one nation, under surveillance
number 53    05.26.
Gonzalez Cancels Subscription to First Amendment
previous editions archive
Federal agents are tracking the
phone records and activities of
journalists as part of an investigation
into leaks which have embarrassed
the CIA, and the government has
indicated that it may pursue criminal
charges against news organizations
under the Espionage Act of 1917. It
has been widely reported that the
New York Times and the
Washington Post are being
investigated by the FBI with regard to
stories about domestic wiretapping
by the National Security Agency and
secret CIA prisons. Recently, ABC
News reporters Brian Ross and
Richard Esposito were told by one of
their confidential government
sources, “It’s time for you to get some
new cell phones, quick.”

There has never been a prosecution
of a journalist or news organization
under the Espionage Act, but
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez
said this week that he believes that
such a case is possible. While
denying that the government would
engage in routine or random
surveillance of reporters, Gonzalez
acknowledged that they may be
monitored as part of a criminal leak
investigation, saying, “We have an
obligation to ensure that our national
security is protected.” Some legal
scholars feel that the constitutionality
of such a prosecution is questionable.
Reporters Committee for Freedom
of the Press executive director
Lucy Dalglish decried the
revelations. “I can’t imagine a
bigger chill on free speech and
the public’s right to know what it’s
government is up to –both
hallmarks of a democracy – than
prosecuting reporters,” Dalglish
told the Associated Press.

It remains unclear whether the
reporter’s phone records and e-
mail messages were obtained
under the  
authority of the recently disclosed
NSA program that seeks to create
a database of hundreds of
millions of US phone
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interpreting the constitution
Justice Relies Upon Secrecy to Thwart Justice
Ancient Icefields
Threatened by
Man Made
The Justice Department recently
succeeded in having the court case
of a German citizen quashed by
invoking the ‘state secret privilege’.  
The complaint of Khaledal al-Masri,
who claimed to have been kidnapped
by the US and rendered to a prison
in Afghanistan to be tortured and
held captive for more than five
months, was thrown out of court by a
federal judge without being

The Justice Department claimed that
any review or discussion of Masri’s
allegations would threaten national
security.  Masri’s claim was not
refuted or disproved, but he will be
unable to seek damages from the US
government for being wrongfully

The state secret privilege follows
from a 1953 Supreme Court decision
and allows the government to assert
the privilege to ask the court to
dismiss court cases
against the government when it
believes that national security is
threatened.  In the first 23 years
since the privilege was created by
the Supreme Court’s ruling the right
was invoked only four times.  Since
the terror attacks in 2001, the
government has invoked the state
secret privilege 23 times.

The Bush administration has directed
attorneys in the Justice Department
to assert state privilege in an array of
court cases against the government,
some of which have only a tangential
relationship to national security
matters.  The case of an African
American CIA officer who alleged
discrimination and that of an FBI
linguist who reported corruption were
both dismissed after the government
claimed the privilege.  

The Justice Department recently
intervened in a lawsuit that is
currently pending regarding the
government’s massive
warrentless wiretapping and data
collection to invoke the privilege in
an attempt to stop the case from
proceeding.  The Bush
administration has asserted the
state secret privilege in five times
in the past year.

In the Masri case, Judge T.S. Ellis
III said that the “government
seeks to protect from disclosure
the operational details of the
extraordinary rendition program.”  
Although the Secretary of State
Condolezza Rice characterized
the imprisonment of Masri as a
“mistake”, Judge Ellis decided,
“the applicability of the state
secrets privilege is wholly
independent of the truth or falsity
of the complaint’s
it's all true
The China Academy of
Sciences has reported that the
ice fields in Tibet, which hold
more than one sixth of the
world’s glaciers, are melting at
the alarming rate of seven
percent per year due to global
warming caused by emissions
of man made green-house

The scientists, who reviewed
data from 680 weather stations
throughout China, stated that
the ice fields will melt at a rate
of 50 percent every decade
going forward until the ice
completely disappears.  Ice
cores removed from Himalayan
glaciers reveal that
temperatures in recent years
are  the warmest in 1000 years.

The scientists have warned
that the ecological catastrophe
that will result from the massive
and unprecedented glacier
melt off will cause widespread
desertifica-tion in China and
the countries that border the
Himalayas and deplete many
of the world’s great river
systems.  The Yangtze, Indus,
Mekong, Yellow and Ganges
rivers all emanate from the
Tibetan glacier fields and
provide drinking water for more
than 300 million people in
China alone.

China’s capital, Beijing, was
blasted by a dust storm earlier
this year that was caused by
the increasing desertification
of the Himalayas.  The storm
swept more than 330,000 tons
of dust and sand into the
capital.  The storm was the
thirteenth that Beijing has
experienced this year.

The Qinghai-Tibet plateau in
the Himalayas holds more than
45,000 glaciers, some more
than 400,000 years old.  The
icefields cover an area over
60,000 square
                            it's all true
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Walmart Lowers Prices, Increases Poverty
Homicide rates by
A study released by the State
University of Pennsylvania concludes
that counties across America that are
home to Walmart stores suffer from
increased poverty levels.  The study,
Walmart and County-Wide Poverty
published in Social Science
Quarterly, found that approximately
20,000 families have fallen into
poverty as a result of the Walmart
stores expanding into the counties
where they live. The authors state
that Walmart stores are
“unequivocally associated” with
increased poverty in the counties
where they exist.

The authors of the study reviewed
counties where stores had been built
during a time that the company
greatly increased the number of its
locations nationwide, between 1987
and 1998.  During this period, the
poverty level dropped by 18 percent
nation wide.  The study found that
the decrease in poverty in counties
where a Walmart store was built was
reduced by about 8 percent and
dependence on food stamps.
in the counties increased by 15.3

The study’s authors found that one
of the most devastating effects to a
community when a Walmart is built is
the destruction of a “local class of
entrepreneurs”, the small businesses
that are displaced by the mega
retailer’s stores.  Not only are ‘mom
and pop’ businesses displaced; such
as pharmacies, hardware stores and
auto repair shops, but so too are the
professional companies that support
them; such as accountants and

The decreased job availability leads
to what the study’s authors
characterize as a loss of “local
leadership capacity” in communities
where Walmart stores exist further
contributing to economic decline.

The Walmart chain employs 1.3
million workers in its 4,750 stores.  
The average pay given to a Walmart
‘Associate’ is  $8.23 per hour, which
represents an annual income of
it's all true
0        7500     15000     22500     
source : United Nations
GOP Plays to Their
Bases' Instincts
in bed with the red






previous editions

Links of the Week

Transcript of Gen. Michael V.
Hayden's confirmation hearing
before the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence

California Health Care
Foundation: Snapshot-US
Health Care Costs 101, 2006

Dave Holland official website

Sir Thomas Browne: Biography
and Texts of the English
Physician and Philosopher

contact us
Phone Companies Outsource Invasion of Privacy
The US Senate has approved
legislation that would dramatically
increase the fines for indecency
that the Federal Communications
Commission may levy against
broadcasters. The bill now moves
to a reconciliation conference with
the House, which passed its own
version, imposing even harsher
penalties, last year.

Under the Senate bill, the
maximum fine for each incident of
broadcast indecency would
increase from $32,500 to
$325,000. House Republicans
want the ceiling raised to
$500,000, and seek to include a
provision that would require the
FCC to hold license revocation
hearings after three offenses. The
authority would not extend to
cable and satellite broadcasters.
The broadcast communications
industry has lobbied against the
new laws.

Political observers note that the
proposals are part of a package
of legislative initiatives designed
to placate the conservative base
of the Republican leadership,
which is facing difficult midterm
elections in the fall. Recent bills
involving militarization of the
border, English- only laws, and
prohibition of gay marriage are
part of the push.                       
all true
Press reports revealing that the
National Security Agency has
compiled a massive database of
hundreds of millions of telephone
calls indicated that three of the four
largest phone companies in the
United States, AT&T, Verizon, and
BellSouth, had actively cooperated
with the agency by providing access
to their customers’ records. The
fourth, Qwest Communications,
refused to comply with government
requests for private information
because of concerns about the
legality of the NSA operation. But
emphatic denials by both BellSouth
and Verizon left observers wondering
how the companies’ records were
merged into the NSA database. A
little-known niche in the
telecommunications industry may
help to clarify the matter.

An obscure but powerfully connected
firm, NeuStar Inc., is the most
prominent player in a growing
market: companies that gather and
provide bulk communications data to
various government and law
enforcement agencies. A dramatic
increase in requests for wiretaps,
phone records, and call information
since 2001 has led the telecom
giants to outsource the work to
entities like NeuStar.

The phone companies benefit from
the arrangement by assigning the
workload of compliance to a third
party. At the same time, they are able
to deny that they provided
information to the government, or
that they entered into any
agreements or contracts with federal
agencies. Obtaining the commercially
collected records allows the
government to circumvent provisions
of the Privacy Act of 1974, which
places restrictions on the use and
dissemination of private data. The
Act only applies to information
actually gathered by government

NeuStar is one of the largest routing
companies in the industry, and it also
holds an exclusive contract to
maintain a database of some 200
million phone numbers in the US and
Canada. According to the company’s
website, “Nearly every telephone call
placed is routed using NeuStar’s
system, and every
telecommunications service provider
is one of NeuStar’s customers.”

In 2005, NeuStar acquired
Fiducianet, Inc., which specializes in
helping the telecoms comply with
subpoenas, court orders, and
requests for surveillance from law
enforcement agencies. According to
Forbes, Wall Street analysts expect
25% annualized growth in earnings
from NeuStar for the foreseeable
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verbatim                                                                                                                                                                                                     number 10.5
"We will construct high-tech
Washington DC  05.16.06