Bracelets More Than a Slap on the
Wrist
Attorney General Michael Mukasey
has refused a request by members of
the House Judiciary Committee to
appoint an independent special
prosecutor to investigate the case of
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who
was detained in New York and sent to
Syria, where government
interrogators tortured him. Three
Democratic Congressmen wrote to
Mukasey two weeks ago, asserting
that an independent review was
necessary because senior Justice
Department officials were involved in
the handling of the Arar affair. In
testimony before the panel last
Thursday, Mukasey said that he did
not believe that a special counsel
was warranted “at this time.”

Arar was returning from a vacation
with his family in 2002 when he was
detained as he changed planes at
JFK International
Airport. After his “extraordinary
rendition” to Syria, he was held for
almost a year and repeatedly
tortured before being released
without ever being charged. The
Canadian government has publicly
exonerated Arar, clearing him of ties
to any terrorist organizations or
activities. He received a televised
personal apology from the Prime
Minister, and the Canadian
Parliament awarded him more than
$9 million in damages. The
continuing refusal of the Bush
administration to admit any fault in
the case has strained diplomatic
relations between the US and
Canada.

According to
Reuters, Rep. William
Delahunt (D-MA), cited evidence that
US officials may have elected to
deport Arar to Syria instead of
Canada precisely because of the
likelihood that he would be tortured.
Delahunt said, “If that
doesn’t trigger the need for a
special prosecutor, I can’t imagine
what would.”

Attorney Maria LaHood of the
Center for Constitutional Rights,
who represents Arar in the US,
said in a statement, “Although not
surprising, it is still disappointing
that Mr. Mukasey is currently
refusing to appoint an outside
special counsel to do an
independent investigation of
Maher’s rendition to Syria. The
tendency of the Department of
Justice to cover up its crimes is
exactly why an outside prosecutor
is needed.”

The Justice Department and the
Department of Homeland Security
are both conducting ongoing
internal reviews of the case.          
it's all true
Attorney General Delivers Tortured Rendition in Defense of Torture,
Rendition
As the Bush administration’s years in
office wind down, the presidential
power to grant pardons, clemency
and commutations to criminals has
become a topic of interest for felons
who have petitioned the president for
pardons and future felons who have
not been tried or convicted of a
crime.  

Supporters of the Bush
Administration are calling for the
president to issue broad based
pardons for administration officials
and others who committed crimes at
the behest of the president in his
prosecution of the so-called war on
terror.  The
New York Times
recently reported on calls from
conservative activists and legal
scholars for the
president to take the unprecedented
step of granting preemptive pardons.

The president has, in the case of
vice-presidential aide I. Lewis Libby,
issued pardons to people who have
been convicted but not yet
sentenced.  The
Times quoted a
former Reagan era Justice
Department official who said, “The
president should pre-empt any long-
term investigation” into criminality
committed by Bush administration
officials by issuing broad-based pre-
emptive pardons. The issuance of
wide-ranging preemptive pardons
would, conservative activists believe,
lessen the likelihood of a new
president initiating investigations into
crimes alleged to have
been committed over the course
of Bush’s term as president.  

A spokes-person for the Justice
Department said that the
administration intends to review
every application for clemency
and that the agency will give
individual recommendations to the
president based upon the
specifics of each petition.  A
spokes-person for the White
House said,“We are going to
decline to comment on that
question since it is regarding
internal matters.”  President Bush
has himself previously stated that
he believes that the presidential
power to grant pardons is
unlimited         
it's all true
Administration Criminals Seek Security of Blanket
Pardons
"There's no
question about it.
Wall Street got
drunk...
verbatim                                                           31.6
..that's one of the
reasons I asked
you to turn off the
TV cameras - it got
drunk and now it's
got a hangover...
The question is how
long will it sober up
and not try to do all
these fancy financial
instruments."
Houston  TX 07.18.08
us
canada
sweden
italy
france
japan
Soft drink
consumption in litres
per year
selected  countries
0      50             150            250
The combination of rapid global
warming and unchecked
deforestation will cause the
destruction of over half of the
remaining Amazonian rainforest in
less than thirty years, bringing the
forest to the “point of no return”
conservationist warned.

The World Wildlife Fund said that
60 percent of the Amazon’s
rainforest could be lost by 2030
due to climate change and
deforestation.  Scientists found
that agriculture, logging, and
drought caused by global climate
changes place the Amazon
rainforest “on a knife edge”,
quickly reaching a point where
conservation practices will not be
enough to save the forest.

The report also says that the
deforestation of the Amazon by
slash and burn farming
techniques will speed worldwide
global warming by adding
between 55 and 96 billion tons of
carbon to the earth’s
atmosphere.  The addition of the
greenhouse gasses to the  
atmosphere will reduce rainfall
across the planet by 10 percent
and increase
temperatures.                 
it's all true
Responding to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’
s
(D-OH) maneuver to bring a vote on
35 articles of impeachment against
President George Bush that he
introduced into the Congress in early
July, the Democratic leadership held
a highly circumscribed hearing last
week regarding the powers of the
presidency.  

The chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee laid ground rules for the
hearing forbidding the use of the
word “impeachment” and warned all
of the hearing’s participants that
“personal abuse, innuendo, or
ridicule of the president is not
permitted (and) any suggestion of
mendacity is out of order.”  In spite of
this admonishment, the hearing room
overflowed with citizens who
expressed their demand that
Congress initiate impeachment
hearings and witnesses gave pointed
testimony illuminating some of the
crimes alleged to have been
committed by the president.

Kucinich’s articles of impeachment
are a compilation of some of that
most widely know and egregious
crimes the Bush administration has
carried out over the past eight years,
including crimes such as torture,
making false statements to instigate
the armed invasion of Iraq, the  
illegal surveillance of Americans and
the illegal detention without due
process of suspects including
Americans.  Kucinich told the
committee, “The decision before us
is whether Congress will stand up to
tell future presidents that America
has seen the last of these injustices,
not the first.”

Bruce Fein, a Deputy Attorney
General during the Reagan
administration testified that the
“Executive Branch has destroyed the
Constitution’s time honored checks
and balances and taken the nation
perilously close to executive
despotism.”  The former mayor of
Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, told
the committee that it is “vital to our
Constitution” that the crimes
committed by Bush be investigated,
“to ensure that the horrendous
damage to our nation and to much of
the rest of the world as a result of the
illegal and abusive misconduct of
administration officials never be
again repeated.”

Although 46 percent of Americans
polled say that Congress should
impeach Bush, the Democratic
leaders of Congress have vowed to
forbid consideration of impeachment
stating that debating the crimes of
the Bush administration would not be
productive.               
it's all true
Congress Hears Unimpeachable Evidence
Clearing Forecast
For Rain Forest
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