Fusion center declares nation’s oldest universities possible terror threat

A newly leaked terrorism assessment from a law enforcement fusion center in Virginia highlights US universities as potential “radicalization nodes” for terrorists.

RAW STORY has published the entirety of the 215 page report, available here in PDF format.

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ACLU Report on Reconsideration of the Patriot Act

Reclaiming Patriotism: A Call to Reconsider the Patriot Act

“This report identifies the Patriot Act provisions that require intensive oversight and modification to prevent abuse. […] More than seven years after its implementation, there is little evidence to demonstrate that the Patriot Act has made America more secure from terrorists. But there are many unfortunate examples that the government abused these authorities in ways that both violated the rights of innocent people and squandered precious security resources. Three Patriot Act-related surveillance provisions will expire in December 2009, which will give the 111th Congress an opportunity to review and thoroughly evaluate all Patriot Act authorities-as well as any other post-9/11 domestic intelligence programs-and to rescind, repeal or modify provisions that are unused, ineffective or prone to abuse.

[…] The Patriot Act vastly-and unconstitutionally-expanded the government’s authority to pry into people’s private lives with little or no evidence of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, when the expiring provisions came up for review in 2005 there was very little in the public record for Congress to evaluate. Excessive secrecy surrounding the government’s use of these authorities, enforced through unconstitutional gag orders, prevented any meaningful evaluation of the Patriot Act. Even without adequate supporting justification, in March 2006 Congress passed the USA Patriot Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act, making fourteen of the sixteen expiring provisions permanent.”

Hawthorne police review use of Taser on middle school student

Hawthorne police have launched a misconduct investigation of an officer who used a 50,000-volt stun gun on a violent autistic 12-year-old boy at one of the city’s middle schools, authorities said.

Such use of electroshock weapons by police on young students is rare, but high-profile incidents have sparked fierce debate around the country over when, if ever, Tasers should be used on children. At the same time, an increasing number of police departments are equipping school-based officers with them, according to the leading maker of the weapons.

See also:

UCSF study raises doubts about stun gun safety

Canada: Some Edmonton police abandoning Tasers

Activists hold anti-Taser vigil after year of deaths

Tasers Are Sold as ‘Non-Lethal’ — But They’ve Killed 400 So Far

Amnesty International urges moratorium on Taser use after CBC/Radio-Canada probe

No answers forthcoming in Rialto police’s use of Taser on boy

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NAACP seeks records in Pasadena police shooting

PASADENA – Local NAACP officials Thursday called on the Police Department to release crucial documents and video surrounding the death of a local man shot by officers during an altercation last week.

The letter sent to the department and news outlets came as police refused to comment further on the events of Feb. 19, when Leroy Barnes, 38, was shot to death by police during a traffic stop.

Police also placed a security hold on the autopsy results, preventing any information about how many times Barnes was shot and the location of his bullet wounds from being disclosed, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner spokesman Ed Winter said Thursday.

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Hersh: Children sodomized at Abu Ghraib, on tape

After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon‘s custody more horrific than anything made public so far. “If these are released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse,” Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse.

Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it. The speech was first reported in a New York Sun story last week, which was in turn posted on Jim Romenesko‘s media blog, and now EdCone.com and other blogs are linking to the video. We transcribed the critical section here (it starts at about 1:31:00 into the ACLU video.) At the start of the transcript here, you can see how Hersh was struggling over what he should say:

See also:

The US military and its cult of cruelty

Iraq to re-open Abu Ghraib prison

Photos Show Rape of Iraqi Women by US Occupation Forces

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos

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The Missing Memos

The Bush administration’s controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping were underpinned by legal memoranda. While some of those memos have been released (primarily as a result of ACLU lawsuits), the former administration kept far more memos secret than has been previously understood. At least three dozen by our count.

The decision to release them now lies with President Obama. To help inform the debate—and inject an extra dose of accountability—we’re posting the first comprehensive list of the secret memos. (The ACLU first compiled a list, which ProPublica verified and expanded on.)

Note: Our list is quite inclusive, but we have chosen to leave off some documents, such as early drafts of later memos.

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Jimenez receives apology from school district

When Mariah Jimenez wore a politically charged T-shirt to school Nov. 3, her action sparked a debate on the First Amendment and free speech. It took several months, but her rights, and those of other students are now protected.

Jimenez, a Big Bear High School sophomore, wore a T-shirt to school the day before election day sporting the words “Prop 8 Equals Hate.” Proposition 8 was on the California ballot to ban same sex marriages. It passed, but is now before the state supreme court.

Jimenez didn’t encounter any reaction to her shirt until her sixth-period class. Her teacher sent her to the office claiming the T-shirt’s use of the word hate was not appropriate, and was divisive. The teacher said she was concerned for Jimenez’s safety.

The high school principal gave Jimenez a choice, remove the shirt or stay in his office. She chose to change her shirt and return to class. After school she wrote a letter to the editor, and the battle for free speech began. It ended with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Bear Valley Unified School District and the ACLU agreed to a settlement to protect students’ rights to free speech, The school district will update its speech and dress code to reflect the rights of free expression and speech.

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