Sunday, July 6, 2014

Last Call For Bundystan

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said that BLM-defying rancher Cliven Bundy must be ‘held accountable’ for his actions.

Gillespie said he had spoken with Bundy multiple times in the months before the BLM rounded up his cattle which were grazing on government land despite Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees. Gillespie said that he he made it clear to Bundy that, if there was going to be a protest, it must be peaceful.

However, the sheriff said, Bundy crossed the line when he allowed supporters, including armed militia members, onto his property to brandish weapons at police.

“If you step over that line, there are consequences to those actions. And I believe they stepped over that line. No doubt about it,” Gillespie said. “They need to be held accountable for it.”

At some point we're a nation of laws, or a nation of guys with the biggest weapons making those laws.  I'm glad that Sheriff Gillespie is finally going to take care of things.

I hope.

The Law Of Unitended Consequences

The Hobby Lobby decision and its terrible, silppery slope reasoning will wreck American jurisprudence for years.  It's so broad and so sweeping that you could justify just about anything based on religious beliefs, including, say, the rights of Gitmo detainees.

Lawyers for two Guantanamo Bay detainees have filed motions asking a U.S. court to block officials from preventing the inmates from taking part in communal prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The lawyers argue that – in light of the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision – the detainees’ rights are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The motions were filed this week with the Washington D.C. district court on behalf of Emad Hassan of Yemen and Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan. U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve said both men asked for the intervention after military officials at the prison "prevented them from praying communally during Ramadan."

During Ramadan, a month of prayer and reflection that began last weekend, Muslims are required to fast every day from sunrise to sunset. But what is at issue in this case is the ability to perform extra prayers, called tarawih, "in which [Muslims] recite one-thirtieth of the Quran in consecutive segments throughout the month."

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, told Al Jazeera on Friday that the "Defense Department is aware of the filing," and that the "government will respond through the legal system."

The detainees' lawyers said courts have previously concluded that Guantanamo detainees do not have "religious free exercise rights" because they are not “persons within the scope of the RFRA.”

But the detainees’ lawyers say the Hobby Lobby decision changes that.

"Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons – human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien – enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA," the lawyers argued in court papers.

Which is exactly what justice Alito said in his ruling.  Despite claiming how narrow it is, the ruling itself is a door big enough to drive a truck through.  Meet the new truck, folks.

Spies Like Us, Again

Washington Post's Barton Gellman both simultaneously screws over Team Dudebro Defector by stomping all over the "big scoop" and embarrasses himself with the same breathless hyperbole of "The NSA is watching everything Americans are doing!" when that's simply not the case.  He does get around to the actual story, however in paragraph five.

Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.
News flash:  the NSA spies on foreign bad guys who do bad, bad things.  Like, nuclear things.  But apparently we stopped these bad guys by then having conversations with Americans.  This means we have to apparently throw away these conversations, in Snowden's world.

As I keep saying, if your goal was to inflict maximum damage on the US capability to gather intelligence, what Edward Snowden has done in the last several months could not have been more effective.

Which, as I keep saying, was Snowden's goal all along.
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