Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 31st, 2009

Shrinking the Calling Circle

Posted by Charles II on May 31, 2009

David Kravets, Wired (via t/o)

San Francisco – The Obama administration has until Friday to convince a federal judge not to levy sanctions against the government for “failing to obey the court’s orders” in a key NSA wiretapping lawsuit.

    U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is threatening to summarily decide the 3-year-old lawsuit in favor of the plaintiffs, and award unspecified monetary damages to two American lawyers who claim their telephone calls were illegally intercepted by the NSA under the Bush administration. The lawyer represented a now-defunct Saudi charity that the Treasury Department claimed was linked to terrorism.

    If it survived appeal, such a ruling would be a blow to the government, but it would fall far short of deciding the important question the case asks: Can a sitting president, without congressional authority, create a spying program to eavesdrop on Americans’ electronic communications without warrants, as George W. Bush did in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks?


    That legislation allows electronic eavesdropping of Americans without obtaining a warrant if the subjects of the wiretap are communicating overseas with somebody believed connected to terrorism.

    No such congressional authority was in place when lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Gafoor’s telephone calls were intercepted in 2005. The United States had designated the Al-Haramain charity a terror organization.

    The legislation authorizing the spy powers also immunized the telcos from being sued for their part in Bush’s eavesdropping program. Walker is entertaining a constitutional challenge to the immunity legislation.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping | Comments Off on Shrinking the Calling Circle

Father Gérard Jean-Juste, 1947-5/27/09

Posted by Charles II on May 31, 2009

Fr. Jean-Juste in 2004

(Image from Haiti Action)

Father Gérard Jean-Juste died at age 62 of a stroke, while in the United States for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Amnesty International:

On 21 July [2006], Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a Catholic priest and Aristide supporter, was taken into police custody after a mob attacked him outside the church where journalist Jacques Roche’s funeral took place. Considered a potential presidential candidate for the Lavalas party, Father Jean-Juste was illegally arrested and held on trumped-up charges. He was a prisoner of conscience.

He was arrested for the abduction and murder in Haiti of journalist Jacques Roche, despite the fact that Jean-Juste was in the US at the time.

Kevin Pina, Haiti Action:

After Aristide’s return to Haiti in 1994, Fr. Jean-Juste remained an anchor for the Lavalas movement that he believed represented the interests of the poor majority until his death this last Wednesday in a Miami hospital. For this conviction he would suffer dearly especially after accepting an assignment to St. Clare’s church in the neighborhood of Ti Place Cazeau in Haiti’s capital. Once there, he would continue to not only preach on behalf of the rights of Haiti’s poor majority but would also put his faith into practice by creating community empowerment projects. These included literacy and economic programs providing the poor with opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty and a daily canteen that made hot meals available to the most vulnerable in the community. It was not uncommon to find him singing while serving meals to poor children, who he adored and honored as the future of Haiti, on any given afternoon at St. Clare’s.

Following the second coup against Aristide in 2004, he lost his weekly radio program at Radio Ginen after anonymous threats against the station. He would never blame the owner of the station telling me, “I understand the forces of repression and the lies they tell have taken control of Haiti for the moment. They are trying to convince the world that our beautiful movement of the poor is ugly and desolate. Aristide was kidnapped after the elite cut a deal with the Bush administration and this much is clear, the repression against Lavalas has started again.”…

Fr. Jean-Juste along with many others considered September 30, 2004 a true test and turning point for the Lavalas movement in Haiti. The Haitian police opened fired on unarmed protestors during a demonstration on the thirteenth anniversary of the first military coup against Aristide. The slaughter would be justified by Jean-Claude Bajeux, a so-called human rights advocate and leader of a ‘civil society organization’ called the Group 184 that worked for Aristide’s ouster. Bajeux claimed that Lavalas partisans had emulated terrorists in Iraq and beheaded police officers earlier in the day….

Fr. Jean-Juste with his usual clarity would state, “…The OAS is bought off and a disgrace … They along with the U.S., France and Canada are siding with the elite in Haiti who would rather use this foreign label to brand the Lavalas movement as terrorists than accept their own responsibility for having driven this country into the ground with their own greed.”

Posted in Haiti | 2 Comments »

This Is Terrorism

Posted by MEC on May 31, 2009

Terrorism: Committing acts of violence to intimidate a group of people and advance a political agenda.

Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who has been the target of harassment for years, was murdered this morning while going into his church for Sunday services.

This crime must be investigated and prosecuted as a terrorist act.

Posted in abortion, terrorism | 7 Comments »

Has Twilight Come To The Sun Belt?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 31, 2009

For large chunks thereof, especially California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida, the answer may well be ‘yes’. Arizona and Nevada in particular are pretty much bubble states that went hog-wild during the housing bubble and didn’t bother to build up their local industries, schools or even their rainy-day funds. (It doesn’t help that these states have been fighting with their bigger neighbor California for decades concerning water rights.)

Meanwhile, East Coast cities like New York — cities with a multiplicity of industries and jobs sectors, as well as excellent mass transit systems that free people from needing cars to do the simplest tasks — are poised to ride out the recession much better than those places whose main wealth seems to have been based on a housing bubble that’s been popped.

Posted in economy, financial crisis | 1 Comment »

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