Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thursday Links & More

From Rawstory
400,000 still on terror watchlist, including author of book on Rove

Over 1 million records on government’s combined watch list

AirportThe US government’s consolidated terrorist watch list has exceeded an estimated 400,000 “unique” records of “known or suspected terrorist identities,” according to a Justice Department report released today.

The controversial list, according to the report issued by the Office of the Inspector General Audit Division, is a combined database of various federal law enforcement agencies, administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) via its Terrorist Screening Center (TSC).

As of 31 December 31 2008, 1.1 million records exist on the government’s combined watch list, according to the Inspector General’s report. That number, however, includes duplicate files and aliases and does not reflect the actual number of people on the terrorist watch list.

The TSC estimated, as of 9 September 2008, that the total number of “unique” individuals on the watch list was approximately 400,000.

The report is the result of an investigation by the Audit Division and discusses findings related to three objectives:

  1. [D]etermine whether subjects of FBI terrorism investigations are appropriately and timely watchlisted and if these records are updated with new identifying information as required;
  2. determine whether subjects of closed FBI terrorism investigations are removed from the consolidated terrorist watchlist in a timely manner when appropriate; and
  3. examine the FBI’s watchlist nomination practices for individuals that were not associated with current terrorism case designations.
From Electronic Frontier Foundation

Government Still Blocking Information on Secret IP Enforcement Treaty

Broken Promises from the Obama Administration Keep Americans in the Dark About ACTA

Washington, D.C. - Two public interest groups today called on the government to stop blocking the release of information about a secret intellectual property trade agreement with broad implications for privacy and innovation around the world.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge said that the April 30th release of 36 pages of material by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was the second time the government had the opportunity to provide some public insight into the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but declined to do so. More than a thousand pages of material about ACTA are still being withheld, despite the Obama administration's promises to run a more open government. MORE HERE


From GuerrillaNews Network

Coming, or already here?
An incomplete overview of police state legislation, domestic military deployment, and other fascist developments in the United States

After writing two recent articles covering the emerging global revolt, neither of which examined the coinciding emergence and growth of the global police state, particularly in America, I felt it was necessary to briefly evaluate the elite’s repressive response to the coming insurrection of their long-coveted slaves. This article will focus on the developing police state in the United States. An analysis of international police state developments is beyond the scope of this article and a subject deserving another article of its own, if not an entire series.

In the last eight years we have seen a slew of police state legislation, to the point that it has often been hard to keep up. By now, most take the Department of Homeland Security for granted, but the implications of its emergence should not be ignored. We’ve all, of course, heard of the PATRIOT Act*, though by now it is in the back of our minds, having been normalized in the discourse of the mainstream, corporate media. A few remember the ‘continuity of government’ measures implemented during 9/11 (though few are aware that they were never revoked and instead left in place indefinitely). Many haven’t forgotten the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Still, many Americans have lost track of the legislative developments, or assumed that the end of the Bush era meant the end of the era of police state preparations, which it obviously did not.

*With many controversial PATRIOT Act provisions set to expire later this year, conservative GOP members of the House are mobilizing to reauthorize them.

You Can Be Declared An Enemy Combatant MORE HERE


Jon Stewart: Moral Coward??? (Heck it was just the Japanese)

It was clearly the execs who reined in the freethinking Stewart and laid down the law, and the first law of "controversial," "provocative," and indubitably "edgy" television commentary is to never – ever, ever! – allow a deviation from the conventional wisdom that falls outside the contemporary Left... More Here


40 Million Nonbelievers in America? The Secret Is Almost Out
As reported recently in the New York Times, a South Carolina chapter of Habitat for Humanity prohibited a group of Secular Humanist volunteers from wearing their "Non-Prophet Organization" T-shirts; a Charleston-area teacher "came out" as a nonbeliever after years of church dinners and demurrals; and Humanist Loretta Haskell struggled over her role as a church musician. While such stories remain commonplace, a related story with a substantial bearing on these anecdotes is one of America's best-kept secrets.

A recent Newsweek cover - in a bid to (finally) match the celebrated 1966 "Is God Dead?" cover of Time - read, in the shape of a cross: "The Decline and Fall of Christian America." Editor Jon Meacham's story highlights Newsweek's latest poll results showing that 10% fewer Americans identify as Christian today than twenty years ago. But more importantly, and mentioned only in passing, is the growth among atheists and secularists of all stripes.

According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of more than 54,000 adults, between 2001 and 2008 the number willing to identify themselves as atheist and agnostic has gone from under 2 million to 3.6 million. Small numbers compared to the whole, of course, but mos t notably it's a rise of 85% of those willing to describe themselves as living without Go d during the years of our most overtly religious presidency!

Even more newsworthy, when the widely-scorned labels "atheist" and "agnostic" are replaced with specifics about beliefs ("There is no such thing" as God, "There is no way to know," or "I'm not sure," and added to those who refused to answer) it turns out that over eighteen percent of Americans do not profess belief in a God or a higher power.

According to ARIS, then, there could be as many as 40 million adult nonbelievers in the United States! MORE HERE


From Press TV
Bush lawye rs to walk US scot-free

During the e ight years of the Bush presidency, the US legalized harsh interrogation tactics, including waterboarding.

US Justice Department investigators urge leniency toward the lawyers who crafted plans for legalizing Bush administration torture, saying they need not be punished.

An informed source close to the Justice Department said that the inquiry into the conduct of lawyers behind the campaign by former president George W. Bush to sanction 'enhanced interrogation methods' like water-boarding will go untouched.

Those implicated in the controversy include John Yoo and Judge Jay Bybee, who both enjoy government positions.

The source who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity explained that a draft report sent by the Justice Department to select Senators specifies that no charges will be brought against the legal experts.

The revelation has dashed hopes that the notorious Bush-era CIA torture memos released by US President Barack Obama last month may help ensure future justice.

The development can be considered as a premature closing to an inquiry whose findings will be looked into during a hearing next week scheduled by the White House.

Authorities carrying out the investigation into the Bush legalization of harsh interrogation techniques have nevertheless suggested referring Jay Bybee and John Yoo to the US Bar Association for disciplinary measures.

Bybee, Yoo and Steven Bradbury were among Justice Department lawyers under Bush who crafted a legal scheme promoting the application of torture against so-called terror suspects at the infamo us Guantanamo Bay prison and other secret detention facilities known as 'black sites' around the world.


Part One of Six

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