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


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major 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.

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.


‘Against Their Will’ looks at children used for tests
2013-07-08, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-07-23 08:58:06
http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2013/07/07/book-review-against-their-wi...

Pop quiz: Name a state residential school where children were enrolled in medical experiments over an almost 20-year period, in which they were unknowingly fed a steady diet of radioactive isotopes, subjected to regular blood draws, and placed in solitary confinement if they refused to cooperate. Answer: the Walter E. Fernald State School in Waltham [Mass.} during the mid 20th century. Unfortunately, as Allen Hornblum, Judith Newman, and Gregory Dober painfully describe in their chilling new book, Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, Fernald was not the only institution in the country, or even in the state, where children were conscripted into sometimes deadly medical experiments. These were conducted by ambitious physicians and scientists whose belief in what they were trying to accomplish often blinded them to the potentially horrific consequences of their actions. “Against Their Will’’ opens with an overview of the eugenics movement in the United States, which found sympathizers among many luminaries of American medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With its disdain for the disabled, who were considered genetically inferior, the movement paved the way for use of “defective’’ children in research. The book then provides multiple examples of medical experiments perpetrated on developmentally delayed and physically disabled children at multiple institutions across the country over the course of decades, often reading like case studies straight out of the 1947 Nazi doctors’ trial.

Note: For a long list of verifiable incidents where unknowing citizens were used as guinea pigs on a massive scale, click here.


Supreme Court says police may take DNA samples from arrestees
2013-06-03, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-07-16 09:35:05
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-06-03/politics/39704073_1_dna-samples...

A divided Supreme Court ruled [on June 3] that police may take DNA samples when booking those arrested for serious crimes, narrowly upholding a Maryland law and opening the door to more widespread collection of DNA by law enforcement. The court ruled 5 to 4 that government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees ... to establish the identity of the person in custody. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia ... amplified his displeasure by reading a summary of his dissent from the bench. “The court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment law: that the government may not search its citizens for evidence of crime unless there is a reasonable cause to believe that such evidence will be found,” Scalia said from the bench. He added, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.” Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union said the decision “creates a gaping new exception to the Fourth Amendment” and violates a long-established understanding that “police cannot search for evidence of a crime ... without individualized suspicion.”

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


How Barrett Brown shone light on the murky world of security contractors [and is now jailed]
2013-06-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-01 13:21:43
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/24/surveillance-us-national-...

[Barrett] Brown is not a household name like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning. But after helping expose a dirty tricks plot, he faces jail. Brown made a splash in February 2011 by helping to uncover "Team Themis", a project by intelligence contractors retained by Bank of America to demolish the hacker society known as Anonymous. The Team Themis story began in late 2010, when Julian Assange warned WikiLeaks would release documents outlining an "ecosystem of corruption [that] could take down a bank or two." Bank of America went into damage-control mode and, as the New York Times reported, assembled "a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials … scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public." Days later, Bank of America retained the well-connected law firm of Hunton & Williams [which] "proposed various schemes to attack" WikiLeaks. Its partners suggested creating false documents and fake personas to damage progressive organizations. The tech companies' emails – which Anonymous hacked and Barrett Brown helped publicize – listed planned tactics: "Feed[ing] the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error." Brown [has] been cooling his heels in a jail outside Dallas ... awaiting two separate trials that could put him on ice for more than 100 years. In contrast to the FBI's aggressive pursuit of Brown, no probe of the Team Themis project was launched – despite a call from 17 US House representatives to investigate a possible conspiracy to violate federal laws.

Note: With the wide focus on the privatized national security state by the leaks from Edward Snowden, there is renewed interest in Brown's plight and the campaign for justice in his case. For more on this and to support Barret Brown, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Army reportedly blocking military access to Guardian coverage of NSA leaks
2013-06-27, NBC News
Posted: 2013-07-01 13:18:14
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/27/19177709-army-reportedly-blocking-...

The Army is blocking all access to The Guardian newspaper's reports about the National Security Agency's sweeping collection of data about Americans' email and phone communications, an Army spokesman said Thursday. The Monterey (Calif.) Herald reported that employees at the Presidio of Monterey, an Army public affairs base about 100 miles south of San Francisco, were unable to gain access to The Guardian's articles on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and his professed leaks of classified information about the intelligence programs. Late Thursday, an Army spokesman told The Herald by email that the newspaper's NSA reports were, in fact, being blocked across the entire Army. He wrote that it's routine for the Defense Department to take "network hygiene" action to prevent disclosure of classified information, The Herald reported. "We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security," the newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying. "However there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."

Note: To read the full story in the Monterey Herald, click here. For the Guardian's coverage of this, click here. Does the military have the right to censor its members' access to information?


Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime
2013-06-19, CBC (Canada's Public Broadcasting System)
Posted: 2013-07-01 13:12:36
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.


GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications
2013-06-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-01 13:07:04
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communicati...

Britain's spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA). The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate. One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects. This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets. The existence of the programme has been disclosed in documents shown to the Guardian by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Britain's technical capacity to tap into the cables that carry the world's communications ... has made GCHQ an intelligence superpower. A total of 850,000 NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases.

Note: For solid evidence spy agencies targeted even top politicians, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


FBI uses drones for surveillance in U.S
2013-06-20, CNN
Posted: 2013-06-25 08:54:41
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.


Another Chilling Leak Investigation
2013-05-21, New York Times
Posted: 2013-06-04 09:12:48
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.


U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations
2013-05-22, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-05-28 11:06:58
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.


Wisconsin Farmer to Stand Trial for Selling Raw Milk
2013-05-12, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
Posted: 2013-05-21 08:07:10
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.


IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 2012 election
2013-05-11, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-05-21 08:05:29
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/irs-apologizes-for-inappropriately-tar...

Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting Tea Party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general’s report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner. The IRS apologized [on May 10] for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware. But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog’s report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with “Tea Party,” ‘’Patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says. The 9-12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck. Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups “immediately,” the report says. ” On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.

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)
Posted: 2013-05-21 08:02:57
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)
Posted: 2013-05-14 09:17:48
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)
Posted: 2013-05-07 07:59:48
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.


Despair Drives Guantánamo Detainees to Revolt
2013-04-25, New York Times
Posted: 2013-04-30 08:16:15
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/us/guantanamo-prison-revolt-driven-by-inmat...

A hunger strike is now in its third month [at Guantánamo prison], with 93 prisoners considered to be participating — more than half the inmates. Both military officials and lawyers for the detainees agree about the underlying cause of the turmoil: a growing sense among many prisoners, some of whom have been held without trial for more than 11 years, that they will never go home. While President Obama made closing the prison a top priority when he entered the White House, he put that effort on the back burner in the face of Congressional opposition to his plan to move the detainees to a Supermax facility inside the United States. The prisoners “had great optimism that Guantánamo would be closed,” Gen. John F. Kelly, who oversees the prison as head of the United States Southern Command, recently told Congress. “They were devastated when the president backed off ... of closing the facility.” That disappointment was heightened by Mr. Obama’s decision in January 2011 to sign legislation to restrict the transfers of prisoners. More than half the inmates were designated three years ago for transfer to another country if security conditions could be met, but the transfers dried up. “President Obama has publicly and privately abandoned his promise to close Guantánamo,” said Carlos Warner, a lawyer who represents one of 17 hunger strikers being kept alive by force-feeding through nasal tubes. “His tragic political decision has caused the men to lose all hope. Thus, many innocent men have chosen death over a life of unjust indefinite detention.”

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


Hacktivists as Gadflies
2013-04-15, New York Times blog
Posted: 2013-04-23 08:41:02
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)
Posted: 2013-04-02 09:12:09
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?


Judge: FBI gag orders unconstitutional
2013-03-15, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-03-25 16:03:58
http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Judge-FBI-gag-orders-unconstitutional-...

In a blow against government secrecy, a federal judge ruled [on March 15] that the tens of thousands of "national security letters" the FBI sends each year demanding customer records from phone companies, banks and others, are unconstitutional because they forbid recipients from revealing that the letters exist. A gag order that makes it a crime to disclose one has received such a letter "restrains ... speech about government conduct" with little opportunity for judicial review, said U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco. She directed the FBI to stop issuing national security letters that contain gag orders, but put her ruling on hold during an expected government appeal. Attorney Matt Zimmerman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the suit in May 2011 on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company, said [that] the gag orders "have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools." The USA Patriot Act, passed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, authorized the FBI to issue national security letters on its own for information that it considers relevant to an investigation of international terrorism or spying. Virtually all of the letters include a permanent gag order. In 2008, a federal appeals court in New York found the gag orders constitutionally defective. Congress amended the law in 2006 to allow recipients to challenge national security letters on constitutional grounds, but left the government with near-total power over the gag orders, Illston said.

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


The FBI's anticipatory prosecution of Muslims to criminalize speech
2013-03-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-03-25 16:02:36
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/19/preemptive-prosecution-mu...

One of the major governmental abuses denounced by the 1976 final report of the Church Committee was the FBI's domestic counter intelligence programs (COINTELPRO). Under that program, the FBI targeted political groups and individuals it deemed subversive and dangerous ... and infiltrated them with agents who, among other things, attempted to manipulate members into agreeing to commit criminal acts so that the FBI could arrest and prosecute them. What made the program so controversial was that the FBI was attempting to create and encourage crimes rather than find actual criminals - all in order to punish those whose constitutionally protected political activism the US government found threatening. Over the past decade, US Muslims have been routinely targeted with precisely this same tactic of preemptive or anticipatory prosecution. It's all designed to take people engaged in political and religious advocacy which the US government dislikes ... and use paid informants to trick them into saying just enough to turn them into criminals who are then prosecuted and imprisoned for decades. The same pattern repeats itself over and over. The FBI ensnares some random Muslim in a garden-variety criminal investigation involving financial fraud or drugs. Rather than prosecute him, the FBI puts the Muslim criminal suspect on its payroll, sending him into Muslim communities and mosques in order not only to spy on American Muslims, but to befriend them and then actively manipulate them into saying just enough to make their prosecution possible.

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


New Pope Tied up in Argentina's 'Dirty War' Debate
2013-03-14, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-03-19 09:29:56
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/papal-election-stirs-argentinas...

It's beyond dispute that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, [the new Pope], failed to openly confront the 1976-1983 military junta as it kidnapped and killed thousands of people in a "dirty war" to eliminate leftist opponents. But human rights activists differ on how much responsibility Pope Francis personally deserves for the Argentine church's dark history of supporting the murderous dictatorship. Some leading Argentine human rights activists agree that Bergoglio, now 76, doesn't deserve to be lumped together with other church figures who were closely aligned with the dictatorship. "Perhaps he didn't have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship," Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize for documenting the junta's atrocities, said. But others say Bergoglio's rise through the Argentine church since then has put him in many positions of power where he could have done more to atone for the sins of Catholic officials who did actively conspire with the dictators. Some priests even worked inside torture centers, and blessed those doing the killing. Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court in trials involving torture and murder inside the feared Navy Mechanics School and the theft of babies from detainees.

Note: An entire edition of Democracy Now! was devoted to the record of Bergoglio, including an interview with the Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky. For more analysis, click here, here and here.


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