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interpreting the constitution
crowd control
crowd control
spread of the red
one nation, under surveillance
number 141    
source: Viroqua Institute
Brown Tribute
Traffic : remote control
47 Minutes Premieres in Alabama
Comcast Chair Men Bored at Meeting
Lawsuit Entraps 'To Catch a Predator'
source: Audit Bureau of
The National Lawyers Guild has
called on US Supreme Court Justice
Antonin Scalia to recuse himself from
cases involving the government’s
use of torture in detainee
interrogations after his recent
appearance on a British radio
program, in which he seemed to
condone such tactics. Scalia’s
discussion of what he termed “so-
called torture” came during an
interview with the
BBC’s Law in
, and included detailed
consideration of circumstances under
which he thought various methods
may be appropriate. A spokesperson
for the Lawyers Guild said that Scalia’
s public comments “inevitably pre-
judge the issues” in cases involving
torture of prisoners, admissibility of
obtained by torture, or compensation
for torture victims.

Scalia argued that the US
Constitution’s ban on cruel and
unusual punishment does not cover
tactics employed by law enforcement
or military officials during the course
of interrogations. The 71-year-old
Justice then described an extreme
scenario reminiscent of the television
24, in which he felt that some
form of physical coercion might be
permissible. He continued, “Once
you acknowledge that, we’re into a
different game. How close does the
threat have to be? How severe can
the infliction of pain be? I don’t think
these are easy questions at all, in
either direction.”
Lawyers Guild President Marjorie
Cohn told reporters, “The Guild is
appalled that a sitting Justice of
the United States Supreme Court
has ventured in a public forum his
belief that it is justifiable to
attempt to extract information from
persons in custody by the use of

With regard to Scalia’s stated
rationale that prisoner
interrogations are not punishment
for a crime under the terms of the
US Constitution, Cohn said,
“Surely Justice Scalia knows that
torture is unlawful under the US
Torture Statute (18 USC 2340)
and the US War Crimes Act (18
USC 2441).”             
it's all true
A new report reveals that for the
first time in US history more than
one in every one hundred adult
Americans is in prison or jail. After
an increase of more than 25,000
in 2007, the nation’s prison
population stood at almost 1.6
million, with another 723,000 in
local jails, according to the report,
which was complied by the Pew
Center on the States. The US has
more prisoners than any other
nation in the world, both in total
numbers and in its per capita
incarceration rate.

The massive expenditures
required by such large prison
populations are becoming
increasingly burdensome for the
states, which spend an average of
6.8 percent of their total budget
on corrections. According to the
report, the explosion in
incarceration “is saddling cash-
strapped states with soaring costs
they can ill afford and failing to
a clear impact either on recidivism
or overall crime.”

Based on recent statistics, US jails
and prisons hold about one
quarter of the world's inmates.    
it's all true
Cable giant Comcast Corp., already
facing a firestorm of criticism over its
surreptitious practice of slowing data
transfer speeds for some users of its
Internet services, only compounded
its publicity problems when it recently
hired people to pack a public
hearing, effectively barring many
local citizens from attending.
Comcast spokesmen admitted that
the company paid people who were
not its regular employees to “hold
seats” at the small auditorium in
Cambridge, Mass., where the
Federal Communications
Commission hearing on issues of
net neutrality was held.

The Comcast seat-holders, many
of whom slept through the
hearing, wore yellow highlighters
clipped to their shirt pockets for
identification by company
it's all true
A federal judge has ruled that
a $105 million lawsuit against
NBC over the involvement of
the network’s “To Catch a
Predator” television series in a
botched Texas sting operation
that resulted in the suicide of a
suspect may proceed in US
District Court in New York. The
suit was brought by the family
of Texas prosecutor Louis
Conradt Jr., who shot himself
at his home in 2006 as a team
of police officers moved in to
arrest him, accompanied by
television camera crews and
Dateline NBC reporter Chris
Hansen. NBC, which argued
Dateline crews behaved
“responsibly and lawfully” with
regard to the incident,
broadcast the segment
culminating in Conradt’s
suicide several times.
The popular “To Catch a Predator”
series uses a combination of law
enforcement agencies, private
advocacy groups, and television
personnel to arrange elaborate sting
operations targeting alleged sex
offenders in various locations
throughout the US. After suspects
are lured to a house, ostensibly to
meet underage girls or boys for sex,
they are confronted on camera by
Hansen, who often reads from edited
transcripts of their online
conversations, before their arrest
and initial interviews with police are

The November 2006 sting in Murphy,
Texas that is the subject of the
lawsuit was the ninth such operation
mounted by
Dateline NBC. In the
aftermath of the sting, the district
attorney refused to prosecute any of
the 24 men arrested, citing
insufficient evidence.     
it's all true
The Director of National Intelligence
has released a report briefly detailing
US intelligence data mining activities
and development programs,
providing members of Congress with
a survey of various projects that use
sophisticated software to analyze
vast amounts of digital information in
an effort to identify suspicious
patterns and possible terrorism-
related activities.

The unclassified report, which was
mandated by the Federal Agency
Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007,
includes descriptions of several data
mining programs that were previously
undisclosed, according to Steven
Aftergood, editor of
Secrecy News.
The scope of the report is limited to
data mining techniques known as
“predictive analysis,” as opposed to
“link analysis,” which is also
extensively practiced by US
intelligence agencies, but was
excluded from the reporting
requirements of the Act. According to
the Office of the DNI, a classified
addendum was prepared for
members of Congressional

One program discussed in the report,
the Video Analysis and Content
Extraction (VACE) project, involves
automated processing of video
such as security video feeds, with
computer programs designed to seek
specific types of actions or events, or
to discern certain patterns of activity
or behavior. The VACE project scans
video data and provides “intelligent
content services such as indexing,
video browsing, summarization,
content browsing, video mining, and
change detection,” according to the

Another previously undisclosed data
mining operation described in the
report is project Reynard, which will
attempt to develop software capable
of analyzing activities within online
social networks, particularly large-
scale gaming communities.
Describing Reynard as a pilot
program, the report says intelligence
agencies “will seek to identify the
emerging social, behavioral, and
cultural norms in virtual worlds and
gaming environments,” with an
eventual goal of automated detection
of suspicious patterns of activity in
these spheres.

The report also discusses ongoing
research into Private Information
Retrieval (PIR), which masks the
source of online searches and the
search terms used, conceivably
allowing untraceable access to
it's all true
put a free press's mind at ease that
you're not being denied information
you shouldn't see."
           Washington DC
verbatim                                                                          number 27.6
"We look forward to analyzing and working
with legislation that will make -it would hope -
verbatim                                                                                    number 27.5
"The president and I
also reaffirmed our
determination to fight
terror... bring drug trafficking
to bear, to bring justice to
those who pollute our
Santiago, Chile 11.21.04
Adults aged 65+ who have
had all their natural teeth
selected states
WV     TN     ME    OR     CT
Newspaperswith the
highest circulation in
the US
usa today           wall st          ny times         la times          
wash post
An analysis of the prison
population in California
revealed that immigrants are
far less likely to commit crimes
than native-born Americans.
The authors of the study
concluded that, “significantly
lower rates of incarceration
and institutionalization among
foreign-born adults suggest
that longstanding fears of
immigration as a threat to
public safety are unjustified.”

The Public Policy Institute of
California reviewed the prison
inmate population in California
and found that US born adult
males are more than three
times as likely to be
incarcerated than immigrants.
The Institute found that young
American men between the
ages of 18 and 40, who are
most likely to commit crimes,
are more than ten times likely
to be in prison than immigrant
males in the same age
bracket. About 35 percent of
California’s adult population is
foreign born, but immigrants
make up only 17 percent of
California’s prison population.

The study’s authors argue
against enacting further
restrictions on immigration or
increasing penalties for
immigrants who commit crimes
because,” in California, as in
the rest of the nation,
immigrants already have
extremely low rates of criminal

The Institute also reported that
California cities with more
recent immigrants had lower
crime rates than in cities with
fewer total immigrants.            
it's all true
The Federal Communications
Commission has opened an
investigation into a TV station in
Alabama that blacked-out a segment
of the
CBS program 60 Minutes
about a political scandal in that state.
The blackout happened only during a
13-minute report about the politically
motivated imprisonment of the state’s
former governor, Donald Siegelman.

As the segment began, the TV signal
flashed and went blank to be
replaced by a message that said the
station was experiencing technical
difficulties. The FCC said that it had
received “20 or so”
complaints about the blackout and
had sent a letter of inquiry to
WHNT-TV in Huntsville, AL, asking
for an explanation of the episode.
WHNT station manager Stan
Pylant said that the "receiver
failed at the worst possible time."

The segment concerned
allegations that presidential staff
member Karl Rove conspired with
federal prosecutors and federal
judges to convict Siegelman.  
Siegelman was convicted of
bribery and obstruction of justice
in 2006 and sentenced to seven
years in prison.      
it's all true
The United Nations has declared that
it does not have the funds to feed the
world’s most impoverished people
this year because of a 40 percent
increase in basic food commodities
and a doubling of shipping costs.
Increasing food costs, combined with
dwindling stocks, have led to food
riots in some cities and caused some
nations to institute price controls and
rationing. The UN said that, in some
countries in the developing world,
prices of staple food products have
escalated by over 80 percent over
the past year. The situation is
described by the Director of Food
and Agriculture Organization of the
UN, Jacques Diouf, as “unforeseen
and unprecedented.” Diouf fears that
there is a “very serious risk that
fewer people (will) be able to get
food” in 2008.

Rising food prices have led to riots in
Morocco, Yemen, Mexico, Guinea,
Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan.
Russia and Thailand have instituted
price controls on basin food products
such as milk, bread,eggs and
cooking oil. Indonesia has increased
food subsidies to its citizens and
Afghanistan reports that an
additional 2.5 million of its people will
become food insecure this year.
China has imposed quotas on the
export of food products and India has
banned the export of rice.

The UN feeds 73 million needy
people in 78 countries each year
using funds donated by the world’s
wealthy nations. The food aid budget
that the UN had set for 2008 was
$2.9 billion dollars, but increasing
food prices and the rising oil prices
have hampered the organization’s
ability to meet the needs of the world’
s poor; people who exist on less than
cents a day.  Between 50 and 80
percent of that amount goes
toward paying for food, reports

Josette Sheeran, the head of the
UN’s World Food Program said
that the agency will have a
gap if commodity prices remain
high” predicting that the UN will
need another half billion dollars to
meet even the barest food needs
of the world’s impoverished
citizens.  "This is the new face of
hunger, there is food on the
shelves but people are priced out
of the market."  Sheeran said,
"there is vulnerability in urban
areas we have not seen before,
there are food riots in countries
where we have not seen them
before."   The UN says that if food
prices remain high it may be
forced to begin to ration food
it's all true
A scientist speaking before the Royal
United Service Institute in England
warned of the prospect of armed
robots being used by terrorists or
being designed to make decisions
independently. Professor Noel
Sharkey of the University of Sheffield
told the institute that armed robots
that are already deployed by the US
in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are
designed to identify and target
without human assistance, “pose a
threat to humanity.”

The US Army first began using armed
robots on the battlefield in 2007. The
robots that are currently being used
are mounted with M240 or M249
machine guns and can be adapted to
carry 40mm grenade launchers. The
robots, which cost approximately
$240,000 dollars each, can travel
through sand, water and up to 100
feet of snow, can climb stairs  
and can run on batteries for a
maximum of 7 days. A spokesperson
for the Pentagon said when the
robots were first deployed,
“Weaponized robots represent a new
technology that is only in its
developmental stages.” Weapon
designers are currently working on a
“Game Boy” style operator interface
with virtual-reality goggles that
display what the robot is “seeing”.

Sharkey said that robots captured by
enemies could be reverse-
engineered to be used against US
forces. Sharkey was, however, most
concerned of the prospect that
robots could eventually be
programmed by weapons
manufacturers to be fully
autonomous saying, “I have worked
in artificial intelligence for decades,
and the idea of a robot making
decisions about human termination
terrifies me.”                   
it's all true
Scalia's Offhand Comments a Slap in the Face to Torture
Government Mining Your Own Business
Prison Budgets
Handcuff States
Native Sons
The Dangerous
Spike in Commodities Prices Points to Global Food
Scientist Fears Threat Posed by Armed Robots
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