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May 20, 2010

Australian government confiscates Wikileaks' founders' passport

WikiLeaks founder has his passport confiscated - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
This is a reminder that one can't run around exposing the secrets of the most powerful governments, militaries and corporations in the world without consequences (h/t):
The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week. ... Last year Wikileaks published a confidential list of websites that the Australian government is preparing to ban under a proposed internet filter -- which in turn caused the whistleblower site to be placed on that list.
The Australian document was so damaging because the Australian government claimed that the to-be-banned websites were all associated with child pornography, but the list of the targeted sites including many which had nothing to do with pornography. That WikiLeaks was then added to the list underscores the intended abuse.

France imposes fine for Islamic face scarves

Breaking News: France imposes a fine on full-face Islamic veils in public - Feministing
Yesterday, the French government decided to impose a $185 fine on women who wear a full-face Islamic veil in public. According to the Washington Post: President Nicolas Sarkozy said his government was forwarding the legislation to parliament because it had a "moral responsibility" to uphold traditional European values in the face of an increasingly visible Muslim population, estimated at more than 5 million, the largest in Western Europe. He called the course chosen by his government "demanding" but "just," and he said the law was not intended to stigmatize Muslims. Not intended to stigmatize? Tell that to one of only 2,000 women in a country of 64 million inhabitants who don the burqa, as it's called in Afghanistan, or the niqab, as it's called in North Africa. Tell that to the woman who, a year from now, when the law goes into effect, suffers this series of potential indignities: It would give police the right to demand that women lift their veils to identify themselves. If they refused, police could hold them for up to four hours for an identity check. If cited for wearing the veil, women would be referred to a prosecutor, who could fine them, force them to attend "citizenship classes" or both.

Terrorist sets off bomb in house of worship in Florida, no one hurt

FBI Finds Pipe Bomb Used in Blast at Jacksonville, Fla., Mosque - AOL News This happened a week ago and this is the first I'm hearing about it.
(May 12) -- FBI officials in Jacksonville, Fla., say they have found the remnants of a pipe bomb used in a possible hate crime at a mosque during evening prayers. Along with local police, the FBI launched an investigation after an explosion shook the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida at 9:35 p.m. Monday, when approximately 60 people were inside praying. No one was injured.

May 19, 2010

we're looking at a spill that's already nearly ten times larger than the Exxon Valdez

Daily Kos: Engineering professor: It's 95,000 barrels per day
WASHINGTON — The latest video footage of the leaking Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico show that oil is escaping at the rate of 95,000 barrels — 4 million gallons — a day, nearly 20 times greater than the 5,000 barrel a day estimate BP and government scientists have been citing for nearly three weeks, an engineering professor told a congressional hearing Wednesday.
To put that in perspective, 95,000 barrels per day is roughly equivalent to an Exxon Valdez size spill every three days.

Supreme Court to look into prison rape case

Woman Prisoner Sent to Solitary for Reporting Rape by Guard | Mother Jones First off, can we all agree that being raped in prison is a terrible thing that no one deserves, despite all the "ha ha you dropped your soap" jokes on tv? If you really do think being sexually assaulted is *part* of the punishment you should really look at the constitution and that whole part that forbids "cruel and unusual punishment." This case is about a woman who was raped by a prison guard and then punished for speaking out against it. It's also about if prisoners can sue prisons and prison guards for illegal actions. And it's also about how badly we need to revise our prison system in this country. Remember, we lock up more of our citizens than any other industrialized nation.
Other accounts were more specific: In the first assault, Ortiz was "fondled" by the guard, who then told her "I'll get you tomorrow, watch." In the second, which took place after she had appealed for help, the guard returned while Ortiz was asleep and raped her. The assaults took place back in 1996. Subsequently, Ortiz sued both prison officials in federal court for doing nothing to protect her from the guard and punishing her instead. A jury awarded her $625,000 in damages.