* JOHN YOO GRANTED LEGAL IMMUNITY
By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
John Yoo, a former top Justice Department official and a key legal adviser on “harsh interrogation” techniques as a proper tool in the “war on terrorism,” gained legal immunity on Wednesday as the Ninth Circuit Court turned aside the torture claims of a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla. In a 35-page opinion, the Circuit Court said it was not clear in 2001-2003, when Yoo was giving his advice, that what Padilla said happened to him did satisfy the legal definition of torture.
If the decision withstands a likely appeal to the Supreme Court, it may help insulate virtually all high officials from lawsuits claiming that they had a role in ordering or carrying out methods of detention or interrogation that cause pain and suffering. That’s because the government has insisted that it no longer uses the techniques approved during the George W. Bush Administration, so the timeline discussed by the Ninth Circuit would appear to rule out claims based on prior years’ actions. Moreover, the Circuit Court even commented that it is still not clear, as a legal or constitutional matter, that citizens detained in the status of enemies are protected against such techniques.
The Ninth Circuit panel relied in part on reasoning used by the Fourth Circuit Court in denying Padilla a right to sue other government officials over his treatment as an enemy combatant. Padilla has asked the Supreme Court to review that ruling (Lebron, et al., v. Rumsfeld, et al., docket 11-1277; a post discussing that appeal is here). In addition, the Circuit Court said its decision was required by a Supreme Court ruling last year in Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, barring a constitutional lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft over the roundup of terrorism suspects after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
This is the way the Circuit Court summed up its conclusions establishing immunity for John Yoo: “Although it has been clearly established for decades that torture of an American citizen violates the Constitution, and we assume without deciding that Padilla’s alleged treatment rose to the level of torture, that such treatment was torture was not clearly established in 2001-03.” In addition, the opinion said that it was not beyond debate in those years that “a suspected terrorist designated an enemy combatant” and detained by presidential order was entitled to the same constitutional protection as “an ordinary convicted prisoner or accused criminal.” […]
* ONE WORLD REVOLUTION
* MAY DAY SEES WAVE OF AUSTERITY PROTESTS
Source: Financial Times
Tens of thousands of workers took to the streets on Tuesday for annual May Day rallies, with extra police deployed in some European countries as protesters marched against painful government spending cuts and rising unemployment.
In the US, the Occupy Wall Street movement called for a general strike to highlight what it called “a day without the 99 per cent”.
Demonstrators marched in New York, where they met a heavy police presence at Bank of America’s office tower. Security was also increased at Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions in lower Manhattan. […]
* EUROPE PROTESTS AGAINST AUSTERITY ON MAY DAY
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from countries across Europe take to the streets on Tuesday to celebrate May 1, International Labour Day. Europe faces record levels of unemployment and a series of strict austerity measures that are hitting many hard.
* MAY 1st PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD
Source: The Real News
Workers take to the streets on International Workers’ Day in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
* OFFICER BLINDS WOMAN WITH PEPPER SPRAY
By Horace Boothroyd, Daily Kos
[…] On February 21, Clark sprayed pepper spray in the face of Monique Christina Hernandez, 32, while he tried to arrest her on suspicion of driving under the influence, the city of Beaumont said in a statement.
Clark allegedly fired the spray from 12 inches away using a JPX device, which shoots spray at speeds of 400 miles per hour and is supposed to be used at a minimum distance of five feet, Hernandez’s lawyer Milton Grimes said in an interview.
“She did nothing to warrant him putting a gun — a pepper-spray Taser gun — to her forehead and pulling the trigger, causing her right eye to explode and causing severe nerve damage in her left eye to the extent that she’s not(sic-now) been declared totally blind,” Grimes said. […]
* FISHING WITH THE NYPD – OWS UNION SQUARE
After being evicted from the Union Square Plaza early yesterday morning, the Occupy Wall Street Protesters decided to have a little fun with the men in blue.
* 12th MAY 2012: WORLD (R)EVOLUTION: TAKE THE STREETS
The next big date will be on 12th of may 2012 12M12.
Getting ready for that!!!!
* WE ALREADY GROW ENOUGH FOOD FOR 10 BILLION PEOPLE AND STIL CAN’T END HUNGER
By Eric Holt-Giménez, Food First
[…] Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity. For the past two decades the rate of global food production has increased faster than the rate of global population growth. The world already produces more than 1 ½ times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. That’s enough to feed 10 billion people, the population peak we expect by 2050. But the people making less than $2 a day—most of whom are resource-poor farmers cultivating unviably small plots of land—can’t afford to buy this food.
In reality, the bulk of industrially produced grain crops goes to biofuels and confined animal feedlots rather than food for the 1 billion hungry. The call to double food production by 2050 only applies if we continue to prioritize the growing population of livestock and automobiles over hungry people.
But what about the contentious “yield gap” between conventional and organic farming?
Actually, what this new study does tell us is how much smaller the yield gap is between organic and conventional farming than what critics of organic agriculture have assumed. In fact, for many crops and in many instances, it is minimal. With new advances in seed breeding for organic systems, and with the transition of commercial organic farms to diversified farming systems that have been shown to “overyield”, this yield gap will close even further. […]