By Andrew Kreig /JIP Director's Blog
The public suddenly faces degrading new levels of airport searches that are unnecessary from a practical standpoint and frightening in their health and civil rights implications. Conventional wisdom is that this new airport security protects us from terrorists following the Nov. 1 rollout of enhanced body scanners and pat-downs. But the new procedures to be deployed nationally during the coming year will cost vastly more in money, health risk and wasted time than justified by any improvement in safety. Listed below are two news stories that help illustrate why we should halt these new measures.  First is the video of the panicked rape victim who was arrested in Texas for failure to comply, and dragged handcuffed through the airport into custody. Second is the news report that cargo is not subjected to anything approaching the search inflicted on passengers.  House Energy and Commerce Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) once remarked in wonderment about the same anomaly. But instead of reform in accordance with expert views, we are now doubling-down to proceed ASAP on a wrong course.

Will the next step be a ban for some of us to fly under any circumstances?  Already, those of us living in such cities as Washington are started to be subjected to random searches on land public transport with no ability to avoid time-consuming, pointless searches whatever our time pressures or Fourth Amendment rights. This is by order of President Obama and his Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, above. She has launched a public relations campaign to warn about the dangers of terrorism -- even though risks of other hazards are much greater than any suicide-bomber. Why? And why should the public automatically defer to presumed experts when their orders violate common sense, our ability to pay and our fundamental rights?  What's next? Expanding the secret no-fly list to encompass vastly more Americans (perhaps to include more critics of government procedures) thus restricting their freedom further?

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By Andrew Kreig /JIP Director's Blog
The public suddenly faces degrading new levels of airport searches that are unnecessary from a practical standpoint and frightening in their health and civil rights implications. Conventional wisdom is that this new airport security protects us from terrorists following the Nov. 1 rollout of enhanced body scanners and pat-downs. But the new procedures to be deployed nationally during the coming year will cost vastly more in money, health risk and wasted time than justified by any improvement in safety. Listed below are two news stories that help illustrate why we should halt these new measures.  First is the video of the panicked rape victim who was arrested in Texas for failure to comply, and dragged handcuffed through the airport into custody. Second is the news report that cargo is not subjected to anything approaching the search inflicted on passengers.  House Energy and Commerce Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) once remarked in wonderment about the same anomaly. But instead of reform in accordance with expert views, we are now doubling-down to proceed ASAP on a wrong course.

Will the next step be a ban for some of us to fly under any circumstances?  Already, those of us living in such cities as Washington are started to be subjected to random searches on land public transport with no ability to avoid time-consuming, pointless searches whatever our time pressures or Fourth Amendment rights. This is by order of President Obama and his Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, above. She has launched a public relations campaign to warn about the dangers of terrorism -- even though risks of other hazards are much greater than any suicide-bomber. Why? And why should the public automatically defer to presumed experts when their orders violate common sense, our ability to pay and our fundamental rights?  What's next? Expanding the secret no-fly list to encompass vastly more Americans (perhaps to include more critics of government procedures) thus restricting their freedom further?

Read more ...

By Andrew Kreig
 
The public suddenly faces degrading new levels of airport searches that are unnecessary from a practical standpoint and frightening in their health and civil rights implications.
 
Conventional wisdom is that this new airport security protects us from terrorists following the Nov. 1 rollout of enhanced body scanners and pat-downs.
 
But the new procedures to be deployed nationally during the coming year will cost vastly more in money, health risk and wasted time than justified by any improvement in safety. Listed below are three news stories or opinion columns that help illustrate why we should halt these new measures. 
 
First is the video of the panicked rape victim who was arrested in Texas for failure to comply, and dragged handcuffed through the airport into custody. Second is the news report that cargo is not subjected to anything approaching the search inflicted on passengers. 
 
 House Energy and Commerce Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) once remarked in wonderment about the same anomaly. But instead of reform in accordance with expert views, we are now doubling-down to proceed ASAP on a wrong course. Finally, analyst Chris Hedges describes why eaders of both parties seem willing to put us on a path to an Orwellian nightmare in the name of freedom.

Will the next step be a ban for some of us to fly under any circumstances?  Already, those of us living in such cities as Washington are started to be subjected to random searches on land public transport with no ability to avoid time-consuming, pointless searches whatever our time pressures or Fourth Amendment rights.

This is by order of President Obama and his Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, above. She has launched a public relations campaign to warn about the dangers of terrorism -- even though risks of other hazards are much greater than any suicide-bomber.

Why? And why should the public automatically defer to presumed experts when their orders violate common sense, our ability to pay and our fundamental rights?  What's next? Expanding the secret no-fly list to encompass vastly more Americans (perhaps to include more critics of government procedures) thus restricting their freedom further?

Read more ...

By Andrew Kreig

Concerned citizens seeking honest judges now have further evidence they face a secretive, self-protective system that hinders effective oversight. The Washington Post reported Dec. 24 that complaints of judicial ethics go to a special panel that generally refuses to comment.  More specifically, the Post said: “The current chair of the Codes of Conduct committee, Judge Mary Margaret McKeown [at left] of the 9th Circuit in San Diego, said in response to questions that the panel 'does not reveal any information related to an ethics inquiry or opinion unless required by law or where the inquirer has consented or waived confidentiality.'"

The Justice Integrity Project has reported extensive abuses by federal judges. In 2003, for example, an attorney in a civil lawsuit seeking the recusal of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of the Middle District of Alabama filed papers in court alleging that the judge had attempted to defraud Alabama's pension system of $330,000, and therefore should be recused from future cases, and then indicted and impeached. Those papers -- a 39-page affidavit and nearly 140 pages of supporting exhibits -- are mysteriously missing from the court system's public docket even though the attorney delivered multiple copies to the court and such oversight officials as the entire U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as court administrators and the U.S. Justice Department's Public Integrity Section.  There's been no reported action on a corruption investigation by any of the authorities to whom they were sent, with the attorney saying no one ever bothered to contact him to ask a single question about the evidence. The judge went on to be promoted to chief judge, to preside over many politically charged cases and to become enriched by Bush-era federal contracts for Doss Aviation, Inc., a closely held company the judge controlled at the same time he was helping the Bush administration convict former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and businessman Richard Scrushy on corruption charges.  The Huffington Post published our report, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company. Doss services include Air Force refueling and pilot training.

The judge, who declines to provide his photo, is portrayed at right above in photo taken by Phil Fleming in a portrait session that Fleming says the judge requested minutes after the jury's guilty verdict in June, 2006.  The Republican judge sentenced them each to seven years in prison in what has since become a notorious human rights disgrace because of multiple violations of normal procedures, albeit some rubber-stamped by other courts. Aside from the impact on the defendants, their families and colleagues, the prosecution of Alabama's leading Democrat has helped destroy the two-party system in the state and has undermined the credibility of the Obama Justice Department and the federal judiciary nationwide.  Further, sources have informed us that the prosecution was designed to help pave the way for the politically well-connected in Alabama and overseas to profit if the Department of Defense awards some $40 billion in Air Force contracts to North American EADS to manufacture the next generation of Air Force refueling tankers. EADS, headquartered in Europe and promoted by national leaders there, has promised to build an assembly plant in Alabama if it and its consortium win the military contract, which is one of its most important, disputed and scandal-plagued in the nation's recent history.

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By Andrew Kreig / JIP Director's Blog

As the movie Casino Jack debuts, a former client of  Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff described on MTL Washington Update radio Dec. 23 why the movie starring Kevin Spacey, at left, accurately portrays Abramoff's good qualities. Isidro Garza, Jr., the former Kickapoo Tribal Council representative with significant responsibilities at the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, the only legalized gambling facility in Texas, revealed for the first time why he has remained friendly with the notorious lobbyist through the years. Garza maintains that Abramoff, recently released from prison and a halfway house after corruption convictions, has taken more than his share of blame and has a great promise for making a positive contribution to society. Garza believes he was himself a victim of a political prosecution on corruption charges after he ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for a Texas-Mexico border congressional seat then held by Republican Henry Bonilla. Garza and his son, among others, were convicted on corruption charges and served some two years in prison. A federal appeals court vacated all their convictions, and remanded their case back to the federal trial court. They are free on bond after being granted a new trial.

"Jack did so much work without charging us," Garza says. "He worked very hard to use his contacts in Washington to help the Kickapoo Tribe get the casino off the ground, and he did a lot of good." Garza gave the New York Times the first photo of Abramoff at the White House at a meeting with President Bush and a Kickapoo leader at a time when White House officials denied knowing Abramoff. The denial was even though Abramoff's former secretary, Susan Ralston, had moved on to become the secretary of White House advisor Karl Rove. The latter is visible at the far right of the White House photo at right, separated from President Bush by Abramoff's client, with Abramoff visible over the President's left shoulder.  Casino Jack, which describes itself as as a dramatized version of events based on a true story, is a powerful tale of pervasive corruption in Washington.

Access the radio show nationwide on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) network Live! or by archive later. MTL Co-host and Network founder Scott Draughon and I began the show we've done together for four years with an insider commentary on little-reported Washington news. Among the week's topics (summarized below) was news about politically motivated federal prosecutions during the Bush era and continued under Obama.  

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Decision-making at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may seem an unlikely venue for a discussion pertaining to free speech because every commissioner would uphold such rights in theory. But historic issues of freedom of communications are arising in the "net neutrality" proceeding, which resulted in a 3-2 party-line vote Dec. 21 pushed by Chairman Julius Genachowski, left. The compromise regulatory approach fell short of President Obama's campaign rhetoric from potential content restrictions and price-gouging by Internet companies.  But it still antagonized Republicans who dissented.

Bruce Gottlieb, general counsel of the non-partisan National Journal, published an expert view of how the commission functions in this and similarly important proceedings. He is a former FCC chief counsel, among other posts. For current official views, click here for the statements of Genachowski and the two most senior commissioners, Democrat Michael Copps, at right, and Republican Robert McDowell, at left below.

National Journal, Ex-Regulator’s View: FCC Will Pass Net Neutrality, Bruce Gottlieb, Dec. 20, 2010. [Julius] Genachowski has proposed specific “net neutrality” rules that would govern how residential broadband providers may—and may not—prioritize particular Internet traffic. However, his fellow Democrats believe that his proposal doesn’t go far enough, and they are threatening to walk away with nothing rather than accept what’s on the table.  Other news included developments in transportation security, WikiLeaks and the ongoing conflicts at the Washington Post regarding its income stream from its Kaplan education services subsidiary, which generates 62% of the paper's income compared to just 4% from newspaper circulation.

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