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June 14, 2010

Supreme Court rules that the government can abduct and torture innocent Americans whenever they want

The U.S. wins the right to abduct innocent people with impunity - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
The Supreme Court today denied a petition of review from Maher Arar, the Canadian and Syrian citizen who was abducted by the U.S. Government at a stopover at JFK Airport when returning to Canada in 2002, held incommunicado for two weeks, and then rendered to Syria, where he spent the next 10 months being tortured, even though -- as everyone acknowledges -- he was guilty of absolutely nothing. Arar sued the U.S. Government for what was done to him, and last November, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit on the ground that courts have no right to interfere in these decisions of the Executive Branch. That was the decision which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand today, ending Arar's attempt to be compensated for what was done to him. I've written in detail several times about Arar's case, including in November when the appellate court upheld dismissal of his lawsuit; see here for how extreme his treatment has been at the hands of the U.S. Government, which was most responsible for his harrowing nightmare and then spent years fighting to deny him any remedy for what was done. I won't reiterate those points here, as everything I have to say about the Supreme Court's actions today was said in that November post (read the last part of that post, where I excerpted the court's description of what was done to Arar). But I do want to highlight one aspect of this episode: Just compare how the American and Canadian Governments responded to what everyone agrees was this horrific injustice. The Canadians, who cooperated with the U.S. in Arar's abduction, conducted a sweeping investigation of what happened, and then publicly "issued a scathing report that faulted Canada and the United States for his deportation four years ago to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured," and made clear he had done absolutely nothing wrong. Then, Canada's Prime Minister personally and publicly apologized to Arar, and announced that Canada would compensate him with a payment of $ 8.5 million.

June 07, 2010

"The unemployed will not be considered for this job"

Disturbing Job Ads: 'The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered'
In a current job posting on The People Place, a job recruiting website for the telecommunications, aerospace/defense and engineering industries, an anonymous electronics company in Angleton, Texas, advertises for a "Quality Engineer." Qualifications for the job are the usual: computer skills, oral and written communication skills, light to moderate lifting. But red print at the bottom of the ad says, "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason." In a nearly identical job posting for the same position on the Benchmark Electronics website, the red print is missing. But a human resources representative for the company confirmed to HuffPost that the The People Place ad accurately reflects the company's recruitment policies. "It's our preference that they currently be employed," he said. "We typically go after people that are happy where they are and then tell them about the opportunities here. We do get a lot of applications blindly from people who are currently unemployed -- with the economy being what it is, we've had a lot of people contact us that don't have the skill sets we want, so we try to minimize the amount of time we spent on that and try to rifle-shoot the folks we're interested in." There are about 5.5 people looking for work for every job available, according to the latest data from the Labor Department.

June 03, 2010

California bans felons from wearing body armor

California reinstates body armor ban for felons
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that prohibits violent felons from possessing body armor. The Wednesday signing comes six months after a court threw out a similar state law on grounds that it was too vague. Law enforcement groups, including San Francisco Police Chief George Gasc´┐Żn, expressed dismay at the December ruling by a state appeals court in Los Angeles that the law was unconstitutional. That law defined body armor as apparel that provides "ballistic resistance to the penetration of the test ammunition." The law applied only to certain types of guns, a standard also used to certify armor for police. The state appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed in March to hear the appeal.