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 major media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full news articles for verification and for those who want more. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These civil liberties news articles are listed by order of importance. You can also explore the articles listed by order of the date of the news article or by the date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Civil Liberties News Articles


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

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It
2014-02-21, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/21/judge-tosses-muslim-spying-suit...

A federal judge in Newark has thrown out a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for spying on New Jersey Muslims, saying if anyone was at fault, it was the Associated Press for telling people about it. In his ruling ... U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini simultaneously demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to give law enforcement alarming latitude in the name of fighting terror, greenlighted the targeting of Muslims based solely on their religious beliefs, and blamed the media for upsetting people by telling them what their government was doing. The NYPD’s clandestine spying on daily life in Muslim communities in the region — with no probable cause, and nothing to show for it — was exposed in a Pulitzer-Prize winning series of stories by the AP. The stories described infiltration and surveillance of at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim student associations in New Jersey alone. In a cursory, 10-page ruling issued before even hearing oral arguments, Martini essentially said that what the targets didn’t know didn’t hurt them: "None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance."

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Finland No. 1, US sinks to 46th in global press freedom rankings
2014-02-12, Yahoo! News
http://news.yahoo.com/finland--1--us-sinks-to-46th-in-global-press-freedom-ra...

The United States did not live up to the promise of the First Amendment last year, “far from it,” sinking to 46th in global press freedom rankings, a respected international nonprofit group said. The U.S. plummeted 13 slots to 46th overall “amid increased efforts to track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks,” Reporters Without Borders warned in an annual report. “The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the organization said. The group ... also cited the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records and a court’s pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a CIA staffer accused of leaking classified information. “The whistle-blower is clearly the enemy in the U.S.,” Delphine Halgand, who heads the RSF outpost in Washington, told Yahoo News. “Eight whistle-blowers have been charged under the Obama administration, the highest number of any administration, of all other administrations combined.” Overall, RSF said in its report, “countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it.” “Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result,” the group said.

Note: As if to underscore the sad state of US press freedom, we couldn't find any major media who reported this sad news, other than a Washington Post blog at this link, which simply downplays the news and tries to explain it away. To read how the media censors some of the biggest stories never reported, click here.




'Transparent' detention at Guantanamo? Not anymore
2014-01-09, MSN
http://news.msn.com/in-depth/transparent-detention-at-guantanamo-not-anymore

After a tumultuous year at the war-on-terror detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. military's motto is "Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent," operations are cloaked in secrecy. The prison approaches the start of its 13th year next week with a new reclusive regime that no longer discloses what was once routinely released information. The daily tally of hunger striking detainees — the protest that engulfed more than 100 prisoners at its peak this summer — stopped in December. Guards and other prison camp troops are under orders to withhold their names when talking to reporters. On the witness stand in the war court recently, a lawyer in the uniform of an Air Force officer gave sworn testimony under a curious, unexplained fake name — "Major Krueger." Guantanamo is remote, and what is happening there in this new era has mostly gone unnoticed. The government controls access to everything pertaining to Guantanamo. Journalists have to get the military's permission to go there, navigate censorship of their pictures, wait 40 seconds to hear what happens in court and then wait weeks to see court filings. The current crackdown on information can range from the mildly curious to the outright comedic. At times it seems to signify a gratuitous use of power by troops on rotation with sudden power to [wield] a censor's scissors. At times, it suggests a government bureaucracy whose default is knee-jerk secrecy.

Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Feds: 18 LA sheriff's deputies face charges
2013-12-09, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/18-la-sheriffs-deputies-face-us-charges/

Federal officials on [December 9] unsealed five criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation's largest jail system. Four grand jury indictments and a criminal complaint allege unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors at downtown Los Angeles jail facilities, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the Men's Central Jail. The FBI has been investigating allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county's jails since at least 2011. [An] official said the arrests were related to the abuse of individuals in the jail system and also allegations that sheriff's officials moved an FBI informant in the jails possibly to thwart their probe. Among those charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the 18-page indictment are two lieutenants, one of whom oversaw the department's safe jails program and another who investigated allegations of local crimes committed by sheriff's personnel, two sergeants and three deputies. All seven are accused of trying to prevent the FBI from contacting or interviewing an inmate who was helping federal agents in a corruption and civil rights probe. In an attempt to find out more information about the investigation, one lieutenant and the two sergeants sought a court order to compel the FBI to provide documents, prosecutors said. When a state judge denied the proposed order, the two sergeants allegedly attempted to intimidate one of the lead FBI agents outside her house and falsely told her they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest, the indictment said.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours
2013-08-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner...

The partner of the Guardian journalist [Glenn Greenwald], who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency, was held for almost nine hours ... by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. David Miranda ... was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals. The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours. Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere. But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."

Note: For more on government attacks on civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid
2013-08-15, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/texas-swat-team-conducts-_n_3764951....

A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action ... that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. Farm owners and residents who live on the property [said] that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises." The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex. Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them.

Note: The author of this report, Radley Balko, is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For an ABC News report on this disturbing raid, click here.




US directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
2013-08-05, CNBC/Reuters
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100938530

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. Documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin—not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence—information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses. "I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers. "It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




America's real subversives: FBI spying then, NSA surveillance now
2013-07-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/25/america-subversives-fbi-...

As the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington approaches ... where Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, it is important to recall the extent to which King was targeted by the government. The FBI operation against King is one of the most shameful episodes in the long history of our government's persecution of dissenters. In a heavily redacted, classified FBI memo dated 4 January 1956 – just a little more than a month after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger – stated that an agent "had been assigned ... to find out all he could about Reverend Martin L King, colored minister in Montgomery and leader in the bus boycott … to uncover all the derogatory information he could about King." [FBI] director, J Edgar Hoover ... was deploying the vast resources he controlled against any and all perceived critics of the United States. The far-reaching clandestine surveillance, infiltration and disruption operation Hoover ran was dubbed "COINTELPRO", for counterintelligence program. The FBI's COINTELPRO activities ... were thoroughly investigated in 1975 by the Church Committee, [which] reported that the FBI "conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first amendment rights of speech and association." Among COINTELPRO's perverse activities was an FBI effort to threaten Martin Luther King Jr with exposure of an alleged extramarital affair, including the suggestion, made by the FBI to King, that he avoid embarrassment by killing himself. Deeply concerned about the crackdown on dissent happening under Obama, scholar Cornel West ... wondered if [King] "would not be invited to the very march in his name."

Note: This article fails to mention a key fact. At a 1999 court trial held in Memphis, the family of Rev. King accused elements of the U.S. government of complicity in King's death. After one month of hearings from 70 witnesses, a jury composed of six white and six black jurors took only one hour to find the U.S. government, the state of Tennessee, the city of Memphis, the Memphis police, and several individuals guilty of murdering King. Yet the mainstream media completely boycotted this trial. Thankfully, CBC (Canada's PBS) gave it some coverage. To see a six-minute CBC clip of this highly revealing trial, click here.




FBI uses drones for surveillance in U.S
2013-06-20, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/19/politics/fbi-drones/index.html

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged [to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19 that] the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance. He did not say how many unmanned surveillance vehicles (UAVs) the FBI has or how often they have been used. But a law enforcement official told CNN the FBI has used them a little more than a dozen times but did not say when that started. The official said drones are useful in hostage and barricade situations because they operate more quietly and are less visible than traditional aircraft such as helicopters. Bureau spokesman Paul Bresson said their use allows "us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel." Bresson said the aircraft can only be used to perform surveillance on stationary subjects and the FBI must first get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in a "very confined geographic area." Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein expressed concern over drone use domestically. "I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone, and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones," the California Democrat said. The FAA forecasts some 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the United States within five years, including those for law enforcement and commercial purposes.

Note: For more on domestic US drone surveillance, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the hidden realities of intelligence agencies, click here.




Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime
2013-06-19, CBC (Canada's Public Broadcasting System)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/06/19/pol-mask-bill-royal-assent.html

A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence ... became law today. The bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence. The bill didn't have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest. "Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don't think that test has been met in this instance," said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.

Note: Police seem to be specifically targeting the now popular Guy Falkes masks representing opposition to oppressive authority. For more on the erosion of civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations
2013-05-22, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-acknowledges-killing...

The Obama administration acknowledged [on May 22] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths. Three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan. The fourth — Jude Kennan Mohammad, a Florida native indicted in North Carolina in 2009 — was killed in Pakistan, where the CIA has operated a drone campaign against terrorism suspects for nearly a decade. His death was previously unreported. In addition to disclosure of the four killings, Holder wrote that Obama has approved classified briefings for Congress on an overall policy document, informally called the “playbook.” The document, more than a year in the making, codifies the administration’s standards and processes for its unprecedented program of targeted killing and capture of terrorism suspects outside of war zones. Nearly 400 drone strikes, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, have been launched by the CIA and U.S. military forces during Obama’s presidency. According to Holder’s letter, Awlaki was the only U.S. citizen the administration “has specifically targeted and killed.” Two weeks after Awlaki’s death, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman — who had gone to the Yemeni desert in search of his father — was killed in a drone strike meant for someone else. That strike was similarly unacknowledged, although a senior administration official privately characterized it as a “mistake.”

Note: So an American citizen, Awlaki's son, was killed by a drone by "mistake"? What happened to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states no citizen shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.




Another Chilling Leak Investigation
2013-05-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/opinion/another-chilling-leak-investigation...

With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news. The latest reported episode involves James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News. In 2009, Mr. Rosen reported on FoxNews.com that North Korea planned to launch a missile in response to the condemnation of its nuclear tests by the United Nations Security Council. The Justice Department ... indicted Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department security adviser, on charges of leaking classified information. Mr. Kim pleaded not guilty. Normally, the inquiry would have ended with Mr. Kim — leak investigations usually focus on the source, not the reporter. But, in this case, federal prosecutors also asked a federal judge for permission to examine Mr. Rosen’s personal e-mails, arguing that “there is probable cause to believe” Mr. Rosen is “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak. Though Mr. Rosen was not charged, the F.B.I. request for his e-mail account was granted secretly in late May 2010. The government was allowed to rummage through Mr. Rosen’s e-mails for at least 30 days.

Note: For a fascinating and revealing look inside Fox News by an insider, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government threats to civil liberties and freedom of the press, click here.




Wisconsin Farmer to Stand Trial for Selling Raw Milk
2013-05-12, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/12/wisconsin-farmer-to-stand-tr...

A Wisconsin dairy farmer is set to go on trial for a strange offense: selling raw milk to a group of consumers who were members of a private buyer’s club. So in many parts of America, it’s basically legal to grow, sell, and smoke pot. But you can go to jail for selling people fresh milk? Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old father of ten, will go on trial later this month. Hershberger started a private buyer’s club for raw milk in 2003 after “some friends from town—who were retired farmers—wanted to continue getting this raw milk that they had for years. By word of mouth ... it grew from there.” By the time of his arrest in 2010, over 100 families were members. Technically, these club members were not customers of the farm, but partners: they legally leased animals from Hershberger, and in return for his family boarding and caring for their cattle on his 157 acres of farmland, they paid certain agreed-upon fees each time they came to pick up the products of those cattle—namely, raw milk. So Hershberger felt he didn’t need a license as a retail food establishment, because there was no retail going on; the milk already belonged to the club members. Hershberger grew up milking cows by hand on a small Amish dairy farm, and this hold order violated his religious values: though no longer Amish, he’s a non-denominational Christian, and opposes waste.

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




Report: IRS targeting went beyond ‘Tea Party’
2013-05-12, Seattle Times (One of Seattle's leading newspapers)
http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020975214_irsteapartyxml.html

The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names, to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to “make America a better place to live” or “criticize how the country is being run,” according to a part of an inspector general’s report that was given to Congress. The head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, was briefed on the effort in June 2011, seemingly contradicting her assertion on Friday that she learned of the effort from the press. But she seemed to work hard to rein in the focus on conservatives and change it to a look at any political advocacy group of any stripe seeking tax exemptions. The appendix of the inspector general’s report ... chronicles the extent to which the IRS’s exempt organizations division kept redefining what sort of “social welfare” groups it should single out for extra attention since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That decision allowed corporations and labor unions to raise and spend unlimited sums on elections as well as register for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)4 of the tax code, as long as their “primary purpose” did not consist of targeting electoral candidates. On June 29, 2011, according to the documents, IRS staffers held a briefing with Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”

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




Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?
2013-05-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/04/telephone-calls-recorded-...

CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett [has been] focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way. Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could: BURNETT: There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them? CLEMENTE: No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. We certainly can find that out. BURNETT: So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible. CLEMENTE: No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not. On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that "all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored. All digital communications - meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like - are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.

Note: All of our communications have been monitored by government computers for years. BBC News reported in this this 1999 article about the Echelon network which monitors all communications globally. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government and corporate threats to privacy, click here.




Report: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's repeated requests for a lawyer were ignored
2013-04-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/29/tsarnaev-right-to-counsel...

The initial debate over the treatment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev focused on whether he should be advised of his Miranda rights or whether the "public safety exception" justified delaying it. Now, the Los Angeles Times ... reports something which, if true, would be a much more serious violation of core rights than delaying Miranda warnings - namely, that ... Tsarnaev had repeatedly asked for a lawyer, but the FBI simply ignored those requests, instead allowing the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group to continue to interrogate him alone: "Tsarnaev has not answered any questions since he was given a lawyer and told he has the right to remain silent by Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler on Monday, officials said. Until that point, Tsarnaev had been responding to the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, including admitting his role in the bombing, authorities said. A senior congressional aide said Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule." Denying him the right to a lawyer after he repeatedly requests one is ... as fundamental a violation of crucial guaranteed rights as can be imagined. To ignore the repeated requests of someone in police custody for a lawyer, for hours and hours, is just inexcusable and legally baseless. If the LA Times report is true, then it means that the DOJ did not merely fail to advise him of his right to a lawyer but actively blocked him from exercising that right.

Note: The government appears to be setting a precedent in seeing how far they can go with taking away our constitutionally guaranteed rights. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.




Hacktivists as Gadflies
2013-04-15, New York Times blog
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/hacktivists-as-gadflies

We have had gadflies among us ever since [Socrates], but one contemporary breed in particular has come in for a rough time of late: the “hacktivist.” Hacktivists, roughly speaking, are individuals who redeploy and repurpose technology for social causes. In this sense they are different from garden-variety hackers out to enrich only themselves. Barrett Brown, a journalist who had achieved some level of notoriety as the “the former unofficial not-spokesman for Anonymous,” the hacktivist group, now sits in federal custody in Texas. Mr. Brown came under the scrutiny of the authorities when he began poring over documents that had been released in the hack of two private security companies, HBGary Federal and Stratfor. Mr. Brown did not take part in the hacks, but he did become obsessed with the contents that emerged from them — in particular the extracted documents showed that private security contractors were being hired by the United States government to develop strategies for undermining protesters and journalists, including Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for Salon. Because Stratfor had not encrypted the credit card information of its clients, the information in the cache included credit card numbers and validation numbers. Mr. Brown didn’t extract the numbers or highlight them; he merely offered a link to the database. For this he was charged on 12 counts, all of which pertained to credit card fraud. The charges against him add up to about 100 years in federal prison.

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




Domestic drones and their unique dangers
2013-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/29/domestic-drones-unique-da...

The use of drones by domestic US law enforcement agencies is growing rapidly, both in terms of numbers and types of usage. As a result, civil liberties and privacy groups led by the ACLU ... have been devoting increasing efforts to publicizing their unique dangers and agitating for statutory limits. The belief that weaponized drones won't be used on US soil is patently irrational. Police departments are already speaking openly about how their drones "could be equipped to carry nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun." The drone industry has already developed and is now aggressively marketing precisely such weaponized drones for domestic law enforcement use. Domestic weaponized drones will be much smaller and cheaper, as well as more agile - but just as lethal [as the large missile-firing drones used by the US military overseas]. The nation's leading manufacturer of small "unmanned aircraft systems" (UAS) ... is AeroVironment, Inc. (AV). AV is now focused on drone products - such as the "Qube" - that are so small that they can be "transported in the trunk of a police vehicle or carried in a backpack." AV's website ... touts a February, 2013 Defense News article describing how much the US Army loves [its] "Switchblade" [drone]. Time Magazine heralded this tiny drone weapon as "one of the best inventions of 2012", gushing: "the Switchblade drone can be carried into battle in a backpack. It's a kamikaze: the person controlling it uses a real-time video feed from the drone to crash it into a precise target. Its tiny warhead detonates on impact."

Note: This important article also discusses drones used by government agencies such as police for purposes of continuous surveillance. But it misses entirely another major dimension: privately owned and controlled drones, which are becoming dirt cheap and within the reach of virtually anyone. Will the new "DroneWorld" in the making combine the worst features of the Police State with the Wild West?




Above the law
2013-03-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-above-the-law/20...

“The government of the United States,” wrote Chief Justice John Marshall in his famous decision in Marbury v. Madison, “has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.” This principle — grounded in the Constitution, enforced by an independent judiciary — is central to the American creed. Citizens have rights, and fundamental to these is due process of the law. Yet last week Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking for the administration with an alarmingly casual nonchalance, traduced the whole notion of a nation of laws. First, the attorney general responded to Sen. Rand Paul’s inquiry as to whether the president claimed the “power to authorize a lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil and without trial.” Holder wrote that, speaking hypothetically, it is “possible to imagine” an extraordinary circumstance in which that power might become “necessary and appropriate.” In response to the growing furor, Holder sent Paul another letter, stating clearly that the president has no authority to use a “weaponized drone” against an American in the United States who is “not engaged in combat.” But that, of course, only underscores the issue. The country is waging a war on terrorism that admits no boundary and no end. Now Holder is saying that the president has the authority to kill Americans in the United States if they are “engaged in combat.” No hearing, no review, no due process of law.

Note: For a disturbing report on the massive expansion of drones over US skies, click here.




Rand Paul filibusters vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan over drones
2013-03-06, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57572883/rand-paul-filibusters-vote-on-ci...

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is filibustering the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, delivering a protracted speech on the Senate floor in protest of the Obama administration's controversial drone program, of which Brennan has been a key architect. Paul, speaking during the debate surrounding Brennan's nomination on the Senate floor, said he would "speak until I can no longer speak" in order to get his point across. "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court," he said. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder clarified to Paul in a letter that the U.S. drone policy does authorize the use of military force on against Americans on U.S. soil in cases of "extraordinary circumstance." Paul, a longstanding opponent of the administration's controversial targeted killing policy, expressed his outrage in a statement following his receipt of the letter and continued that tirade on the floor today. "That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in bowling green, Kentucky, is an abomination," Paul said. "I object to people becoming so fearful they gradually give up their rights."

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