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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,947

Journal Archives

AP Raw Video: Massive Fireball After Train Crash in Quebec

Amateur video shows a massive fire after oil tanker cars derailed and exploded in a small Quebec town. (July 9)

Top Court Asked to Stop NSA Surveillance

Source: CNN

updated 5:12 PM EDT 07.08.13

Top court asked to stop NSA surveillance

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to stop the National Security Agency's surveillance of domestic telephone communications data.

In an emergency appeal filed Monday, a privacy rights group claimed a secret federal court improperly authorized the government to collect the electronic records, and said only the justices could resolve the statutory issues at stake.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed its petition directly with the high court, bypassing the usual step of going to the lower federal courts first.

Such a move makes it much harder for the justices to intervene now, but the privacy group argues "exceptional ramifications" demand judicial review now.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/08/politics/nsa-supreme-court/index.html

Ireland High Court Refuses to Grant Arrest Warrant for Snowden

Source: Irish Times

High Court refuses to grant arrest warrant for Snowden

Judge ‘compelled’ to reject application as it does not state where alleged offences committed

Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 16:55
First published:
Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 16:55

The High Court has refused an application by the United States for an arrest warrant for the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

In a judgment issued this afternoon, Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh said he was “compelled” to reject the application for a provisional arrest warrant, which was made by the US embassy to the Department of Foreign Affairs last Friday, because it did not state where the alleged offences were committed.

The application, under the Extradition Act 1965, was brought to the High Court by the attorney general last Saturday.

According to the judgment, the US authorities made contact with their Irish counterparts on an informal basis on July 4th. The following day, the US embassy made a formal request for a provisional arrest warrant to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/high-court-refuses-to-grant-arrest-warrant-for-snowden-1.1456798

NTSB: 10 Killed in Alaska Plane Crash

Source: Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities say an air taxi has crashed at the Soldotna Airport in Alaska, killing all 10 people on board.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson says the pilot and nine passengers were killed in the crash at the airport late Sunday morning.

Meagan Peters of Alaska State Troopers says the fixed-wing aircraft was fully engulfed in flames before firefighters could get to the plane. The victims have not yet been identified.

The accident happened around 11:20 a.m. Johnson said initial reports had the accident happening as the plane took off.

The NTSB identified the aircraft in a release Sunday as a de Havilland Otter Air Taxi. The NTSB is sending a team to investigate the crash.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/police-fatal-plane-crash-alaska-airport

Breaking: Official: Asiana Flight Tried to Abort Landing

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Official: Asiana flight tried to abort landing, make another try seconds before it crashed -RJJ

@AP: MORE: Cockpit recorder from Asiana jetliner shows pilot tried to abort landing, NTSB official says: http://t.co/bwhPnwXCyy -RJJ

Jul 7, 5:15 PM EDT

Official: Asiana flight tried to abort landing

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal safety official said the cockpit voice recorder from Asiana Airlines Flight 214 showed the jetliner tried to abort its landing and come around for another try 1.5 seconds before it crashed at San Francisco airport.

National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said at a news conference Sunday the recorder also showed there was a call to increase airspeed roughly two seconds before impact.

Before that, she said, there was no indication in the recordings that the aircraft was having any problems before it crashed Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring scores of others.

Investigators took the flight data recorder to Washington, D.C., overnight to begin examining its contents for clues to the last moments of the flight, officials said. They also plan to interview the pilots, the crew and passengers.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SAN_FRANCISCO_AIRLINER_CRASH

Edward Snowden Offered Asylum in Bolivia by President Evo Morales

Source: CBS News

Edward Snowden offered asylum in Bolivia by President Evo Morales

July 06, 2013

LA PAZ, Bolivia NSA leaker Edward Snowden has yet another place to go, if only he can get there.

Bolivian President Evo Morales says Snowden is welcome in his country. He said Saturday he is making the offer as a protest against the U.S. and European nations he accuses of temporarily blocking his flight home from a Moscow summit because they suspected his might have Snowden on board.

Morales follows Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in making the offer. He'd earlier said he was willing to consider asylum for Snowden, the same position taken by Ecuador, which is another of Bolivia's leftist Latin American allies.

Morales did not say if he has received a formal petition for asylum from Snowden.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57592523/edward-snowden-offered-asylum-in-bolivia-by-president-evo-morales

Spain Says It Was 'Told' Snowden on Bolivia Plane

Source: Associated Press


Jul. 5 5:44 AM EDT

MADRID (AP) — Spain says it and other European countries were told that fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden was aboard the Bolivian presidential plane that was diverted to Austria this week, causing a diplomatic row.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Friday on Spanish National Television "they told us that the information was clear, that he was inside."

The minister did not say who supplied the information and declined to say whether he had been in contact with the United States. But he says European countries' reactions were based on this information.

Bolivia President Evo Morales claims Washington pressured European countries to deny the plane flyover permission Tuesday on suspicion that Snowden was using the flight as part of his bid to seek asylum.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/spain-says-it-was-told-snowden-bolivia-plane

Juan Cole: How Unreasonable Searches of Private Documents Caused the American Revolution


How Unreasonable Searches of Private Documents Caused the American Revolution

Published on July 4th, 2013
Written by: Juan Cole

- snip -

The Founding generation of Americans was particularly exercised by the privacy of their papers, the equivalent of today’s email and electronic records. They put the Fourth Amendment into the Constitution, which says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Note that “papers” are distinguished here from “effects.” That is not an accident, as Donald A. Dripps argued :

“The Fourth Amendment refers to “papers” because the Founders understood the seizure of papers to be an outrageous abuse distinct from general warrants. The English courts and resolutions of the House of Commons condemned both abuses distinctly. The controversy was closely followed in America, where colonial Whigs sympathized with, and even idolized, John Wilkes, who successfully sued for damages for the seizure of his papers. America inherited the common law ban on searches for papers, adopted constitutional provisions that mentioned papers distinctly, and refused to modify the common law ban by statute un til the Civil War. The one Founding – era attempt to authorize seizing papers by statute was condemned as contrary to common law and natural right and never passed into law. Although Congress authorized seizing papers to enforce the revenue laws during the Civil War, it took until the 1880s for a challenge to reach the Supreme Court. That challenge was Boyd , which remained the law for another ninety years. Boyd rightly held that “papers” deserve more constitutional protection than “effects.” Special protection does not, however, ineluctably mean absolute immunity. The seizures that aroused outrage in the 1760s were indiscriminate, expropriating, unregulated , and inquisitorial. A regulated, discriminate, and nonrivalrous process for inspecting documents is different.”

America’s current national security state, which is a profound betrayal of the Constitution, holds that our email and our documents in the cloud are like postcards and thus can be examined at will by intelligence analysts and law enforcement. I doubt any ordinary Americans thinks that their email correspondence and digital documents are anything at all like a postcard.

Another exception, instituted as recently as 1979, is the stupid “third-party doctrine,” which comes out of a fascist court ruling that since you share your phone records with your telephone company, you can’t expect them to be private from the government. What? What brain-dead jurist thought that up. When I contract as a private citizen with a business for a set of legal transactions, that is none of the government’s business. A law is needed to overturn this ridiculous doctrine.

We need a privacy law in the United States that would settle these issues for electronic papers and reinforce the plain language of the Fourth Amendment, which is by now almost a dead letter.

The argument that we have to give away the 4th amendment because of “terrorism” is equally stupid. (King George III set aside the need for warrants and specific searches on the grounds of fighting “smuggling,” the precedent for our current use of “terrorism” for this purpose). Charles Kurzman points out that there have only been 100 terrorist plots on US soil since 2008 and that the NSA only claims to have disrupted 10 of them through electronic surveillance. There have in those 5 years been 25,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, of which the NSA claims to have foiled 50 through electronic surveillance. So they are not actually so effective that we should be eager just to abrogate a whole amendment to the Constitution over it. And, moreover, there were 70,000 violent fatalities in the United States during this period since 2008, and 20 of those were owing to terrorism.

This is why I say those willing to kick the constitution to the curb over fear of “terrorism” are sheep, not bravehearts. And the government officials who issue thousands of ‘national security letters’ for warrantless searches every year and requisition Verizon business records on millions of customers, are frankly betraying the Constitution.


Same-Sex Couple Files Suit Asking for Marriage Rights in New Jersey

Source: Bloomberg

@BloombergNews: Same-sex couple files suit asking for marriage rights in New Jersey | http://t.co/vkNkQGyzCh

New Jersey Should Allow Gay Marriage, State Court Is Told

By David Voreacos
July 03, 2013 4:09 PM EDT 13 Comments

New Jersey’s civil-union law doesn’t go far enough to protect legal rights of gay couples, and a judge should rule that same-sex couples can marry, a national advocacy group argued in a court filing.

Lambda Legal, representing supporters of gay marriage, urged a judge to “order that New Jersey allow same-sex couples to marry,” according to the state court motion today in Trenton. The group, which has litigated the question for a decade, has new momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 struck down a U.S. law denying federal benefits to same-sex married couples.
“State-sanctioned marriage provides the key to the full array of federal marital benefits,” according to the motion. “The discrimination manifest in relegating same-sex couples to civil union establishes the clearest possible violation of the state constitutional guarantee” of equal rights and benefits.

The challenge comes as advocates seek to use the Supreme Court ruling to expand the number of states where gay marriage is legal. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. In New Mexico, the American Civil Liberties Union said today that it asked the state Supreme Court to rule on whether same-sex couples can marry.

In New Jersey, state Democratic lawmakers are seeking to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill passed last year. Christie, a Republican, said marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-03/new-jersey-should-allow-gay-marriage-state-court-is-told.html

Stem Cell Transplants Clear HIV in Two Patients in Study

Source: Bloomberg

Stem Cell Transplants Clear HIV in Two Patients in Study

By Simeon Bennett
July 03, 2013 12:07 PM EDT 3 Comments

Two cancer patients in Boston who were also infected with HIV have no trace of the virus after receiving stem-cell transplants, suggesting they may have been cured of the AIDS-causing infection.

The two patients, treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stopped HIV treatment after the transplants, which in other patients has opened the door for the virus to come roaring back. In one patient there was no sign of the virus 15 weeks after stopping treatment, while the other has gone seven weeks without HIV rebounding, according to results presented today at the International AIDS Society’s meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

The researchers led by Timothy Henrich of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said it’s too early to conclude the two men have been cured and the virus may be lingering in their brains or gut. Still, their cases are similar to that of Timothy Brown, the so-called Berlin patient, who was the first person to be cured of HIV after getting a bone marrow transplant for leukemia in 2007.

“While stem-cell transplantation is not a viable option for people with HIV on a broad scale because of its costs and complexity, these new cases could lead us to new approaches to treating, and ultimately even eradicating, HIV,” Kevin Robert Frost, the chief executive officer of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which funded the study, said in a statement.

Read more: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-03/stem-cell-transplants-clear-hiv-in-two-patients-in-study.html
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