Civil Liberties News Stories
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media


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


Civil Liberties News stories


Note: This comprehensive list of civil liberties news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship… then killed by drones
2013-02-28, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-03-05 09:15:32
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/british-terror-suspects-quietly-st...

The Government has secretly ramped up a controversial programme that strips people of their British citizenship on national security grounds – with two of the men subsequently killed by American drone attacks. Since 2010, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has revoked the passports of 16 individuals, many of whom are alleged to have had links to militant or terrorist groups. Critics of the programme warn that it allows ministers to “wash their hands” of British nationals suspected of terrorism who could be subject to torture and illegal detention abroad. They add that it also allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or “rendered” without any onus on the British Government to intervene. At least five of those deprived of their UK nationality ... were born in Britain, and one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years. Those affected have their passports cancelled, and lose their right to enter the UK – making it very difficult to appeal. The leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce said the present situation “smacked of mediaeval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary”. Ian Macdonald QC, the president of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, described the citizenship orders as “sinister”. “It’s not open government; it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed.” Government officials act when people are out of the country – on two occasions while on holiday – before cancelling passports and revoking citizenships.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.




Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
2013-02-04, NBC News
Posted: 2013-02-12 11:26:25
http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-exclusive-justice-de...

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo ... provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens. In March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.” But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a ... “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland. “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states. Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

Note: To read the entire 'white paper' on drone strikes on Americans, click here. For detailed analysis by a distinguished lawyer, click here.




To Kill an American
2013-02-06, New York Times
Posted: 2013-02-12 11:22:50
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/opinion/to-kill-an-american.html

The newly disclosed “white paper” offering a legal reasoning behind the claim that President Obama has the power to order the killing of American citizens ... coyly describes another, classified document ... that actually provided the legal justification for ordering the killing of American citizens. That document still has not been provided to Congress, despite repeated demands from lawmakers. According to the white paper, the Constitution and the Congressional authorization for the use of force after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gave Mr. Obama the right to kill any American citizen that an “informed, high-level official” decides is a “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or an associated force” and presents an “imminent threat of violent attack.” It never tries to define what an “informed, high-level official” might be, and the authors of the memo seem to have redefined the word “imminent” in a way that diverges sharply from its customary meaning. It takes the position that the only “oversight” needed for such a decision resides within the executive branch, and there is no need to explain the judgment to Congress, the courts or the public — or, indeed, to even acknowledge that the killing took place. The paper argues that judges and Congress don’t have the right to rule on or interfere with decisions made in the heat of combat. The white paper “is a confusing blend of self-defense and law of war concepts” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies. “Its due process analysis is especially weak.”

Note: To read the entire 'white paper' on drone strikes on Americans, click here. For a more detailed analysis by a distinguished lawyer, click here. What this means is that if the president doesn't like someone and deems him an imminent threat, he can have that person killed and legally keep it all a secret. Is America drifting towards a police state?




Police spies stole identities of dead children
2013-02-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-02-12 11:19:01
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/03/police-spies-identities-dead-children

Britain's largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers. The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children's parents. Over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches. Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died. The technique of using dead children as aliases has remained classified intelligence for several decades, although it was fictionalised in Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal. As a result, police have internally nicknamed the process of searching for suitable identities as the "jackal run". One former undercover agent compared an operation on which he was deployed to the methods used by the Stasi. The practice was introduced 40 years ago by police to lend credibility to the backstory of covert operatives spying on protesters, and to guard against the possibility that campaigners would discover their true identities. Since then dozens of SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers, including those who posed as anti-capitalists, animal rights activists and violent far-right campaigners, have used the identities of dead children.

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




Obama's non-closing of GITMO
2013-01-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-02-05 10:28:18
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/29/obama-guantanamo-pentagon...

The New York Times ... reported yesterday that the State Department "reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him". That move obviously confirms what has long been assumed: that the camp will remain open indefinitely. Dozens of the current camp detainees have long been cleared by Pentagon reviews for release - including Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 36-year-old Yemeni who died at the camp in September after almost 11 years in a cage despite never having been charged with a crime. Like so many of his fellow detainees, his efforts to secure his release were vigorously (and successfully) thwarted by the Obama administration. What [makes] Guantánamo such a travesty of justice [is] not its geographic locale in the Caribbean Sea, but rather its system of indefinite detention: that people [are] put in cages, often for life, without any charges or due process. Obama's plan was to preserve and continue that core injustice - indefinite detention - but simply moved onto US soil. Put simply, Obama's plan was never to close Gitmo as much as it was to re-locate it to Illinois: to what the ACLU dubbed "Gitmo North". That's why ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said of Obama's 2009 "close-Gitmo" plan that it "is hardly a meaningful step forward" and that "while the Obama administration inherited the Guantánamo debacle, this current move is its own affirmative adoption of those policies." That's because, he said, "the administration plans to continue its predecessor's policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial for some detainees, with only a change of location."

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




How Free Speech Died on Campus
2012-11-16, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2013-01-29 09:28:56
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323894704578115440209134854.html

At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—"a bizarre, parallel dimension," as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [FIRE], calls it. In his new book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Mr. Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. It was wiped out in the 1990s. Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website, and Mr. Lukianoff's book offers an eye-opening sampling. What they share is a view of "harassment" so broad and so removed from its legal definition that, Mr. Lukianoff says, "literally every student on campus is already guilty." Conservatives and libertarians are especially vulnerable to such charges of harassment.

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




Feigning Free Speech on Campus
2012-10-25, New York Times
Posted: 2013-01-29 09:27:39
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/opinion/feigning-free-speech-on-campus.html

Colleges and universities are supposed to be bastions of unbridled inquiry and expression, but they probably do as much to repress free speech as any other institution in young people’s lives. Since the 1980s ... colleges have enacted stringent speech codes. From protests and rallies to displays of posters and flags, students have been severely constrained in their ability to demonstrate their beliefs. The speech codes are at times intended to enforce civility, but they often backfire, suppressing free expression instead of allowing for open debate of controversial issues. In a study of 392 campus speech codes last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ... found that 65 percent of the colleges had policies that in [their] view violated the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to free speech. Some elite colleges in particular have Orwellian speech codes that are so vague and broad that they would never pass constitutional muster at state-financed universities. A 2010 study by the American Association of Colleges and Universities of 24,000 college students and 9,000 faculty and staff members found that only 35.6 percent of the students — and only 18.5 percent of the faculty and staff — strongly agreed that it was “safe to hold unpopular positions on campus.” Colleges have promulgated speech codes that are not only absurd in their results but also detrimental to the ideals of free inquiry. Students can’t learn how to navigate democracy and engage with their fellow citizens if they are forced to think twice before they speak their mind.

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




Can the Secret Service tell you to shut up?
2012-03-15, Washington Times
Posted: 2013-01-29 09:26:03
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/15/can-the-secret-service-tell-y...

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

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




Justice for the PayPal WikiLeaks protesters: why DDoS is free speech
2013-01-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-29 09:24:30
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/22/paypal-wikileaks-proteste...

In December 2010, the hacktivist collective Anonymous voiced their displeasure with PayPal, over that company's part in the banking blockade of Wikileaks. A reported 10,000 protesters around the world took to the internet with a protest method known as DDoS (distributed denial of service) – the functional equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a computer. With enough people refreshing enough times, the site is flooded with traffic, slowed, or even temporarily knocked offline. No damage is done to the site or its backing computer system; and when the protest is over, the site resumes business as usual. This is not "hacking". It is protest, and it is speech. Or it was … until the United States government decided to serve 42 warrants and indict 14 protesters. While protest charges have typically been seen as tantamount to nuisance crimes, like trespassing or loitering, these were different. The 14 PayPal defendants, some of whom were teenagers when the protest occurred, find themselves looking at 15 years in federal prison – for exercising their free speech rights; for redressing their grievances to PayPal, a major corporation; for standing up for what they believed was right. Instead of being handed a $50 fine, as one would face for traditional protest crimes such as a sit-in, the PayPal defendants' freedoms are in real jeopardy. Since the PayPal prosecution, there have been no DDoS protests on that scale. Speech has been chilled. Supreme court Justice William O Douglas said: "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

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




The FBI and protesters, then and now
2013-01-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-01-22 10:20:00
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/The-FBI-and-protesters-then-a...

Recently released FBI files about the Occupy movement do not reveal the kind of dirty tricks J. Edgar Hoover's bureau used against demonstrators in the Bay Area during the '60s, but they present some striking parallels to those dark days and have rightly raised concern among civil libertarians. The records ... show that over the decades the machinery of surveillance remains much the same, even as expanded intelligence powers and technological advances magnify potential abuse. As in the '60s, the FBI reports use sweeping language like "potential terrorist threat" to characterize nonviolent dissent. As then, the bureau exchanges information with a vast network of federal agencies, state and local police, campus cops and corporate security. And once again the FBI is invoking great secrecy. Such activity, Congress found in the '70s, contributed to massive intelligence abuses. The FBI released 99 heavily redacted pages and withheld 288 more in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a public-interest legal organization in Washington, D.C. Even while noting Occupy organizers do "not condone the use of violence," the records show that FBI field offices across the nation collected information on the premise [that] the protests posed a potential "terrorist" or "criminal" threat. The bureau shared information on Occupy with police on joint terrorism task forces, which have raised concerns about skirting local surveillance restrictions, and with fusion centers, regional intelligence hubs recently criticized by Congress as violating civil liberties.

Note: The writer of this article, Seth Rosenfeld, is the author of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.




Bradley Manning denied chance to make whistleblower defence
2013-01-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-22 10:16:22
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/17/bradley-manning-denied-chance-whi...

Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of being behind the largest leak of state secrets in America's history, has been denied the chance to make a whistleblower defence in his upcoming court martial in which he faces possible life in military custody with no chance of parole. The judge presiding over Manning's prosecution by the US government ... ruled in a pre-trial hearing that Manning will largely be barred from presenting evidence about his motives in leaking the documents and videos. In an earlier hearing, Manning's lead defence lawyer, David Coombs, had argued that his motive was key to proving that he had no intention to harm US interests or to pass information to the enemy. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier's legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war. "This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence," said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing. The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. The most serious charge, "aiding the enemy", which carries the life sentence, accuses [Manning] of arranging for state secrets to be published via WikiLeaks on the internet knowing that al-Qaida would have access to it.

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




Judge: School can move girl in ID-tracking case
2013-01-08, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-01-15 09:33:38
http://www.boston.com/news/education/2013/01/08/judge-school-can-move-girl-tr...

A Texas school district can transfer a student who is citing religious reasons for her refusal to wear an identification card that is part of an electronic tracking system, a federal judge ruled on [January 8]. The parents of 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez had requested a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the school district from transferring their daughter from her San Antonio high school while the lawsuit on whether she should be forced to wear the tracking badge went through federal court. Last fall, the Northside Independent School District began experimenting with ‘‘locator’’ chips in student ID badges on two campuses, allowing administrators to track the whereabouts of 4,200 students with GPS-like precision. Hernandez’s suit against Northside — the fourth-largest school district in Texas — argues that the ID rule violates her religious beliefs. Her family says the badge is a ‘‘mark of the beast’’ that goes against their religion. But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ... denied a request to stop her from being transferred, saying the badge requirement ‘‘has an incidental effect, if any, on (Hernandez's) religious beliefs.’’ Garcia said that if Hernandez does not accept the school district’s accommodation of wearing a badge without the tracking chip, the district can transfer her to another campus. John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil rights group that is representing Hernandez and her family in court, said his organization plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on ID tracking technologies, click here.




What tyrants fear most: social media
2012-11-27, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:45:47
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-27/news/sns-201211271500--tms--amv...

Most of the world's dictators share a common fear, and it's not of the United States, NATO, the United Nations or any outside entity. No, the force that most threatens them is social media. Originally designed as enhanced online chat forums for young Americans, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the rest have spread around the world and are now being used as cudgels against authoritarian leaders in places like Vietnam, Russia, Belarus and Bahrain. In those states and so many others, the leaders are attacking tweeters and bloggers as if they were armed revolutionaries. And the repression is spreading. In India ... a 21-year-old medical student posted a mildly critical comment about a Hindu political figure who'd just died. Within 24 hours, police arrested her and a friend who had "liked" the student's Facebook post and charged them with engaging in hateful, offensive speech -- this in one of the world's strongest democracies. Recently, Ecuador's Supreme Court turned down an extradition request from Belarus for a blogger who fled there after the government charged him with fraud. Alexander Barankov had been blogging about widespread government corruption. Iran, not surprisingly, is even tougher. Bloggers are given long prison terms or sentenced to death, charged with "enmity against God" and subverting national security. But the sad truth is, the dictators whose people are the most repressed -- locked in abject poverty -- don't have to worry about the social-media problem.




Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy
2012-12-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:44:13
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown...

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent. It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves – was coordinated with the big banks themselves. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

Note: For analysis of these amazing documents revealing the use of joint government and corporate counterterrorism structures against peaceful protestors of financial corruption, click here and here. For a Democracy Now! video segment on this, click here.




F.B.I. Counterterrorism Agents Monitored Occupy Movement
2012-12-25, New York Times
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:42:41
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/nyregion/occupy-movement-was-investigated-b...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation used counterterrorism agents to investigate the Occupy Wall Street movement, including its communications and planning, according to newly disclosed agency records. The F.B.I. records show that as early as September 2011, an agent from a counterterrorism task force in New York notified officials of two landmarks in Lower Manhattan — Federal Hall and the Museum of American Finance — “that their building was identified as a point of interest for the Occupy Wall Street.” In the following months, F.B.I. personnel around the country were routinely involved in exchanging information about the movement with businesses, local law-enforcement agencies and universities. An October 2011 memo from the bureau’s Jacksonville, Fla., field office was titled Domain Program Management Domestic Terrorist. The memo said agents discussed “past and upcoming meetings” of the movement, and its spread. It said agents should contact Occupy Wall Street activists to ascertain whether people who attended their events had “violent tendencies.” Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the F.B.I. has come under criticism for deploying counterterrorism agents to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on organizations active in environmental, animal-cruelty and poverty issues. The records were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a civil-rights organization in Washington, through a Freedom of Information request to the F.B.I.

Note: For analysis of these amazing documents revealing the use of joint government and corporate counterterrorism structures against peaceful protestors of financial corruption, click here and here. For a Democracy Now! video segment on this, click here.




The coming drone attack on America
2012-12-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:39:10
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/21/coming-drone-attack-america

With the importation of what will be tens of thousands of drones, by both US military and by commercial interests, into US airspace, with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization – which is due to begin in earnest at the start of the new year – it means that the police state is now officially here. In February of this year, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, with its provision to deploy fleets of drones domestically. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that this followed a major lobbying effort, "a huge push by … the defense sector" to promote the use of drones in American skies: 30,000 of them are expected to be in use by 2020, some as small as hummingbirds. Others will be as big as passenger planes. Business-friendly media stress their planned abundant use by corporations: police in Seattle have already deployed them. An unclassified US Air Force document reported by CBS News expands on this unprecedented and unconstitutional step – one that formally brings the military into the role of controlling domestic populations on US soil. This document accompanies a major federal push for drone deployment this year in the United States, accompanied by federal policies to encourage law enforcement agencies to obtain and use them locally, as well as by federal support for their commercial deployment. That is to say: now HSBC, Chase, Halliburton etc can have their very own fleets of domestic surveillance drones.

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




CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules
2012-12-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:38:39
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/dec/13/cia-tortured-sodomised-terror-suspect

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on [December 13]. In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations. Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan. It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture. "The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". Jamil Dakwar, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the ruling as "a huge victory for justice and the rule of law". The Strasbourg court said it found Masri's account of what happened to him "to be established beyond reasonable doubt".

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on illegal acts by US intelligence agencies, click here.




Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective
2012-12-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2012-12-18 10:40:22
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/report-finds-harsh-cia-...

The Senate intelligence committee approved a long-awaited report ... concluding that harsh interrogation measures used by the CIA did not produce significant intelligence breakthroughs. The 6,000-page document ... is the most detailed independent examination to date of the agency’s efforts to “break” dozens of detainees through physical and psychological duress. Officials familiar with the report said it makes a detailed case that subjecting prisoners to “enhanced” interrogation techniques did not help the CIA find Osama bin Laden and often [was] counterproductive in the broader campaign against al-Qaeda. It could be months, if not years, before the public gets even a partial glimpse of the report or its 20 findings and conclusions. When that is completed, the committee will need to vote again on whether to release even a portion of the report, a move likely to face opposition from the CIA, which has fought to keep details of the interrogation program classified. Earlier this year, the Justice Department closed investigations of alleged abuses, eliminating the prospect that CIA operatives who had gone beyond the approved methods would face criminal charges. Civil liberties groups praised the report.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on illegal activities of intelligence agencies, click here.




Sweeping Torture Under the Rug
2012-12-14, New York Times
Posted: 2012-12-18 10:39:00
http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/sweeping-torture-under-the-rug/

In Strasbourg, France, a 17-judge panel of the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously on Thursday that U.S. intelligence did in fact kidnap a German citizen in Macedonia. The court said he was locked in a hotel room for 23 days, then handed over to a C.I.A. rendition team at an airport, where he was “severely beaten, sodomized, shackled and hooded.” Later he was sent to Afghanistan and illegally detained for months. The German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, had no connection to terrorism, unless you count the fact that U.S. officials were seeking an Al Qaeda operative with a similar name. The court ordered Macedonia to pay Mr. Masri $78,000 in damages. He has been refused a day in American courts on flimsy claims of national secrets (that the names of the men who broke the law brutalizing him might be revealed). No official has been held accountable for his illegal detention and torture – or for that matter for the similar beastly treatment of other prisoners. The detention camp in Guantanamo Bay remains open, an indelible stain on the American justice system. There is no plausible reason to keep the prison open. There has been no official accounting of the Bush administration’s detention policies, and perhaps there never will be – because in 2009, when he took office, President Obama decided to sweep that whole period of lawlessness and brutality under the rug. Disclosure did not suit his political agenda. He wanted, we were all told ad nauseam, to “look forward and not back.” The torturers, and the men who gave orders to torture, have been absolved of responsibility.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on illegal activities of intelligence agencies, click here.




Congress approves federal whistleblower protections
2012-11-14, Washington Post
Posted: 2012-12-11 08:55:36
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/congress-approves-federal-whistleblower-p...

Congress has finally approved legislation to strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers. The legislation is designed to protect employees who expose government wrongdoing against retaliation by supervisors. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which will enforce the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), praised the Senate’s action. In a statement, OSC said the legislation will: *Overturn court decisions that narrowed protections for government whistleblowers. *Give whistleblower protections to employees who are not currently covered, including Transportation Security Administration officers. *Restore the Office of Special Counsel’s ability to seek disciplinary actions against supervisors who retaliate. *Hold agencies accountable for retaliatory investigations. Whistleblower advocates hailed congressional approval of the legislation. “The WPEA closes many loopholes and upgrades protections for federal workers who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, abuse and illegality,” said Angela Canterbury, director of public policy for the Project On Government Oversight. With the Senate’s action, “free speech rights for government employees never have been stronger,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project. But Devine added that the legislation is not all that advocates wanted. “It would be dishonest to say our work is done, however, or to deny that government whistleblower rights are still second class compared to those in the private sector,” he said.

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