Native Americans are opposed to the 1,179-mile (1,897km) Keystone XL project, a system to transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in Texas for various reasons, including possible damage to sacred sites, pollution, and water contamination.Although the planned pipeline would not pass directly through any Native American reservation, tribes in proximity to the proposed system say it will violate their traditional lands and that the environmental risks of the project are simply too great.Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company that hopes to build the pipeline, has promised in the past that Keystone XL will be “the safest pipeline ever built.”The Indian groups, as well as other activist organizations, doubt the claim, saying the risks involved in the project are too high.In an effort to ease their concerns, officials from the Department of State agreed to meet with tribal leaders on Thursday in the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, Michigan.Before the talks could begin, however, tribal leaders walked out, angered that the government had sent what they considered low-level representatives.In a press conference following the walkout, tribal leaders took turns criticizing the project, as well as the Obama administration.”I will only meet with President Obama,” Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told the Rapid City Journal.Others mentioned environmental concerns with the proposed pipeline, which echo the concern of environmental groups across the country.Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder with the Southern Ponca Tribe based in Oklahoma, compared the pipeline and other environmental damage to the historical events that had decimated her people during European colonization.”We find ourselves victims of another form of genocide, and it’s environmental genocide, and it’s caused by the extractive industries,” she said.Charles LoneChief, vice president of the Pawnee Business Council, headquartered in Oklahoma, said the public was misinformed about the pipeline’s environmental risks.Unlike a traditional crude oil pipeline, Keystone XL will pump oil that is collected from tar sands. To turn this substance into a transportable liquid, oil companies must add chemicals that environmental groups warn are highly toxic.”That gets into our waterways, our water tables, our aquifers, then we have problems,” LoneChief said.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline will increase annual US carbon pollution emissions by up to 27.6 million metric tons – the impact of adding nearly 6 million cars on the road, according to the Environment News Service.Robin LeBeau, a council representative for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe based in South Dakota, pledged to protest against any construction, even if that meant standing in front of bulldozers.”What the State Department, what President Obama needs to hear from us, is that we are going to be taking direct action,” she said.I believe this is going to be one of the biggest battles we are ever going to have, LeBeau added.This is not the first time that Native American groups have spoken out on the project.Leaders from ten Canadian and US indigenous groups gathered in Ottawa, Ontario in March to protest the construction of pipelines.“Tar sands pipelines will not pass through [our] collective territories under any conditions or circumstances,” the tribes said at a press conference. …
“Only a uniform shield law covering the whole Commonwealth is acceptable,” WLP spokespersons Cassie Findlay and Sam Castro said. “Government agencies, at federal, state and local level, are increasingly gaining powers to obtain information about individual citizens.”The proposed law is the WLP’s first major policy announcement since it was formed as part of WikiLeaks founder Assange’s bid to become an Australian senator in the September 2013 elections in Victoria State.The WLP plans to compete for Senate seats in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia in the September 14 election, with Assange running for one of the six Senate seats being contested in Victoria. Findlay and Castro explained that journalists need to have an “unhindered access” to their sources so they could expose corruption, waste and incompetence. “Uniform shield laws legislated by federal parliament are the answer. That is what we stand for and that is what we will fight for if elected. Effective national shield laws go hand-in-hand with uniform whistle-blower laws, particularly covering media disclosures,” the spokespersons added.The move is WLP’s challenge to proposed federal whistleblower laws, which they say fail to protect those who expose corruption or government crimes: “The proposed laws are not only unsatisfactory, they are a clumsy attempt by the major parties to protect themselves from embarrassing scrutiny.”In March 2011, the Australian Senate introduced federal shield laws that recognize circumstances in which journalists do not have to reveal their sources. However, they do not apply to public service whistleblowers, the Australian reported. Court suppression order against whistleblowers have continued after the laws were adopted, mainly in Victoria State, where 270 orders were issued last year.The WikiLeaks Party submitted its registration to the Australian Electoral Commission in April and has secured over 1,000 fee-paying members, more than double the 500 members required for registration.Assange, who has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy since June 2012, is preparing for a tough remote campaign. If elected Australian Senator, Assange still might not be physically present at the Australian Senate if he remains trapped in the embassy. Assange’s running mate could sit in for the WikiLeaks founder if he wins the race but is unable to leave the embassy, where he claimed asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.British authorities have vowed to detain him if he sets foot outside of the embassy, in light of the European Arrest Warrant issued against him.The founder of the whistleblowing website believes that once extradited to Sweden, he could then be re-extradited to the United States, where according to his lawyers he is likely to face trial and possibly even the death penalty for WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables. …
While Dotcom’s legal battle in New Zealand focuses on spying efforts and unwarranted seizures, the U.S. federal court still has to decide on Megaupload’s request to dismiss the entire case against the company.
Several months ago Megaupload filed a request to dismiss the indictment against it, until the U.S. Government finds a way to properly serve the company.
According to “Rule 4” of criminal procedure the authorities have to serve a company at an address in the United States. However, since Megaupload is a Hong Kong company, this was and is impossible.
Only by dismissing the case can the court protect Megaupload’s due process rights, the defense argued. However, the Government disagreed and asked the court to deny Megaupload’s motion. Among other things the Government claimed that the federal rules shouldn’t be interpreted so narrowly.
A company should only be served on a U.S. address if they have one, they argued.
Last week a new chapter was added to this standoff and it turned out that, behind the scenes, the Department of Justice is trying to change the law in its favor. In a letter to the Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules the DoJ made suggestions that would directly influence the Megaupload case.
Among other things the Government asked to “remove the requirement that a copy of the summons be sent to the organization’s last known mailing address within the district or principal place of business within the United States,” and to amend the Rule to “provide the means to serve a summons upon an organization located outside the United States.”
These were the exact issues Megaupload used in its request to dismiss the charges against it, and Megaupload was even cited in the letter as an example of why the law should be improved.
The question is, however, whether the proposed amendments will help or hurt the Government’s case. Megaupload’s defense argues the latter and has now submitted the letter to court, using it as evidence that the authorities knew all along that they were not playing by the rules.
“The Government’s letter is directly relevant to the Court’s consideration of Megaupload’s pending motion to dismiss without prejudice, as it contradicts the Government’s repeated contention that it can validly serve Megaupload—a wholly foreign entity that has never had an office in the United States—without regard for Rule 4’s mailing requirement,” Megaupload’s lawyers write.
Megaupload’s legal team goes on to explain that the letter shows that the Government knew it couldn’t possibly serve the Hong Kong company.
“To the contrary, the Government explicitly acknowledges in the letter that it has a ‘duty’ under the current Rule to mail a copy of the summons to a corporate defendant’s last known address within the district or to its principal place of business elsewhere in the United States.”
“Moreover, by seeking to have the mailing requirement eliminated, the Government implicitly admits it cannot validly serve Megaupload consistent with Rule 4 as currently written,” Megaupload writes.
Adding up the bits and pieces Megaupload’s lawyers argue that the letter proves that there was no legal basis to destroy Megaupload. It therefore asks the court to take the letter into account when it decides on the motion for dismissal.
“The Government’s letter to the Advisory Committee thus confirms what Megaupload has argued all along—that the Government indicted Megaupload, branded it a criminal, froze every penny of its assets, took its servers offline, and inflicted a corporate death penalty, notwithstanding the fact that the Government had no prospect of serving the company in accordance with current law, yet to be amended.”
“Megaupload should not be made to bear the burdens of criminal limbo while the Government seeks to rewrite the Federal Rules to suit its purposes,” the lawyers conclude.
The court now has to decide whether or not Megaupload should be dismissed from the indictment. If that’s the case, Megaupload plans to give users access to the files that were seized, and it will also free up funds for a proper defense.
Source: U.S. Flip-flopping Proves Us Right, Megaupload Tells Court
Since the Newtown massacre, visions of unfathomable crazy mass killers and armed strangers in the night have colonized the American mind. Proposed laws have been drawn up that would keep potential mass murderers from getting their hands on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, or that would stop hardened criminals from buying guns. But the danger out there is both more mundane and more terrible: you’re more likely to be hurt or killed by someone you know or love. And you’ll probably be at home when it happens.Continue Reading… …
Obama’s proposed budget will call for reductions in in the growth of federal Social Security pensions and other benefit programs in an attempt to strike a compromise with congressional Republicans.(… ;