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redstateupdate.net
 
number 94   03.11.07
source : MBA National Delinquency
Survey
interpreting the constitution
Traffic
May Day  
March in
Chicago
redstat
archive
verbatim
archive
verbatim                                                                              number 18.3
"This business about graceful exit just simply has
no realism to it at all."
               Amman  Jordan   11.30.06
An investigation by the Office of the
Inspector General for the Department
of Justice found that the FBI illegally
obtained information about US
citizens using the pretext of national
security investigations to thwart
terrorism.  
The agency was also found to have
misrepresented the number of
individuals that were swept up in it’s  
spying to congressional overseers.

The inspector found that the FBI
demanded personal information,
such as banking records, transaction
information and telephone records
about US citizens by the means of
national security letters with no legal
authority multiple times over the past
five years.  
The report found 22 examples of
illegality in a review of a sampling of
293 letters and another 26 potential
violations in other cases examined.  
The agency also gave false
information to congress about the
number of letters served on
businesses.  The agency told
congress that they had served 9254
letters in 2003 and 2004 when they
had actually used the power 95,000
times during the two-year period.

The inspector also found that the FBI
had issues so-called “exigent letters”
demanding information about US
citizens when there was “no pending
investigation associated with the
request.”  In at least 700 cases such
exigent letters were used to get
billing and subscriber information
from telephone companies.

National security letters are
subpoenas that are not
authorized by a judge that compel
the release of personal
information from businesses
including Internet service
providers, banks, credit card
companies and telephone
companies.  The Patriot Act gave
the power to the FBI and the Bush
administration issued guidelines
for use of the letters.  The report
concluded “improper or illegal
uses” of the letters “involve
serious misuses of national
security letter
authorities.”                  
it's all true
Federal prosecutors in the case of
suspected terrorist Jose Padilla have
told the court that the government
has lost a DVD containing video of
Padilla’s final interrogation by the US
military during his detention as a
designated “enemy combatant.”  The
admission, which came during
hearings on pretrial motions in Miami,
appeared to astound US District
Judge Marcia Cooke. Defense
attorneys for Padilla have argued
that the circumstances of his
detention have made him unfit to
stand trial, and that the missing video
may hold the key to understanding
their client’s condition.

The disc is the only one of 88 video
recordings of military interrogations
of Padilla that was not turned over to
defense attorneys. Officials at the US
Attorney’s office in Miami and at the
Navy brig in Charleston, South
Carolina,
where Padilla, a US citizen, was held
for more than three years without
charge as an “enemy combatant,”
said that exhaustive searching failed
to locate the DVD. “Do you
understand how it might be difficult
for me to understand that a tape
related to this particular individual
just got mislaid?” Judge Cooke asked
prosecutors when told of the missing
evidence.

Defense attorneys believe that
something occurred during the March
2, 2004 interrogation that has
affected Padilla’s subsequent
behavior, which has included
suspicion of his own lawyers. In court
papers they argue that the video may
contain statements made to Padilla
that have adversely impacted “his
relationship with his attorneys.”  As
an “enemy combatant,” Padilla was
not allowed to consult with his
defense team
from his arrest in 2002 until 2004,
just after the final interrogation.
His “enemy combatant” status
also meant that Padilla was
subject to interrogation
techniques not permitted for crime
suspects or prisoners of war.

The government has denied any
mistreatment of Padilla and has
resisted defense efforts to learn
details of the conditions of his
detention. In a recent brief
opposing a defense motion for a
ruling on Padilla’s mental
competency, prosecutors argued,
“There is every reason to believe
that the defense will improperly
seek to use a competency
hearing as a vehicle to engage
the court in detailed fact-finding
about the alleged conditions of
Padilla’s detention."       
it's all true
Mortgage Delinquency
Rate
1992-2006
1992               1998                
2006
5.0
4.5
4.0
3.5
5.5
%
Georgia has become the first
state to endorse and fund
classes about the Bible in its
public schools.  

The state’s Board of Education
unanimously voted to add two
classes to the state’s public
school curriculum; Literature
and History of the Old
Testament Era and Literature
and History of the New
Testament Era.  The Bible will
be the main text for the
courses being proposed.

The vote opened a thirty-day
period for public comments
after which the board will give
final approval of the new
courses.  The classes will not
be required but the state’s 180
school districts will be able to
choose to offer the classes
next year.  

The Bible study courses were
the by-product of a law passed
last year by Georgia’s state
legislature.  The state’s
democrats, who are in the
minority, offered a bill that
would allow teaching bible
classes in public schools as an
election year challenge.  The
challenge was met by the state’
s republicans who drafted a
counter proposal and passed
a law that was signed by the
state’s republican governor,
Sonny Perdue.

The classes were designed by a
Bible curriculum committee to
tailor the classes so that they
meet the requirements of the
law.  The committee
recommended lesson plans,
classroom materials and a list of
qualifications to teach the new
courses.                    
it's all true
GA Baptizes
Public School
Bible Lessons
A federal appeals court in Virginia
ruled that a German citizen who
alleges that he was abducted and
tortured by US government agents
will not be able to proceed with a
lawsuit because proving the case
would reveal sensitive information
about the secret CIA program known
as extraordinary rendition.

Khaled El-Masri filed the lawsuit
against the former FBI director
George Tenent, 20 unknown CIA
agents and three private companies
that were contracted by the CIA
claiming that he had been deprived
of his Fifth Amendment right to due
process.  Attorneys for the
government asserted the little used
state secrets privilege arguing that
allowing El-Masri to examine
witnesses or collect evidence “would
unreasonably risk” the disclosure of
information that “would be
detrimental to national security.”

Lawyers from the American Civil
Liberties Union who represented El-
Masri said that the ruling
demonstrated that the government
uses the state secrets doctrine as a
“shield” to protect itself from “even
the most blatant abuses of power.”

El-Masri, who was visiting Macedonia
in December 2003, was detained by
Macedonian officials, handed over to
CIA agents, transported to
Afghanistan and held without being
charged for six months before he was
released by the CIA on a
mountainside in Albania in May
2006.  During his captivity El-Masri
said that he was “beaten, drugged,
bound and blindfolded” and
interrogated by CIA agents.

The ACLU argued that because the
case had been widely reported in the
media, it was impossible to
characterize what happened to El-
Masri as a secret.  Not only had the
European Parliament investigated El-
Masri’s detention, the US
Government had given him
permission to travel to the US to
attend court hearings during which
time he had discussed his detention
with members of congress.

The judge who ruled that El-Masri
could not proceed with his lawsuit
wrote that even though members of
the Bush administration had made
public statements acknowledging the
existence of the rendition program,
“the CIA means and methods that
form the subject matter of (El-Masri’
s) claim remain state secrets.”  

ACLU attorney Ben Wizner said that
the court’s ruling “gave the CIA
complete immunity for even its most
shameful conduct.”                        
it's
all true
Officials at the federal Fish and
Wildlife Service have issued
directives prohibiting department
scientists attending conferences
abroad from discussing polar
bears, sea ice, and other topics
that may be related to global
warming. The internal documents,
which were obtained by the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
delineate strict guidelines for what
the scientists may and may not
say at upcoming international
meetings in Norway and Russia.
Environmental groups pointed to
the memos as further evidence of
pervasive Bush administration
censorship of its own scientific
experts.

Declining populations due to
reduced habitat and melting sea
ice have placed polar bears under
consideration for designation as a
“threatened” species under the
Endangered Species Act.

The guidelines issued by Fish and
Wildlife state that scientists
attending conferences are familiar
with “the administration’s position
on climate change, polar bears,
and sea ice and will not be
speaking or responding to those
issues.”                
it's all true
Lawyers representing a prominent
Saudi Arabian charity organization
have sued the government in federal
court, claiming that documents that
came into their possession through
an apparent administrative error
within the Treasury Department
prove that they were the targets of
illegal surveillance by the National
Security Agency.

The attorneys say that they were
inadvertently provided with secret
NSA phone logs of conversations
they had with their clients, the
directors of the al-Haramain Islamic
Foundation, in 2004. FBI agents
demanded the return of the classified
documents less than two months
later, explaining that a mistake had
been made. The case is unique
among the more than 50 lawsuits
currently pending against the NSA
warrantless domestic surveillance
program because the plaintiffs have
specific evidence that their
communications were monitored.

The phone logs contained records of
consultations between al-Haramain
officials in Saudi Arabia and their
Washington lawyers, Wendell Belew
and Asim Ghafoor, who forwarded
copies of the logs to a
Washington
Post
reporter. At the time they were
given to the attorneys, the NSA
wiretapping program had not yet
been publicly disclosed. When the
FBI later ordered that the documents
be returned, the lawyers and the
newspaper complied. Copies that
were sent to the charity headquarters
in Riyadh were attached as an exhibit
to the lawsuit. Legal experts say that
the phone logs confirm the plaintiffs'  
"standing" as targets of the NSA
surveillance.                 
it's all true
Government Evidence Lacking, Missing in Padilla
Prosecution
Widely Known Secrets Terminate Torture Trial
Rules Include
Bear Clause
Discovery Alarmingly Personal for Lawyers
Inspector General Condemns Self-Serving Use of Secret
Subpoenas
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