Politics

National Security Letters issued 9,254 times

Rich writes "Zdnet reports that the FBI's use of a Patriot Act provision that lets it make secret requests for subscriber information from Internet service providers drew scrutiny from U.s. Senators on Tuesday.

"On Friday, the Justice Department reported to Congress that it had made 9.254 such requests pertaining to 3,501 "U.S. persons in 2005. according to a copy of the agency's letter posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site."

"Sen Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who has been one of the most vocal critics of the Patriot Act, said
Tuesday that the number was far, far larger than the number of requests made under Section 215 of the Patriot Act." "I fear the reason might be that in Section 215 they have to go before a judge, and with National Security Letters, they don't, he said."

Freedom of Speech Tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Neil Young has released Living with War via the Web, with CD to follow, a ferocious new album that expresses free speech to the max, as he takes on the Iraq war and President Bush in full frontal fashion. It's called "Living with War," it includes a song called "Let's Impeach the President."
--Editor and Publisher.==

The Freedom of Speech Tour this summer will reunite Young with Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

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Iowa town bans sex offenders from local library

The Reader's Shop writes "WCFCourier.com
reports that the City Council members of Oelwein, Iowa have voted to bar registered
sex offenders with a history of attacking children from entering within 250
feet of kid friendly public places. The list of kid friendly places includes
libraries, schools, parks, child care facilities, bike trails and recreation
centers. Sex offenders can be fined $750 if they are found to be in a safe zone.
Offenders with a "reason" to be in a safe zone are exempt.
Related Stories:
whotv.com, oelweingov.com."

Yahoo reportedly ratted out another cyberdissident

Fang-Face writes: "An article posted to Reporters Without Borders titled
Yahoo! implicated in third cyberdissident trial, says that the watchdog organization had obtained a copy of the trial verdict, which indicates that Yahoo! helped Chinese police to identify Jiang Lijun. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment in November 2003 for posting pro-democracy articles online."

FBI and Anderson Papers - Deeply Disturbing

kmccook writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

George Washington U. to Receive Jack Anderson's Papers -- but FBI Wants to See Them First.

During his life and career as a muckraking journalist in Washington, Jack Anderson cultivated secret sources throughout the halls of government -- sources who passed on information that allowed Anderson to investigate and write about Watergate, CIA assassination schemes, and countless scandals. His syndicated column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, earned him the enmity of the corrupt and powerful -- so much so that during the Watergate years, associates of Nixon had discussed assassinating the columnist. They never went through with the plot. Anderson died last December at the age of 83.

His archive, some 200 boxes now being held by George Washington University's library, could be a trove of information about state secrets, dirty dealings, political maneuverings, and old-fashioned investigative journalism, open for historians and up-and-coming reporters to see.

But the government wants to see the documents before anyone else.

The FBI's interest in the Anderson archive is "deeply disturbing and deeply in conflict with the academy's interests in freedom of inquiry, research, and scholarship," said Duane E. Webster, the executive director of the Association of Research Libraries.

Jack Siggins, the university librarian, says the FBI's interest in the archive is 'an example of the pressure that libraries are under to change their fundamental philosophy -- which is, to provide the information to the people in order to let the people understand what is going on in their government.'""

Blogging in IRAN can be Dangerous

Search Engines Web writes ""I am very careful. Every blogger in Iran who writes in his/her name must be careful. I know the red lines and I never go beyond them," said Parastoo Dokouhaki, 25, who runs one of Iran's most popular blogs. "And these days, the red lines are getting tighter AP Repport and Another with "A Look at Postings Found on Iranian Blogs""

Does Prison Policy Violate First Amendment?

The New York Times reports: WASHINGTON, March 27. Pennsylvania went before the Supreme Court on Monday to defend its policy of denying most newspapers, magazines and photographs to its most incorrigible prison inmates against claims that the restriction violates the First Amendment. The policy is one of the most restrictive in the country.
    Beard v. Banks (04-1739) is analyzed at the Legal Information Institute Bulletin of Cornell University. The Long Term Segregation Unit ("LTSU") of the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was established to house "the worst of the worst" of the prison's population. When they first enter the LTSU, inmates cannot keep newspapers, magazines, or photographs in their cells, though they have limited access to religious and legal materials. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether the prison's regulation is "rationally related to a legitimate penological interest," and therefore constitutional under the Court's holding in Turner v. Safley.

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Saklad Was Right! Boston City Council fined for breaking meeting law

The Boston City Council violated the state Open Meeting Law 11 times over a period of almost two years, a superior court judge ruled yesterday, imposing $11,000 in fines and ordering the body to obey the law or face further action by the district attorney.

In a scathing 20-page ruling, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Nancy Staffier Holtz said the City Council had intentionally violated the law, which is designed to let the public view and participate in governmental decision-making. She said the council also had concocted flimsy excuses for the violations.

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Pravda webiste closed over cartoon kerfuffle

mdoneil writes "Pravda.ru has had its website shut down because of controversey over the Danish cartoons.
The story is here.
How the world has changed that the former state organ of the Soviet Union is worried about offending people in other countries."

Still John Doe: Connecticut Librarian Receives Intellectual Freedom Prize In Absentia

Kelly writes: "This is from a NYT article [registration required] today entitled, 'Librarian Is Still John Doe, Despite Patriot Act Revision'"

The hotel ballroom was packed as a sensibly dressed, well-read crowd from around the country gathered in San Antonio on Jan. 21 to celebrate one of their own. Yet, as many expected, the guest of honor was a no-show, despite the $500 intellectual freedom prize that awaited. Attendees at an American Library Association gathering blamed Washington for the empty chair. Lawmakers may be giving themselves credit for having improved safeguards on civil liberties when they reauthorized the nation's antiterrorism law, otherwise known as the USA Patriot Act, earlier this month. But many librarians and civil liberties lawyers say the revisions did nothing to enable the guest of honor to take the stage and discuss the Patriot Act without risk of prosecution. Known as John Doe in court filings, the guest of honor was the Connecticut librarian who was visited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year and presented with what is known as a national security letter demanding patron records.

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