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Thursday, February 28, 2013

UFOS and Extraterrestrials: 2013

Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have been a source of concern, anxiety, and ridicule for more than three decades in the United States, and for centuries on a global scale. The question in the case of UFOs is not whether there is other intelligent life in the universe, but whether it has visited Earth, and if not, then what accounts for the thousands of reports of strange lights and phenomena which seem to have no other explanation? The 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kindrekindled interest in the UFO debate for a short time, and the 1982 movie E.T. the Extraterrestrialrefocused attention on the possible existence of other intelligent life in the universe.

We start this book with an historical review of sightings of and contacts with UFOs and aliens. This review is followed by commentary on U.S. Congressional, and U.S. Air Force investigations into specific UFO sightings and contacts. While a majority of this book is taken from the 1983 Congressional Research Service publication The UFO Enigma, Additional information is provided through hyperlinks (such as the two provided in the paragraph, above, research performed by other entities, commentaries by witnesses and respected UFO logists both supporting and contradicting the conclusions reached predominantly by Air Force investigating entities, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Since 1983, the U.S. federal government has ended its investigation of UFOs. The reason given is that the Air Force, in their investigations, determined that UFOs posed no threat to the nation. They arrived at that conclusion despite the opinion expressed in a Central Intelligence Agency memorandum of December 2, 1952 indicating “At this time, the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention….Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.

The editors of this work agree that there is likely no threat posed by UFOs. There are no known incidents of UFOs purposely attacking ground, airborne, or spaceborn vehicles. On the contrary, there are incidents which appear to be efforts to warn aircraft and spacecraft from approaching too close. What appear to be warning shots were “fired” on several occasions over the years. Given the technology required to create an extraterrestrial vehicle – possibly faster than the speed of light – one can comfortably presume that their technology is also capable of producing effective weapons. If so, this strongly indicates a non-hostile intent.

The question, however, remains whether or not there is reason to continue investigations in that UFOs may have something to teach us. If UFOs are extraterrestrial visitors or entities that have managed to penetrate our dimension from another dimension, this may well be possible.

A first step might be to attempt to communicate with our visitors. It’s quite possible that they have tried to communicate with us, but as far as we can determine no attempts have been made to answer their possible messages. One possible example of their attempted communication would be the quite amazing Wroughton, Wiltshire, United Kingdom crop circle, a complex presentation based on the first ten digits of Pi. If this was created by extraterrestrials as an attempt to establish communications, we earthlings could have answered with another crop circle showing that we recognized pi and upon that could build a “language” through which we could communicate one with the other.

With our government firmly out of the picture, having abdicated any responsibility they may have to monitor the UFO phenomena, private organizations have taken over that responsibility. While they lack the resources available to the federal government, at present they – and a few foreign government entities – are all that is available.

Date of Report: January 7, 2013
Number of Pages: 151
Order Number: UFO-2013-2
Price: $19.95

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Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications

Jennifer K. Elsea
Legislative Attorney

Matthew C. Weed
Analyst in Foreign Policy Legislation

From the Washington Administration to the present, Congress and the President have enacted 11 separate formal declarations of war against foreign nations in five different wars. Each declaration has been preceded by a presidential request either in writing or in person before a joint session of Congress. The reasons cited in justification for the requests have included armed attacks on United States territory or its citizens and threats to United States rights or interests as a sovereign nation.

Congress and the President have also enacted authorizations for the use of force rather than formal declarations of war. Such measures have generally authorized the use of force against either a named country or unnamed hostile nations in a given region. In most cases, the President has requested the authority, but Congress has sometimes given the President less than what he asked for. Not all authorizations for the use of force have resulted in actual combat. Both declarations and authorizations require the signature of the President in order to become law.

In contrast to an authorization, a declaration of war in itself creates a state of war under international law and legitimates the killing of enemy combatants, the seizure of enemy property, and the apprehension of enemy aliens. While a formal declaration was once deemed a necessary legal prerequisite to war and was thought to terminate diplomatic and commercial relations and most treaties between the combatants, declarations have fallen into disuse since World War II. The laws of war, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions, apply to circumstances of armed conflict whether or not a formal declaration or authorization was issued.

With respect to domestic law, a declaration of war automatically triggers many standby statutory authorities conferring special powers on the President with respect to the military, foreign trade, transportation, communications, manufacturing, alien enemies, etc. In contrast, no standby authorities appear to be triggered automatically by an authorization for the use of force, although the executive branch has argued, with varying success, that the authorization to use force in response to the terrorist attacks of 2001 provided a statutory exception to certain statutory prohibitions.

Most statutory standby authorities do not expressly require a declaration of war to be actualized but can be triggered by a declaration of national emergency or simply by the existence of a state of war; however, courts have sometimes construed the word “war” in a statute as implying a formal declaration, leading Congress to enact clarifying amendments in two cases. Declarations of war and authorizations for the use of force waive the time limitations otherwise applicable to the use of force imposed by the War Powers Resolution.

This report provides historical background on the enactment of declarations of war and authorizations for the use of force and analyzes their legal effects under international and domestic law. It also sets forth their texts in two appendices. The report includes an extensive listing and summary of statutes that are triggered by a declaration of war, a declaration of national emergency, and/or the existence of a state of war. The report concludes with a summary of the congressional procedures applicable to the enactment of a declaration of war or authorization for the use of force and to measures under the War Powers Resolution.

Date of Report: January 11, 2013
Number of Pages: 112
Order Number: RL31133
Price: $29.95

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Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2013

Richard S. Beth
Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process

Valerie Heitshusen
Analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process

Each new House elects a Speaker by roll call vote when it first convenes. Customarily, the conference of each major party nominates a candidate whose name is placed in nomination. Members normally vote for the candidate of their own party conference, but may vote for any individual, whether nominated or not. To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of all the votes cast for individuals. This number may be less than a majority (now 218) of the full membership of the House, because of vacancies, absentees, or Members voting “present.”

This report provides data on elections of the Speaker in each Congress since 1913, when the House first reached its present size of 435 Members. During that period (63
rd through 113th Congresses), a Speaker was elected four times with the votes of less than a majority of the full membership.

If a Speaker dies or resigns during a Congress, the House immediately elects a new one. Four such elections have been necessary since 1913. In the earlier two cases, the House elected the new Speaker by resolution; in the more recent two, the body used the same procedure as at the outset of a Congress.

If no candidate receives the requisite majority, the roll call is repeated until a Speaker is elected. Since 1913, this procedure has been necessary only in 1923, when nine ballots were required before a Speaker was elected.

From 1913 through 1943, it usually happened that some Members voted for candidates other than those of the two major parties. The candidates in question were usually those representing the “progressive” group (reformers originally associated with the Republican party), and in some Congresses, their names were formally placed in nomination on behalf of that group. From 1943 through 1995, only the nominated Republican and Democratic candidates received votes, representing the culmination of the establishment of an exclusively two-party system at the national level.

In six of the nine elections since 1997 (105
th, 107th-109th, 112th, and 113th Congresses), however, some Members voted for Members of their own party other than the party nominees. Also, some Members in 1997 and in 2013 voted for candidates who were not then Members of the House. Although the Constitution does not so require, the Speaker has always been a Member. Further, in 2001, a Member affiliated with one major party voted for the nominee of the other. Until then, House practice had long taken for granted that voting for Speaker was demonstrative of party affiliation in the House.

Date of Report: January 4, 2013
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RL30857
Price: $29.95

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Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Background and Policy Issues

Alex Tiersky
Analyst in Foreign Affairs

Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

The United States maintains about 285 diplomatic facilities worldwide. Attacks on such facilities, and on U.S. diplomatic personnel, are not infrequent. The deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, along with attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen, have drawn renewed attention to the challenges facing U.S. diplomats abroad, as well as to the difficulty in balancing concerns for their security against the outreach required of their mission. Congress plays a key role in shaping the response to these challenges, such as by providing resources for diplomatic security and examining security breaches overseas.

The inability to provide perfect security, especially against the evident threat of mob violence, has focused particular scrutiny on the deployment of diplomatic personnel in high-threat environments. The Department of State currently maintains a presence in locations faced with security conditions that previously would likely have led State to evacuate personnel and close the post.

Under reciprocal treaty obligations, host nations are obligated to provide security for the diplomatic facilities of sending states. However, instances in which host nations have been unable or not fully committed to fulfilling this responsibility have sometimes left U.S. facilities vulnerable, especially in extraordinary circumstances. U.S. facilities therefore employ a layered approach to security including not only the measures taken by a host country, but also additional, U.S.-coordinated measures, to include armed Diplomatic Security agents, hardened facilities, U.S.-trained and/or contracted local security guards, and sometimes U.S. Marine Security Guard detachments (whose principal role is securing classified information).

The rapid growth in the number of U.S. civilians deployed in high-risk environments of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan spurred significant investment in recent years in the Department of State’s capacity to provide security in dangerous areas through its Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). However, it simultaneously placed unprecedented burdens on DS’s capability to carry out this mission successfully there and in other challenging locations. With greater focus on these frontline states, funds for other U.S. facilities could be strained.

Most of the funding for the protection of about U.S. missions abroad is provided through Worldwide Security Protection (WSP) within the State Department’s Diplomatic & Consular Programs (D&CP) account and through Worldwide Security Upgrades (WSU) within the Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance (ESCM) account. The total security funding requested for FY2012 was about $2.9 billion and the amount enacted was about $2.6 billion.

In the wake of the Benghazi attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened an Accountability Review Board (ARB), which released a report on its findings on December 19, 2012; Secretary Clinton pledged to fully implement all 29 of the ARB’s recommendations. As the ARB was deliberating, the Department took a number of initial steps to bolster security, including an internal reorganization. The Department of State also requested additional funding from Congress to improve its security measures.

Congressional activity in the 112
th Congress on this issue included a number of hearings on the attack, as well as a report by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, including a number of findings and recommendations. Legislative action to date has

Date of Report: January 18, 2013
Number of Pages: 29
Order Number: R42834
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