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redstateupdate.net
 
number 85  01.07.07
Clarence
Brown Tribute
Page
redstat
archive
verbatim
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verbatim                                                                                                                            number 16.5
“My thinking is taking shape.”
    
Washington DC   01.04.07
Willingness to fight for
country
selected countries
%                   50                    100
Sweden
Finland
United
States
Ireland
Japan
A presidential signing statement
issued during the congressional
recess last month authorizes the
interception and inspection of US
mail without a warrant. In the
statement, which was attached to the
Postal Accountability and
Enhancement Act, President Bush
asserts his right to ignore legal
restrictions on opening mail “in
exigent circumstances.”  According to
House and Senate sponsors of the
legislation, the signing statement
contradicts specific provisions of the
bill.

Last week, the White House denied
that the statement represented an
expansion of executive powers,
saying that the president was simply
restating an existing
authority. But legislators and privacy
rights advocates warned that its
wording effectively nullified
protections contained in the Act.
Center for National Security Studies
Director Kate Martin told the
New
York Daily News
, “The signing
statement claims authority to open
domestic mail without a warrant, and
that would be new and quite
alarming. The danger is they’re
reading Americans’ mail.”

Members of Congress from both
parties called on the President to
explain his objective in issuing the
signing statement, with some
Democrats challenging the legitimacy
of the procedure. Rep. Henry
Waxman of California, the incoming  
chairman of the House
Government Reform Committee
and a co-sponsor of the postal bill
said,“Despite the President’s
statement that he may be able to
circumvent a basic privacy
protection, the new postal law
continues to prohibit the
government from snooping into
people’s mail without a warrant.”

According to the American Bar
Association, President Bush has
issued more signing statements
than all previous presidents
combined, routinely using them to
quietly challenge or reject more
than 800 provisions of bills that he
has signed into
law.                         
it's all true
Former US Interior Secretary Gale
Norton has joined Royal Dutch
Shell as general counsel for the
petroleum giant’s “unconventional
resources” division. According to
a company statement, Norton will
provide and coordinate legal
services for the division, which is
developing technology for the
extraction of oil from huge oil
shale deposits in the Rocky
Mountain States. Norton is a
Colorado resident and former
state attorney general.

Norton resigned as Interior
Secretary last March after she
was linked to the corruption and
influence peddling scandals
involving disgraced super-lobbyist
Jack Abramoff. Her controversial
tenure at Interior frequently put
her at odds with environmental
activists, agency staff, and even
her own Departmental Inspector
General. The Department’s
Minerals Management Service
failed to collect more than $10
billion in royalties from oil
companies, according to a GAO
report.

Difficulties at the Department of
the Interior were previously
reported by
redstateupdate.                it's all true
The Justice Department has
announced that it will accelerate
granting local and state police
authorities access to its database of
case file information.  The OneDOJ
database currently holds over 1
million case records including
information about suspects and
targets of investigation who have not
been convicted or even charged with
a crime.

The database contains investigative
reports, interrogation summaries,
incidence reports and other raw
information.  The information about
suspects and investigative targets
who have not been arrested or
convicted that will be shared with
state and local police authorities will
be largely unverifiable, and privacy
advocates say, unchallengeable and
unremovable.   

In a memo sent to 93 US Attorneys
and
the directors of the FBI, US Marshals
Service the DEA and other law
enforcement agencies, Deputy
Attorney General Paul J. McNulty
directed the implementation of the
OneDOJ database in 15 regions
throughout the US as part of an
“aggressive” program of data and
information sharing.  McNulty said
that DOJ was “committed to sharing
as much information as possible,”
and that the agency is “obligated” to
use the massive database as it
combats terrorism.

The Department of Justice wants
OneDOJ to be the main repository for
the investigative records of all of the
agencies under its control and the
central mechanism for sharing
information with law enforcement
agencies at every level.  750 state
and local agencies will eventually
have access to the
database.                   
it's all true
The Paris-based journalist
advocacy group Reporters san
Frontieres released its yearly
tally of journalists killed in
conflicts across the globe that
reported that Iraq is the “world’
s most dangerous country for
the media.”  

The group reported that 64
journalists were killed while
reporting on the occupation of
Iraq and the nascent civil war
in that country.  RSF reported
that that figure amounts to 10
percent of the reporters
covering the war in Iraq.  

The vast majority of the killings
took place in Baghdad and in
its surrounding suburbs.  The
study found that 6 media
assistants were also killed in
Iraq in 2006.

Since the beginning of the
occupation, RSF reports that
they have calculated that 86
journalists and 26 media
assistants have been killed
while reporting in Iraq.  The
report stated that “Hardly a
month has gone by without at
least one journalist being
killed” in the war torn country.

Another disturbing trend
reported by the group is the
rise in the kidnapping of
journalists in Iraq.  RSF
reported that 38 journalists
have been kidnapped in Iraq
since 2003.  Of these, 30 have
been freed, 5 executed, and 3
remain in captivity.  Although
RSF cautions that while it is
impossible to report with
absolute certainty, their
records reveal that more than
10 reporters have been
captured by the US military
and are currently held in
detention.    
its all true
The American Civil Liberties Union
released documents that it obtained
through the Freedom of Information
Act that detail FBI agent’s eyewitness
accounts of the abuse of detainees
at the detention center at
Guantanamo Bay Cuba.  The agents
reported that CIA, civilian contractor
and Department of Defense
interrogators employed a range of
unconventional techniques in their
attempts to get so-called terror
suspects to confess to crimes or give
up information.

Detainees at Guantanamo were seen
chained hand and foot in the fetal
position to the floor for 18 hours and
more, covered in urine and feces.  
Agents reported that detainees were
often subjected to temperature
extremes.  In some cases detainees
were drenched with water and
subjected to
to near freezing temperatures and in
other cases they were confined to
small, unventilated rooms where
temperatures were over 100
degrees.  After an instance of this
type of mistreatment, a detainee was
seen by an FBI agent to have
apparently ripped the hair from his
own head due to the confinement.

One FBI agent reported that a civilian
contractor who was hired by the
Department of Defense to interrogate
detainees was seen to wrap a
detainee’s entire head in duct tape.  
When asked why, the contractor told
an FBI agent  that it was because the
detainee “would not stop quoting the
Koran.”

Another FBI agent told investigators
that an interrogator exposed one
captive to hour after hour of what
was referred to in the report as
“satanic black metal
music” and then later “dressed as
a Catholic priest and baptized the
detainee in order to save him.”

Agents reported 26 eyewitness
accounts of abuse and
maltreatment, the details of which
reveal that interrogators at the
camp improvised techniques that
brutalized detainees both
physically and psychologically and
were, states the ACLU, “expressly
authorized by Defense
Department policy.”  

The FBI agents provided the
descriptions as part of a “special
inquiry” that was performed by the
FBI Inspection Division shortly
after media reports revealed wide-
spread  abuse by guards and
interrogators at the Abu Ghraib
detention facility
in Iraq.                           
it's all true
A private company that performs
software testing for electronic voting
machines has had its certification
withdrawn after federal authorities
discovered inadequacies in its
evaluation and documentation
procedures. Ciber Inc., a
Colorado-based information
technology firm, has tested software
for most of the electronic voting
systems currently in use in the United
States. The action by the US Election
Assistance Commission temporarily
bars the company from analyzing and
approving new equipment.

Ciber was ordered to suspend testing
operations in August, but the
de-certification was not made public
until last week, when it was revealed
in a
New York Times report. In July,
a team of federal assessors found
that the company had failed to
adhere to its own quality-control
procedures and could not document
that it had performed a range of
required tests. Computer experts
warn that the problems discovered at
Ciber may indicate that critical
tabulation and security software was
not properly tested on thousands of
machines already in use nationwide.

Spokesmen for the company claim
that the deficiencies exposed by the
EAC have been addressed and
corrected, and
that Ciber expects to receive
provisional accreditation in the next
few weeks. The 2002 Help America
Vote Act mandated Federal
certification of testing laboratories,
but implementation of the procedure
did not begin until last year. Private
corporations that manufacture
electronic voting systems currently
underwrite the testing of their own
products, leading many to question
the reliability and transparency of the
process.

EAC chair Donetta Davidson sought
to allay increasing public concern
about the technology, telling the
Associated Press, “There are a
number of layers of testing. I think it’s
very important voters do realize how
secure the process is.”  But
Professor Aviel Rubin of Johns
Hopkins University, a prominent critic
of electronic voting systems, noted
that Ciber has been engaged in
testing the machines for several
national election cycles. “What’s
scary is that we’ve been using
systems in elections that Ciber had
certified, and this calls into question
those systems that they tested,”
Rubin told the
Times. Ciber is one of
only three US firms that test voting
machines. The others, Denver-based
SysTest Labs, and Wyle
Laboratories of El Segundo,
California, both received certification
from the EAC.                    
it's all true
Bush Administration Opposed to Letters of the Law
FBI Witnesses Baptism and Other Abuses at Detention Facility
Reporters Become
Story In Iraq War
Agencies Collaborate Before They Corroborate
Firm Cheated on Tests, Receives Failing
Grade
Shell Hires Norton
To Lubricate
Machinery
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