Court Orders the C.I.A. to Disclose Drone Data

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court held Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency must disclose, at least to a judge, a description of its records on drone strikes in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The 19-page opinion by Judge Merrick B. Garland rejected an effort by the Obama administration to keep secret any aspect of the C.I.A.’s interest in the use of drone strikes to kill terrorism suspects abroad.

It does not necessarily mean the contents of any of those records will ever be made public, and it stopped short of ordering the government to acknowledge publicly that the C.I.A. actually uses drones to carry out “targeted killings” against specific terrorism suspects or groups of unknown people who appear to be militants in places like tribal Pakistan. The Obama administration continues to treat that fact as a classified secret, though it has been widely reported.

But the ruling was a chink in that stone wall. Judge Garland, citing the C.I.A. role in analyzing intelligence, as well as public remarks by a former director and other top officials about what they asserted was the precision and minimal civilian casualties caused by drone strikes, said it was a step too far to ask the judicial branch to give its “imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible.”

Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U. who argued the case before the appeals court in September, called the ruling “an important victory” that “requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the C.I.A.’s interest in the targeted killing program is a secret.”

Pressure has been mounting on the Obama administration to disclose more information to Congress and to the public about its use of drones generally, and its killing of three Americans in Yemen in the fall of 2011, including the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in particular. Last week, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, led a nearly 13-hour filibuster before the Brennan vote in which he denounced the administration’s drone policies and the secrecy surrounding its understanding of the scope and limits of its power to kill.

Germany, US to Improve Data Exchange in Terrorism Fight

The United States and Germany plan to speed up the exchange of information to help in anti-terror efforts. Washington said it hopes the groundbreaking deal will serve as a model for cooperation with other countries. Under the new information sharing agreement, US and German law enforcement officials will have immediate, albeit partial, access to each other’s fingerprint and DNA databases. The move will allow authorities to check within minutes if a database contains a suspected terrorist’s personal information. Should a match be found, authorities would then have to submit a request for more detailed information. The effort will speed up the exchange of information and help in the terrorist fight, said German and US officials who met in Berlin to launch the bilateral agreement on Tuesday, March 11.

Ethnic Data: Perplexed after the decision of the Constitutional Council

Researchers are concerned about the impact of their work on censorship, and the article on ethnic statistics included in the _Hortefeux’ law. The decision by the Constitutional Council to censure the article on ethnic statistics has frustrated researchers, approaching topics of discrimination with great hesitation, and concern about the effects of forensic investigations relating to the origins of people. Numerous concerns abound: are these kinds of investigations illegal, by referencing people to skin color and race? How many of us think about our own skin tone, or the skin tone of others on a daily basis, and is it really relevant to how we associate with people around us? Researches conclude that, while this information may be gathered in investigations about people, that they are only a few elements among others, in the greater goal to understand the situations of people.

Adults in Netherlands have Strong Opinions about Muslim Integration

Many adults in the Netherlands hold strong views on the way Muslims adapt to the European continent, according to a poll by Motivaction released by GPD. 63 per cent of respondents believe think Islam is incompatible with modern European life. In September 2004, Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders quit the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Wilders criticized Muslims in the Netherlands for failing to properly integrate to society, and openly opposed Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU). In November 2004, controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered. Van Gogh directed a short motion picture that depicts a husband’s abuse on a Muslim woman. Death threats to Wilders and other former VVD members were left at the crime scene. On May 15, Dutch officials revealed that Somali-born VVD lawmaker Hirsi Ali provided false information when she applied for refugee status, and then when she sought citizenship. The next day, the lawmaker announced that she would leave the Second Chamber immediately. Hirsi Ali confirmed that she intends to move to the United States and work at the American Enterprise Institute. In the January 2003 election, the Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA) elected 44 lawmakers to the 150-seat Second Chamber. CDA member Jan Peter Balkenende has acted as minister president since July 2002. In early 2003, Balkenende established his second coalition government with the VVD and Democrats 66 (D66). The next legislative ballot is tentatively scheduled for January 2007. Polling Data Do you think Islam is compatible with modern European life? Yes 37% No 63% Source: Motivaction / GPD Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Dutch adults, conducted in May 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.