“The message of the President of Tajikistan is aimed at all of the citizens. It is a program of action and we can’t remain on the sidelines,” Mavlon Mukhtorov, deputy chair of the Committee for Religious Affairs told Intefax. The official explained that the majority of those who attend the country’s mosques voted for Rahmon and therefore have the right to be informed of what the head of the state says. According to Mukhortov, the Committee on Religious Affairs has already set up a working group to hold talks with the Imams in charge of the mosques on how they could communicate the president’s April address clearer to believers. The Friday prayers were likely chosen for political purposes, as they have the highest attendance rate. It is believed that Muslims, who are silent during the sermon, receive forgiveness for sins committed the previous week. Not all Tajik Muslims were happy with the new government initiative.”I come to the mosque in order to pray to Allah, but not to listen to political statements from a particular party. When I want to know something about politics, I buy a newspaper or turn on the TV,” a worshipper said. Rahmon’s four-hour address to the Tajik parliament on April 26 was dedicated to issues of domestic and foreign policy, as well as developments in the economy and the social spheres. During the speech, the head of the state promised that salaries, pensions and scholarships in the Central Asian state would grow three-fold by 2020. Rahmon has served as Tajik president since 1994, with the 60-year-old claiming 79.3 percent of the votes in the most recent election in 2006. New elections are scheduled to take place this year, and the Rahmon will likely run for office again. A single person can hold the presidency for two terms in Tajikistan, but Rahmon is still eligible to take place in the election. A 2003 referendum increased the presidential term to seven years, and de facto annulled Rahmon’s previous time as president, making his current term his first. The vast majority of Tajikistan’s population is Muslim, with Hanafi Sunni Islam officially recognized by the government in 2009. There are around 3,000 mosques in the country, which has a population of over 7.5 million, according to the 2010 census. …
Every day in America, the personal liberty
of thousands rests upon a technology originally created in the
Middle Ages. No, not semi-automatic sporting rifles, those came
later. Bail. As early as the 11th century, Anglo-Saxon courts began
letting persons accused of a crime avoid pre-trial detention in
return for putting up some security—typically money or
property—meant to guarantee their attendance when the court date
finally arrives. More than 1,000 years later, the practice
persists. Greg Beato argues that it’s time to rethink how we deal
with defendants awaiting trial. View this article.
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.It’s now been almost two weeks since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline spill put at least 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude and contaminated water into the Arkansas community of Mayflower. Many of the evacuated families still haven’t been able to return to their homes.Sierra Club organizer Glen Hooks, who grew up about 20 miles southeast of Mayflower, in Gravel Ridge, attended a meeting for the displaced families at Mayflower High School: “I had to really stare down some ExxonMobil goons who told me to leave because it was a private meeting. I politely explained that it was a meeting in a public building about a public subject with numerous public officials in attendance, and that I was planning to stay.”Continue Reading… …
Beginning any minute Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) will be
delivering a speech at the historically black Howard University, on
the subject of how Paul’s libertarian version of conservatism might
speak to the African-American community. You can watch the
proceedings live on your computer at C-SPAN.org, and let the comments fly
Read pre-coverage (and some prodding on the drug war) from
Mike Riggs, who will be in attendance and Tweeting, then whet your
appetite with a piece from National Public Radio headlined
the Future GOP Be More Libertarian?”
Reason on Rand Paul
It’s been a long time coming but finally the highly questionable actions of copyright trolling company Prenda Law are being laid bare.
The company has subjected hundreds of individuals to intense misery with their actions so it was no surprise that a few hours ago Twitter was alive with people eagerly waiting news of a Prenda bloodbath.
Although there was no immediate execution, the crowds didn’t go home disappointed. Developments were relayed in detail by Ken at Popehat who described the Los Angeles courtroom as playing host to “one of the most remarkable hearings I have ever witnessed.”
The subject of the hearing was Judge Wright’s Order to Show Cause, which gave former Prenda counsel Brett Gibbs opportunity to show why he and other members of the Prenda outfit should not be sanctioned for misconduct.
Ken reported a packed courthouse with the press, Electronic Frontier Foundation and former Prenda victims all in attendance. Gibbs turned up too but John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy and paralegal Angela Van Den Hemel of Prenda did not, despite being ordered to do so by the judge.
Proceedings were started by Judge Wright who turned to a deposition submitted by Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier. “There was so much obstruction in this deposition that it’s obvious that someone has an awful lot to hide,” he said.
Prenda did have an attorney present but she didn’t have much to do. Heather Rosing offered to get the Prenda guys to participate via the phone, but the Judge didn’t take up the opportunity.
Someone else physically in the court room was Alan Cooper, a former employee of John Steele who accuses Steele of stealing his identity for use in Prenda cases. Cooper said that Steele had told him he wanted to make $10,000 a day from alleged downloaders but he didn’t know much more about the plan. Cooper noted that he’d never been involved in the scheme and that signatures purporting to be his were faked.
Cooper also told the court what happened when his lawyer Paul Godfread informed Prenda that he would sue over the theft of his identity. Quickly John Steel was on the telephone time and again, texting and leaving messages. Some of those messages were played for the court.
“On hearing the voice messages, I thought there was only one reasonable interpretation,” says Ken at Popehat.
“John Steele was trying to menace and intimidate Alan Cooper to get him to back off from talking about John Steele’s use of his name. By the end of the calls, there was a stunned silence in the courtroom, and I suspected that many spectators were sharing with me a deep sympathy for Mr. Cooper and an abiding sense of revulsion for John Steele.”
And then Prenda’s position got even worse.
Judge Wright had earlier put a stop on Prenda obtaining the personal details of alleged file-sharers from AT&T and Verizon and had ordered Prenda to inform the ISPs of his order. Prenda insisted that they had done so but that was contested. Lawyers for the ISPs took the stand and said that Prenda had never given them Judge Wright’s order and had continued to press for customer identities instead. Verizon actually handed them over.
“Judge Wright made Gibbs admit that Gibbs found out that the ISPs had produced documents to Prenda Law after Judge Wright’s order, and never updated the court about that or amended his prior status report to the court,” explains Popehat. “To put it mildly, Judge Wright was not happy about that.”
In a further deterioration, Judge Wright addressed the maze of Prenda “clients” and noted that none of them made any money.
“The only entities getting funds are law firms,” he said, suggesting that by hiding their true interests in these cases Prenda were violating federal rules. Judge Wright later quipped that the seven hour-long deposition of Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier revealed nothing of any use. “Mr. Hansmeier has no knowledge of anything,” he said.
Attention then turned to Paul Gibbs who described himself as a legal contractor to Prenda Law. Unsurprisingly his relationship with the company was also less than straightforward, with Prenda also using Gibbs’ name without permission on settlement claims sent to alleged file-sharers.
After getting no joy from his request for the activity to stop Gibbs said he quit and handed over the cases to Prenda’s Paul Duffy, but Gibbs knowingly allowed Prenda to use his phone number and email address in other cases and offered help to other lawyers. “That doesn’t sound sensible to me,” said the Judge.
IP address evidence was also touched on. Judge Wright questioned Gibbs on how alleged downloaders were identified and concluded that his methodology was entirely insufficient.
And thanks again to Ken at Popehat for relaying this next gem. During the hearing a member of the audience asked to be heard, an apparently unusual event. Rather than being admonished by the Judge he was allowed to speak. He explained he was an attorney for Paul Godfread, Alan Cooper’s attorney, and gave some information on Paul Gibbs which appeared to contradict Gibbs’ earlier testimony.
“Have you noticed that every representation made by a lawyer with Prenda Law is not true?” responded Judge Wright. Ouch.
So what does all this mean? The general consensus is that Prenda are in big trouble, but we’ll have to wait to find out exactly how much when Judge Wright files his response in due course.
“[Judge Wright] could probably sanction the Prenda Law parties under his inherent authority based on their supervision of Gibbs. But I suspect Judge Wright will go further than that, with criminal referrals and messages to various state bars,” Popehat notes.
“There could also be further orders to show cause, or even bench warrants. Judge Wright didn’t seem inclined to give them warning. But every indication is that they are in real legal peril.”
If the remarks on Twitter last evening were anything to go by, no one outside Prenda themselves will be disappointed if the punishments are as harsh as possible. To be disliked is not uncommon, but Prenda appear to have not a single supporter, an indication of how reviled they have become.
Source: Angry Judge Tears Prenda Copyright Trolls Apart
Catholic cardinals began talks on Monday ahead of a conclave to elect the next pope, following Benedict XVI’s historic resignation, as a British cardinal not in attendance admitted to sexual misconduct with priests. Scotland’s Keith O’Brien recused himself last month after…