GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba –A judge expressed frustration on Monday that an unknown U.S. government entity censored his courtroom audiovisual feed, cutting public access to pretrial hearings for five accused Sept. 11 plotters.
“If some external body is turning the commission on or off based on their own views of what things ought to be, with no reasonable explanation … then we’re going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on and off,” said the judge, Col. James Pohl.
Pohl’s comments came after an unknown censor cut off a live media feed to the court proceedings as David Nevin, a lawyer defending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, began discussing his request for information on his client’s case.
Proceedings at Guantanamo’s maximum-security court are broadcast over closed-circuit television to journalists observing from an adjacent room. Additional reporters monitor the feed from a nearby media center, and at Fort Meade, Md.
A red light resembling a police emergency beacon goes off in the courtroom when the censorship button has been activated. A court security officer positioned next to the judge has the ability to dump the feed if anything secret arises. That officer didn’t activate the censorship button on Monday.
Defense attorneys said they didn’t previously know that someone outside the courtroom could cut off the feed.
“I would like to know who has the permission to turn that light on and off, who is listening to this, who is controlling these proceedings, or controlling that aspect of these proceedings,” Nevin said.
The censorship light has come on before, but always when activated by the court security officer, James G. Connell III, a lawyer for Abul Aziz Ali, said at an evening press conference. “I thought that there was one button and it was under the control of the court security officer,” he said.
Justice Department counterterrorism lawyer Joanna Baltes said in court on Monday that the government would provide information on the censorship during a closed court session. The judge will address the matter on Tuesday, lawyers said.
Col. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, declined to classify the activation of the censorship light as a mistake. Martins said the defense lawyers should have known about censors outside the courtroom.
Controversy is brewing in Fort Collins, Colo., after a Rocky Mountain High School decided to allow a multicultural student group to recite the Pledge of Allegiance over the loudspeaker in Arabic, among other languages. The situation landed Principal Tom Lopez in hot water, with a slew of angry statements and threats being phoned into the school.
See if you can stomach the comments section on that…
While she does admit leaving the note at a St. Louis Applebee’s displayed poor judgement on her part, the pastor, who has only identified herself as Pastor Bell, came forward to KTVI to clear up the matter, saying she did actually end up leaving a tip.
“What (the photo) doesn’t show is the money that I left and that we all left on the table,” Bell told the T.V. station.
Bell claims she left $6.29 on the table — the same amount that was scribbled out on the receipt — and that her credit card was also charged with an additional $6.29. Bell said everyone else at her table also left tips in cash.
I don’t believe a word of it. Here’s why:
Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.
“But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”
“If this person wrote the note, obviously they wanted it seen by someone,” she points out. “It’s strange to me that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is now ashamed.”
Jack Andraka’s breakthrough pancreatic cancer test would have never come about were it not for access to online journals — what Internet guru Aaron Swartz was promoting before his death. Andraka “religiously” used free online academic journals in the research because “in most online databases, articles cost about $35, and there are only about 10 pages.”
Jack Andraka, the 15-year-old whiz kid behind a revolutionary new tool in cancer research, has many things in common with Aaron Swartz, the phenomenon at the center of a continuing online freedom debate in the US.
Swartz was also just 15 when he helped co-develop RSS, a form of Web publication, that has enabled dissidents in China and the Middle East, North Africa region to circumvent censors. Andraka is on his way to revolutionizing the medical profession with a cost-effective, much less invasive test for early-stage pancreatic cancer and a number of other diseases (detailed in the video below).
“It’ll be three to five years before it’s on the market, both as a take home test and in doctor’s offices,” the well-spoken high school student told The Vancouver Observer.
But Swartz and Andraka aren’t only connected by their teenage prodigy.
Andraka used free online academic journals in the research that resulted in his invention.
“I used them religiously,” Andraka said, “Just because, in most online databases, articles cost about [US]$35, and there are only about 10 pages.”
“The public funds a lot of this research. Shouldn’t the public have access to it?”
An online digital activist and developer, Aaron Swartz committed suicide earlier this month, weeks before the start of his trial, where he would face three decades in prison for allegedly “stealing” millions of pay-walled articles from Online academic service JSTOR to make them available to the public for free.
“I believe [Swartz's] actions were mostly justified,” Andraka said, “The public funded a lot of that research. It shouldn’t be held inaccessible to the public.”
“You may find my actions extreme, but for a crew of sufficient numbers, if a suitable destination could be found, no return destination would be needed. Therefore, I have had to improvise, with our ship, with our crew.” The goal was to make a short sci-fi film, but without CGI, greenscreens, or other digital trickery, instead relying on camera tricks, miniature photography, and stop-animation. And now it is done: C 299,792 km/s
The film cost $40,000, collected from two Kickstarter fundraisers. The movie website has some information, and Wired has more details of the making of the film, including an interview with one of the two brains behind the film.