Christian ‘doctrine’ fueled dehumanization: UNPFII report

A groundbreaking report examining the roots of Christian domination over indigenous peoples and their lands was released this week at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

North American Representative to the Permanent Forum Tonya Gonnella Frichner, an attorney and founder of the American Indian Law Alliance, presented a preliminary study on the “Doctrine of Discovery” and its historical impacts on indigenous peoples, with a focus on how it became part of United States laws.

“The first thing indigenous peoples share is the experience of having been invaded by those who treated us without compassion because they considered us to be less than human,” said Frichner, a citizen of the Onondaga Nation serving her first term on the 16-member UNPFII.

Dehumanization leads to the second thing indigenous peoples share in common: Being treated on the basis of the belief that those who invaded our territories have a right of lordship or dominance over our existence and, therefore, have the right to take, grant, and dispose of our lands, territories, and resources without our permission or consent.”
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Argument transcript released in Ontario v. Quon U.S. Supreme Court case

A 70-page transcript of Monday’s argument in the U.S. Supreme Court case involving Ontario Police Department has been posted to the court’s website.

Click here for background on the case.

Court takes up Ontario employees’ privacy case
By MARK SHERMAN (AP)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against public employees who claimed a local government violated their privacy by reading racy text messages they sent on their employers’ account.

Several justices said today that the employer, the Ontario, California., police department, acted reasonably in monitoring the text messages in view of its written policy warning employees they have no guarantee of privacy in the use of office computer and electronics equipment.

Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer said he didn’t see “anything, quite honestly, unreasonable about that.”

While the case involves government workers, the decision could have broader privacy implications as courts continue to sort out privacy issues in the digital age. Many employers, including Ontario, tell workers there is no guarantee of privacy in anything sent over their company- or government-provided computers, cell phones or pagers.

The case arose when the Ontario department decided to audit text message usage to see whether its SWAT team officers were using them too often for personal reasons. Three police officers and another employee complained that the department improperly snooped on their electronic exchanges, including many that were said to be sexually explicit.

Police escort student out of class after refusal to recite Pledge of Allegiance

A middle school teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, will have to apologize to a 13-year-old student after yelling at her and having her escorted out of class by school police when the student refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, a 13-year-old female student at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on Jan. 27. The teacher reportedly ordered the girl out into the hallway, where he threatened the girl with detention and then sent her to the school counselor’s office.

The next day, when the student again refused to stand for the pledge, the teacher called school officers to remove her from the classroom and take her to the counselor’s office once again.

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Feds Can Search, Seize P2P Files Without Warrant

The authorities do not need court warrants to view and download files traded on peer-to-peer networks, a federal appeals court says.

Wednesday’s 3-0 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concerned a Nevada man convicted of possessing child pornography as part of an FBI investigation. Defendant Charles Borowy claimed the Fourth Amendment required court authorization to search and seize his LimeWire files in 2007.

The San Francisco-based appeals court, however, cited the nation’s legal standard, reiterating that warrants are required if a search “violates a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (.pdf)

Borowy, the court noted, “was clearly aware that LimeWire was a file-sharing program that would allow the public at large to access files in his shared folder unless he took steps to avoid it.”

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Noriega Will Be Extradited to France, His Lawyer Says

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno will extradited to France after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal against the extradition, his lawyer said, though the final say on the matter belongs to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Noriega “has exhausted all his legal options. He has to go to France,” defense attorney Frank A. Rubino told Efe. “It could be in a week or a month. I don’t know.”

The general, who remains inside a federal prison in Miami, had asked the high court to find that as a prisoner of war, he was entitled to return to the República de Panamá after serving a reduced 17-year sentence in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A U.S. federal judge found in 1992 that Noriega had POW status by virtue of his having been captured during the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983-1989, was due to be released from prison in September 2007, but has remained in custody pending the outcome of France’s request for his extradition.

As his scheduled release drew near, Paris asked the United States to extradite Noriega, who was sentenced in 1999 to 10 years in prison by a French court that convicted him in absentia on charges of laundering some $3.1 million in drug money through the purchase of an apartment.

“I have no idea how they can know where the money came from,” Rubino said Monday. “We’re extremely discouraged by the (Supreme Court) ruling.”

France has promised to give the Panamanian a new trial if he is extradited.

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Supreme Court says jury selections should be open

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Georgia‘s high court incorrectly upheld a trial judge’s decision that the public could be barred from jury selection in a drug trial, ruling that jury selection in criminal trials is presumptively open and judges must consider alternatives to closure.

The 7-2 majority opinion in Presley v. Georgia, which was remanded to the lower court without oral argument, said that the Constitution guarantees both defendants and the public the right to public jury selections.

“The Sixth Amendment right, as the quoted language makes explicit, is the right of the accused. The Court has further held that the public trial right extends beyond the accused and can be invoked under the First Amendment,” read the majority opinion, which was not signed by any single justice.

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ACLU warns of possible legal action if HUSD opens meetings with prayer

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California is warning the Hesperia Unified School District that a proposal to open meetings with a prayer opens the district to “a strong likelihood of being sued.”

At Monday’s meeting, the board is scheduled to vote on a policy outlining how invocations should be conducted. But the district is acting on bad advice, according to the ACLU, and is opening itself up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential legal fees if it goes forward.

In May 2009, board member Anthony Riley argued in favor of adding an invocation to meetings.

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