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UK Immigration Officer Put Wife on No-Fly List

This is awesome terrible. Apparently a UK immigration officer added his wife to the no-fly list when she was out of country effectively stranding her.

Based on the lack of details and the fact that she could have just taken a ferry not an airplane, this story doesn't really seem that likely, but it's making the rounds and the most important issue here is that the possibility of a single government official working alone abusing the system. While important security databases are poorly controlled, these kinds of abuses are possible.

Speaking of, I found a supposed copy of the no fly list online. Check it out!

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22 Million “Lost” Bush-Era E-mails Recovered

I'm outta office. Too late sucka!

E-mail records required by law to be available were "lost" during the Bush administration and somehow no one seemed to end up bearing the responsibility. That aside, the e-mails have now been "found" and it will be very interesting to see what's in them.

Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

"We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved."

"It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved"…. No kidding. During a time when they were blocking the subpeona's of congress for Whitehouse staffers to testify against them for the screwups of WMDs in Iraq, the CIA leak, the security agency spying case, and more. I wonder what they could have to hide?

More importantly, can they retro-actively impeach him or is there some kind of statue of limitations? One of the biggest mistakes Obama has already made was to say that we should look forward and not back. That is incorrect mister president. The American public needs to see that abusers of power are held accountable. Make it so!

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Diebold Finally Admits Voting Machines Lose Votes

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Though they originally blamed it on anti-virus software on the machines, Diebold has admitted that it was coding error that leads its machines to drop votes. Hopefully that will help in the lawsuit against Diebold and encourage others states to recoup their losses as well.

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Good Data About White House E-mail Woes

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Here's an article about the White House's struggle with keeping required records: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080824-white-house-memo-no-white-house-email-recovery-this-year.html

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Petition to Remove Nancy Pelosi For Taking Impeachment “Off the Table”

Why do we need to hold people accountable for abuse?
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

I found this online petition to remove Pelosi for failing to do her job and being a political hack. Even if Congress couldn't pull an actual impeachment (which I believe they could for trying to block investigations of the White House staff alone), then they could still do something.

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Never Talk To The Police

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Schneier covers two videos explaining why it's a bad idea to say anything to police when arrested or investigated.

The first video is a law school professor explaining why he's proud to say he will never talk to a police officer under any circumstances. Here are some highlights:

  • There are tens of thousands of federal crimes. Many of which are so broad, you could be convicted under completely bogus circumstances.
  • Example: If the IRS just wants to "Ask you a few questions" you say no unless they grant you immunity
  • There is NO way it can help you. But even if you tell the absolute truth and are totally innocent, there are many ways it can hurt you.

The neat thing is that he gave up half his time to an expert law-enforcement interviewer. The second video is of that expert interviewer explaining some of the tips and tricks he uses to get people to talk. Highlights include:

  • Any cop can follow you for a time and find a legitimate violation to pull you over for
  • He'll come into the room with a stack of papers with a videotape on top (so they think there's a video) and just start doing paperwork. Because people hate silence, eventually the suspect will start talking
  • He brings in a tape recorder and eventually says, "I want to talk to you off the record" and he turns it off. The thing is there's no such thing as "off the record" and every word in an interrogation room is recorded.
  • While you may technically be innocent until proven guilty, a jury assumes that if you're sitting next to a defense attorney, you have a reason to be there.
  • If you didn't know already, police are allowed to lie in interviews

The last thing he stressed which seemed supported by the rest of his talk was that he never tries to send an innocent person to jail. Which so long as the interviewer your talking to has that same viewpoint is very comforting. Since you can't know their intentions, I think it's safer to take the first guy's advice and not talk to the police without representation.

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President Bush Tries to Pardon Himself

George W. Bush
(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

This makes me sick.

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Why Congress Won’t Prosecute Bush

George W. Bush
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Here's a take that I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't considered: Members of Congress may be protecting Bush because of votes they made previously that might seem to have supported his illegal activities. While it might not end in prosecution, it could end their Congressional careers.

So, of course key Congressional Democrats who were made aware of these illegal torture and surveillance programs are going to protect the Bush administration and other lawbreakers. If you were Jay Rockfeller or Nancy Pelosi, would you want there to be investigations and prosecutions for torture programs that, to one degree or another, you knew about? If you were Jane Harman, wouldn't you be extremely eager to put a stop to judicial proceedings that were likely to result in a finding that surveillance programs that you knew about, approved of, and helped to conceal were illegal and unconstitutional?
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Congressional Neanderthals Mess Up Big

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Yesterday the House passed a FISA amendment act which includes a provision shielding telecommunications companies from any liability. In the coverage of the situation by Ars Technica, they were able to quote Nacy Pelosi as being an idiot:

(Bold text in parenthesis is mine)
The most extended apologia came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who urged that the compromise be judged by comparison with the Senate bill, which she characterized as the only realistic alternative (So we can't ask for a good law, only a less bad one? That's a great standard to live to). She outlined several ways in which the current legislation is preferable to the Senate's version. First, the compromise bill reasserts that FISA is the "exclusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance, which would require the president to ignore such language twice in order to launch an extralegal surveillance program, rather than only once, as under traditional FISA rules (So if the President breaks the law, now it would violate two laws instead of just one. The next time someone breaks a law, I wonder if it will result in jail time if it only breaks the law "once"). Second, it preserves prior judicial review of surveillance authorizations, except in "very, very rare" circumstances, such as when the attorney general asserts that waiting for a judge would entail delay (I think that recent history has shown how much we can trust to the "rarity" of the Attorney General approving anything a president might ask. Has she even been awake in the last decade?). Third, it contains specific provisions barring the use of authorizations targeting parties abroad as a pretext for targeting U.S. persons, presumably to be enforced by a board of psychics. Finally, it provides for an internal investigation of the extent of past surveillance, which Congress will act upon with the same legendary zeal for civil liberties it has displayed over the past seven years (Brilliantly summarized. Ars has some great writers.).

So in one day, the House voted to expand powers of the Judicial branch that they didn't need and shield their conspirators from liability against justice.

Don't get me wrong, if I got a letter from the Attorney General of the United states that required my company to do something and my lawyers said to do it, I would have and maybe that's what happened to the telcos. But if there is no accountability for the Attorney General, the President, and the involved Agencies, then the whole things tastes like Congress cooked us up some chili made of poo.

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Articles of Impeachment Against Bush

George W. Bush
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I hate it when they tease. Of course, Dennis Kucinich is introducing not one, but 35 articles of impeachment against Bush. Could justice finally be served? Be still my beating heart!

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