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
For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
Bracing for G-20 protests, Toronto closes doors
2010-06-24, San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg News
The host city for this weekend's Group of 20 summit is preparing for an invasion of world leaders, police and protesters by shutting its doors. The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team is leaving town, the Royal Alexandra Theatre is closing for the first time in more than a century, and thousands of bankers and money managers such as David Cockfield are working from home. "People coming to cover the G-20 are going to find Toronto just empty, with wind blowing through the downtown canyons, asking 'Where are all the people?' " said Cockfield, a portfolio manager at MacNicol & Associates Asset Management. A 12-block section of Toronto's financial district already is surrounded by 10-foot-high chain-link fences and concrete barriers, part of the largest security operation ever in Canada with 20,000 police and security guards.
Note: What does it say about world government when a whole city has to close doors simply because the world's leaders are meeting there?
WikiLeaks founder drops 'mass spying' hint
2010-06-22, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has given his strongest indication yet about the next big leak from his whistleblower organisation. In an interview with the ABC's Foreign Correspondent, Mr Assange said cryptically of WikiLeaks' current project: "I can give an analogy. If there had been mass spying that had affected many, many people and organisations and the details of that mass spying were released then that is something that would reveal that the interests of many people had been abused." He agreed it would be of the "calibre" of publishing information about the way the top secret Echelon system - the US-UK electronic spying network which eavesdrops on worldwide communications traffic - had been used. Mr Assange also confirmed that WikiLeaks has a copy of a video showing a US military bombing of a western Afghan township which killed dozens of people, including children. During the course of the past month, Mr Assange has been talking to [ABC's] Foreign Correspondent for [an upcoming] program examining the efficacy of the WikiLeaks model. "What we want to create is a system where there is guaranteed free press across the world, the entire world, that every individual in the world has the ability to publish materials that is meaningful," he said.
Note: For more on government surveillance from major media sources, click here.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange breaks cover but will avoid America
2010-06-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The elusive founder of WikiLeaks, who is at the centre of a potential US national security sensation, has surfaced from almost a month in hiding to tell the Guardian he does not fear for his safety but is on permanent alert. Julian Assange, a renowned Australian hacker who founded the electronic whistleblowers' platform WikiLeaks, vanished when a young US intelligence analyst in Baghdad was arrested. The analyst, Bradley Manning, had bragged he had sent 260,000 incendiary US state department cables on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks. The prospect of the cache of classified intelligence on the US conduct of the two wars being put online is a nightmare for Washington. The sensitivity of the information has generated media reports that Assange is the target of a US manhunt. Assange told the Guardian in Brussels, "Politically it would be a great error for them to act. I feel perfectly safe … but I have been advised by my lawyers not to travel to the US during this period." Assange appeared in public in Brussels for the first time in almost a month to speak at a seminar on freedom of information at the European parliament.
Fears for life of Wikileaks founder
2010-06-18, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, is said to be under threat with reports that the site has hundreds of thousands of classified cables containing explosive revelations. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked Pentagon papers in the 1970s showing government deceit over the Vietnam War, says he believes Mr Assange has reason to keep his whereabouts secret. "I think he would not be safe, even physically, entirely wherever he is. We have ... for the first time ever ... in any democratic country ... a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad that he thinks is associated with terrorism." As far fetched as Mr Ellsberg's claim sounds, the national president of Whistleblowers Australia, Peter Bennett, agrees Mr Assange's life may be at risk. "There is a lot of money to be made from wars. There is a lot of people who will become very, very wealthy through the course of this Afghan war," he said. "To stop anybody raising questions about its conduct would put those profits at risk and profit is a high motivation to stop somebody interfering with those profits. There is a serious chance that his wellbeing could be at risk."
Note: For more on the ever-increasing governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.
Report: Pentagon seeks WikiLeaks founder Assange, fearing cables will be published
2010-06-11, USA Today
The Daily Beast reports that Pentagon investigators are trying to track down Julian Assange, the elusive Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks, who they believe is preparing to publish several years of State Department cables allegedly passed by the 22-year-old Manning, now being detained in Kuwait. The cables contain "information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq," and they could do "serious damage to national security" if made public, government officials told the Beast. But even if they find him, it's not clear what they could do to stop publication. Daniel Ellsberg says Assange "is in danger." Meanwhile, Wired's Threat Level blog, which broke the Manning story, is reporting that Assange ... is arranging Manning's legal defense and says Manning is no spy. Assange, who first gained notoriety as a computer hacker, canceled an appearance today at an International Reporters and Editors conference in Las Vegas.
Note: For more of Daniel Ellsberg's assessment of the personal dangers to Assange from the Pentagon's manhunt for him, click here.
Toronto police get 'sound cannons' for G20
2010-05-27, Toronto Star
Protesters marching at the G20 summit next month may be greeted with ear-splitting “sound cannons,” the latest Toronto police tool for quelling unruly crowds. Toronto police have purchased four long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — often referred to as sound guns or sound cannons — for the upcoming June 26-27 summit. Purchased this month, the LRADs will become a permanent fixture in Toronto law enforcement, said police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond. “They were purchased as part of the G20 budget process,” Drummond said. “It’s definitely going to be beneficial for us, not only in the G20 but in any future large gatherings.” But critics say they are really non-lethal weapons and infringe upon protester rights. LRADs can emit ear-blasting sounds so high in frequency they transcend normal thresholds of pain. LRADs are being increasingly employed as a crowd-control device and at last year’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, police used them on protesters before deploying tear gas and stun grenades. The acoustical devices can also be pointed at specific targets, transmitting a “laser” of sound that is less aggravating for anyone standing outside its beam.
Note: This is the sort of thing on which the $1 billion in security preparations for the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings is being spent. For revealing reports from reliable sources on the grave risks posed by so called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
2010-05-16, New York Times
Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began. But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence. Pentagon officials said that ... the supervisor who set up the contractor network, Michael D. Furlong, was now under investigation. But a review of the program by The New York Times found that Mr. Furlong’s operatives were still providing information using the same intelligence gathering methods as before.
Note: For revealing reports on the secret and extra-legal operations of the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease
2010-05-14, New York Times
The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism. The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy. To eavesdrop on the terrorism suspect who was added to the target list, the American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is hiding in Yemen, intelligence agencies would have to get a court warrant. But designating him for death, as C.I.A. officials did early this year with the National Security Council’s approval, required no judicial review. “Congress has protected Awlaki’s cellphone calls,” said Vicki Divoll, a former C.I.A. lawyer who now teaches at the United States Naval Academy. “But it has not provided any protections for his life. That makes no sense.” But like the debate over torture during the Bush administration, public discussion of what officials call targeted killing has been limited by the secrecy of the C.I.A. drone program.
Note: Obama is the first president to publicly order the assassination of an American citizen. Neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney asserted such a power on the part of the president. For an analysis, click here.
Guards accused of cruelty, racism
2010-05-09, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA's leading newspaper)
Jason Brannigan's eyes widened as he relived the day he says prison guards pepper-sprayed his face at point-blank range, then pulled him through the cellblock naked, his hands and feet shackled. "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Brannigan recalled gasping in pain and humiliation during the March 2007 incident. "They're walking me on the chain and it felt just like ' slaves again," said the African American inmate, interviewed at the Sacramento County jail. "Like I just stepped off an auction block." Brannigan, 33, said the incident occurred in the behavior modification unit at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, where he was serving time for armed assault. He is one of more than 1,500 inmates who have passed through such units in six California prisons. A Bee investigation into the behavior units, including signed affidavits, conversations and correspondence with 18 inmates, has uncovered evidence of racism and cruelty at the High Desert facility. Inmates described hours-long strip-searches in a snow-covered exercise yard. They said correctional officers tried to provoke attacks between inmates, spread human excrement on cell doors and roughed up those who peacefully resisted mistreatment. Many of their claims were backed by legal and administrative filings, and signed affidavits, which together depicted an environment of brutality, corruption and fear.
CIA drones have broader list of targets
2010-05-05, Los Angeles Times
The CIA received secret permission to attack a wider range of targets, including suspected militants whose names are not known, as part of a dramatic expansion of its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan's border region. The expanded authority, approved two years ago by the Bush administration and continued by President Obama, permits the agency to rely on what officials describe as "pattern of life" analysis ... to target suspected militants, even when their full identities are not known, the officials said. Previously, the CIA was restricted in most cases to killing only individuals whose names were on an approved list. Instead of just a few dozen attacks per year, CIA-operated unmanned aircraft now carry out multiple missile strikes each week against safe houses, training camps and other hiding places used by militants in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. "There are a lot of ethical questions here about whether we know who the targets are," said Loch Johnson, an intelligence scholar at the University of Georgia and a former congressional aide. President Bush secretly decided in his last year in office to expand the program. Obama has continued and even streamlined the process, so that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta can sign off on many attacks without notifying the White House beforehand, an official said.
Note: How can the CIA be allowed to kill people whose names aren't even known? Why are they allowed to kill anyone without some form of judicial process? For more on this secret and expanding CIA assassination program, click here. For analysis, click here.
Spying, Civil Liberties and the Courts
2010-04-16, New York Times
Succumbing to the politics of fear during the 2008 campaign, Congress seriously diluted the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Americans by changing the 1978 law that governs electronic surveillance. In addition to supplying retroactive approval for President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping, the FISA Amendments Act vastly expanded the government's ability to eavesdrop without warrants in the future. It gave the National Security Agency authority to monitor the international phone calls and e-mail messages of Americans who are not engaged in criminal activity and pose no threat to national security. The measure weakened judicial supervision of how these powers are exercised, making abuse far more likely. An important case being argued [April 16] in New York City will help determine the extent of the damage. At issue is a constitutional challenge to the 2008 law filed on behalf of human rights, labor, legal, and news media organizations whose work requires sensitive telephone and e-mail communication with people abroad. Embracing the Bush administration's approach, the Obama administration has sought to block the suit, contending that the plaintiffs lack the requisite 'standing' to bring the challenge because they cannot show with certainty that they have been spied on. (Of course, any attempt to prove spying would likely be met by a flimsy claim of state secrecy.)
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Ensnared by Error on Growing U.S. Watch List
2010-04-07, New York Times
Every year, thousands of people find themselves caught up in the government’s terrorist screening process. Some are legitimate targets of concern, others are victims of errors in judgment or simple mistaken identity. Either way, their numbers are likely to rise as the Obama administration recalibrates the standards for identifying potential terrorists. On Friday, the administration altered rules for identifying which passengers flying to the United States should face extra scrutiny at the gate. And it is reviewing ways to make it easier to place suspects on the watch list. “The entire federal government is leaning very far forward on putting people on lists,” Russell E. Travers, a deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said at a recent Senate hearing. Before the attempted attack on Christmas, Mr. Travers said, “I never had anybody tell me that the list was too small.” Now, he added, “It’s getting bigger, and it will get even bigger.”
Even as the universe of those identified as a risk expands, the decision-making involved remains so secretive that people cannot be told whether they are on the watch list, why they may be on it or even whether they have been removed. Civil liberties advocates say [the secrecy] can hide mistakes and keep people wrongly singled out from seeking redress.
Note: For lots more on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Security Checks on Flights to U.S. to Be Revamped
2010-04-02, New York Times
President Obama has signed off on new security protocols for people flying to the United States, establishing a system that uses intelligence information and assessment of threats to identify passengers who could have links to terrorism. The system, which will be put in place this month, applies only to travelers flying into the United States. Officials said intelligence information from a variety of United States agencies would be made available to foreign airlines, whose employees and security officials would have wide latitude to stop passengers, or not. Currently, the only information typically checked before a passenger boards an airplane is the name, date of birth and nationality — information found in a passport, which is compared against the terror watch lists. But the Homeland Security Department separately already collects much more information on the travel patterns of passengers headed to the United States, including other stops made on the way to an American airport, how the passenger paid for the ticket as well as other details contained in the reservation, like what hotel a passenger might be staying in, or if he or she is traveling alone.
Note: For many disturbing reports from major media sources on increasing governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.
Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal
2010-04-01, New York Times
A federal judge ruled [on March 31] that the National Security Agency's program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration's effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush. In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been 'subjected to unlawful surveillance,' the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages. The ruling by Judge Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, rejected the Justice Department's claim ' first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama ' that the charity's lawsuit should be dismissed without a ruling on the merits because allowing it to go forward could reveal state secrets. The judge characterized that expansive use of the so-called state-secrets privilege as amounting to 'unfettered executive-branch discretion' that had 'obvious potential for governmental abuse and overreaching.'
Note: For illumination of the dark world of state secrecy, click here.
Police or provocateurs?
2010-03-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Last Sunday's Observer claimed to expose how "an officer from a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police" worked "undercover among anti-racist groups in Britain, during which he routinely engaged in violence against members of the public and uniformed police officers to maintain his cover". Despite this sensationalist introduction, "Officer A" does not describe his involvement in any violent incidents. No wonder. The organisation he infiltrated, Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) is a peaceful organisation of young people, which in the 1990s organised mass protests against racism and the BNP [British National Party]. YRE [has often faced] violence from the far right, and unfortunately also from the police. The police not only used violence against [YRE] demonstrations but also carried out a secretive, unaccountable and clearly expensive infiltration operation. They gained nothing from it. Far from being secretive [YRE] publicly advertised [its] events. The Observer's revelation is not unique. Christopher Andrew's The Defence of the Realm: the Authorized History of M15, published last year, also describes state infiltration of Militant, the National Union of Miners and others. Surveillance of peaceful protestors has mushroomed. Police brutality also, as the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson showed, is not a thing of the past.
Note: Why would police place officers promoting violence in peaceful groups working against racism? Could it be that key elements within the police are racist?
Pentagon Sees a Threat From Online Muckrakers
2010-03-17, New York Times
To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret. The Pentagon assessed the danger WikiLeaks.org posed to the Army in a report marked “unauthorized disclosure subject to criminal sanctions.” It concluded that “WikiLeaks.org represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC and INFOSEC threat to the U.S. Army” — or, in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information. WikiLeaks, true to its mission to publish materials that expose secrets of all kinds, published the 2008 Pentagon report about itself on [March 15]. WikiLeaks ... has rankled governments and companies around the world with its publication of materials intended to be kept secret. The Army’s interest in WikiLeaks appears to have been spurred by ... its publication and analysis of classified and unclassified Army documents containing information about military equipment, units, operations and “nearly the entire order of battle” for American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in April 2007. WikiLeaks also published an ... unclassified copy of the “standard operating procedures” at the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. WikiLeaks said the document revealed methods by which the military prevented prisoners from meeting with the International Red Cross and the use of “extreme psychological stress” as a means of torture.
Note: For many reports from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.
Did the CIA test LSD in the New York City subway system?
2010-03-13, New York Post
On Nov. 28, 1953, Frank Olson, a ... 42-year-old government scientist, plunged to his death from room 1018A in New York's Statler Hotel. [Twenty-two] years later, the Rockefeller Commission report was released, detailing a litany of domestic abuses committed by the CIA. The ugly truth emerged: Olson's death was the result of his having been surreptitiously dosed with LSD days earlier by his colleagues. The belated 1975 [admission] ... generated more interest into a series of wildly implausible "mind control" experiments on an unsuspecting populace over three decades. Much of this plot unfolded here, in New York, according to H.P. Albarelli Jr., author of A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments. Albarelli spent more than a decade sifting through more than 100,000 pages of government documents and his most startling chestnut might be his claim that the intelligence community conducted aerosol tests of LSD inside the New York City subway system. "The experiment was pretty shocking — shocking that the CIA and the Army would release LSD like that, among innocent unwitting folks," Albarelli told The Post. An Olson colleague, Dr. Henry Eigelsbach, confirmed to Albarelli that the LSD subway test did, in fact, occur in November 1950, albeit on a smaller scale than first planned. Little, however, is known about the test — what line, how many people and what happened.
Note: For lots more reliable information on CIA mind control experiments, click here and here.
French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment
2010-03-11, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A 50-year mystery over the 'cursed bread' of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment. In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted. For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War. One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: "I am a plane", before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Many were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets.
Note: For lots more reliable information on CIA mind control experiments, click here and here.
Crackdown on dangerous dogs to make microchips compulsory for all
2010-03-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
All dogs are to be compulsorily microchipped so that their owners can be more easily traced under a crackdown on dangerous dogs. Under the scheme a microchip the size of a grain of rice is injected under the skin of the dog between its shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique code number, the dog's name, age, breed and health as well as the owner's name, address and phone number. When the chip is "read" by a handheld scanner the code number is revealed and the details can be checked on a national database. The measures will be set out by the home secretary, Alan Johnson, who will point to rising public concern that "status dogs" are being used by some irresponsible owners to intimidate communities or as a weapon by gangs. If the scheme were made compulsory owners would face a fine for failing to microchip their dogs.
Note: Once all dogs are required to be microchipped, what will come next? To be informed of some disturbing plans to microchip all of us, click here. For lots more on microchipping from reliable sources, click here.
A Detention Bill You Ought to Read More Carefully
2010-03-05, The Atlantic
Why is the national security community treating the "Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010," introduced by Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on [March 4] as a standard proposal, as a simple response to the administration's choices in the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt? A close reading of the bill suggests it would allow the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens without trial indefinitely in the U.S. based on suspected activity. According to the summary, the bill sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning. There is no distinction between U.S. persons--visa holders or citizens--and non-U.S. persons. It would require these "belligerents" to be coded as "high-value detainee[s]" to be held in military custody and interrogated for their intelligence value by a High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team established by the president.
Note: Read the bill here. For lots more on serious threats to civil liberties, click here.