Civil Liberties Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties Media Articles from Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These civil liberties articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Civil Liberties Media Articles


Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

What makes our NDAA lawsuit a struggle to save the US constitution
2012-08-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/10/ndaa-lawsuit-struggle-us-...

I [Tangerine Bolen] am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial. In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported. In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA. In this hearing ... Obama's attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA's section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest's injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama's government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them. I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my government. We have good reason to be.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.




Activists subpoenaed to grand jury meeting in Seattle
2012-08-01, Seattle Times blog
http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/08/activists-subpoened-to-thursday-g...

Two Portland residents say they will appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle Thursday in an investigation of anarchist activity, according to a statement they released on [August 1]. Grand jury subpoenas have also been served to activists in Olympia and Seattle ... according to the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which identifies itself as an association of progressive lawyers. The guild urged the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop the subpoenas [because] they were being used “as a pretext for harassing political activists.” “It concerns us any time there are law-enforcement raids that target political literature, first amendment-protected materials,” [guild spokesman Neil] Fox said. Two weeks before a heavily armed, July 25 FBI raid that Dennison Williams and Leah-Lynn Plante said took place at their Portland home, the Seattle Police Department SWAT team seized evidence connected to the May Day investigation from a Judkins Park apartment of Occupy Seattle members. In both cases, those searched told media that law-enforcement charged into their homes [with a battering-ram] early in the morning and used a stun grenade, a non-lethal object that creates a disorienting loud bang and bright light. Williams told The Oregonian that the FBI took his laptop computer, cell phone, two thumb drives, multiple pieces of black clothing, and a T-shirt that read on the front “Multi Death Corporations.”

Note: Amazingly, the FBI raids on political activists in Seattle and Portland have gone completely unreported by the mass media. For analysis of the FBI's attacks on dissenters, click here, here and here. For a Democracy Now! video report, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.




NYPD 'consistently violated basic rights' during Occupy protests – study
2012-07-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/25/nypd-occupy-protests-report

The first systematic look at the New York police department's response to Occupy Wall Street protests paints a damning picture of an out-of-control and aggressive organization that routinely acted beyond its powers. In a report that followed an eight-month study, researchers at the law schools of NYU and Fordham accuse the NYPD of deploying unnecessarily aggressive force, obstructing press freedoms and making arbitrary and baseless arrests. The study ... found evidence that police made violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments, obstructed independent legal monitors and was opaque about its policies. The NYPD report is the first of a series to look at how police authorities in five US cities, including Oakland and Boston, have treated the Occupy movement since it began in September 2011. The research concludes that there now is a systematic effort by authorities to suppress protests, even when these are lawful and pose no threat to the public. Sarah Knuckey, a professor of law at NYU, said: "All the case studies we collected show the police are violating basic rights consistently, and the level of impunity is shocking". To be launched over the coming months, the reports are being done under the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, a national consortium of law school clinics addressing America's response to Occupy Wall Street.

Note: For lots more from reliable major media sources on government threats to civil liberties and other types of government corruption, click here and here.




New Homeland Security Laser Scanner Reads People At Molecular Level
2012-07-11, CBS-DC (Washington DC CBS affiliate)
http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/07/11/new-homeland-security-laser-scanner...

The Department of Homeland Security will soon be using a laser at airports that can detect everything about you from over 160 feet away. This laser-based scanner ... could read everything from a person’s adrenaline levels, to traces of gun powder on a person’s clothes, to illegal substances — and it can all be done without a physical search. It also could be used on multiple people at a time, eliminating random searches at airports. The scanner is called the Picosecond Programmable Laser. The device works by blasting its target with lasers which vibrate molecules that are then read by the machine that determine what substances a person has been exposed to. The inventor of this invasive technology is Genia Photonics. Active since 2009, they hold 30 patents on laser technology designed for scanning. In 2011, they formed a partnership with In-Q-Tel, a company chartered by the CIA and Congress to build “a bridge between the Agency and a new set of technology innovators.” Although the technology could be used by “Big Brother,” Genia Photonics states that the device could be far more beneficial being used for medical purposes to check for cancer in real time, lipids detection, and patient monitoring.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government threats to privacy, click here.




A Cruel and Unusual Record
2012-06-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/opinion/americas-shameful-human-rights-reco...

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after [9/11] and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions. While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress. This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on war crimes committed by US forces in the "global war on terror," click here.




Bradley Manning, America's martyr for open government
2012-05-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/29/bradley-manning-americas-...

Today marks two years of imprisonment of Private Bradley Manning. The US government was going to use Manning as a warning to anyone else who might feel compelled to report on war crimes, or any other crimes they witness from within the system. Blow the whistle, goes the warning, and you will be buried alive by the state, shredded by the same secrecy machine a whistleblower would try to expose. Because of courage and creativity of activists, Bradley Manning has not been forgotten, even if that was the aim of authorities, and he never shall be forgotten. His case has been largely shunned by most of the mainstream media, especially in the US. This needs to change, because if he is indeed found guilty of being a whistleblower of such magnitude that it shook the entire secrecy machine of our world out of its comfort zone, his acts would need to be honored as an inspiration to change the way governments hide the reality of their actions from the people they are supposed to be serving and informing. Manning should not be convicted in secret: the media should be given access to the court filings; and the media should be pushing harder for the first amendment of the US constitution to be honored in the Manning case.

Note: For key reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.




Montreal's student protesters defy restrictions as demonstrations grow
2012-05-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/montrea-student-protesters-defy-r...

Demonstrators in Montreal have continued to defy an emergency law passed by the provincial government in Quebec to restrict protests by students against planned tuition fee hikes. On Wednesday, more than 500 Montrealers were arrested – more than during the entire October 1970 crisis when martial law was declared in the city in response to actions by Quebec nationalists. The total number of those arrested in the current protests has now exceeded 2,500. The protest ... was declared illegal before it began, because organizers had not provided police with an itinerary, as required by a controversial new emergency law. Helicopters and riot police are an increasingly common sight on the streets of Montreal as a province-wide student strike passed the 100-day mark, but popular support only seems to be growing as the government attempts to clamp down on the strike. Small red squares, the symbol of the strike historically worn by Montreal students supporting free tuition, are everywhere in the city – cloth pinned to people's lapels and daubed onto signs and walls. Families and older residents are increasingly common sights at protests as well, demonstrating against Bill 78, which places restrictions on protests of more than 50 people. The bill imposes fines of $125,000 a day on student unions that defy its provisions, and student leaders shown to support unplanned protests can be fined up to a maximum of $5,000.

Note: For lots more on this important, yet underreported news, do a search on "Montreal protests."




Three NATO protesters face terrorism charges as global summit nears
2012-05-19, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/three-nato-protesters-face-terrorism-char...

As NATO protesters marched by the hundreds to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, three others were in court Saturday facing terrorism charges for allegedly planning to bomb the mayor’s residence, police stations and Obama’s campaign headquarters during the upcoming summit. Three men who had been arrested in a raid Wednesday appeared before a Cook County judge, charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, possession of an explosive device and providing material support for terrorism. The men ... are being held on $1.5 million bond. Prosecutors alleged they had made Molotov cocktails and had discussed using other weapons, including swords and knives. Lawyers for the suspects disputed those claims. “There are a lot of sensational allegations being made,” said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild. “This is obviously an effort to chill dissent ahead of the NATO demonstrations.” As darkness fell, the crowds of protesters who gathered to show support to the terror suspects swelled to nearly 1,000, and there were several tense scuffles with police. At least 10 more protesters were detained, Hermes said.

Note: This entire article contains almost nothing about the trumped up charges against these protestors. You can learn more about police provocation of the group at this link.




Anti-NATO protest calls for "Robin Hood" tax on financial institutions
2012-05-18, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57436981/anti-nato-protest-calls-for-robi...

Thousands of nurses and other protesters gathered [on May 18] at a downtown Chicago plaza for a noisy but peaceful demonstration demanding a "Robin Hood" tax on banks' financial transactions. Members of National Nurses United, the nation's largest nurses union, were joined by members of the Occupy movement, unions and veterans at the rally city officials have said could attract more than 5,000. The nurses and their supporters dressed in red shirts and wore green felt Robin Hood caps with red feathers. The rally — which originally was scheduled to coincide with the start of the G-8 economic summit before it was moved from Chicago to Camp David — drew a broad spectrum of causes, from anti-war activists to Occupy protesters. Meanwhile, lawyers for NATO summit protesters said police on [May 18] released four of nine activists arrested ... on accusations that they had or planned to make Molotov cocktails. The lawyers said police, with their guns drawn, raided an apartment building where activists were staying and arrested nine people. The Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild said officers broke down doors in the building in the South Side Bridgeport neighborhood and produced no warrants. "The nine have absolutely no idea what they're being charged with because they were not engaged in any criminal activity at all," said guild attorney Sarah Gelsomino. "They're really very confused and very frightened." The Chicago Police Department refused to comment.

Note: For more on the defense of the victims of the police crackdown on Occupy in Chicago and elsewhere, click here. For a most excellent two-minute video of former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich presenting five of the most urgent problems with the economy and an easy solution all in two minutes, click here. For an enlightening five-minute TED talks video further showing how the rich getting richer while they pay increasingly less taxes is at the root of most economic woes, click here.




Judge blocks indefinite military detention provision
2012-05-16, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-security-lawsuitbre84f1hs-20...

A judge on [May 16] blocked enforcement of a recently enacted law's provision that authorizes indefinite military detention for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces." District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan ruled in favor of a group of civilian activists and journalists who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, which was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2011. "In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more," the judge said. She added that it was in the public interest to reconsider the law so that "ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention." By issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions. During day-long oral arguments in March, Forrest heard lawyers for former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and others argue that the law would have a "chilling effect" on their work. The judge said she worried at the government's reluctance ... to specify whether examples of the plaintiffs' activities ... would fall under the scope of the provision. "Failure to be able to make such a representation... requires the court to assume that, in fact, the government takes the position that a wide swath of expressive and associational conduct is in fact encompassed by 1021," the judge wrote.

Note: For more on the courageous journalist behind this lawsuit, Chris Hedges, see his excellent columns at this link. For reports from major media sources on governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.




9/11 defense attorneys call Guantánamo detention, trial rules ‘unjust’
2012-05-06, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/06/2786539/911-defense-attorneys-call-guan...

The five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks used their weekend war court appearances to stage “peaceful resistance to an unjust system” being used for political reasons, defense lawyers said Sunday — a day after the 9/11-accused turned the judge’s plans to hold a simple arraignment into a 13-hour marathon of prayer and protest. “The system is a rigged game to prevent us from doing our jobs,” argued criminal defense attorney David Nevin, accusing the prison camp commander of making it impossible to learn from alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed how the CIA waterboarded him 183 times and used other since-outlawed techniques to break him. “The government wants to kill Mr. Mohammed,” Nevin said, “to extinguish the last eyewitness to his torture.” Each of the accused steadfastly refused to answer basic questions posed to them by Army Col. James L. Pohl, the war court’s chief judge, on whether they accepted their Pentagon-appointed attorneys. Instead, they periodically disrupted the proceedings with demonstrations of Muslim prayer and protests of prison conditions. “These men have endured years of inhumane treatment and torture” that will “infect every aspect of this military commission tribunal,” attorney James Connell III warned.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the destruction of civil liberties in the name of the "global war on terror," click here.




Cispa will give US unprecedented access, internet privacy advocates warn
2012-04-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/18/cispa-unprecedented-access-intern...

Washington looks set to wave through new cybersecurity legislation next week that opponents fear will wipe out decades of privacy protections at a stroke. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa) will be discussed in the House of Representatives next week and already has the support of 100 House members. It will be the first such bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in January after global protests and a concerted campaign by internet giants such as Google, Wikipedia and Twitter. The author of the new bill, Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, has said it is aimed at tracking the nefarious activities of hackers, terrorists and foreign states, especially China. But its critics charge the bill will affect ordinary citizens and overturn the privacy protections they now enjoy. Opponents fear the way it is currently drafted will open up ordinary citizens to unprecedented scrutiny. The bill uses the wording: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law," a phrase that if it became law would trump all existing legislation, according to critics. In one section, the bill defines "efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy" a network as an area that would trigger a Cispa investigation. Opponents argue something as simple as downloading a large file – a movie for example – could potentially be defined as an effort to "degrade" a network. The bill also exempts companies from any liability for handing over private information.

Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.




Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin
2012-04-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/15/web-freedom-threat-google-brin

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary." The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms. He said five years ago he did not believe China or any country could effectively restrict the internet for long, but now says he has been proven wrong. Brin's comments come on the first day of a week-long Guardian investigation of the intensifying battle for control of the internet being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers. From the attempts made by Hollywood to push through legislation allowing pirate websites to be shut down, to the British government's plans to monitor social media and web use, the ethos of openness championed by the pioneers of the internet and worldwide web is being challenged on a number of fronts.

Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.




How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses
2012-04-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/05/us-sexual-humi...

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. [This joins] the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit ... described having been told to "turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks." There's the sexual abuse of prisoners at Bagram, [where] in some cases, an interrogator would place his penis along the face of the detainee while he was being questioned. Other inmates were raped with sticks or threatened with anal sex. And there's the policy ... to grope US travelers genitally or else force them to go through a machine – made by a company, Rapiscan, owned by terror profiteer and former DHA czar Michael Chertoff – with images so vivid that it has been called the "pornoscanner". Believe me: you don't want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations. Where are we headed? These recent laws ... are being set up to work in concert with a see-all-all-the-time surveillance state. Remember, you don't need to have done anything wrong to be arrested in America any longer. The man who was forced to spread his buttocks was stopped for a driving infraction. As one internet advocate said: "There is a race against time: they realise the internet is a tool of empowerment that will work against their interests, and they need to race to turn it into a tool of control."

Note: How sad that it takes a British newspaper to spell out the highly repressive and invasive new laws being passed in the US. For many revealing major media articles showing the dangers of big brother in our world, click here. For excellent articles revealing the severe erosion of civil liberties, click here.




Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip Searches for Any Arrest
2012-04-02, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/us/justices-approve-strip-searches-for-any-...

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials. The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said the strip searches the majority allowed were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so. Justice Breyer said that the Fourth Amendment should be understood to bar strip searches of people arrested for minor offenses not involving drugs or violence, unless officials had a reasonable suspicion that they were carrying contraband. People have been subjected to “the humiliation of a visual strip search” after being arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell. A nun was strip-searched ... after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration. In a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found.

Note: For an abundance of major media articles showing severe erosion of civil liberties, click here.




Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws
2012-04-01, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon. Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time. The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it. Tory MP David Davis called it "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people". A new law ... would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant. But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also be able to see which websites someone had visited. Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary David Davis said it would make it easier for the government "to eavesdrop on vast numbers of people". "What this is talking about doing is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it's absolutely everybody's emails, phone calls, web access..." He said that until now anyone wishing to monitor communications had been required to gain permission from a magistrate. Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, called the move "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran". The previous Labour government attempted to introduce a central, government-run database of everyone's phone calls and emails, but eventually dropped the bid after widespread anger.

Note: For more on this from BBC, click here. Though this is interesting news, many know that the government has had easy access to all people's emails, phone calls, and more for many years through systems like echelon and more. For an abundance of major media articles showing how many of the power elite want to create a big-brother society, click here.




US anti-terrorism law curbs free speech and activist work, court told
2012-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/29/journalists-us-anti-terrorism-law...

A group [of] political activists and journalists has launched a legal challenge to stop an American law they say allows the US military to arrest civilians anywhere in the world and detain them without trial as accused supporters of terrorism. The seven figures, who include ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, professor Noam Chomsky and Icelandic politician and WikiLeaks campaigner Birgitta Jonsdottir, testified to a Manhattan judge that the law – dubbed the NDAA or Homeland Battlefield Bill – would cripple free speech around the world. They said that various provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011, effectively broadened the definition of "supporter of terrorism" to include peaceful activists, authors, academics and even journalists interviewing members of radical groups. Controversy centres on the loose definition of key words in the bill, in particular who might be "associated forces" of the law's named terrorist groups al-Qaida and the Taliban and what "substantial support" to those groups might get defined as. Whereas White House officials have denied the wording extends any sort of blanket coverage to civilians, rather than active enemy combatants, or actions involved in free speech, some civil rights experts have said the lack of precise definition leaves it open to massive potential abuse.

Note: For discussion of the extreme crackdown by police, based on "anti-terrorism" legislation, against Occupy movement protestors, click here.




Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act
2012-03-16, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/democratic-senators-warn-about-...

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public — or even others in Congress — knew about it. On [March 15], two of those senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The Justice Department has argued that disclosing information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could alert adversaries to how the government collects certain intelligence. It is seeking the dismissal of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits — by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union — related to how the Patriot Act has been interpreted. The dispute centers on what the government thinks it is allowed to do under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which agents may obtain a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing them to get access to any “tangible things” — like business records — that are deemed “relevant” to a terrorism or espionage investigation. The interpretation of Section 215 that authorizes this secret surveillance operation is apparently not obvious from a plain text reading of the provision, and was developed through a series of classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on surveillance and other government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.




Can the Secret Service tell you to shut up?
2012-03-15, Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/15/can-the-secret-service-tell-y...

[On March 8, 2012], President Obama signed into law the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. This law permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. It permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech. Thus, federal agents whose work is to protect public officials and their friends may prohibit the speech and the gatherings of folks who disagree with those officials or permit the speech and the gatherings of those who would praise them, even though the First Amendment condemns content-based speech discrimination by the government. The new law also provides that anyone who gathers in a “restricted” area may be prosecuted. Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to useful speech. The same may be said of the rights to associate and to petition. If peaceful public assembly and public expression of political demands on the government can be restricted to places where government officials cannot be confronted, then those rights, too, have been neutered. This abominable legislation enjoyed overwhelming support from both political parties in Congress because the establishment loves power, fears dissent and hates inconvenience, and it doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution.

Note: How strange that the Washington Times was one of the few media to have even covered this incredible infringement on the right to free speech. Fox News also covered it, as you can see in this excellent video. Now instead of being a country where free speech is held in great esteem, the US has "free speech zones" outside of which citizens lose their right to speak freely. What's happening here?




Tim Weiner’s ‘Enemies’ and F.B.I. Counterintelligence
2012-03-15, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/books/tim-weiners-enemies-and-fbi-counterin...

Tim Weiner’s new book, Enemies: A History of the F.B.I., is an outstanding piece of work. The F.B.I. ... from World War I on investigated all manner of political radicals and Communists, compiled lists of Americans to be detained in the event of national emergency and engaged in at least half a century of illegal wiretapping, mail opening and burglaries. This is certainly the most complete book we are likely to see about the F.B.I.’s intelligence-gathering operations, from Emma Goldman to Osama bin Laden. Where Mr. Weiner excels is in connecting the dots. He identifies his themes, almost all involving the conflicting demands of civil liberties and civil order — “the saga of our struggle to be both safe and free,” as he puts it — and rigorously pursues them. Illegal wiretaps and burglaries were the F.B.I.’s key weapons almost from the beginning. Time and again, going back to the 1930s, this or that court would rule such procedures illegal. Time and again, J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau’s director from 1924 until his death in 1972, simply ignored the law. A string of presidents, from Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon, knew exactly what the bureau was doing and refused to stop it. Hunting Commies ... was Hoover’s true life’s work — the one thing, other than his reflexive bureaucratic defensiveness, that obsessed him from his first radical raids in 1919 into the 1960s.

Note: Mr. Weiner, a former reporter for The New York Times, previously wrote an admired history of the C.I.A., Legacy of Ashes. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on intelligence agency skullduggery, click here.





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