Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us was sent a subpoena by the Justice Department, demanding details of visitors on a certain day. Declan McCullagh at CBS News says that the Department also asked that the website not to disclose the existence of the
The subpoena from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair ( Kristina Clair, provides free server space for the website ) to include
IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information, including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
Although the subpoena was later withdrawn, the action of U.S Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S Attorney Doris Pryor raises serious questions about an independent media's right to operate freely and also violates the media's First
Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented Ms. Clair questions the government intention in conducting such fishing expeditions
This story is an an important example of how government abuses breed in secrecy, and an argument for Congress to step in and require meaningful reporting about how the government uses its surveillance authorities. How often does the government
attempt such illegal fishing expeditions through internet data? How many online service providers have received similarly bogus demands, and handed over how much data, violating how many internet users' privacy? How many of those subpoena
recipients have been intimidated into silence by unconstitutional gag orders?
A female baseball fan has been charged after allegedly offering her body in exchange for sought-after tickets to the World Series.
Susan Finkelstein, 43, from Philadelphia, was arrested after meeting an undercover policeman in a suburban bar with the intention, it is claimed, of exchanging sex for admission to a finals game between her beloved Phillies and the New York
It follows an advert placed on internet site Craigslist which her lawyer admits may have included a couple of double entendres but fell way short of prostitution. William Brennan described his client as a nice lady overcome with Phillies fever
. As to the advert he said: If someone read into that posting a sexual connotation, that's on them. There's no overt sexual reference.
The online ad led to a rendezvous between Finkelstein and an undercover police officer snitch. Over a few beers she told the man that she needed two tickets, one for herself and one for her husband. Before prices were discussed she was arrested
by several officers on a nearby table and subsequently charged with the misdemeanour charge of promoting prostitution.
Finkelstein has protested that this was not what she intended. I was hoping to get cheap tickets, she told local station WPVI-TV, adding: Maybe meet someone, and talk, and bat my eyelashes and maybe get some tickets.
But there was a silver lining for the Phillies fan. A local radio station and car dealer took pity on her plight, offering a pair of tickets for a weekend game in the process.
Just how funny was that story of the man in Fairfax County, Virginia, who got up early on Monday morning, October 19, and walked naked into his own kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee? The next significant thing that happened to 29-year-old
Eric Williamson was the local cops arriving to charge him with indecent exposure.
It turns out that while he was brewing the coffee, a mother who was taking her seven-year-old son along a path beside Williamson's house espied the naked householder and called the local precinct, or more likely her husband, who turns out to be a
Yes, I wasn't wearing any clothes, Williamson said later, but I was alone, in my own home and I just got out of bed. It was dark and I had no idea anyone was outside looking in at me.
The story ended up on TV, and in the opening rounds the newscasters and network blogs had merciless sport with the Fairfax police for their absurd behaviour. Hasn't a man the right to walk around his own home dressed according to his fancy?
Answer, obvious to anyone familiar with relevant case law: absolutely not.
Williamson will be lucky if they don't throw a cobbled-up indictment at him
Peeved by public ridicule, the Fairfax cops turned up the heat. The cop's wife started to maintain that first she saw Williamson by a glass kitchen door, then through the kitchen window. Mary Ann Jennings, a Fairfax County Police spokesperson,
stirred the pot of innuendo: We've heard there may have been other people who had a similar incident.
The cops are asking anyone who may have seen an unclothed Williamson through his windows to come forward, even if it was at a different time. They've also been papering the neighbourhood with fliers, asking for reports on any other questionable
activities by anyone resembling Williamson.
I'd say that if the cops keep it up, and some prosecutor scents opportunity, Williamson will be pretty lucky if they don't throw some cobbled-up indictment at him. Toss in a jailhouse snitch keen to make his own plea deal, a faked police line-up,
maybe an artist's impression of the Fairfax Flasher, and Eric could end up losing his visitation rights and, if worst comes to worst, getting ten years in jail and being posted for life on some sex offender site.
You think we're living in the 21st century, in the clinical fantasy world of CSI? Wrong. So far as forensic evidence is concerned, we remain planted in the 17th century with trial by ordeal, such as when they killed women for being witches if
they floated when thrown into a pond.
A Louisiana justice of the peace refused to issue a marriage licence to a mixed-race couple, claiming he was concerned that any children the couple might have would not be accepted by society.
Keith Bardwell, a white man who works in Hammond said it was his experience that most mixed-race marriages do not last long. I'm not a racist ...[BUT]... I just don't believe in mixing the races that way, he told the Associated
Press. Bardwell estimated that he had refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past three years.
Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay are now considering filing a discrimination complaint with the Justice Department. Miss Humphrey, a white account manager for a marketing firm, was married by another justice of the peace to Mr McKay, a black
It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009, said Katie Schwartzmann, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell
people who they can and cannot marry.
The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a
substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice . He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it .
A Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to marry a couple because the bride was white and groom was black resigned today.
Keith Bardwell, who is white, quit the post with a one-sentence statement to Louisiana secretary of state Jay Dardenne and no explanation of his decision: I do hereby resign the office of Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa
Parish, Louisiana, effective November 3, 2009.
Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime to take birth control pills in Florida.
The Personhood Amendment that conservative activists are filing today in Tallahassee would add language to the state constitution that defines someone as a person, regardless of age or health status, from the beginning of the
biological development of that human being.
This, of course, is just another twist on the conventional argument by anti-choice groups that birth control pills are basically murder weapons. The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the newly formed human being cannot attach
to his/her mother's womb and dies, reads an explanation on the website of the American Life League, which is supporting similar efforts in other states. This is called a chemical abortion.
This is the same group that runs thepillkills.com, a site that focuses on blood clots and other health risks that birth control pills pose to women.
Even if these people manage to collect the 676,811 signatures they need to get by Feb. 1 in order for this idea to be considered by Florida residents, even anti-choice politicians seem to be a bit ambivalent about the idea of criminalizing birth
The US city of Patterson is considering imposing a curfew on all it residents in an attempt to combat spiralling crime.
The measure would be the first time an American city has imposed a curfew in a non emergency situation.
Residents in Patterson, New Jersey, would face imprisonment or fines if they are caught outside between the hours of midnight and 7am although people travelling in cars would not be included.
The Mayor of Patterson, which has a population of 147,000, said the drastic measure was being considered following a spate of shootings linked to drugs. The city has had six murders and 30 shootings already this year.
The curfew would last for at least two months and will be voted on by city leaders next month.
Civil rights leaders have condemned the proposed curfew. Ed Barocas, from the American Civil Liberties Union, said: An adult curfew is unprecedented in our state.
Law experts also said the curfew was unconstitutional.
A Republican state senator from Tennessee–who is married and the father of two– has admitted to police that he had sex with a 22 year old female intern.
State Senator Paul Stanley only recently sponsored legislation designed to prohibit gay couples in his home state from ever adopting children. He has also opposed family planning services, explaining that his faith and church require him
to promote abstinence. And Stanley has run as a pro-family candidate in his campaigns for the Tennessee State Senate.
On Thursday, Stanley resigned his chairmanship of the Tennessee State Senate's Commerce committee.
Stanley himself admitted to police that he had had a sexual relationship with the intern and had taken nude pictures of her in provocative poses, according to a sworn affidavit police made public yesterday. The couple also filmed a
video of themselves having sex together.
Stanley went to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation alleging that boyfriend of the intern was attempting to blackmail him. The boyfriend has been charged with attempting to extort the state legislator of $10,000, after Stanley worked undercover
with police to nab the boyfriend. A grand jury also continues to investigate the matter.
By firing Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Town Manager Scott Janke, Town Council members hoped to avoid negative attention before news leaked that Janke's wife is an adult film star.
That plan may have backfired.
The story about Janke, fired Tuesday after council members learned that his wife, Anabela Mota, is the adult video actress known as Jazella Moore, has put local and national spotlights on the town of 6,500 residents.
Town hall officials have been flooded with media inquiries — including invitations to Mayor Larry Kiker to appear on TV. It's not good, Kiker said. It was on a talk show on (Florida's east coast) this morning. (And) we've gotten
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called the firing an example of poor decision making: This might go down as one of the top 10 poor judgments by public officials in Florida history .
In an article on Adult Industry News, Janke said he and his wife believed the news would get out eventually: We have thought about it and tried to keep a low profile. I guess we knew it would happen one day, but hoped that it wouldn't really
Mota is 43, and according to Adult Industry News, has had her Jazella Moore website for the past 18 months.
The Town Council voted unanimously to fire Janke without cause, meaning he will receive six months — or about $50,000 — worth of severance pay and benefits.
Residents and the media are questioning whether Janke can take any legal actions. I just can't imagine a more stupid decision, firing somebody who is acknowledged as being a superb employee, Simon said: Not for something he has done
off-hours but for something that his wife has done off-hours, and something that happens to not be illegal.
The official rationale for issuing Tasers to police officers is that the electro-shock devices represent a “non-lethal” alternative to the use of a firearm in dealing with situations that threaten the life or safety of an officer or innocent
In practical terms, however, the Taser — which is proving to be a reliably lethal weapon — has become an instrument of pain compliance. In unadorned terms, this is summary punishment through torture for those who pose no threat to anyone,
but who refuse to cooperate instantly with orders issued to them by police officers.
The recent arrest of 72-year-old Austin grandmother Kathryn Winkfein, who was assaulted with a Taser during a traffic stop, illustrates this perfectly.
After a police officer stopped Mrs. Winkfein for allegedly driving 60 in a 45 MPH zone, the grandmother refused to sign the ticket stub. Under Texas law, motorists are required to sign traffic tickets under threat of arrest.
According to the police officer, Mrs. Winkfein not only refused to comply, but she swore and became violent with him. Palsied with terror over the threat posed by a frail septuagenarian woman, the officer hit her with a blast from
his Taser. Mrs. Winkfein disputes every element of the official account, and intends to file a lawsuit.
In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they
must be defeated.
In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog are forces of the Apocalypse who are prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped.
Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac: This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.
The story has now been confirmed by Chirac himself in a new book, published in France in March, by journalist Jean Claude Maurice. Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in
Iraq and wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.
Tony Blair viewed his decision to go to war in Iraq and Kosovo as part of a Christian battle, according to one of his closest political allies.
The former Prime Minister's faith is claimed to have influenced all his key policy decisions and to have given him an unshakeable conviction that he was right.
John Burton, Blair's political agent in his Sedgefield constituency for 24 years, says that Labour's most successful ever leader – in terms of elections won – was driven by the belief that good should triumph over evil. It's very simple
to explain the idea of Blair the Warrior. It was part of Tony living out his faith.
Blair has previously admitted that he was influenced by his Christian faith, but Burton reveals for the first time the strength of his religious zeal. Burton makes the comments in a book he has written, and which is published this week, called
We Don't Do God.
Top secret military intelligence briefings prepared by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and often hand-delivered to George W. Bush featured Crusades-like Bible quotes above triumphant photos of the U.S. military effort in Iraq.
Less than one month after U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, a Worldwide Intelligence Update reached then-President Bush with the following quote on the cover of the briefing, above photos of jubilant Iraqi crowds in
newly liberated Baghdad: Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.
One week earlier, on April 3, 2003, another of these reports reached Bush, and its cover contained a passage from the book of Proverbs: Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Revelations of these top-secret briefings containing explicitly Christian messages appeared today on
GQ magazine’s Web site .
These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in
an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable.
Many inside the Pentagon, including one Muslim analyst, were offended by the biblical quotes, while others worried that the briefing cover sheets, if leaked, would do serious damage as the U.S. and its allied coalition of mostly Western troops
prosecuted a war in an Islamic nation.
Utah's Governor, Jon Huntsman, has signed the most sweeping changes to the state's liquor laws in 40 years into law. Some crazy laws were scrapped but were replaced with others.
In the name of economic development and the name of travel and tourism, and so that we don't have to explain whenever a company comes into town for the first 30 minutes of our discussion why we have some of these onerous rules on the book,
we're going to sign , Huntsman said at.
Bars will no longer have to be private clubs beginning July 1, eliminating a decades-old headache for anyone who has ever sought a cocktail here.
The move is being made in an effort to make the state seem a little less odd to outsiders and boost the state's $6 billion a year tourism industry. Tourism officials have long complained that Utah's notoriously quirky liquor laws have given
Colorado a competitive advantage in luring the lucrative ski and convention market.
Tourists in search of a beer and a bite to eat after hitting the ski slopes frequently walk out of bars once told they're for members only. A separate membership, costing at least $4, is required at every bar.
It's always been the knock on Utah. We've got the best snow, we've got the best access, we have the nicest people. There's nothing that compares to our product. The only knock that anybody could ever come up with is that 'Your liquor laws are
strange, quirky, weird,' said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, the ski industry's marketing arm.
The new law will also allow restaurants to take down partitions known as Zion Curtains that separate bartenders from customers in restaurants. Currently, bartenders or servers must walk drinks around the bar before they're allowed to serve
The private club system and the Zion Curtain as they're known today got their start in 1969 after the Mormon church told its members to vote down a proposal that would have allowed the sale of liquor by the drinks in restaurants. The church is
still highly influential here and the changes to the state's liquor laws would not have happened if the church had opposed them.
As part of a compromise, the state will impose tougher drink drive and underage drinking penalties. Utah will also become the first state in the country to require bars to scan the ID of anyone who appears younger than 35 before being allowed to
Information obtained through the ID scan, including name, age and address, will be kept on site for seven days so it can be accessed by law enforcement, despite concerns that keeping the information is a violation of privacy.
The compromise Huntsman signed into law will also prohibit new restaurants from mixing cocktails in public view because some lawmakers are worried that children will be enticed to drink alcohol if they see it poured from bottles.
Huntsman increased the maximum amount of liquor allowed in the standard cocktail from one ounce to 1.5 ounces last year by agreeing to other rules that are unique to Utah. Among them, customers can't have more than 2.5 ounces of liquor before
them at any time. Customers in Utah also can't order a margarita and a shot of tequila at the same time because it contains the same primary liquor, but they could order a margarita and a shot of bourbon, for instance.
The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would legalize sexting between teenagers.
Under current laws, participants can be charged with child pornography, but lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing along such images to others would
remain a crime.
Supporters told the Burlington Free Press they don't want to condone the behavior, but they don't think teenagers should be prosecuted as sex offenders for consensual conduct.
The bill passed the state Senate earlier this month. The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on it this week.
Their intent was to stop me," said Pataky, who said he had a right to blog under the First Amendment: They even blocked my Web site from city computers because city employees were reading it.
Pataky said that he is knowledgeable about his city government, attends council meetings and is very outspoken. I have 50 to 100 cops who provide me with information, said Pataky, who then posts the information on his blog.
This is censorship, said Pataki: This is Nazi Germany.
US could pardon Jack Johnson, the first black boxing great
Thanks to Alan
Interesting! Note that the judge wanted to send a message to black guys thinking of bonking with white women. Precisely the same language that our busybody government uses to justify its meddling in sexual morality, such as the
Dangerous Pictures Act and the attempt to criminalise tarts' customers.
Almost 100 years exactly before Barack Obama became the first black president of the US, Jack Johnson struck another blow, literally, for African-American equality. On Boxing Day, fittingly, in 1908 he became the heavyweight
boxing champion of the world - a title previously reserved for white men.
In the "fight of the century" in 1910, he faced the former undefeated heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries, who until then had refused to fight a black man. In the 15th round the fight was stopped and the cameras
turned off to spare America the ignominy of watching a white boxer being knocked out. Enraged whites went on the rampage, erupting in racial rioting in 50 cities across America in which at least 23 blacks and two whites died.
What could not be achieved within the boxing ring was, however, achieved in the supposedly more hallowed environment of a courthouse. In 1913, five years into his world championship, Johnson was convicted on charges that he had violated the Mann
Act - a convoluted law that, though modified, still exists - making it illegal to transport women from one state to another for immoral purposes.
Johnson had not only violated the supremacy of white boxers, he had also broken the great sexual taboo of those days of Southern segregation and lynching: miscegenation. By the time of the trial he had been married to two white women, and had had
several public relationships with other white females. The judge, sentencing him to a year in prison, said he was sending a message to black men about relationships with white women.
Now Obama is being asked to issue a posthumous pardon for Johnson, who was floored not by a rival's punch within the ring but by the force of racially prejudiced justice. A resolution has been introduced to Congress calling
for a presidential pardon for Johnson's conviction on trumped-up racial grounds.
In 2007, a pair of 13-year-old Pennsylvania girls decided to strip down to their skivvies to beat the heat. As Marissa Miller talked on the phone and Grace Kelly flashed a peace sign, a third girl took a candid shot of the teens in their white
It was harmless, innocent fun, the teens say. But the picture somehow wound up on classmates' cell phones, and a prosecutor has threatened to charge Miller and Kelly with child pornography or open lewdness unless they participate in a five-week
after-school program followed by probation.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to block Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. from filing charges, saying that the teens didn't consent to having the picture distributed and that the image
is not pornography, in any event.
The photos surfaced in October, when officials at Tunkhannock Area High School confiscated five cell phones and found that boys had been trading photos of scantily clad, semi-nude or nude teenage girls. The students with the cell phones ranged in
age from 11 to 17.
Called "sexting" when it's done by cell phone, teenagers' habit of sending sexually suggestive photos of themselves and others to one another is a nationwide problem that has confounded parents, school administrators and law enforcement
A hearing on the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for Thursday in Scranton.
Skumanick said he would fight the lawsuit. He spewed: Frankly, we just wanted to protect these kids, and say, 'Doing this is not right.' We wanted to offer this course to educate them, and make them understand the long-term ramifications of
having photos like this out there.
Under Pennsylvania's child pornography law, it's a felony to possess or disseminate photos of a minor engaged in sexual activity, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or nudity that is meant to titillate. Open lewdness, a misdemeanour,
includes any lewd act that is likely to be observed by others.
U.S. District Judge James Munley has issued a temporary restraining order against Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. to prevent him from filing child porn charges against three girls who "sexted" sexy photos of
themselves to friends.
The Plaintiffs make a reasonable argument that the images presented to the court do not appear to qualify in any way as depictions of prohibited sexual acts, Munley wrote in an Order issued earlier today: Even if they were such
depictions, the plaintiffs' argument that [they] were not involved in disseminating the images is also a reasonable one.
At a hearing, Judge Munley questioned the basis for Skumanick's threat: It seems like the children seemed to be the victims and the perpetrators here, the judge remarked to A. James Hailstone, Skumanick's lawyer: How does that make
Hailstone sidestepped the contradiction, responding that state law doesn't distinguish between who took the picture and who was in it.
A further hearing on the case will be held June 2.
14-year-old charged with child porn for posting nude pictures of herself
A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com -- charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off a state task force, which alerted the Passaic County Sheriff's Office. The office investigated for a month and discovered the Clifton resident had posted the very explicit photos of herself, sheriff's spokesman Bill Maer said Thursday.
It is not a crime to view the photos, Maer said, but it is illegal to download them. Authorities are looking at additional arrests but have no plans to charge people who accidentally viewed the photographs, such as any of friends who have access
to the girl's profile.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. She was released to her mother's custody. If convicted of the distribution charge,
the girl would be forced to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law, said state Attorney General Anne Milgram.
Maureen Kanka -- whose daughter, Megan, became the law's namesake blasted authorities for charging the 14-year-old girl. The teen needs help, not legal trouble, she said. This shouldn't fall under Megan's Law in any way, shape or form. She
should have an intervention and counseling, because the only person she exploited was herself. The teens are making poor choices by posting nude images but aren't pedophiles, she said.
The United States government has admitted for the first time that it had a secret jail in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda operatives were flown in to be interrogated, including being subjected to waterboarding.
Federal prosecutors revealed the details in documents submitted to a court in New York as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Prosecutors also revealed that 92 videotapes made and stored in
Thailand of the questionable interrogation techniques had been personally ordered to be destroyed by the then head of the CIA, Jose A Rodriguez Jr.
The tapes concerning two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were destroyed as the US Congress and the courts were intensifying their scrutiny of the agency's detention and interrogation programme. The civil liberties union is
asking a judge to hold the agency in contempt for destroying the tapes.
In November 2005, the Washington Post and ABC News ran stories accusing the CIA of using rendition flights to transfer alleged al-Qaeda operatives to Thailand.
But Thai authorities were quick to deny the reports.
Supreme Commander Gen Ruengroj Mahasaranont said the ABC News report was just fiction and exaggerated .
A statement was issued by the Foreign Ministry saying: Our investigations with relevant government agencies reveal that there have been no such secret prisons in Thailand.
In the 2005 report, ABC News said Zubaydah was first held in Thailand in an unused warehouse on an active airbase. It also said that after he recovered from life-threatening wounds, incurred during his arrest, he was made to stand long hours in a
cold cell and strapped feet-up to a water board until he begged for mercy and began to cooperate. In waterboarding , a detainee is strapped to a board, dunked under water and made to believe he might be drowned.
The Thai army chief General Anupong Paochinda has also strongly denied reports of the secret United States prison: I can say 1 million per cent that a secret jail like this has not existed in Thailand.
A British resident held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a joke website on how to build a nuclear weapon.
Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the instructions after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.
It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top Al Qaeda terrorist.
But The Mail on Sunday revealed that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.
Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication's food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made using a bicycle pump and with liquid uranium poured into a
bucket and swung round.
Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its extraordinary rendition programme. During his eight-year imprisonment,
Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.
Last week, the High Court ruled that the 42 intelligence papers must remain secret. However, the judges insisted they had no choice because the Government had informed them of a threat by the US to withdraw all intelligence co-operation with
Britain if the papers were published by the court.
The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, is refusing to release the classified documents relating to Mohamed's detention. He defended the decision in the House of Commons, insisting that the US needed confidence that its secrets are safe with
However, details of what Mohamed told his interrogators, unearthed by this newspaper, are likely to cast further doubt on Miliband's stance. We can reveal that the story which apparently led to Mohamed's ordeal could not possibly have been used
by a terrorist to build a nuclear weapon. The satirical article, published in Seven Days magazine, says its authors were given three days to cook up a workable H-bomb. They did and we have decided to share their culinary secrets with you. The recipe is highly detailed and plainly ridiculous. The prospective bomb maker is instructed to transform uranium gas into liquid by
subjecting it to pressure, adding: You can use a bicycle pump for this.
Last night, Mohamed's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, confirmed that the article was central to claims that his client was planning a dirty bomb attack. This is how they made their huge mistake, thinking he was a major terrorist as opposed to a
London janitor: It explains why they took a nobody and subjected him to the worst torture of any US prisoner in the past seven years.'
A west Virginia lawmaker is attempting to draw up a bill for the 2009 legislative session that would require anyone on welfare, food stamps or unemployment benefits to undergo random drug testing.
Under the tentative plan in mind by Delegate Craig Blair, it would be two strikes and you're out.
Blair said: If you go out here and want a good job, most of the time, we have to sign off and say, ‘Hey, it's OK, I submit to random drug testing on the job. That's part of the deal you make whenever you get a job. It's sort of crazy, in my
opinion, and I think in the general public's opinion, when they're on the dole with the state, we're subsidizing their income one way or another, that they don't have to submit to the same thing.
Blair wants to compel anyone collecting food stamps, welfare checks or jobless benefits to submit to random testing. If the first test proves positive, under his proposal, a second one would be mandatory in two months, allowing the recipient that
much time to clean up his act, or face a cutoff of government relief.
Blair said he must overcome one obstacle , a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, that found this approach a constitutional violation.
I'm still in the middle of how to get this drafted so I can circumvent this, he said.
Barack Obama has made good on his promise to lift the heinous global gag rule that George Bush had imposed on his own first day in office.
The global gag rule deprived many overseas health clinics of crucial U.S. funding because they provided reproductive services or engaged in health care advocacy that the Bush Administration and its rabid rightwing base objected to.
As a result, these clinics—which serve as a lifeline to impoverished women all over the Third World—had to cut their services, see fewer patients, or close down.
Today, President Obama has taken a tremendous step in righting the wrongs perpetrated against women around the world by the Bush Administration, said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Unsafe abortion kills
nearly 70,000 women around the world each year. The gag rule prevented women’s health organizations that received U.S. funds from advocacy against restrictive laws that lead to these deaths.
The Center for Reproductive Rights added that the global gag rule had a devastating impact on health care providers and women in nearly sixty countries.
It hailed Obama’s decision, which he made by executive order, as a victory for providers and nongovernmental organizations and for the advancement of free speech and civil engagement.
The Vatican has predictably condemned President Obama's move to restore US funding for family planning clinics abroad that give advice on or carry out abortions.
One Vatican official warned against the arrogance of those in power who think they can decide between life and death. Another official said it dealt a blow to groups fighting against the slaughter of the innocents.
In an interview published in an Italian newspaper, senior Vatican official Monsignor Rino Fisichella urged Obama to listen to all voices in America without the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death.
If this is one of President Obama's first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we're heading quickly toward disappointment.
With the exit of the Bush administration, critics of abstinence-only sex education will be making an aggressive push to cut off federal funding for what they consider an ineffective, sometimes harmful program.
Barack Obama is considered an advocate of comprehensive sex education, which, unlike abstinence-only curriculum, includes advice to young people about using contraceptives if they do engage in sexual activity. However, Obama spokesman Tommy
Vietor declined to elaborate on what the new president would propose in his own budget plan.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of American, depicted the federal abstinence-only program as an utter failure that has wasted more than $1.5 billion over the past decade. Like other critics, she noted that
several major studies -- including a federally funded review -- have found no evidence that the abstinence-only approach works in deterring teen sex.
Even after Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections, liberals lacked the votes to end abstinence-only funding, and President George W. Bush stuck by his strong support for it.
But Rep. Louise Slaughter said the 2008 elections not only put Obama in the White House, but also increased the ranks of senators and representatives who share her opposition to funding abstinence education: We believe the amount of money that
goes into it would be so much better used on things to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I think we'll have enough votes to deal with it.
Slaughter is a lead sponsor of the Prevention First Act, introduced this month in the House and Senate, that proposes multiple initiatives to reduce unintended pregnancies. One component calls for promoting "medically accurate"
comprehensive sex education.
Supporters of abstinence education acknowledge the shift of political power in Washington, but they have appealed to Obama to preserve some federal funding for their programs.
However, Slaughter said she would oppose any effort to fund both approach: We can't have both, because abstinence-only doesn't work.
About half the states currently receive federal abstinence funding.
American teenagers are increasingly facing prosecution as sex offenders as a result of the rapidly spreading practice of sending explicit photos of themselves by mobile phone — a trend known as sexting.
In the latest case, three teenage girls in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who sent nude self portraits, and the three male classmates who received the images, have all been served with child pornography charges.
The girls have been charged with manufacturing and disseminating child pornography while the boys are accused of possessing it.
In Wisconsin, a 17-year-old was charged with child pornography after posting naked pictures of his girlfriend, who is a year younger, on the internet. In Rochester, New York, a boy aged 16 faces seven years in jail for circulating an image of a
girlfriend to friends.
"Sexting" is fast becoming a moral and legal headache for school heads and police throughout America. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy last month published a study suggesting one in five teens had sent or
posted images of themselves in various stages of undress.
Jim Brown, an official at Glen Este high school in the Ohio town of Cincinnati, told the Cincinnati Enquirer: If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now, of 1,500 students I would venture to say that half to two- thirds
have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in school.
Prosecutors are facing increasing dilemmas because case law has not kept up with the impact of digital media on teenage behaviour. Young adults can face lengthy sentences resulting from relationships with younger teenagers, with penalties varying
state by state.
Federal law also requires hefty punishment for teenaged relationships that span the legal start of adulthood at 17. An 18-year-old in their last year of high school who dates a 14-year-old in the first year faces up to 30 years in jail for a