FYI to people in Ohio & beyond – Munsup
· FW: Police face limits on vehicle searches
· FW: Torture Used to Try to Link Saddam with 9/11
· FW: Reclaiming America’s Soul – Why we can’t let the abuses slide
· FW: NAACP VRA Rally – April 29, 2009
From: Shakyra Diaz
Subject: Article- Police face limits on vehicle searches
This is a critical change. Please share. – Shakyra
Police face limits on vehicle searches
Friday, April 24, 2009 3:06 AM
By Randy Ludlow
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
For nearly three decades, Ohio police officers could routinely rummage through vehicles in search of contraband and evidence after arrests.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has halted a practice that some justices wrote had evolved over 28 years into an unconstitutional police “entitlement” of search and seizure.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court effectively said that once suspects are handcuffed or placed in a cruiser, police generally cannot conduct warrantless searches of vehicle passenger compartments.
Searches now are legal only when:
. Officers reasonably believe a suspect could grab a weapon or destroy evidence.
. The vehicle contains evidence of the offense that led to the arrest.
. There is probable cause, such as the smell of marijuana, the odor of alcohol or contraband in plain sight.
“This case is a huge change for you this case is as big a legal change as we have seen in some time!” the Columbus city attorney’s office told officers in an “emergency legal update” this week.
Officers no longer can stop motorists for driving under suspension or similar offenses, briefly arrest them, search their vehicles and then release them with a court summons, the memo said.
The court’s ruling in an Arizona case does not affect searches of vehicles impounded after the driver’s arrest, the memo said. Police still can search cars for weapons if officers think the suspect is dangerous, it added.
Jim Gilbert, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said he still was assessing the ruling but added that previous searches were conducted lawfully.
The American Civil Liberties Union had argued that residents’ rights were being violated by unjustified police searches unconnected to concerns about safety or preserving evidence.
The court’s landmark 1981 ruling on vehicle searches had been “stretched beyond reason,” said Carrie Davis, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “The searches had gotten well beyond what the Fourth Amendment allows.”
The majority justices in Tuesday’s ruling said a new opinion was necessary to remind law enforcement of search limits and privacy rights.
The State Highway Patrol, which makes nearly 1 million traffic stops annually and arrested 5,226 people for drug offenses last year, is studying the ruling to determine its impact on troopers, Lt. Tony Bradshaw said.
Shakyra E. Diaz
ACLU of Ohio, Education Director
From: [September11Coalition] Jim Lucas
—– Original Message —–
Subject: Torture Used to Try to Link Saddam with 9/11
Torture Used to Try to Link Saddam with 9/11
by Marjorie Cohn
submitted to portside by the author April 24, 2009
When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in the New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.
Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the newly released report of the Senate Armed Services Committee. That link was never established.
President Obama released the four memos in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. They describe unimaginably brutal techniques and provide “legal” justification for clearly illegal acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In the face of monumental pressure from the CIA to keep them secret, Obama demonstrated great courage in deciding to make the grotesque memos public. At the same time, however, in an attempt to pacify the intelligence establishment, Obama said, “it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”
In startlingly clinical and dispassionate terms, the authors of the newly-released torture memos describe and then rationalize why the devastating techniques the CIA sought to employ on human beings do not violate the Torture Statute (18 U.S.C. sec. 2340).
The memos justify 10 techniques, including banging heads into walls 30 times in a row, prolonged nudity, repeated slapping, dietary manipulation, and dousing with cold water as low as 41 degrees. They allow shackling in a standing position for 180 hours, sleep deprivation for 11 days, confinement of people in small dark boxes with insects for hours, and waterboarding to create the perception they are drowning. Moreover, the memos permit many of these techniques to be used in combination for a 30-day period. They find that none of these techniques constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Waterboarding, admittedly the most serious of the methods, is designed, according to Jay Bybee, to induce the perception of “suffocation and incipient panic, i.e. the perception of drowning.” But although Bybee finds that “the use of the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death,” he accepts the CIA’s claim that it does “not anticipate that any prolonged mental harm would result from the use of the waterboard.” One of Bradbury’s memos requires that a physician be on duty during waterboarding to perform a tracheotomy in case the victim doesn’t recover after being returned to an upright position.
As psychologist Jeffrey Kaye points out, the CIA and the Justice Department “ignored a wealth of other published information” that indicates dissociative symptoms, changes greater than those in patients undergoing heart surgery, and drops in testosterone to castration levels after acute stress associated with techniques that the memos sanction.
The Torture Statute punishes conduct, or conspiracy to engage in conduct, specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. “Severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from either the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering, or from the threat of imminent death.
Bybee asserts that “if a defendant acts with the good faith belief that his actions will not cause such suffering, he has not acted with specific intent.” He makes the novel claim that the presence of personnel with medical training who can stop the interrogation if medically necessary “indicates that it is not your intent to cause severe physical pain.”
Now a federal judge with lifetime appointment, Bybee concludes that waterboarding does not constitute torture under the Torture Statute. However, he writes, “we cannot predict with confidence whether a court would agree with this conclusion.”
Bybee’s memo explains why the 10 techniques could be used on Abu Zubaydah, who was considered to be a top Al Qaeda operative. “Zubaydah does not have any pre- existing mental conditions or problems that would make him likely to suffer prolonged mental harm from [the CIA’s] proposed interrogation methods,” the CIA told Bybee. But Zubaydah was a low-ranking Al Qaeda operative, according to leading FBI counter-terrorism expert Dan Coleman, who advised a top FBI official, “This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.” This was reported by Ron Suskind in his book, The One Percent Doctrine.
The CIA’s request to confine Zubaydah in a cramped box with an insect was granted by Bybee, who told the CIA it could place a harmless insect in the box and tell Zubaydah that it will sting him but it won’t kill him. Even though the CIA knew that Zubaydah had an irrational fear of insects, Bybee found there would be no threat of severe physical pain or suffering if it followed this procedure.
Obama’s intent to immunize those who violated our laws banning torture and cruel treatment violates the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
U.S. law prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and requires that those who subject people to such treatment be prosecuted. The Convention against Torture compels us to refer all torture cases for prosecution or extradite the suspect to a country that will undertake a criminal investigation.
Obama has made a political calculation to seek amnesty for the CIA torturers. However, good faith reliance on superior orders was rejected as a defense at Nuremberg and in Lt. Calley’s Vietnam-era trial for the My Lai Massacre. The Torture Convention provides unequivocally, “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification for torture.”
There is evidence that the CIA was using the illegal techniques as early as April 2002, three to four months before the August memo was written. That would eliminate “good faith” reliance on Justice Department advice as a “defense” to prosecution.
The Senate Intelligence Committee revealed that Condoleezza Rice approved waterboarding on July 17, 2002 “subject to a determination of legality by the OLC.” She got it two weeks later from Bybee and John Yoo. Rice, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and George Tenet reassured the CIA in spring 2003 that the abusive methods were legal.
Obama told AP’s Jennifer Loven in the Oval Office: “With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that.” If Holder continues to carry out Obama’s political agenda by resisting investigations and prosecution, Congress can, and should, authorize the appointment of a special independent prosecutor to do what the law requires.
The President must fulfill his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Obama said that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” He is wrong. There is more to gain from upholding the rule of law. It will make future leaders think twice before they authorize the cruel, illegal treatment of other human beings.
[Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of the new book, Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com ]
From: September11Coalition@yahoogroups.com Jim Lucas
—– Original Message —–
Subject: Reclaiming America’s Soul – Why we can’t let the abuses slide
Reclaiming America’s Soul – Why we can’t let the abuses slide
By Paul Krugman
New York Times – April 23, 2009
“Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” So declared President Obama, after his commendable decision to release the legal memos that his predecessor used to justify torture. Some people in the political and media establishments have echoed his position. We need to look forward, not backward, they say. No prosecutions, please; no investigations; we’re just too busy.
And there are indeed immense challenges out there: an economic crisis, a health care crisis, an environmental crisis. Isn’t revisiting the abuses of the last eight years, no matter how bad they were, a luxury we can’t afford?
No, it isn’t, because America is more than a collection of policies. We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals. In the past, our government has sometimes done an imperfect job of upholding those ideals. But never before have our leaders so utterly betrayed everything our nation stands for. “This government does not torture people,” declared former President Bush, but it did, and all the world knows it.
And the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible.
What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration’s abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true – even if truth and justice came at a high price – that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?
For example, would investigating the crimes of the Bush era really divert time and energy needed elsewhere? Let’s be concrete: whose time and energy are we talking about?
Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job – which he’s supposed to do in any case – and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.
I don’t know about you, but I think America is capable of uncovering the truth and enforcing the law even while it goes about its other business.
Still, you might argue – and many do – that revisiting the abuses of the Bush years would undermine the political consensus the president needs to pursue his agenda.
But the answer to that is, what political consensus? There are still, alas, a significant number of people in our political life who stand on the side of the torturers. But these are the same people who have been relentless in their efforts to block President Obama’s attempt to deal with our economic crisis and will be equally relentless in their opposition when he endeavors to deal with health care and climate change. The president cannot lose their good will, because they never offered any.
That said, there are a lot of people in Washington who weren’t allied with the torturers but would nonetheless rather not revisit what happened in the Bush years.
Some of them probably just don’t want an ugly scene; my guess is that the president, who clearly prefers visions of uplift to confrontation, is in that group. But the ugliness is already there, and pretending it isn’t won’t make it go away.
Others, I suspect, would rather not revisit those years because they don’t want to be reminded of their own sins of omission.
For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract “confessions” that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.
It’s hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn’t, now declare that we should forget the whole era – for the sake of the country, of course.
Sorry, but what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions – not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws.
We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward – because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
From: Lamyssaire, Audrey
Subject: NAACP VRA Rally – April 29, 2009
JOIN THE NAACP AS WE RALLY TO
“KEEP THE ACT TOGETHER”
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT |
APRIL 29, 2009
Gather at 9am ~ Program at 10am ~ Rally Until Noon
On Wednesday, April 29, 2009, the United States’ Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Eric Holder, Jr, Attorney General, et al. This case is a crucial constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 5, regarded by many as the heart of the Voting Rights Act, both blocks and deters discriminatory voting changes in a select number of jurisdictions around the country. Specifically, Section 5 requires jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to submit proposed voting changes to its election process to the Department of Justice or to the D.C. District Court for pre-approval.
For more information, contact
Rev. Charles White, 410-458-3385, firstname.lastname@example.org
or Stefanie Brown, 410-456-4558, email@example.com
Stefanie L. Brown
Rev. Charles L. White, Jr.
National Field Directors
Field Operations & Membership Department
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
4805 Mount Hope Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21215-3297
Audrey A. Lamyssaire