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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 should fail to function, click here. These civil liberties articles are listed by article date. For the same list by order of importance, click here. For the list by date posted, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.



Note: For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Italy court ups sentences for 23 CIA agents
2010-12-15, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40682905/ns/world_news-europe

An Italian appeals court on [December 15] increased the sentences against 23 Americans convicted in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect who was part of the CIA's extraordinary renditions program. In upholding the convictions, the court added one year to the eight-year term handed down to former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and two years to the five-year terms given to 22 other Americans convicted along with him, defense lawyers said. They were never in Italian custody and were tried and convicted in absentia but risk arrest if they travel to Europe. The Americans and two Italians were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnapping of ... Abu Omar from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 — the first convictions anywhere in the world against people involved in the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture was permitted. The cleric was transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released. Amnesty International praised [the] decision as a step toward demanding greater accountability in Europe for the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. Julia Hall, an Amnesty counter-terrorism expert, said in a statement, "The Italian courts have acknowledged that the chain of events leading to such serious abuses cannot go unanswered. Kidnapping is a crime, not a 'state secret.' "

Note: This is amazing news which shows that the CIA is losing its former status as immune in courts of law.




Humiliate, strip, threaten: UK military interrogation manuals discovered
2010-10-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/oct/25/uk-military-interrogation-manuals

The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions. Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved. A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that "Cpers" – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are "valid operational reasons". It also urges enforced nakedness. More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions. The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any "physical or moral coercion", in particular any coercion employed to obtain information. All the British classified training material was produced after the death of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in Basra in September 2003.

Note: For a survey of historic and contemporary uses of torture, click here. For more disturbing information on how Nazi torture techniques were eventually used by the CIA for mind control, click here.




From protester to senator, FBI tracked Paul Wellstone
2010-10-25, Minnesota Public Radio
http://origin-minnesota.publicradio.org/projects/2010/wellstone-files/feature/

It started with a fingerprint of a 25-year-old college professor who opposed the Vietnam War and ended with a search for his remains, 32 years later, in a wooded area near Eveleth, Minn. The FBI's files on Paul and Sheila Wellstone [show that] the FBI initially took interest in Wellstone as part of the broader surveillance of the American left ... and, in the end, [sifted] through the wreckage of the fatal plane crash that killed Wellstone and seven others eight years ago. Wellstone's surviving sons declined to comment on the documents, which were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by MPR News. The FBI did not include 76 pages related to the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency that investigated the crash. A request for those records is pending. Coleen Rowley, the 9/11 whistleblower and former chief legal advisor in the FBI's Minneapolis office, said the documents from 1970 shed light on the FBI's far-reaching efforts to quash political dissent. "I think this really is valuable … because it's basically history repeating what we have right now," she said, noting the recent FBI raids at the homes of several anti-war organizers in Minneapolis. Wellstone's arrest occurred less than a year before the official end of Cointelpro, a series of secret domestic surveillance programs created by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to monitor and disrupt groups deemed to be a threat to national security.

Note: For insights into the deeper implications of Senator Wellstone's mysterious plane crash, click here.




CIA Sues Ex-Spy Over Two-Year Old Book
2010-10-20, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cia-sues-spy-year-book/story?id=11921242

A CIA lawsuit threatens to turn a little-known two-year-old tell-all by a disgruntled former spy into a bestseller. Within hours of the lawsuit's filing [on October 19], The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, had rocketed up the Amazon rankings. The Human Factor, written by an ex-agent using the pseudonym Ishmael Jones, went largely unnoticed when it was first published in July 2008. In the book, "Jones" charges the CIA with waste, fraud and abuse as he details his career over two decades working under non-official cover, or NOC, mainly in Europe. The agency is seeking any money Jones received for the publication or sales of the book. The suit, which does not allege that Jones revealed any classified information, raises questions about why the agency would bring a case two years after publication and where both sides agree no sensitive secrets were revealed. Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy, said "This is a bone-headed move. You'll make an obscure book by an unknown author into a national news story." But Aftergood said the agency's real aim is internal discipline. "The government is not simply concerned about protecting secrets. It is also concerned about Jones' overt defiance of established security rules." Jones and other former CIA officers have complained in the past that the CIA's publication review consistently favors former spies who tell stories flattering to the agency. Jones suggested that the antipathy towards the book focused on his message, a sharp critique of the CIA.

Note: For a highly informative documentary on the secrets of the CIA, click here.




GPS tracker in car inflames privacy debate
2010-10-16, Seattle Times/Associated Press
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2013181658_gpstracking17.html

Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old computer salesman and community-college student, took his car in for an oil change earlier this month and his mechanic spotted an odd wire hanging from the undercarriage. The wire was attached to a strange magnetic device that puzzled Afifi and the mechanic. They freed it from the car and posted images of it online, asking for help in identifying it. Two days later, FBI agents arrived at Afifi's Santa Clara apartment and demanded the return of their property — a global-positioning-system tracking device now at the center of a raging legal debate over privacy rights. One federal judge wrote that the widespread use of the device was straight out of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four." By holding that this kind of surveillance doesn't impair an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, the panel hands the government the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives," wrote Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a blistering dissent in which a three-judge panel from his court ruled that search warrants weren't necessary for GPS tracking. In his dissent, Chief Judge Kozinski noted that GPS technology is far different from tailing a suspect on a public road, which requires the active participation of investigators. "The devices create a permanent electronic record that can be compared, contrasted and coordinated to deduce all manner of private information about individuals," Kozinksi wrote.

Note: For an AP photo of this device, click here.




Federal Agents Urged to 'Friend' People on Social Networks, Memo Reveals
2010-10-14, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/13/government-spying-social-networks/

A privacy watchdog has uncovered a government memo that encourages federal agents to befriend people on a variety of social networks, to take advantage of their readiness to share -- and to spy on them. In response to a Freedom of Information request, the government released a handful of documents, including a May 2008 memo detailing how social-networking sites are exploited by the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Digg had not commented on the report, which details the official government program to spy via social networking. Other websites the government is spying on include ... Craigslist and Wikipedia, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which filed the FOIA request. "Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuel a need to have a large group of 'friends' link to their pages, and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don't even know," stated one of the documents obtained by the EFF. "This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of [members]," it said. Among the networks specifically cited for analysis "were general social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr, as well as sites that focus specifically on certain demographic groups such as MiGente and BlackPlanet, news sites such as NPR, and political commentary sites DailyKos," the EFF wrote.

Note: For more information, read the full report at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.




9/11 conspiracy theories rife in Muslim world
2010-10-02, Washington Post / Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/02/AR20101002006...

About a week ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared to the United Nations that most people in the world believe the United States was behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Surveys show that a majority of the world does not in fact believe that the U.S. orchestrated the attacks. However, the belief persists strongly among a minority, even with U.S. allies like Turkey or in the U.S. itself. A 2006 survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that significant majorities in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Turkey ... said they did not believe Arabs carried out the attacks. Such beliefs have currency even in the United States. In 2006, a Scripps Howard poll of 1,010 Americans found 36 percent thought it somewhat or very likely that U.S. officials either participated in the attacks or took no action to stop them. Tod Fletcher of [WantToKnow.info] has worked as an assistant to David Ray Griffin, on books that question the Sept. 11 record. He was cautious about the Iranian president's comments about conspiracy theories, suggesting Ahmadinejad may have been politically motivated by his enmity with the U.S. government. "It seems like it's the sort of thing that could lead to further vilification of people who criticize the official account here in the United States," Fletcher said.

Note: To listen to Tod Fletcher's commentary on WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's recent book, Cognitive Infiltration: an Obama Appointee's Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, about the latest attempts by the US government to vilify 9/11 truth movement members as "extremist," "violent" and "likely to resort to terrorism", click here.




Horrific medical tests of past raise concerns for today
2010-10-01, MSNBC
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39463624/ns/today-today_health

The astounding revelation that U.S. medical researchers intentionally gave Guatemalans gonorrhea and syphilis more than 60 years ago is so horrifying that we want to believe that what happened then could never happen today. A report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services noted that roughly 80 percent of drug approvals in 2008 were based in part on data from outside the U.S. Susan Reverby, a distinguished historian at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, has ... long researched the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the experiment where poor, black men in rural Alabama were deliberately left untreated for syphilis by government researchers. The study, somehow, was allowed to run from 1932 to 1972. More recently, Reverby came across documents that showed that Dr. John C. Cutler, a physician who would later be one of the researchers involved in the Tuskegee study, was involved in a completely unethical research study much earlier in Guatemala. Cutler, who went to his grave defending the Tuskegee experiment, directly inoculated unknowing prisoners in Guatemala with syphilis and also encouraged them to have sex with diseased prostitutes for his research from 1946-48. His work was sponsored by lauded organizations such as the United States Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health with collaboration of the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government.

Note: The author of this commentary is Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. For many other examples of government-sponsored experimentation on human guinea pigs, click here.




'Feds radiating Americans'? Mobile X-ray vans hit US streets
2010-09-29, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0929/Feds-radiating-Americans-Mobile-X-ray-...

News that the US is buying custom-made vans packed with something called backscatter X-ray capacity has riled privacy advocates and sparked internet worries about "feds radiating Americans." American Science & Engineering, a Billerica, Mass.-company, tells Forbes it [has] sold more than 500 ZBVs, or Z Backscatter Vans, to US and foreign governments. The Department of Defense has bought the most for war zone use, but US law enforcement has also deployed the vans to [use] inside the US, according to Joe Reiss, a company spokesman. On [September 28], a counterterror operation snarled truck traffic on I-20 near Atlanta, where Department of Homeland Security teams used mobile X-ray technology to check the contents of truck trailers. Authorities said the inspections weren't prompted by any specific threat. Backscatter X-ray is already part of an ongoing national debate about its use in so-called full body scanners being deployed in many US airports. [Critics] worry that radiating Americans without their knowledge is evidence of gradually eroding constitutional protections in the post-9/11 age. "This is another way in which the government is capturing information they may lose control over. I just have some real problems with the idea of even beginning a campaign of rolling surveillance of American citizens, which is what this essentially is said [Vermont-based privacy expert Frederick Lane, author of American Privacy.]

Note: For further reports from reliable sources on the militarization of US police forces, click here.




U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet
2010-09-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html

Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design. “They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

Note: For an analysis of this new government move to spy on US citizens, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on disturbing government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.




What's Fueling the Battle Over Raw Milk?
2010-09-26, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2017205,00.html

For some Americans, milk has become a test of their freedom. And they're not paranoid kooks either; the government really is out to get them, authorizing seizures of bottles and jugs of unpasteurized milk and, in one recent case, a full-on, agents-brandishing-guns raid. Currently, under federal law, it's illegal to sell consumers unpasteurized milk that has been transported across state lines. Raw milk cannot be sold at all in 10 states. In 30 states, it can be sold only by certain farms under certain conditions. And in the remaining states, retail sales are allowed but are greatly hindered by technicalities. An underground railroad has emerged to get milk from cows to consumers without any high-tech processing in between. Now comes the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act, federal legislation that would improve the FDA's ability to trace [illness] outbreaks and give the agency — which can already fine companies that knowingly sell contaminated foods — the power to order recalls. Supporters say they know the milk may contain pathogens; the most ardent say they welcome the bugs, many of which have peacefully resided in our guts for thousands of years. All agree that they should be able to drink raw milk if they want to.

Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.




Pentagon Destroys Copies of Controversial Memoir Written by Army Officer
2010-09-25, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/25/pentagon-destroys-copies-controver...

The Pentagon has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's memoir Operation Dark Heart, his book about going undercover in Afghanistan. A Department of Defense official tells Fox News that the department purchased copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security. The U.S. Army originally cleared the book for release. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attempted to block the book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called "Able Danger." In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if Operation Dark Heart is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim "Able Danger" successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why the book is being burned), click here.




U.S. Invokes State Secrets to Bar Cleric Lawsuit
2010-09-25, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/25/national/main6900376.shtml

The Obama administration on Saturday invoked the state secrets privilege which would kill a lawsuit on behalf of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist said to be targeted for death or capture under a U.S. government program. In its court papers, the Justice Department said that the issues in the case are for the executive branch of government to decide rather than the courts. The department also said the case entails information that is protected by the military and state secrets privilege. "The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement. "In matters of life and death, no executive should have a blank check." Al-Awlaki's father, through the CCR and the ACLU, filed the case in federal court in Washington. The lawsuit filed on the cleric's behalf seeks to have a court declare that the Constitution and international law bar the government from carrying out targeted killings; seeks to block the targeted killing of al-Awlaki; and seeks to force the U.S. government to disclose the standards for determining whether U.S. citizens can be targeted for death.

Note: For an analysis of the Obama administration's assertion of the right to assassinate US citizens, click here. For many reports from reliable sources on state secrets, click here.




Civil Rights Photographer Unmasked as Informer
2010-09-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/us/14photographer.html

That photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. riding one of the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, Ala.? He took it. The well-known image of black sanitation workers carrying “I Am a Man” signs in Memphis? His. He was there in Room 306 of the Lorraine Hotel, Dr. King’s room, on the night he was assassinated. But now an unsettling asterisk must be added to the legacy of Ernest C. Withers, one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era: He was a paid F.B.I. informer. On [September 12], The Commercial Appeal in Memphis published the results of a two-year investigation that showed Mr. Withers, who died in 2007 at age 85, had collaborated closely with two F.B.I. agents in the 1960s to keep tabs on the civil rights movement. From at least 1968 to 1970, Mr. Withers, who was black, provided photographs, biographical information and scheduling details to two F.B.I. agents in the bureau’s Memphis domestic surveillance program, Howell Lowe and William H. Lawrence, according to numerous reports summarizing their meetings. The reports were obtained by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act and posted on its Web site. While he was growing close to top civil rights leaders, Mr. Withers was also meeting regularly with the F.B.I. agents, disclosing details about plans for marches and political beliefs of the leaders, even personal information like the leaders’ car tag numbers.

Note: For a fascinating CNN interview with civil rights leader and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young on this issue, click here. For key reports from reliable sources raising unanswered questions about the assassination of Martin Luther King and other major US political leaders, click here.




Court dismisses suit alleging 'torture flights'
2010-09-09, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/09/BAE81FASRO.DTL

A federal appeals court ... dismissed a lawsuit [on September 8] accusing a Bay Area aviation-planning company of arranging CIA flights of [captives] to overseas dungeons. The ruling is a victory for both President George W. Bush's administration, which directed the rendition program and acknowledged its existence, and the Obama administration, which ... argued that it was too sensitive to be litigated in court. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would appeal to the Supreme Court. The high court has refused to review two rulings by other appeals courts dismissing suits against the government by men who said they were abducted by the CIA and flown to foreign torture chambers. "Not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture program has had his day in court," ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner said. Jeppesen, a Boeing Co. subsidiary, was described in a 2007 Council of Europe report as the CIA's aviation services provider. In a court declaration in the current suit, a company employee quoted a director as telling staff members in 2006 that Jeppesen handled the CIA's "torture flights." Dissenting Judge Michael Hawkins said the courts should decide legal disputes rather than "permitting the executive to police its own errors." He also said the court should have kept the case alive and required the government to show why specific evidence should remain secret.

Note: The ruling in this case can be read here. For analysis, click here and here.




Many migrant workers in UK are modern-day slaves, say investigators
2010-08-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/aug/30/migrant-workers-modern-day-slavery

Thousands of foreign domestic workers are living as slaves in Britain, being abused sexually, physically and psychologically by employers. More than 15,000 migrant workers come to Britain every year to earn money to send back to their families. Many endure conditions that campaigners say amount to modern-day slavery. Kalayaan, a charity based in west London that helps and advises migrant domestic workers, registers around 350 new workers each year. About 20% report being physically abused or assaulted, including being burnt with irons, threatened with knives, and having boiling water thrown at them. "Two-thirds of the domestic workers we see report being psychologically abused," said Jenny Moss, a community advocate for the charity. "That means they've been threatened and humiliated, shouted at constantly and called dog, donkey, stupid, illiterate." A similar proportion say they were not allowed out alone and have never had a day off. Nearly three-quarters say they were paid less than £50 a week. "The first thing to understand when we're talking about slavery is that we're not using a metaphor," said Aidan McQuade from Anti-Slavery International. "Many of the instances of domestic servitude we find in this country are forced labour – a classification that includes retention of passports and wages, threat of denunciation and restriction of movement and isolation."

Note: This phenomenon also happens in big cities in the US much more than people might suspect.




U.S. drones to watch entire Mexico border from September 1
2010-08-30, MSNBC/Reuters
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38923040

The U.S. government will have unmanned surveillance aircraft monitoring the whole southwest border with Mexico from September 1, as it ramps up border security in this election year. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said U.S. Customs and Border Protection would begin flying a Predator B drone out of Corpus Christi, Texas, on [that date], extending the reach of the agency's unmanned surveillance aircraft across the length of the nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico. "With the deployment of the Predator in Texas, we will now be able to cover the southwest border from the El Centro sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground," Napolitano said during a conference call. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill that would fund some 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors and other law enforcement officials along the border, as well as paying for two more unmanned drones. The Predator B drones are made by defense contractor General Atomics. They carry equipment including sophisticated day and night vision cameras that operators use to detect drug and human smugglers, and can stay aloft for up to 30 hours at a time.

Note: How long will it be before aerial surveillance drones, now positioned over the southern border of the US, are deployed in other parts of the country?




Secret services 'must be made more transparent'
2010-08-29, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/secret-services-must-be-made-m...

The secret services must become more transparent if they are to halt the spread of damaging conspiracy theories and increase trust in the Government, claims a leading think tank. A Demos report published today, "The Power of Unreason", argues that secrecy surrounding the investigation of events such as the 9/11 New York attacks and the 7/7 bombings in London merely adds weight to ... claims that they were "inside jobs". It ... recommends the Government fight back by infiltrating internet sites to dispute these theories. The Royal United Services Institute warned last week that the UK may soon face a new wave of home-grown terrorists, when criminals who have been targeted by jihadists while in prison are released.

Note: The report cited in this article advocates UK government infiltration of "conspiracist" organizations and websites. In the US the same recommendation has been made by Obama appointee Cass Sunstein, whose article "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures" has just been fully dissected by WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin in his new book Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee's Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.




L.A. officials plan to use heat-beam ray in jail
2010-08-26, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38873550/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts

A device designed to control unruly inmates by blasting them with a beam of intense energy that causes a burning sensation is drawing heat from civil rights groups who fear it could cause serious injury and is "tantamount to torture." The mechanism, known as an "Assault Intervention Device," is a stripped-down version of a military gadget that sends highly focused beams of energy at people and makes them feel as though they are burning. The Los Angeles County sheriff's department plans to install the device by Labor Day, making it the first time in the world the technology has been deployed in such a capacity. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California criticized Sheriff Lee Baca's decision ..., saying that the technology amounts to a ray gun at a county jail. The ACLU said the weapon was "tantamount to torture," noting that early military versions resulted in five airmen suffering lasting burns. It requested a meeting with Baca, who declined the invitation. [ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg noted that] the sheriff was creating a dangerous environment with "a weapon that can cause serious injury, that is being put into a place where there is a long history of abuse of prisoners. That is a toxic combination."

Note: For revealing and reliable reports on so-called "non-lethal" weapons used by police and military, click here.




The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves
2010-08-25, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2013150,00.html

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements. That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant. It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich. Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."

Note: For key reports from reliable souces on increasing government threats to civil liberties, click here.





 

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