Civil Liberties News Articles
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Articles in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news articles from the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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For an index to revealing excerpts of news articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
Anti-NATO protest calls for "Robin Hood" tax on financial institutions
2012-05-18, CBS News
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.
US anti-terrorism law curbs free speech and activist work, court told
2012-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
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.
UN torture chief: Manning endured cruel treatment
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s 11 months in solitary confinement was “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” the UN chief on torture said Monday, though he stopped short of calling it torture. Manning, 25, faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy after he allegedly released classified documents to WikiLeaks. He was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day following his arrest in May 2010 in Iraq, and continuing through his transfer to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va.
The confinement, lasting about 11 months, ended upon his transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on April 20, 2011. When Juan Mendez, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, asked Department of Defense officials why Manning was held in such a condition, he was told it was due to the gravity of the crime and for “prevention of harm” – though they did not specify what that meant, citing privacy concerns. “He hasn't been convicted of any crime yet so … subjecting him to a very long period of solitary confinement on the basis that he might be found guilty of a crime seems to me to be both a violation of his presumption of innocence but also a violation of his right not to be treated cruelly or inhumanely,” Mendez told msnbc.com. The explanations for Manning’s solitary confinement were “insufficient,” according to Mendez. “That's why I reached the conclusion that the United States government was responsible for having inflicted on him cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” he said.”
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the use of torture and government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.
Excesses cross party lines
2012-03-07, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Attorney General Eric Holder thinks it's legal to kill American terrorism suspects overseas without any judicial review or public notice. It's an astonishing claim to make and a shameful stand for the Obama administration, which came to office pledging to curb such constitutionally shaky excesses. In a speech, Holder essentially offer the "trust us" argument in defense of targeted killings. The guidelines are murky: The military will compile a list of dangerous terrorists including U.S. citizens, hunt them down, and if the host country can't or won't catch the suspect, then the United States will. The example at issue is last year's drone attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader. Under Holder's ground rules there is no outside review, court deliberation or explanation of how a suspect makes the kill list. For those critics concerned about oversight or legal caution, he offered this observation: " 'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process." Holder didn't cite an in-house legal opinion used to justify the policy, which he's refused to release and is the subject of a civil liberties lawsuit. Obama still hasn't closed the Guantanamo Bay gulag as promised. Now he's shielding targeted killings from genuine review. This presidential subversion of rule of law was unacceptable under George W. Bush, and it is unacceptable under Barack Obama.
Note: Attorney General Holder's claim that US citizens can be killed by the government without judicial process clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to the Fifth Amendment that states that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," the Sixth Amendment states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."
Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies
2012-02-18, New York Times
A new federal law, signed by the president on [February 14], compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Some questions likely to come up: Can a drone flying over a house pick up heat from a lamp used to grow marijuana inside, or take pictures from outside someone’s third-floor fire escape? Can images taken from a drone be sold to a third party, and how long can they be kept? The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are calling for new protections against what the A.C.L.U. has said could be “routine aerial surveillance of American life.”
The new law, part of a broader financing bill for the F.A.A., came after intense lobbying by drone makers and potential customers. These manufacturers have been awaiting lucrative new opportunities at home. The market for drones is valued at $5.9 billion and is expected to double in the next decade, according to industry figures. Drones can cost millions of dollars for the most sophisticated varieties to as little as $300 for one that can be piloted from an iPhone.
Note: For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For more on the threats to civil liberties created by this new law, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.
North Carolina sterilisation victims win compensation
2012-01-11, BBC News
Victims of a decades-old sterilisation programme in the US state of North Carolina are to receive $50,000 each in compensation. As many as 7,600 people were sterilised by the state from 1929 to 1974, often without their knowledge. About half a dozen states have apologised for similar programmes, but North Carolina is the only one to consider financial payment. The figure will have to be approved as part of the state's next budget. The sterilisation victims were sometimes mentally disabled or institutionalised people. However, a task force set up by North Carolina found that starting the 1950s the state increasingly focussed its programme - which the task force dubbed a "eugenics" programme - on welfare recipients. This led to a "dramatic rise of sterilisation for African-Americans and women that did not reside in state institutions". Dr Laura Gerald, the head of the task force, said in a statement that the compensation served to send the message that "we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights". North Carolina has so far verified 72 sterilisation victims, but about 2,000 are estimated to still be alive.
Note: For a detailed timeline of disturbing experiments where humans were used as guinea pigs without their knowledge with links to reliable sources for verification, click here.
Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear
2011-12-21, NPR/Center for Investigative Reporting
If terrorists ever target Fargo, N.D., the local police will be ready. In recent years, they have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets, like those used by soldiers in foreign wars. For local siege situations requiring real firepower, police there can use a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Until that day, however, the menacing truck is mostly used for training runs and appearances at the annual Fargo picnic, where it’s been displayed near a children’s bounce house. Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The federal grant spending, awarded with little oversight from Washington, has fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations in Fargo and in departments across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment. A review of records from 41 states obtained through open-government requests, and interviews with more than two-dozen current and former police officials and terrorism experts, shows police departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces. Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles.
Note: For lots more on the militarization of US police from reliable sources, click here and here.
Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?
2011-12-18, New York Times
When I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom. One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were ... enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, "Get on the ground!" Then I was on the ground - with a gun pointed at me. In the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. I was stopped again in September of 2010. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID'd and let go. For a black man in his 20s like me, it's just a fact of life in New York. Here are a few other facts: last year, the N.Y.P.D. recorded more than 600,000 stops; 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. Police are far more likely to use force when stopping blacks or Latinos than whites. These stops are part of a larger, more widespread problem - a racially discriminatory system of stop-and-frisk in the N.Y.P.D. The police use the excuse that they're fighting crime to continue the practice, but no one has ever actually proved that it reduces crime or makes the city safer. Those of us who live in the neighborhoods where stop-and-frisks are a basic fact of daily life don't feel safer as a result.
Note: For key reports on government threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Protests Boost Sales and Fears of Sonic Blaster
2011-12-12, ABC News/Associated Press
Rather than batons or rubber bullets, some police departments have started using an intense beam of sound to manage protesters, but the annoying tone has drawn criticism from some who say it can cause permanent damage. More U.S. police and emergency-response agencies are using the so-called Long-Range Acoustic Devices ... for crowd control. The leading manufacturer, LRAD Corp. of San Diego, said the product was developed as a nonlethal option for military use. Some people who have been on the receiving end call the devices "sound cannons." A woman is suing the city of Pittsburgh claiming the piercing tone from a police blaster during the 2009 G-20 summit permanently damaged her hearing. There were reports that New York City police used the punishing tone on protesters. The devices were developed for the U.S. Navy. They have also been used to deter pirates from attacking cruise ships. The products range from a 15-pound, battery-operated, hand-held unit to a 320-pound device with a range of nearly 2 miles. Even the smallest unit, the LRAD 100X, emits as much as 137 decibels at 1 meter, which is louder than a jet takeoff at 100 meters.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on so-called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
2011-12-10, Los Angeles Times
Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in [eastern North Dakota]. He called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone. Sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare. But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said. The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country's northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.
Note: "Looking for six cows," the Sheriff called in "a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone." Does that sound like a reasonable response to the problem of missing cows? Or could there be an agenda to establish aerial surveillance by drones as the norm in the US?
Governments turn to hacking techniques for surveillance of citizens
2011-11-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In a luxury Washington, DC, hotel last month, governments from around the world gathered to discuss surveillance technology they would rather you did not know about. The annual Intelligence Support Systems (ISS) World Americas conference is a mecca for representatives from intelligence agencies and law enforcement. But to the media or members of the public, it is strictly off limits. Behind the cloak of secrecy at the ISS World conference, tips are shared about the latest advanced ... methods used to spy on citizens – computer hacking, covert bugging and GPS tracking. The use of such methods is more commonly associated with criminal hacking groups, who have used spyware and trojan viruses to infect computers and steal bank details or passwords. But as the internet has grown, intelligence agencies and law enforcement have adopted similar techniques. "The current method of choice would seem to be spyware, or trojan horses," said Chris Soghoian, a Washington-based surveillance and privacy expert. "When there are five or six conferences held in closed locations every year, where telecommunications companies, surveillance companies and government ministers meet in secret to cut deals, buy equipment, and discuss the latest methods to intercept their citizens' communications – that I think meets the level of concern," he said. "Decades of history show that surveillance powers are abused – usually for political purposes."
Note: For more on corporate and government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.
8 City Officers Charged in Gun Smuggling Case
2011-10-26, New York Times
[New York police] officers — five are still on the force, and three are retired — and four other men were accused of transporting M-16 rifles and handguns, as well as what they believed to be stolen merchandise across state lines, according to a complaint filed in the case in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The gun-trafficking accusations strike at the heart of one of the Police Department’s most hard-fought and robust initiatives, and one that has been a central theme of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: getting guns off the city’s streets. Mr. Bloomberg is the head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of 600 municipal chief executives from around the nation. [NYPD], the largest municipal police force in the nation, [is] already besieged by corruption accusations. In recent weeks, testimony at the trial of a narcotics detective has featured accusations that he and his colleagues in Brooklyn and Queens planted drugs or lied under oath to meet arrest quotas and earn overtime, leading to the arrests of eight officers, the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases because of their destroyed credibility and the payout of more than $1 million in taxpayer money to settle false arrest lawsuits.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
On targeted assassinations, what about due process?
2011-10-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
U.S. officials last week acknowledged that unmanned predator aircraft killed two U.S. citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, in Yemen. Yet, U.S. media outlets have chosen to refer to them as "American born" or "U.S.-born," as in "the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. armed drones." No concrete proof of their guilt has been furnished beyond what the government and multiple media outlets have reported. In the case of the al-Awlaki killing, U.S. officials said, "Al-Awlaki played a 'significant operational role' in plotting and inspiring attacks on the United States," as they justified the killing of an American citizen. In the post-9/11 world, such reporting garners little attention from the public. But those who believe in the rule of law find such mundane pronouncements frightening. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the accused the right to a public trial by an impartial jury, regardless of his or her ethnic background or previous alleged activities. Government-sanctioned assassinations of U.S. citizens without due process should be discussed rather than blindly accepted as a victory in the war on terror. The obvious follow-up question is: What about other U.S. citizens? Might they also be targeted for assassination without due process? The targeted killings of al-Awlaki and Khan should shock Americans reared on the rule of law, justice, liberty and freedom.
Note: State assassination of a citizen without due process would seem to be the ultimate attack on civil liberties. For lots more on such threats from reliable sources, click here.
'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash
2011-09-22, Wall Street Journal
For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply "the Hacker." Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device — a stingray — were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest. Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal. A stingray's role in nabbing the alleged "Hacker" — Daniel David Rigmaiden — is shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people's locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times. Mr. Rigmaiden maintains his innocence and says that using stingrays to locate devices in homes without a valid warrant "disregards the United States Constitution" and is illegal.
Note: For lots more on threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets
2011-09-18, Chronicle of Higher Education
Computer networks proved their organizing power during the recent uprisings in the Middle East [but] those same networks showed their weaknesses as well, such as when the Egyptian government walled off most of its citizens from the Internet in an attempt to silence protesters. That has led scholars and activists increasingly to consider the Internet's wiring as a disputed political frontier. One weekend each month, a small group of computer programmers gathers [in Washington DC] to build a homemade Internet—named Project Byzantium -— that could go online if part of the current global Internet becomes blocked by a repressive government.
The leader of the effort ... says he fears that some day repressive measures could be put into place in the United States. He is not the only one with such apprehensions. Hundreds of like-minded high-tech activists and entrepreneurs in New York at an unusual conference called the Contact Summit. The summit's goal is not just to talk about the projects, but also to connect with potential financial backers, recruit programmers, and brainstorm approaches to building parallel Internets and social networks. The meeting is a sign of the growing momentum of what is called the "free-network movement," whose leaders are pushing to rewire online networks to make it harder for a government or corporation to exert what some worry is undue control or surveillance.
Note: For a revealing BBC News article showing the Pentagon's desire for "maximum control of the Internet," click here. Released government documents show the US military's intent to be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems." For lots more on threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Even a top cop concedes a right to video arrests - but the street tells a different story
2011-09-03, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia's leading newspaper)
Tamera Medley begged the police officer to stop slamming her head - over and over - into the hood of a police cruiser. Thinking they were helping, passers-by Shakir Riley and Melissa Hurling both turned their cellphone video cameras toward the melee that had erupted on Jefferson Street in Wynnefield, they said. But then the cops turned on them. Riley had started to walk away when at least five baton-wielding cops followed him, he said, and they beat him, poured a soda on his face and stomped on his phone, destroying the video he had just taken. Although it's legal to record Philadelphia police performing official duties in public, all three were charged with disorderly conduct and related offenses, and officers destroyed Hurling and Riley's cellphones, erasing any record of Medley's violent arrest. Echoes of the incident, which was corroborated by a half-dozen witnesses, have been reverberating nationwide in recent years as the combination of cellphone video and police officers has simmered into what is an increasingly explosive formula. The issue is gaining national attention. The American Civil Liberties Union has civil lawsuits pending in Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois and Maryland. Last week, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that police had violated the First Amendment rights of a lawyer who was arrested after filming cops arrest a teenager. Suits have been settled in Pennsylvania.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on growing threats to our civil liberties, click here.
Is the US government at war with whistleblowers?
2011-07-15, BBC News
The Obama administration is facing criticism for prosecutions brought under the US Espionage Act against government employees accused of leaking sensitive information. Mark Feldstein, professor of media at the University of Maryland, sees a worrying trend of espionage prosecutions since President Obama took office. "To everyone's surprise, the Obama administration has escalated the war against whistleblowers and the attacks on information that journalists and the public were depending on to get evidence of wrongdoing by powerful institutions and individuals," Prof Feldstein says. On Friday, Thomas Drake, a former senior official at the National Security Agency, a highly secretive US spy agency, was sentenced to one year's probation, after the Department of Justice's case against him collapsed. He had been accused of passing on information to a journalist about a government computer programme he considered wasteful. Outside court, Mr Drake said the government's prosecution had been "vindictive and malicious". According his lawyer Jesselyn Radack, the charge that he passed on secret information was a ''bald-faced lie''. Critics say the US classification system is often arbitrary, with documents often stamped ''classified'' when the content is not secret or that sensitive.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Obama under fire over detention of terror suspect on US navy ship
2011-07-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The Obama administration approved the secret detention of a Somali terror suspect on board a US navy ship, where for two months he was subjected to military interrogation in the absence of a lawyer and without charge. The capture and treatment of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame has rekindled the debate within the US about the appropriate handling of terror suspects. Civil rights groups have objected to the secret questioning of Warsame on board a navy vessel, an innovation that they fear could see a new form of the CIA's widely discredited "black site" detention centres around the world. The US government is turning to detention at sea as a way of avoiding legal and political impediments in the treatment of terror suspects, both domestically and on the international stage. Last week Admiral William McRaven, soon to become head of US Special Operations Command, told his confirmation hearing that militants captured outside Afghanistan were often "put on a naval vessel" to be held until they could be sent to a third country or a case was compiled against them for prosecution in the US courts. Officials told the Washington Post that Warsame was interrogated on "all but a daily basis" on board the ship. The right to a lawyer was withheld along with other habeas corpus rights known in the US as Miranda rights. Civil rights groups have said the secret interrogation was a blatant violation of the Geneva conventions that prohibit prolonged detention of suspects at sea.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the illegal actions taken by the US government in its "global war on terror", click here.
Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic
2011-06-16, New York Times
A former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him. Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war. In an interview, Mr. Carle said his supervisor at the National Intelligence Council told him in 2005 that White House officials wanted “to get” Professor Cole. Since a series of Watergate-era abuses involving spying on White House political enemies, the C.I.A. and other spy agencies have been prohibited from collecting intelligence concerning the activities of American citizens inside the United States. “These allegations, if true, raise very troubling questions,” said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former C.I.A. general counsel. “The statute makes it very clear: you can’t spy on Americans.” Mr. Smith added that a 1981 executive order that prohibits the C.I.A. from spying on Americans places tight legal restrictions not only on the agency’s ability to collect information on United States citizens, but also on its retention or dissemination of that data.
Note: For important reports from major media sources on a wide array of threats to civil liberties by out-of-control government agencies and officials, click here.
Activists cry foul over FBI probe
2011-06-13, Washington Post
FBI agents took box after box of address books, family calendars, artwork and personal letters in their 10-hour raid in September of the ... house shared by Stephanie Weiner and her husband. The agents seemed keenly interested in Weiner’s home-based business, the Revolutionary Lemonade Stand, which sells silkscreened baby outfits and other clothes with socialist slogans, phrases like “Help Wanted: Revolutionaries.” The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.
Investigators, according to search warrants, documents and interviews, are examining possible “material support” for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists. The apparent targets, all vocal and visible critics of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America, deny any ties to terrorism. They say the government, using its post-9/11 focus on terrorism as a pretext, is targeting them for their political views. The activists have formed the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, organized phone banks to flood Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s office and the White House with protest calls, solicited letters from labor unions and faith-based groups and sent delegations to Capitol Hill to gin up support from lawmakers.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government attacks on civil liberties, click here.