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Monday, May 30th

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ATF's oversight limited in face of gun lobby

NRA dominates ATFThe National Tracing Center is the only place in the nation authorized to trace gun sales. Here, researchers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives make phone calls and pore over handwritten records from across the country to track down gun owners. I

n contrast with such state-of-the-art, 21st-century crime-fighting techniques as DNA matching and digital fingerprint analysis, gun tracing is an antiquated, laborious process done mostly by hand. The government is prohibited from putting gun ownership records into an easily accessible format, such as a searchable computer database.

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Lillian McEwen breaks her 19-year silence about Justice Clarence Thomas

Lillian McEwen talks about Clarence ThomasFor nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent -- a part of history, yet absent from it. When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill's allegations.

Lillian McEwen was that woman. At the time, she was on good terms with Thomas. The former assistant U.S. attorney and Senate Judiciary Committee counsel had dated him for years, even attending a March 1985 White House state dinner as his guest.

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O.J. Simpson's appeal denied

O.J. Simpson's appeal denied The Nevada Supreme Court refused to overturn former football star O.J. Simpson's armed robbery and kidnapping convictions stemming from a Las Vegas hotel room heist at gunpoint.

The court said in its ruling that it concluded that all of Simpson's arguments for appeal were without merit. But the court ordered the conviction of Simpson's co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart to be reversed and a new trial held.

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Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Collapse

BlackwaterNearly four years after the federal government began a string of investigations and criminal prosecutions against Blackwater Worldwide personnel accused of murder and other violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cases are beginning to fall apart, burdened by a legal obstacle of the government’s own making.

In the most recent and closely watched case, the Justice Department on Monday said that it would not seek murder charges against Andrew J. Moonen, a Blackwater armorer accused of killing a guard assigned to the Iraqi vice president on Dec. 24, 2006.

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Right to photograph federal buildings upheld

US Capitol BuildingThe federal agency responsible for protecting more than 9,000 federal facilities is reminding its security guards that the general public has the right to take photographs and shoot video outside the courthouses, office buildings and campuses they protect.

The reminder is part of a federal court settlement between the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service and the New York Civil Liberties Union. The group represented Antonio Musumeci, 29, of Edgewater, N.J., who sued after being arrested in November for videotaping a demonstrator outside a federal courthouse in Manhattan.

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Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New Tactic

   Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New TacticAlejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana has an unfortunate claim on history. He is the first member of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang to be sentenced to death under the federal system of capital punishment, according to the Justice Department.

Prosecutors and FBI officials say the Umana investigation, which took them from North Carolina to California to El Salvador, is a model for how federal authorities will attack a growing gang threat that is leaching into smaller cities across America's heartland.

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Spying and lying about the left

Spying and lying about the leftThe US peace group "Peace of the Action" has discovered documents showing that it and many other organisations have been under surveillance for many months by a private agency called the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR).

Founded by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, Peace of the Action has focused on opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by pressuring legislators and organising demonstrations and civil disobedience actions at visible places around Washington DC.

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