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TSA does surprise check at Lamar Boulevard Amtrak

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

TSA does surprise check at Lamar Boulevard Amtrak --Random checks happen at stations across country --Once the train arrives, the dogs also sniff the cargo areas. 24 Jan 2013 Passengers catching the 9:30 a.m. Amtrak train from Austin to Dallas were met with an unexpected surprise when they got to the station. Transportation Security Administration agents, Austin police officers, and the Department of Homeland Security were all waiting for them. "These facilities are not necessarily protected as well," said George Robinson with TSA about bus stations and train stations that typically do not have the same security measures as airports. "We do impromptu visits at locations throughout the country."

US appeals panel agrees government can demand Twitter account info in WikiLeaks probe

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

US appeals panel agrees government can demand Twitter account info in WikiLeaks probe 25 Jan 2013 A federal appeals court ruled Friday that prosecutors can demand Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks. The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's reasons as to why it is seeking the information can remain sealed. The case involves three Twitter account holders with some connection to the secret-busting WikiLeaks website. They had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over data amounts to an invasion of privacy and has a chilling effect on the free speech rights of Twitter users.

Court: WikiLeaks Suspects Denied List of Companies Who Received Orders for Records

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

Court: WikiLeaks Suspects Denied List of Companies Who Received Orders for Records 25 Jan 2013 A federal appeals court has ruled that three suspects targeted in a WikiLeaks investigation have no right to know from which companies, other than Twitter, the government sought to obtain their records. The ruling, published Friday, upholds a magistrate's earlier decision that "there exists no right to public notice of all the types of documents filed in a sealed case" and likens the 2703(d) orders in question to grand jury proceedings, which are not subject to public access. "In fact, they are a step removed from grand jury proceedings, and are perhaps even more sacrosanct," the judges for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals noted in their decision. "Because secrecy is necessary for the proper functioning of the criminal investigations at this § 2703(d) phase, openness will frustrate the government's operations."

Analysis: 201,000 in Florida didn't vote because of long lines

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

Analysis: 201,000 in Florida didn't vote because of long lines 24 Jan 2013 Analyzing data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel, Ohio State University professor Theodore Allen estimated last week that at least 201,000 voters likely gave up in frustration on Nov. 6, based on research Allen has been doing on voter behavior. His preliminary conclusion was based on the Sentinel's analysis of voter patterns and precinct-closing times in Florida's 25 largest counties, home to 86 percent of the state's 11.9 million registered voters. "My gut is telling me that the real number [of voters] deterred is likely higher," Allen said. "You make people wait longer, they are less likely to vote."

France sends troops to secure Niger uranium mines

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

France sends troops to secure Niger uranium mines --The magazine noted that this is the first ever use of the French commandos to directly defend the assets of a corporation. 25 January 2013 Barely two weeks after invading Mali with over 2,000 troops of the Foreign Legion [and committing war crimes], France has dispatched special forces troops to neighboring Niger to secure uranium mines run by the French state-owned nuclear power company Areva. The new French military intervention in northwest Africa was first reported by the weekly magazine Le Point and confirmed by military sources contacted by other sections of the French media. Le Point reported that French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had quickly agreed earlier this week to a "major innovation" in ordering the Special Forces Command to send troops to protect the Areva uranium production sites in Imouraren, and 80 kilometers away in Arlit.

Summary Executions May Have Taken Place in Mali Offensive, French Minister Admits

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

Summary Executions May Have Taken Place in Mali Offensive, French Minister Admits 23 Jan 2013 Malian troops may have carried out summary executions during the offensive against Islamist rebels, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RFI Wednesday. Human rights groups say that atrocities have been perpetrated in several towns as the joint French-Malian operation heads north. France Human Rights League on Wednesday said it had evidence that of summary executions by Malian soldiers in towns including Sévaré, Mopti and Nioro, while US-based Human Rights Watch on Saturday said it had credible information of murders and other atrocities in Niono.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou given more than two years in prison

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou given more than two years in prison 25 Jan 2013 The former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison, by a federal judge who rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower when he leaked a covert officer's name to a reporter. A plea deal required the judge to impose a sentence of two and a half years. US district judge Leonie Brinkema said she would have given Kiriakou much more time if she could. Kiriakou's supporters describe him as a whistleblower who exposed aspects of the CIA's use of torture against detained [alleged] terrorists. The 48-year-old Arlington resident pleaded guilty last year to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

EarthLink unblocks CLG, says 'does not block political content'

January 26, 2013 by legitgov

EarthLink unblocks CLG, says 'does not block political content' by Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 25 Jan 2013 Citizens for Legitimate Government has received a response from EarthLink's Executive Relations, regarding our request to remove the block of delivery of the CLG Newsletter that had been imposed in December 2012. See, for example, 'EarthLink blocking CLG Newsletter since 24 December 2012.'  EarthLink's Level A support has informed CLG that the problem has been addressed. "We want to reassure you, we do not block emails based upon political content. We have removed the block on [redacted] (assata.mayfirst.org) and we have also whitelisted this IP address to keep it from being blocked again."

Wis. sheriff urges citizens to get gun training

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Wis. sheriff urges citizens to get gun training 25 Jan 2013 A Wisconsin sheriff has released a radio ad telling Milwaukee-area residents that law enforcement cutbacks mean 911 isn't their best option and they should learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves until police arrive. In the ad, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. tells residents that personal safety is no longer a spectator sport and they need to be "in the game." He urges them to get firearm training to protect themselves and their families.

Court rules Obama recess appointments unconstitutional

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Court rules Obama recess appointments unconstitutional 25 Jan 2013 A federal appeals court, dealing a defeat to President Obama, has sharply limited the chief executive's power to bypass the Senate and to make temporary "recess" appointments to fill vacant slots in government agencies. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in a 3-0 ruling, said the president can make recess appointments only when the Senate has formally adjourned between sessions of Congress, not when lawmakers leave Washington for a brief break. The Obama administration is almost certain to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. But if the ruling stands, it strengthens the power of the Senate's Republican minority at the expense of Obama and the Democrats. [Obama's recess appointments were ruled unconstitutional. Does that mean all the torture that took place under Bush -- after his illegal appointments -- was also unconstitutional? --LRP]

Harry Reid: 'I'm not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold'

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Harry Reid: 'I'm not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold' by Ezra Klein 24 Jan 2013 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have come to a deal on filibuster reform. The deal is this: The filibuster will not be reformed. "I'm not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold," Reid (D-Nev.) told me this morning, referring to the number of votes needed to halt a filibuster. "With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn't and shouldn't be like the House." What will be reformed is how the Senate moves to consider new legislation, the process by which all nominees -- except Cabinet-level appointments and Supreme Court nominations -- are considered, and the number of times the filibuster can be used against a conference report. But even those reforms don't go as far as they might. [Wall Street/CIA troll Barack Obama is *thrilled* with Reid's sell-out. That way, he won't be confronted with any progressive legislation -- that he pretends to support -- to sign.]

What the 2012 Election Would Look Like Under the Republicans' Vote-Rigging Plan

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

What the 2012 Election Would Look Like Under the Republicans' Vote-Rigging Plan 25 Jan 2013 Republicans have a new strategy for 2016: Change the rules of presidential elections in order to swing the Electoral College in the GOP's favor. On Wednesday, Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature became one of the first to advance a bill that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district. Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed pushing through similar proposals in other states with Republican legislative majorities. The strategy would have states alter the way they translate individual votes into electors -- thereby giving Republican candidates an advantage. Had the 2012 election been apportioned in every state according to these new Republican plans, Romney would have led Obama by at least 11 electoral votes.

British man who 'vanished' says he was tortured and forced to sign a confession by the CIA

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

British man who 'vanished' after being stripped of citizenship says he was tortured and forced to sign a confession by the CIA 19 Jan 2013 A British man who disappeared after being stripped of his citizenship claims he was tortured in an African prison before being handed over to the CIA and forced to sign a confession. Mahdi Hashi, who vanished last summer in Somalia, has described for the first time his 'horrific' ordeal at the hands of the secret police in the neighbouring state of Djibouti, who he claims worked closely with US interrogators. The 23-year-old, who lived in London, alleges that he was stripped and repeatedly slapped before being threatened with electrocution and sexual abuse by officers who were attached to Djibouti's intelligence service. Speaking from a top security prison in New York, where his family tracked him down just before Christmas, Mr Hashi claims he was so frightened by the threats of torture that he signed the confession demanded by his American interrogators.

Secret UK uranium components plant closed over safety fears

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Secret UK uranium components plant closed over safety fears 24 Jan 2013 A top-secret plant at Aldermaston that makes enriched uranium components for Britain's nuclear warheads and fuel for the Royal Navy's submarines has been shut down because corrosion has been discovered in its "structural steelwork", the Guardian can reveal. The closure has been endorsed by safety regulators who feared the building did not conform to the appropriate standards. The nuclear safety watchdog demands that such critical buildings are capable of withstanding "extreme weather and seismic events", and the plant at Aldermaston failed this test. Although the closed plant has not been officially named for national security reasons, the Guardian understands it is known as A45. It makes enriched uranium components for Trident nuclear warheads and has recently been helping to make the uranium fuel for the Astute generation of nuclear-powered submarines.

Evidence grows for narcolepsy link to GSK swine flu shot

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Evidence grows for narcolepsy link to GSK swine flu shot 22 Jan 2013 Around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe have developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. Finland, Norway, Ireland and France have seen spikes in narcolepsy cases, too, and people familiar with the results of a soon-to-be-published study in Britain have told Reuters it will show a similar pattern in children there. Pandemrix was authorized by European drug regulators using a so-called "mock-up procedure" that allows a vaccine to be authorized ahead of a possible [lab-generated] pandemic using another flu strain. In Pandemrix's case, the substitute was H5N1 bird flu.

Feds Pile On More Charges Against Anonymous Agitator Barrett Brown

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Feds Pile On More Charges Against Anonymous Agitator Barrett Brown 24 Jan 2013 Barrett Brown, a self-proclaimed spokesman for Anonymous, has been hit with new charges by authorities in Texas for concealing evidence. It's the third round of charges in a case that his former attorney describes as an attempt to silence the outspoken and provocative activist. "Clearly they're more worried about what they perceive as his egging people on to go after defense contractors and secret spy organizations," says Brown's former attorney Jay Leiderman.

Police accompanying smart meter installation crews in Naperville - two arrested

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

Police accompanying smart meter installation crews in Naperville - two arrested --'It was forced on my house today.' 24 Jan 2013 (IL) Two vocal opponents of Naperville’s initiative to install wireless electric meters on homes were arrested after interfering with the installation process, according to city officials. Police are accompanying crews this week as they install smart meters at homes that previously [wisely] sent away installers. The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group has expressed concerns over whether the wireless meters will affect health, security and privacy. The group has a federal lawsuit pending against the city.

'Nuke Effect Snow?' Pennsylvania power plant spawns 'nuclear' snow plume

January 25, 2013 by legitgov

'Nuke Effect Snow?' Pennsylvania power plant spawns 'nuclear' snow plume 23 Jan 2013 Meteorologists have known for decades that waste plumes...the vented heat and moisture from power plants can produce clouds and showers downwind. Now this phenomenon has been captured by Doppler radar. "Nuke Effect" snow. It appears Pennsylvania's Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant near Shippingport generated enough waste heat and moisture in this bitter air mass to create a "nuke effect" snow plume downwind. Up to an inch of snow was reported under the narrow, localized snow plume.

Sen. Feinstein ready to introduce new ban on assault weapons

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Sen. Feinstein ready to introduce new ban on assault weapons 24 Jan 2013 Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will introduce a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips on Thursday. Feinstein's bill will expand the criteria for classifying military-style assault weapons from a 1994 law, which lapsed a decade later. Her new measure will ban the sale of about 150 types of firearms, including some rifles and handguns, as well as the sale of high-capacity magazines, according to USA Today. The bill will exempt firearms used for hunting and will grandfather in guns and magazines owned before the law's potential enactment. However, the grandfathered weapons will be logged in a national registry.

KBR Secret Indemnity Agreement Signed by Army Chief Tainted In Enron Scandal

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

KBR Secret Indemnity Agreement Signed by Army Chief Tainted In Enron Scandal 24 Jan 2013 The Army official who signed a secret agreement that military contractor KBR claims should burden taxpayers with the bill for the company's negligent poisoning of U.S. soldiers in Iraq resigned from the military in 2003 after a tenure marked by questions about his ties to Enron Corp. Thomas E. White, named secretary of the Army in 2001, signed an indemnity agreement protecting KBR, the military's largest contractor, from legal liability on March 19, 2003. KBR had asked for the agreement as part of its contract to rebuild Iraq oilfields destroyed in the U.S. invasion. White resigned a month later, on April 23, under fire for his previous role as a senior Enron executive and after clashing with former Defense Secretary [war criminal] Donald Rumsfeld over his advocacy for a multi-billion dollar artillery system.

Anonymous Hacker Jailed For 18 Months

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Anonymous Hacker Jailed For 18 Months 24 Jan 2013 A 22-year-old student has been jailed for 18 months after carrying out cyber attacks with hacking group Anonymous. Christopher Weatherhead, of Holly Road, Northampton, was convicted last month for taking part in distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks on sites including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Victims' [sic] websites would be directed to a page displaying the message: "You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung."

9/11 Defendants Seek to Preserve CIA Sites Where They Were Tortured

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

9/11 Defendants Seek to Preserve CIA Sites Where They Were Tortured 24 Jan 2013 The last people you might expect to want to see the CIA's secret torture prisons kept intact are the people who were tortured there. But the defense lawyers for the 9/11 co-conspirators are arguing that the CIA's so-called "black sites" need to remain open, untouched and exactly as they were when top 'al-Qaida' operatives were abused. On Monday at Guantanamo, Army Col. James Pohl, the judge in the 9/11 tribunal, will hear a longstanding motion filed by the defense team to "preserve any existing evidence of any overseas detention facility used to imprison any witness in this case." The gambit, explains James Connell, a Defense Department civilian who represents defendant Ammar al-Baluchi, seeks to treat the black sites like crime scenes -- something the Justice Department has been reluctant to do.

Let elderly people 'hurry up and die', says Japanese minister

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Let elderly people 'hurry up and die', says Japanese minister [Lead the way, dirt-bag!] 22 Jan 2013 Japan's new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country's finances. Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care. To compound the insult, Aso, 72, referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as "tube people".

UN to examine UK and US drone strikes

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

UN to examine UK and US drone strikes 23 Jan 2013 A United Nations investigation into targeted killings will examine drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, according to the British lawyer heading the inquiry. Ben Emmerson QC, a UN special rapporteur, will reveal the full scope of his review which will include checks on military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in UK operations in Afghanistan, US strikes in Pakistan, as well as in the Sahel region of Africa where the conflict in Mali has erupted. It will also take evidence on Israeli drone attacks in Palestinian territories. About 20 or 30 strikes -- selected as representative of different types of attacks –- will be studied to assess the extent of any civilian casualties, the identity of militants targeted and the legality of strikes in countries where the UN has not formally recognised there is a conflict.

Nine-hour battle grips Kabul

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Nine-hour battle grips Kabul 21 Jan 2013 A nine-hour siege Monday in the heart of Afghanistan's capital left at least seven people dead, including three police officers, and brought a normally bustling section of the city to a standstill amid explosions and gunfire. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which started around 5:30 a.m., when at least four attackers stormed the lightly-defended headquarters of the Kabul Traffic Police, before taking up positions and firing light and heavy weapons down on an adjacent compound that houses the Afghan Border Police. During the attack a car bomb went off outside the headquarters and at least two of the attackers detonated suicide vests, according to a Ministry of Interior statement.

Yemen minister urges ground ops, not drones, against militants

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Yemen minister urges ground ops, not drones, against militants 22 Jan 2013 A cabinet minister criticized on Tuesday the use of pilotless U.S. drones against suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen, a tactic that has outraged communities in targeted areas, and urged a move to ground operations to avoid hurting civilians. Yemen, an Arabian Peninsula country plagued by lawlessness that has been exploited by al Qaeda the US to launch attacks on Arab and Western targets, has witnessed a rising tempo of U.S. missile strikes in recent weeks. "To have an innocent person fall, this is a major breach," Yemeni Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhour told Reuters on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, voicing rare public opposition to the tactic by a member of the cabinet.

North Korea to target U.S. with nuclear, rocket tests

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

North Korea to target U.S. with nuclear, rocket tests 24 Jan 2013 North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy". The announcement by the country's top military body came a day after the U.N. Security Council agreed a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction the country for a rocket launch in December that breached its bans. "We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States," North Korea's National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.

Following the outcome of Israel's elections, ultra-religious Jews could be trading yeshivas for boot camp

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Following the outcome of Israel's elections Tuesday, ultra-religious Jews could be trading yeshivas for boot camp 23 Jan 2013 In Israel, everybody serves in the army except ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs. That could soon change for the first group. Yair Lapid, a centrist politician who campaigned on a pledge to end all military draft deferments for Jews, stunned pundits by coming in a strong second to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli elections Tuesday. Netanyahu retained his position, but his party lost seats in Parliament, leaving him in a weaker position. Under the Israeli parliamentary system, Netanyahu needs Lapid's Yesh Atid party to form a new government. And that means the haredim, as ultra-Orthodox Jews are called in Hebrew, could find themselves in boot camps instead of yeshivas.

Redistricting in Virginia Hurts Blacks, Democrats Say

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Redistricting in Virginia Hurts Blacks, Democrats Say 24 Jan 2013 On Monday, one of Virginia's state senators attended the inauguration: Henry L. Marsh III, a longtime civil rights lawyer, who played hooky to witness a milestone for an African-American president. The same day, Republicans back in the state capital, Richmond, took advantage of his absence to win a party-line vote, 20 to 19, to redraw electoral maps in a way that Democrats say dilute African-Americans' voting strength. The move not only has Democrats howling about a power grab, it has also been criticized by Virginia’s Republican governor and lieutenant governor.

Palace coup in the Virginia Senate

January 24, 2013 by legitgov

Palace coup in the Virginia Senate 23 Jan 2013 Just how out of control are Virginia's Republicans? This week's redistricting coup attempt staged by prominent Republicans John Watkins and his cohort Thomas K. Norment in the otherwise evenly divided state Senate is as cynical as it is destructive. On Monday, the pair took advantage of the absence of a key Democratic senator who was attending Barack Obama’s inauguration to spring a plan to redo a redistricting map approved two years ago. Using their temporary 20-19 advantage and with no prior notice, they rammed through their self-serving changes.

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