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August 17, 2009
The Federal Government has unveiled plans to toughen its counter-terrorism laws, including a change to allow police to break into a suspect’s home without getting approval from a judge.
It also wants to make it easier to stop suspects getting out of jail on bail.
But the Government is planning to put a cap on the amount of time suspects can be held without charge.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the tougher laws would protect Australians.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the focus of Australia’s national security and counter-terrorism laws remains on preventing a terrorist attack from occurring in the first place,” he said.
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Three million Americans are being forced to answer intrusive questions about their private lives under threat of home visits and fines by the government in the guise of The American Community Survey.
The survey, which is sent to 3 million random homes each year, is in addition to the census but demands far more invasive information from citizens, such as how many times they have been married, if they have a toilet that flushes, and how much is left outstanding on their mortgage.
According to one North Texas resident, “The questionnaire also wants answers about where she works, how much money she makes, and what time she leaves for work each day – the hour and minute! “I thought it was intrusive. I don’t have a high regard for the federal government collecting this information anyway,” the woman told CBS 11 News. “You don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”
“Why do they need to know this? They don’t, in my opinion,” the woman said, before further stating that she thinks the personal questions are un-American. “Do they really need to know if we have a mortgage and whether this house is free and clear? That’s intrusive.”
The U.S. Census Bureau claims the survey helps them “determine where to locate services and allocate resources.”
If the person refuses to respond to the the survey or merely skips one question, then the Census Bureau promises that they will be fined and harassed until they do, a process that includes telephone calls and home visits.
However, it’s all hot air as no one has ever been charged with a crime for refusing to answer the ACS survey, and indeed several members of Congress have denounced the invasive questions as a violation of the Right to Financial Privacy Act.
On its very face, this is also a flagrant violation of the 5th amendment. Any census form that goes beyond asking how many people live in the residence is a violation of the 5th amendment, and court cases have established this, yet the census becomes more and more invasive each time.
Despite the fact that refusal to respond to the survey carries no ultimate penalty, the vast majority of the millions who receive it will doubtless comply in the face of threats of harassment and fines.
Objections to the invasive information being demanded by the government in the form of the survey arrive on the back of similar concerns about the 2010 census itself, particularly how census workers are using GPS to electronically tag every home in America.
In February, the Obama administration moved control of the census out of the Department of Commerce and into the White House, a tactic slammed as a trick by Democrats to keep their majorities in Congress.
The Arizona Republic
July 28, 2009
A new law passed by the Arizona Legislature that makes homeowners liable for tens of thousands of dollars on homes lost to foreclosure is now the focus of an intense repeal battle.
An amendment to the state’s foreclosure laws, passed in the recent legislative session, was designed to protect small community banks from people buying speculative new homes they can’t sell for a profit.
But the impact of the change is much larger. It makes some homeowners in foreclosure liable for the difference between their mortgage and what their lender can recoup from reselling the house. In the current housing market, the difference is generally more than $100,000 on the typical Valley foreclosure.
July 27, 2009
Shocking new details of a stealth tax of up to £600 for householders with views of any kind, patios, conservatories and even a nearby bus stop are revealed for the first time today.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show millions of homes have already been secretly assessed by Labour in preparation for council tax hikes expected to target the middle class after the Election.
Homes have been given ‘value significant codes’ which will make virtually every desirable feature taxable.
Although not every home has been assessed, so far nearly 100,000 householders face being penalised simply for having a scenic view from their windows.
July 22, 2009
Police have been handed ‘Chinese-style’ powers to enter private homes and seize political posters during the London 2012 Olympics.
Little-noticed measures passed by the Government will allow officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.
Breaking the rules could land offenders with a fine of up to £20,000.
Civil liberties groups compared the powers to those used by the Communist Chinese government to stop political protest during the 2008 Beijing Games.
Anita Coles, of Liberty, said: ‘Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays. Didn’t we learn last time that the Olympics should not be about stifling free expression?’
July 17, 2009
Ministers gave approval yesterday for the building of four “pioneer” eco-towns and insisted that at least 10,000 homes would be in place by 2016 in the face of local opposition.
Despite the depth of the recession and fierce local protests, John Healey, the Housing Minister, approved sites in Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Cornwall and Hampshire. The chosen developers for Gordon Brown’s flagship programme will each be able to bid for part of a £60 million pot of extra cash.
Rural campaigners warned that the zero-carbon developments would threaten greenfield sites and local wildlife. There were also concerns that without more public transport, the extra traffic would increase rather than reduce pollution.
The Raw Story
June 28, 2009
Mir Hossein Mousavi, the de facto leader of Iran’s pro-democracy movement, has rejected the Tehran government’s official partial recount of votes in the disputed June 12 presidential election.
On Saturday Mousavi rejected the findings of a panel set up to hold the recount, and again demanded a full re-run of the election.
“Limiting the probe into complaints about electoral irregularities to recounting 10 percent of the ballot boxes cannot attract people’s trust and convince public opinion about the results,” the moderate candidate said on his campaign website Ghalamnews.ir.
Mousavi’s hard line stands in stark contrast to news reports on Friday, which indicated the reformist candidate may have been “backtracking” on his calls for protests against the disputed election results.
BASIJ HOME RAIDS
Human Rights Watch reports that the Basij militia — the paramilitary force responsible for much of the violence against protesters and allegedly the group behind the killing of Neda Soltan — is carrying out night-time raids in private homes, in an effort to prevent people from chanting on rooftops at night.
Even as the daytime protests fizzled, many in Tehran and other parts of the country took to shouting “Allah-o-akbar” (”God is great”) from their rooftops at night, in a sign of solidarity with the pro-democracy movement.
“While most of the world’s attention is focused on the beatings in the streets of Iran during the day, the Basijis are carrying out brutal raids on people’s apartments during the night,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “Witnesses are telling us that the Basijis are trashing entire streets and even neighborhoods as well as individual homes trying to stop the nightly rooftop protest chants.”
MASS ARRESTS, TOUGH WORDS FROM AHMADINEJAD
AP reports that “several hundred” activists, journalists and students have been detained. If the Iranian government’s goal for the arrests is to crush the pro-democracy movement, it may be working:
The arrests have drained the pool of potential leaders of a protest movement that claims President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the election by fraud. They also point to the potential for high-profile trials – and serious sentences – before a special judicial forum created to handle cases from the unrest.
Also on Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised that those who continue to dispute his victory in the June 12 elections will receive a “crushing” response.
“You should know that if you continue the response of the Iranian nation will be strong,” AP quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. “The response of the Iranian nation will be crushing. The response will cause remorse.”
Ahmadinejad also had tough words, once again, for President Barack Obama. He slammed the president on Saturday for “interfering” in Iran.
Speaking of Obama, he said: “He who spoke of reforms and changes, why did he interfere and comment in a way that disregards convention and courtesy?”
On Friday, Obama said Iran’s “outrageous” crackdown on demonstrators would hurt his hopes for direct talks with Iran.
VIDEO: POLICE THROWING TEAR GAS FROM HELICOPTERS?
A citizen journalist has told CNN that law enforcement in Tehran has been dropping tear gas from helicopters to disperse protesters.
The following video, which was broadcast on CNN, was uploaded to YouTube on June 26, 2009: