On the first anniversary of immigration detention reforms, what has changed on the ground?

From Restore Fairness blog. From the Detention Watch Network

On the first anniversary of an announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)) would overhaul the nation’s immigration detention system, reports show that for the nearly 400,000 immigrants ICE has detained this year, little has changed.

There's more...

On the first anniversary of immigration detention reforms, what has changed on the ground?

From Restore Fairness blog. From the Detention Watch Network

On the first anniversary of an announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)) would overhaul the nation’s immigration detention system, reports show that for the nearly 400,000 immigrants ICE has detained this year, little has changed.

There's more...

On the first anniversary of immigration detention reforms, what has changed on the ground?

From Restore Fairness blog. From the Detention Watch Network

On the first anniversary of an announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)) would overhaul the nation’s immigration detention system, reports show that for the nearly 400,000 immigrants ICE has detained this year, little has changed.

There's more...

The Ripple Effects From Times Square To GTMO

I was swimming at Girl Scout Beach on Guantanamo Bay after another full day of testimony in thehearing of Omar Khadr. He was the fifteen year-old Canadian seized by American forces in Khost, Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier. The Caribbean waves that melted into the horizon reminded me of our obligation to get it right--legally, politically, and morally--precisely because of the profound expanse before me.

After 9/11, the world united behind America. We all wanted to see those who committed the atrocities brought to justice. After an initial assault on the Taliban, and the supporters of Osama Bin Laden, though, we quickly lost our way.

The Bush administration tried to cover its tracks by arguing that detainees should be tried under new military commissions, with new rules of evidence, and new rules of procedure. These rules have never even passed the sniff test of legitimacy because they violate many of the basic precepts of due process.

President Obama has rectified some of the problems. He issued Executive Orders promising to close Guantanamo and end torture. Yet, the Obama administration acceded to the continuation of military commissions in some cases, like that of Omar Khadr. It remains unclear whether he will succeed in closing Guantanamo.

Khadr has spent a third of his life now at Guantanamo. He arrived when he was fifteen; he is now twenty-three. He has not had a speedy trial by any standard. Today, we are hearing arguments about whether statements obtained through torture are admissible at trial. It is so Kafkaesque to see this young man, who enters the courtroom as placid as the sea outside his reach, sit smiling, as a Lieutenant Colonel pleads his case.

As I sit on the shores at Girl Scout Beach, I feel too the ripple effects of the attempted bombing in Times Square this week trying to reach these shores. I worry that I will see plane loads of more criminals, alleged and real, sent here.

Rep. McKeon has said he will introduce amendments to the House National Defense Authorization bill to prohibit the administration from trying the 9/11 defendants in civilian courts, even though our federal courts have convicted 400 terrorists since 9/11 and the commissions have tried only three.

Senator Lieberman even went so far Tuesday as to suggest that we strip Americans of their citizenship--strip Americans of their citizenship!!!--if they are suspected of engaging in acts of terror so that we can deprive them of the constitutional guarantees of due process we afford all Americans, even the most notorious.

If we are to get it right--legally, politically, and morally--we must end the politics of fear and return to reason. We must let our Constitution work without interference. We must embrace our federal courts rather than create new justice systems that will be bogged down with constitutional challenges for years to come. Let's embrace the Girl Scout's motto to "be prepared," because we already are.

Federal Criminal Probe of WV Mine Disaster, in Wake of Another Mine Tragedy in KY

Earlier this week, it was saddening and unfortunate to hear of two deaths in a Kentucky coal mine operation.  Two men were found dead in the Dotki Mine, in Hopkins Co, Kentucky. The mine is associated with Alliance Resources and is, yet again, a non-union operating mine.  Tragedy struck when the roof of a portion of the mine collapsed. 

The mine was reported to have had a large fire that caused a lot of damage back in 2004.  

Some may not recall that the Dotiki Mine was the scene of a major fire on Feb. 11, 2004. The blaze caused no injuries, but it took several days to extinguish the fire and several weeks to restore the mine. The effort also demanded considerable resources from MSHA.

source:  MSHA Staffer Kathy Snyder

The rise in mining related deaths in the recent month has prompted President Obama and his administration to take a deeper look at the MSHA organization and increasing mine safety in the U.S.

The Bush Administration did a poor job in improving MSHA and mine safety throughout the country.  Elain Chao, coincidentally Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife, was Secretary of Labor under Bush.

Once Elaine Chao, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell's wife, became Secretary of Labor, which oversees the MSHA, she, according to Jack Spadaro, an MSHA engineer investigating the spill, put on the brakes. Two years later, Massey was assessed a slap-on-the-wrist $5,600 fine. The same year, Massey's PAC donated $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which was chaired by McConnell. And Massey's CEO Don Blankenship has personally donated millions to the campaigns of judges and politicians.

Courtesy of Arianna Huffington

Conflict of interest much?  I Shall let you draw your own conclusions.

Here is President Obama's statement after the Kentucky mine tragedy

I am deeply saddened by the loss of two miners in Kentucky, and my thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones they left behind. As I said after the tragedy in West Virginia, I refuse to accept any number of miner deaths as simply the cost of mining. It is the responsibility of all of us, from mine operators to the federal government, to prevent such tragedies from happening again. That is why my administration is taking steps to demand accountability for safety violations and strengthen mine safety so that all of our miners are protected.

Thanks to the Charleston Gazette, and everyone at Coal Tattoo, for the ongoing news and coverage of anything mine related in Appalachia.

Another source of information from Coal Tattoo is in regard to Massey Energy.  A federal criminal probe is currently underway after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster earlier in April that killed 29 miners in Raleigh County West Virginia.  

A federal law enforcement official says the FBI has interviewed nearly two dozen current and former employees of Massey Energy in a criminal probe of the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 men.The official says in the interviews over recent days the FBI has been looking for any evidence that the company engaged in criminal negligence.

Several other sources, besides this report from AP, are also commenting on the investigation including Reuters and NPR.  NPR aired news that there is an investigation going on involving bribery of federal MSHA officials, but according to sources at Coal Tattoo this is wrong/has not been confirmed. 

More updates to come I'm sure.

Diaries

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