February 9, 2009

*Sigh* [6:30 pm]

Political Punch: Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Lawsuit [via Glenn Greenwald]

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition — including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

A year ago the case was thrown out on the basis of national security, but today the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal, brought by the ACLU.

A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn’t changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret.

The ACLU press release: Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy In Extraordinary Rendition Case

Later: Obama Backs Off a Reversal on Secrets (pdf) - getting close to “owning it.”

Hear the oral arguments for 08-15693. Also, see Holder try to stem the negative reaction with this: Attorney general orders review of state secret claims (pdf)

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Here We Go [4:09 pm]

This should be fun: Calif. artist sues AP over image of Obama (pdf)

An artist who created a famous image of Barack Obama before he became president sued The Associated Press on Monday, asking a judge to find that his use of an AP picture in creating the poster did not violate copyright law.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan said Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey did not violate the copyright of the April 2006 photograph because he dramatically changed the nature of the image.

The AP has said it is owed credit and compensation for the artist’s rendition of the picture, taken by Mannie Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.

See Found: The Photograph That Inspired Obama Nation. The case particulars are Fairey v. The Associated Press, 09-cv-01123. U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). See also Obama’s On-the-Wall Endorsement (pdf)

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“Connected” [8:38 am]

A little primer on the subject: Googles G1 phone makes it easy to track surfing habits (pdf)

The new Google phone, dubbed the G1, has been touted as a working mans smartphone — a cheap, Web-friendly wireless device that can make life easier for millions of consumers.

The G1, as it turns out, also stands to make life a whole lot easier for Google — by making it a snap to track your movements on the mobile Web and send you ads as it does on the desktop. The device, sold exclusively by T-Mobile, gives Google access to your e-mail, instant messages, contact lists, Web-search history and geographic location. By keeping tabs on your mobile life, Google (GOOG) can quickly figure out what sort of ads to send your way, and when.

“It’s like a walking surveillance device,” says Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a consumer watchdog group.

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