Montana pot trial jury pool stages ‘revolt’

During pre-trial polling, a Missoula, Montana, criminal trial jury pool essentially told incredulous prosecutors that they would refuse to convict a defendant for possession of 1/16th of an ounce of marijuana. Five potential jurors told the prosecutor they could not believe the county was “wasting money” on such a trial.

More from the Billings Gazette:

Public opinion, as revealed by the reaction of a substantial portion of the members of the jury called to try the charges on Dec. 16, 2010, is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances,” according to the plea memorandum filed by his attorney.


Assange rape allegations increasingly looking like a ‘frame-up’

Rape is one of the most ugly crimes of violence imaginable.

And, by extension, false accusations of rape are among the most egregious and despicable of false allegations.

Increasingly, material drawn directly from official transcripts and information seem to indicate that the charges against controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are, at the very least, distorted and exaggerated and may very well reflect a concerted effort to attack and discredit WikiLeaks itself.

The well-respected daily, The Times of India has some very informative coverage of the ongoing efforts to reveal who and what is really behind the ‘rape’ charges against Assange:

Sex accusers bragged about ‘conquest’

NASA stumbles again?

First NASA followers last week thought the US government’s space exploration wing might be going to release groundbreaking news about finding actual signs of life beyond our planet when NASA said they’d be making a big announcement about extraterrestrial life last week.

When they made their big announcement, it turned out to be interesting, and provocative, and potentially groundbreaking — but hardly anything with the impact of discovering an actual form of life on another planet or in space.

What they released were details from an experiment that seemed to show that life could organize itself around arsenic based compounds. Up until that moment, all life (as we knew it) had been seen to be organized around phosphur compounds. Big news for biologists and, to be sure, possibly far reaching implications.

Had it been true.

Now that other scientists have had a few days to look at NASA’s big experiment, they’re finding some big flaws:
“This Paper Should Not Have Been Published” — Scientists see fatal flaws in the NASA study of arsenic-based life.

Taking sides in the cyber-war over WikiLeaks

Well, the hacker community has stepped into the fray over whistleblower leak site, WikiLeaks.

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find that they’re coming in on the side of the secret-revealing whistleblowers.

The shadowy hacker activist group 4chan stepped in and, through a concerted denial-of-service attack, forced WikiLeak’s former financial institution, Swiss Bank PostFinance, off the web and temporarily out of business.

4chan also attacked and partially crippled PayPal and other institutions which had begun denying their own services to WikiLeaks — under a furious assault both in the legal world and, apparently, from rather inept government cyber-ops.

4chan accused the institutions of bowing to coercive US pressure but the institutions themselves said they were acting on their own — apparently desperate to be seen as being firmly on the side of censorship and heavy-handed government repression.

Read more in Ars Technica:

4chan rushes to WikiLeaks’ defense, forces Swiss banking site offline

This little tidbit from the Ars Technica article ought to give pro-censorship, repressive governance fans serious pause, however:

In spite of this, hundreds of mirrors of the site have popped up across the globe, with Anonymous claiming to have created many of them. An “insurance file”—an encrypted torrent of the entire cable dump—has been widely distributed, along with the promise that the decryption key will be published should anything bad happen to WikiLeaks.

Keep in mind, that’s the entire cable dump. WikiLeaks had, they claimed, taken great pains to be responsible about revealing secrets that might put various government intelligence assets at risk by redacting large portions of the cable dump before they posted it.

It seems all too likely that a release of the encryption key to the distributed copies would ultimately result in a complete revelation of everything.