A mother mistakenly branded a violent junkie must have her fingerprints checked against every unsolved crime in Britain to clear her name.
Amanda Hodgson had a routine criminal record check for a job looking after youngsters during breaktimes at her children’s school.
The 36-year-old was expecting the all-clear but was horrified to open a letter claiming she had assaulted police officers and was a recovering heroin addict.
Mrs Hodgson only applied to be a welfare assistant at the school after staff said she would be perfect for the job.
But the Criminal Records Bureau sent her the history of a woman with the same name and date of birth – then told Mrs Hodgson, of Preston, it was up to her to prove her innocence.
If you start treating volunteer workers like this, how many volunteers will you have left in a year or so?
Sen. John McCain’s plans are gradually unfolding for the Republican National Convention in September as he tries to walk a tightrope between conflicting demands.
First is the question of how to give President Bush a forum as the party’s two-time nominee but at the same time keep McCain at a distance from the unpopular incumbent. The answer, according to McCain aides, will be to have Bush give a speech on the first night of the convention—a Monday—and let him have the moment to himself. McCain isn’t scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the convention site, until Tuesday at the earliest, after Bush leaves, which means that, at this point, the two men won’t be seen with each other that week.
The next time the president goes to war, Congress should be consulted and vote on whether it agrees, according to a bipartisan study group chaired by former secretaries of state James Baker III and Warren Christopher.
Could somebody please forward Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to James Baker III and Warren Christopher?
This is why we continue to see, in state after state, the same absurdities that Feynman saw thirty-five years ago. In state after state, the legitimate reviewing of books is shunned. In state after state, incompetent committees engage in group-grope “evaluation” shams which embody the emperor’s-nose fallacy — the nonsensical notion that a question can be answered by averaging a bunch of guesses proffered by people who don’t know what they are talking about. In state after state, corrupt proceedings are corrupted further by publishers’ “presentations”: The publishers send salesmen to describe, explain and promote their books to the evaluation committees, to other state functionaries, and even to members of state boards of education. Feynman refused to hear such pitches, because he held that a book should be able to speak for itself. He was right, of course — but in many states, evaluation committees are routinely subjected to “presentations” by publishers’ pitchmen.
When U.S. law groups announced in April that they were hiring the nation’s top criminal defense lawyers to defend alleged al Qaeda terrorists at the war court here, one executive called the lawyers “The A Team.”
Now, they’re the No-Pay Team.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has pledged to cover costs of civilian lawyers defending alleged arch-terrorists, is in a struggle with the U.S. Treasury Department over a permit to pay $250-an-hour fees and other expenses to attorneys who have been shuttling to this remote U.S. Navy base from as far as Boise, Idaho.
The Treasury division, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, is the same unit that polices American citizens’ travel to Cuba. Its authority to license defense costs at the war courts here, called military commissions, comes from anti-terror legislation.
The anti-terror legislation is to prevent funds from going to terrorist organizations. In this case however, the money doesn’t go to terrorist organizations, it goes to lawyers defending people from suspected to be terrorists.
So any time the government claims you might be a terrorist, nobody can spend a dime to defend you?
You are, apparently, now really guilty unless proven innocent.
My Lords, I am delighted to be in your Lordships’ House. I thank noble Lords for the very warm welcome that I have had from all parts of the House and for the generous comments made today.
Normally, I would have liked a little longer than a week to settle in and to learn the conventions of your Lordships’ House before opening my mouth, but I have learnt one convention, which has been drummed home to me, which is that maiden speeches are to be short and non-controversial. I can do short, but non-controversial is a bit trickier in the circumstances.
Since 9/11, we have had a great deal of terrorism legislation. One point that has not been made so far is that successful counterterrorism work depends on a number of things, but in particular on good intelligence and good police work, not necessarily on changes in the law. That said, all the legislation has had some important and enabling provisions.
I applaud the fact that we are discussing now, rather than against the background of an atrocity, where this country wants to draw the line on issues such as pre-charge detention. I have considerable sympathy with the police on the collection of evidence, which is very challenging, given the need to move early, the amount of seized data, the complexity of cases and the forensics. I congratulate the anti-terrorist branch of the Metropolitan Police for the superb job that it does. But arguments can be made to justify any time of detention, just as in other countries, although mercifully not here, they can be made to justify any method of interrogation.
In deciding what I believe on these matters, I have weighed up the balance between the right to life–the most important civil liberty–the fact that there is no such thing as complete security and the importance of our hard-won civil liberties. Therefore, on a matter of principle, I cannot support the proposal in the Bill for pre-charge detention of 42 days.
During Vietnam, the American populace was bombarded daily with ghastly images of the war as it happened. It was the first American war that was heavily televised, and the images coming back from the front lines daily shocked the nation. In no small part because of this unmercilessly accurate media coverage, public opinion not only turned against the war, but spawned massive protest movements not seen before in America.
Today, while public opinion is against the war, there is no protest movement, and the war continues. Perhaps it’s because Bush is censoring the images that reach American shores.
On Jun. 26, a suicide bomber attacked a city council meeting in Fallujah, 69 kms west of Baghdad, between local tribal sheikhs and military officials.
Three Marines, Cpl. Marcus Preudhomme, Capt. Philip Dykeman, and Lt. Col. Max Galeai, assigned to 2d Battalion, 3rd Marine Division based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, died in the attack.
The explosion also killed two interpreters and 20 Iraqis, including the mayor of the nearby town of Karmah, two prominent sheikhs and their sons, and another sheikh and his brother. All were members of the local “awakening council,” one of the U.S.-backed militias that have taken up arms against al Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. and Iraqi authorities.
Zoriah was embedded with Marines on a patrol one block from the attack when it occurred. He had originally turned down the option of going to report on the city council meeting that was bombed.
Zoriah ran with the Marines he was with to the scene of the attack. “As I ran I saw human pieces…a skull cap with hair, bone shards,” he told IPS during a telephone interview from the so-called Green Zone in Baghdad. “When we arrived at the building it was chaotic. There were Iraqis, police and civilians running around screaming. Bodies were being pulled out of the building.”
“I went in and there were over 20 people’s remains all over the place,” Zoriah continued, “Of the Marines I jogged in with, someone started to vomit. Others were standing around, not knowing what to do. It was completely surreal.”
“At that moment I realized this was far beyond anything I’d experienced, and I realized I wanted to focus and make sure I could capture what it felt like, and the visual horror,” Zoriah explained.
“Tuesday [Jul. 1] I awoke to a call in their combat operations centre, and the person on the phone told me they were a PAO (Public Affairs Officer) at Camp Fallujah, and he wanted me to take my blog down right away,” Zoriah told IPS. “I asked them why, and was then called back after five minutes by a higher ranking PAO who claimed I had broken my contract by showing photos of dead Americans with U.S. uniforms and boots.”
Zoriah said the PAO claimed he was not allowed, by the embed contract, to show dead or wounded U.S. citizens or soldiers in the field. “I never signed any contract for that,” Zoriah said.
He was called back after another five minutes and told his embed was terminated and they would send him back to Baghdad on the next flight. He was then taken back to Camp Fallujah where he said, “Everyone was extremely angry and fired up at me.”
Nevertheless, the lower ranking Marines he had embedded with “were on my side, and they told me they thought that what was happening was wrong.”
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday that a shake-up in the leadership of his campaign was part of a “natural evolution” as the organization becomes more national in scope.
Obama, in other news, said he used intelligent design to create his campaign.
On July 3, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court in California made a ruling particularly worthy of the nation’s attention. In Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. v. Bush, a key case in the epic battle over warrantless spying inside the United States, Judge Walker ruled, effectively, that President George W. Bush is a felon.
In the LAPD’s Rampart Division, the police department has been accused of multiple cases of police corruption years ago; and for that reason, was slapped with a federal consent decree. Now there is a sense of déjà vu with the arrest and the exoneration of a young man who was taken into custody, caught on video.
“Before I knew it, they had taken me to their squad car and I was heading down to the station,” said defendant Guillermo Alarcon.
Guillermo Alarcon was arrested in the carport of his apartment building on drug charges and put on trial. He claimed officers set him up.
“Of course because they’re here to protect us, everybody assumes that they tell the truth at all times,” said Alarcon.
But Alarcon’s mother had installed four cameras and recorded video. It had been Alarcon’s secret defense weapon for nearly a year as he prepared for a confrontation in court.
The two Rampart officers testified that they saw Alarcon drop something, and that they found a full box of drugs nearly at his feet.
Alarcon’s public defender, Victor Acevedo, pointed out 30 minutes of inconsistencies and a disturbing piece of audio. An officer comes up with drugs, then there’s what appears to be an instruction to the others to embellish their report on the incident.
One of the officers can be heard on tape saying, “Be creative in your write … oh yeah, don’t worry,”
“One of the officers turns around and just blatantly tells the other officers, ‘Hey, be creative in your writing,’” said Victor Acevedo, Alarcon’s public defender. “And then, to top that off, you have other officers actually responding, ‘Hey, don’t worry, we’ve done this before.’”
Global warming and pollution are decimating coral reefs around the world, with only 25 percent in good health in the Caribbean Sea, US experts warned Tuesday.
In other areas of the world such as the Pacific basin, nearly 70 percent of the coral reefs are either thriving or in good condition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a report.
NOAA told the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that nearly half of coral reef ecosystems in the United States are in poor or barely passable condition.
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to look at the policy issues raised by advertising that is targeted to the online behavior of Internet users. Some of the participants are trying to bolster their positions in advance.
The hottest topic will be proposed systems by which Internet service providers can watch users and sell information about their surfing habits to advertising companies. The Center for Democracy and Technology — whose chief executive, Leslie Harris, will testify — issued a report suggesting that these systems may violate federal law.
1970s: Don’t steal. The government hates competition.
2010s: Don’t spy on your users. The government still hates competition.
If the OpenBSD folks want to fix bugs with a longer history than this one they’ll have to start looking at the structural engineering of the Tower of Pisa.
“There’s virtually no branch of the U.S. government that isn’t in some way involved in monitoring or surveillance,” said Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian and fellow at the National Security Archives at The George Washington University. “We’re operating in a brave new world.”