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G_j

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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 39,641

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Iraqi-American is imprisoned by US for saving his family from US sanctions

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/28/iraq-us-constitution-and-civil-liberties?INTCMP=SRCH

Iraqi-American is imprisoned by US for saving his family from US sanctions

A harrowing case of a Missouri engineer highlights the travesties routinely imposed on Muslim Americans
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Glenn Greenwald

guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 September 2012 10.30 EDT


I'm currently traveling around the US on a speaking tour, and as I've written before, one of the prime benefits of doing that is being able to meet people and their families whose lives have been severely harmed by the post-9/11 assault on basic liberties. Doing that prevents one from regarding these injustices as abstractions, and ensures that the very real human costs from these government abuses remain vivid.

Such is the case with the treatment of Dr. Shakir Hamoodi, an Iraqi-American nuclear engineer who just began a three-year prison sentence at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas penitentiary for the "crime" of sending sustenance money to his impoverished, sick, and suffering relatives in Iraq - including his blind mother - during the years when US sanctions (which is what caused his family's suffering) barred the sending of any money to Iraq.

Yesterday in Columbia, Missouri, I met with Hamoodi's son, Owais, a medical student at the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine, and Hamoodi's son-in-law, Amir Yehia, a Master's student in MU's School of Journalism. The travesty of this case - and the havoc it has wreaked on the entire family - is repellent and genuinely infuriating. But it is sadly common in post-9/11 America, especially for American Muslim communities.

Hamoodi came with his wife to the US in 1985 to work toward his PhD in nuclear engineering from MU and, not wanting to return to the oppression of Saddam's regime, stayed in the US. He was offered a research professor position at the university, proceeded to have five American-born children, all of whom he and his wife raised in the Columbia community, and then himself became a US citizen in 2002.
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New comet will fly by in 2013! And it could be brighter than the Full Moon

http://io9.com/5946859/new-comet-will-fly-by-in-2013-and-it-could-be-brighter-than-the-full-moon?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_twitter&utm_source=io9_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow


New comet will fly by in 2013! And it could be brighter than the Full Moon


George Dvorsky

Russian astronomers using the International Scientific Optical Network's (ISON) telescope have discovered a comet that's scheduled to make its closest appearance to Earth in December of 2013. Called C/2012 S1, it's expected to be the brighest visitor to our solar system in the past century — a comet that'll be considerably brighter than Hale-Bopp (1997) and Halley's Comet (1986). The disintevaporating hunk of ice and rock could be visible for up to three months.

The comet was discovered on September 21 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The object will hit its perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun) on November 28, 2013 at a distance of 0.012 AU, or 1,800,000 miles. On October 1, 2013, the comet will swing by Mars, and then the Earth on December 26, 2013.

Experts predict it could become a rather spectacular sight in the night sky — but that's assuming it doesn't disintegrate before then. As witnessed by Elenin last year, a comet can break-up at any given time, particularly as it gets closer to the Sun.

Writing in Red Orbit, Lawrence Le Blond notes that C/2012 S1 is currently hanging out just beyond the orbit of Jupiter. "The comet is currently very faint, but as it approaches the Sun, it will steadily brighten," he writes, "It will be easily picked up by experienced amateur astronomers with CCD equipment in the coming months, and will be within binocular view by late summer 2013, and eventually by the naked eye in early November. Depending on brightness, the comet should remain visible to the naked eye from early November 2013 to mid-January 2014."


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poverty, climate change, gun violence

Three things I would like to see addressed at the debates, but which probably will not be mentioned.

TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash -- and Leave Viewers in the Dark

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/09/24-6

Published on Monday, September 24, 2012 by Free Press

TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash -- and Leave Viewers in the Dark

by Timothy Karr

The political ad invasion is upon us. It’s a toxic mix of half-truths and negativity that’s beaming into homes across the county — especially homes in battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Media analysts project that campaigns, Super PACs and “social welfare” groups will spend a record-breaking $3.3 billion on political ads by Election Day.

For the local stations that air these ads, it’s a political goldmine. But what’s a cash windfall for stations is a nuisance for tens of millions of viewers.

And let’s consider these stations — are they offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time?

To find out, Free Press took a deeper look at local news coverage in five of the cities — Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Tampa — where ad spending has been highest.

We inspected the political files of stations in these markets, identified the groups most actively placing political ads and pored over hundreds of hours of local news transcripts. In all five of these markets, we found that local newscasts were lacking when it came to covering the ads that dominated their stations.

In other words, they provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted even a few minutes to investigating whether these ads told viewers the truth.
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Citizens United accounts for 78% of 2012 outside election spending

http://m.guardiannews.com/ms/p/gnm/us/sk8Ao3GRK94EPSkOd_cicLg/view.m?id=15&gid=world/2012/sep/24/super-pac-spending-2012-election&cat=world_us-elections-2012

Citizens United accounts for 78% of 2012 election spending, study shows

Impact of supreme court's 2010 ruling shown by report into outside money spent on this year's US presidential election


Almost $465m of outside money has been spent on the US presidential election campaign so far, including $365m that can be attributed to the supreme court's landmark Citizens United ruling, according to a report released on Monday.

Super Pacs, which came into effect following the 2010 Citizens United verdict, accounted for $272m of the expenditure in the study, conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to increasing transparency in government.

A further $93m has been spent by corporations, trade associations and non-profits which, according to the supreme court's decision, are able to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigning without disclosing the source of their funds.

"This cycle's outside spending mostly comes in the form of 'independent expenditures' supporting or opposing political candidates by unions, corporations, trade associations, non-profit groups and Super Pacs," wrote Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation.

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US drone strikes target rescuers in Pakistan – and the west stays silent

http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/20/us-drones-strikes-target-rescuers-pakistan?cat=commentisfree&type=article

Attacking rescuers – a tactic long deemed by the US a hallmark of terrorism – is now routinely used by the Obama administration

Glenn Greenwald

guardian.co.uk, Mon 20 Aug 2012 15.33 BST

The US government has long maintained, reasonably enough, that a defining tactic of terrorism is to launch a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded and remove the dead. Morally, such methods have also been widely condemned by the west as a hallmark of savagery. Yet, as was demonstrated yet again this weekend in Pakistan, this has become one of the favorite tactics of the very same US government.

A 2004 official alert from the FBI warned that "terrorists may use secondary explosive devices to kill and injure emergency personnel responding to an initial attack"; the bulletin advised that such terror devices "are generally detonated less than one hour after initial attack, targeting first responders as well as the general population". Security experts have long noted that the evil of this tactic lies in its exploitation of the natural human tendency to go to the scene of an attack to provide aid to those who are injured, and is specifically potent for sowing terror by instilling in the population an expectation that attacks can, and likely will, occur again at any time and place:


"'The problem is that once the initial explosion goes off, many people will believe that's it, and will respond accordingly,' [the Heritage Foundation's Jack] Spencer said … The goal is to 'incite more terror. If there's an initial explosion and a second explosion, then we're thinking about a third explosion,' Spencer said."

A 2007 report from the US department of homeland security christened the term "double tap" to refer to what it said was "a favorite tactic of Hamas: a device is set off, and when police and other first responders arrive, a second, larger device is set off to inflict more casualties and spread panic." Similarly, the US justice department has highlighted this tactic in its prosecutions of some of the nation's most notorious domestic terrorists. Eric Rudolph, convicted of bombing gay nightclubs and abortion clinics, was said to have "targeted federal agents by placing second bombs nearby set to detonate after police arrived to investigate the first explosion".

In 2010, when WikiLeaks published a video of the incident in which an Apache helicopter in Baghdad killed two Reuters journalists, what sparked the greatest outrage was not the initial attack, which the US army claimed was aimed at armed insurgents, but rather the follow-up attack on those who arrived at the scene to rescue the wounded. From the Guardian's initial report on the WikiLeaks video:


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ACLU Sues CIA Over Drone Killings

http://theintelhub.com/2012/09/24/aclu-sues-cia-over-drone-killings/

By Stephen Lendman, Contributor
theintelhub.com
September 24, 2012

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been around since the Vietnam era. They were used as reconnaissance platforms. In the 1980s, Harpy air defense suppression system radar killer drones were employed. In the Gulf War, unmanned combat air systems (UCAS) and X-45 air vehicles were used.

Others were deployed in Bosnia in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. America’s new weapon of choice is now commonplace in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, elsewhere abroad, and domestically for law enforcement and surveillance. Escalated domestic and foreign use is planned.

A previous article called drone warfare remote control killing like sport. From distant or nearby command centers, operators wage virtual war.

They dismissively ignore human carnage. It shows up as computer screen blips. They look no different from video game images. The difference, of course, is people die.

They’re mostly noncombatants. Studies show militants are successfully hit about 2% of the time. Others are wrongly targeted or happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On January 13, 2010, the ACLU petitioned Washington under the Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA). It requested legal justification claimed for conducting predator drone targeted killings abroad.
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(Kucinich) What Did the Peabody Energy Company Do To American Consumers?




Published on Sep 20, 2012 by DJKucinich


Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today took to the House Floor to defend 2.5 million ratepayers in 217 communities across the Midwest who are overpaying for electricity thanks to bad deal with the Peabody Energy Company.

Peabody Energy Corporation convinced nine regional power agencies to become partial owners of a new coal plant in Southern Illinois. The deals specified that the municipalities could get stuck funding the plant even if it never produced electricity. After foreseeable and preventable cost overruns and subpar performance, ratepayers are now forced to buy electricity from the coal plant even though the cost of energy on the open market is much cheaper.

"Did Peabody Energy Company deliberately unload a bad investment on public power organizations serving 217 cities and villages across the Midwest? Congress must find out because Peabody Energy lured public power organizations into contracts that force municipal utilities to pay up to twice the market rate for electricity.

"At a time when private funding could not be had for new coal powered utilities, Peabody Energy unloaded 95% of its investment onto public power customers in what became an almost triple cost overrun, a coalmine that lasts 22 years instead of the 30 years promised, and an ashfill that was supposed to last 23 years and will last only 12-14 years.

"The contract which municipals are tied into forces them to pay for power 42% above the market rate, whether the plant is producing energy or not. Billions of dollars were issued for bond financing for the project and utility customers are vulnerable to huge costs for debt retirement. Wall Street wouldn't invest in the project, so Peabody went to Main Street, and now millions of public power customers will pay sky high electric rates...




October 22 Deadline to Submit Claim Form in Chicago Anti-war Class Action Lawsuit

http://www.nlg.org/news/october-22-deadline-submit-claim-form-chicago-anti-war-class-action-lawsuit

October 22 Deadline to Submit Claim Form in Chicago Anti-war Class Action Lawsuit

September 18, 2012


Earlier this year Vodak v. City of Chicago, a class action lawsuit resulting from false arrests at a 2003 anti-war protest, settled for $6.2 Million.

After nine years of litigation, attorneys from the Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild scored a significant victory by settling the suit. The case is a class action on behalf of over 700 protestors who were falsely arrested or detained by Chicago police during an anti-war demonstration in 2003.

The class is made up of any individual who was either held on the street for over 90 minutes or arrested and taken into police custody on Chicago Avenue, east of Michigan Avenue on March 20, 2003.

The deadline for class members to submit a claim form is October 22, 2012. Any class member who did not receive a form should contact the Claims Administrator immediately to request one. The Claims Administrator can be contacted at:

Vodak v. City of Chicago Claims Administrator

c/o Class Action Administration, Inc.

PO Box 6848

Broomfield, CO 80021



Telephone (toll-free): 1(877) 926-4750



The website for the Claims Administrator is chicagoantiwarprotestsettlement.com.



A claim form will NOT be accepted via email and it is NOT sufficient to notify or mail your claim forms to the lawyers litigating the case or to the Court to collect the settlement proceeds.



Breakdown of the settlement:



The settlement awards a total of $6.2 million to members of the class, with attorneys fees and costs to be paid out separately.



The class is broken into three sub-classes:



Sub-class A-3: Individuals who were held, taken to a police station, charged, went to court and had the case resolved in their favor will receive up to $15,000.



Sub-class A-2: Individuals who were held, taken to a police station and released without being charged will receive up to $8,750.



Sub-class A-1: Individuals who were held in the street and were not allowed to leave for over 90 minutes will receive up to $500.



Again, it is extremely important that class members fill out their claim form and mail it to the Claims Administrator so it is received before October 22, 2012. After that date, any portion of the settlement that has not been claimed will revert back to the City. For additional information and updates, visit peopleslawoffice.com.

Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), declared unconstitutional!

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/we_won_--_for_now_20120917


We Won—for Now

Posted on Sep 17, 2012

By Chris Hedges

In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.

Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision. Government prosecutors called the opinion “unprecedented” and said that “the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed.” The government added that it was an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope.” Government lawyers asked late Friday for an immediate stay of Forrest’s ban on the use of the military in domestic policing and on the empowering of the government to strip U.S. citizens of due process. The request for a stay was an attempt by the government to get the judge, pending appeal to a higher court, to grant it the right to continue to use the law. Forrest swiftly rejected the stay, setting in motion a fast-paced appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and possibly, if her ruling is upheld there, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the 2nd Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the 2nd Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction. This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary.

“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block and overturn an order of a federal judge,” said co-lead counsel Bruce Afran. “As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine Americans’ civil liberties.”

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Scientists Tied to Tobacco Industry Propaganda, Funding from Monsanto, Turn Attention to Organic

http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/09/stanfords-spin-on-organics-allegedly-tainted-by-biotechnology-funding/#more-6160

September 12th, 2012

Scientists Tied to Tobacco Industry Propaganda, and Funding from Monsanto, Turn Attention to Organic Food

Cornucopia, Wis. – A recent study by Stanford University researchers made international headlines when it claimed that organic foods are no more safe or nutritious than conventional foods. Organic researchers, farmers and advocacy groups immediately recognized the study as woefully flawed, and alleged underlying political motivations.

“People don’t buy organic food just because they think it contains slightly higher levels of nutrients, they buy organic for many other reasons, primarily to avoid toxic pesticide residues and toxins that have been genetically engineered into the food,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, Food and Farm Policy Director at The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit organic farm policy organization.

Academics and organic policy experts, including at Cornucopia, immediately recognized that Stanford’s research in fact substantiates dramatic health and safety advantages in consuming organic food, including an 81% reduction in exposure to toxic and carcinogenic agrichemicals. Unfortunately, readers would never know it by the headlines, since the results of the study were spun by the Stanford researchers and public relations staff, and accepted without the necessary fact-checking by journalists in a rush to file stories over the Labor Day weekend.

Not surprisingly, the study’s glaring errors, both in understanding the important and complex differences between organic and conventional foods and in the researchers’ flawed choice of research methods, prompted organic advocates to look closely at financial ties between Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, which supports the researchers, and the chemical and agribusiness industry.

“There was just no way that truly independent scientists with the expertise required to adequately answer such an important question would ignore the vast and growing body of scientific literature pointing to serious health risks from eating foods produced with synthetic chemicals,” says Vallaeys.


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