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.

Cispa will give US unprecedented access, internet privacy advocates warn
2012-04-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-04-24 11:52:35
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/18/cispa-unprecedented-access-intern...

Washington looks set to wave through new cybersecurity legislation next week that opponents fear will wipe out decades of privacy protections at a stroke. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa) will be discussed in the House of Representatives next week and already has the support of 100 House members. It will be the first such bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in January after global protests and a concerted campaign by internet giants such as Google, Wikipedia and Twitter. The author of the new bill, Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, has said it is aimed at tracking the nefarious activities of hackers, terrorists and foreign states, especially China. But its critics charge the bill will affect ordinary citizens and overturn the privacy protections they now enjoy. Opponents fear the way it is currently drafted will open up ordinary citizens to unprecedented scrutiny. The bill uses the wording: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law," a phrase that if it became law would trump all existing legislation, according to critics. In one section, the bill defines "efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy" a network as an area that would trigger a Cispa investigation. Opponents argue something as simple as downloading a large file – a movie for example – could potentially be defined as an effort to "degrade" a network. The bill also exempts companies from any liability for handing over private information.

Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.




Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin
2012-04-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-04-24 11:51:09
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/15/web-freedom-threat-google-brin

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary." The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms. He said five years ago he did not believe China or any country could effectively restrict the internet for long, but now says he has been proven wrong. Brin's comments come on the first day of a week-long Guardian investigation of the intensifying battle for control of the internet being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers. From the attempts made by Hollywood to push through legislation allowing pirate websites to be shut down, to the British government's plans to monitor social media and web use, the ethos of openness championed by the pioneers of the internet and worldwide web is being challenged on a number of fronts.

Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.




How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses
2012-04-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-04-17 10:15:03
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/05/us-sexual-humi...

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. [This joins] the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit ... described having been told to "turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks." There's the sexual abuse of prisoners at Bagram, [where] in some cases, an interrogator would place his penis along the face of the detainee while he was being questioned. Other inmates were raped with sticks or threatened with anal sex. And there's the policy ... to grope US travelers genitally or else force them to go through a machine – made by a company, Rapiscan, owned by terror profiteer and former DHA czar Michael Chertoff – with images so vivid that it has been called the "pornoscanner". Believe me: you don't want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations. Where are we headed? These recent laws ... are being set up to work in concert with a see-all-all-the-time surveillance state. Remember, you don't need to have done anything wrong to be arrested in America any longer. The man who was forced to spread his buttocks was stopped for a driving infraction. As one internet advocate said: "There is a race against time: they realise the internet is a tool of empowerment that will work against their interests, and they need to race to turn it into a tool of control."

Note: How sad that it takes a British newspaper to spell out the highly repressive and invasive new laws being passed in the US. For many revealing major media articles showing the dangers of big brother in our world, click here. For excellent articles revealing the severe erosion of civil liberties, click here.




Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws
2012-04-01, BBC News
Posted: 2012-04-17 10:12:38
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon. Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time. The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it. Tory MP David Davis called it "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people". A new law ... would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant. But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also be able to see which websites someone had visited. Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary David Davis said it would make it easier for the government "to eavesdrop on vast numbers of people". "What this is talking about doing is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it's absolutely everybody's emails, phone calls, web access..." He said that until now anyone wishing to monitor communications had been required to gain permission from a magistrate. Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, called the move "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran". The previous Labour government attempted to introduce a central, government-run database of everyone's phone calls and emails, but eventually dropped the bid after widespread anger.

Note: For more on this from BBC, click here. Though this is interesting news, many know that the government has had easy access to all people's emails, phone calls, and more for many years through systems like echelon and more. For an abundance of major media articles showing how many of the power elite want to create a big-brother society, click here.




Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip Searches for Any Arrest
2012-04-02, New York Times
Posted: 2012-04-11 18:36:41
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/us/justices-approve-strip-searches-for-any-...

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials. The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said the strip searches the majority allowed were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so. Justice Breyer said that the Fourth Amendment should be understood to bar strip searches of people arrested for minor offenses not involving drugs or violence, unless officials had a reasonable suspicion that they were carrying contraband. People have been subjected to “the humiliation of a visual strip search” after being arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell. A nun was strip-searched ... after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration. In a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found.

Note: For an abundance of major media articles showing severe erosion of civil liberties, click here.




US anti-terrorism law curbs free speech and activist work, court told
2012-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-04-02 21:04:22
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/29/journalists-us-anti-terrorism-law...

A group [of] political activists and journalists has launched a legal challenge to stop an American law they say allows the US military to arrest civilians anywhere in the world and detain them without trial as accused supporters of terrorism. The seven figures, who include ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, professor Noam Chomsky and Icelandic politician and WikiLeaks campaigner Birgitta Jonsdottir, testified to a Manhattan judge that the law – dubbed the NDAA or Homeland Battlefield Bill – would cripple free speech around the world. They said that various provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011, effectively broadened the definition of "supporter of terrorism" to include peaceful activists, authors, academics and even journalists interviewing members of radical groups. Controversy centres on the loose definition of key words in the bill, in particular who might be "associated forces" of the law's named terrorist groups al-Qaida and the Taliban and what "substantial support" to those groups might get defined as. Whereas White House officials have denied the wording extends any sort of blanket coverage to civilians, rather than active enemy combatants, or actions involved in free speech, some civil rights experts have said the lack of precise definition leaves it open to massive potential abuse.

Note: For discussion of the extreme crackdown by police, based on "anti-terrorism" legislation, against Occupy movement protestors, click here.




UN torture chief: Manning endured cruel treatment
2012-03-13, MSNBC
Posted: 2012-03-20 10:42:45
http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/12/10657259-un-torture-chief-mannin...

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s 11 months in solitary confinement was “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” the UN chief on torture said Monday, though he stopped short of calling it torture. Manning, 25, faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy after he allegedly released classified documents to WikiLeaks. He was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day following his arrest in May 2010 in Iraq, and continuing through his transfer to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. The confinement, lasting about 11 months, ended upon his transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on April 20, 2011. When Juan Mendez, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, asked Department of Defense officials why Manning was held in such a condition, he was told it was due to the gravity of the crime and for “prevention of harm” – though they did not specify what that meant, citing privacy concerns. “He hasn't been convicted of any crime yet so … subjecting him to a very long period of solitary confinement on the basis that he might be found guilty of a crime seems to me to be both a violation of his presumption of innocence but also a violation of his right not to be treated cruelly or inhumanely,” Mendez told msnbc.com. The explanations for Manning’s solitary confinement were “insufficient,” according to Mendez. “That's why I reached the conclusion that the United States government was responsible for having inflicted on him cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” he said.”

Note: For key reports from major media sources on the use of torture and government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.




Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act
2012-03-16, New York Times
Posted: 2012-03-20 10:22:14
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/democratic-senators-warn-about-...

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public — or even others in Congress — knew about it. On [March 15], two of those senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The Justice Department has argued that disclosing information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could alert adversaries to how the government collects certain intelligence. It is seeking the dismissal of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits — by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union — related to how the Patriot Act has been interpreted. The dispute centers on what the government thinks it is allowed to do under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which agents may obtain a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing them to get access to any “tangible things” — like business records — that are deemed “relevant” to a terrorism or espionage investigation. The interpretation of Section 215 that authorizes this secret surveillance operation is apparently not obvious from a plain text reading of the provision, and was developed through a series of classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on surveillance and other government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.




Holder: US can legally kill Americans in terror groups
2012-03-05, MSNBC
Posted: 2012-03-13 16:41:47
http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/05/10585197-holder-us-can-legally-k...

The U.S. government is legally justified in killing its own citizens overseas if they are involved in plotting terror attacks against America, Attorney General Eric Holder said [on March 5], offering the Obama administration's most detailed explanation so far of its controversial targeted killing program. The Fifth Amendment provides that no one can be "deprived of life" without due process of law. But that due process, Holder said, doesn't necessarily come from a court. "Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process," the attorney general said. The ACLU called Holder's explanation "a defense of the government’s chillingly broad claimed authority to conduct targeted killings of civilians, including American citizens, far from any battlefield without judicial review or public scrutiny." "Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact," said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. "Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power,” she said. The ACLU is suing the Obama administration, seeking to have documents regarding the targeted killing program made public.

Note: Attorney General Holder's claim that US citizens can be killed by the government without judicial process clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to the Fifth Amendment that states that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," the Sixth Amendment states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."




Excesses cross party lines
2012-03-07, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-03-13 16:40:13
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/06/EDLG1NGNRF.DTL

Attorney General Eric Holder thinks it's legal to kill American terrorism suspects overseas without any judicial review or public notice. It's an astonishing claim to make and a shameful stand for the Obama administration, which came to office pledging to curb such constitutionally shaky excesses. In a speech, Holder essentially offer the "trust us" argument in defense of targeted killings. The guidelines are murky: The military will compile a list of dangerous terrorists including U.S. citizens, hunt them down, and if the host country can't or won't catch the suspect, then the United States will. The example at issue is last year's drone attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader. Under Holder's ground rules there is no outside review, court deliberation or explanation of how a suspect makes the kill list. For those critics concerned about oversight or legal caution, he offered this observation: " 'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process." Holder didn't cite an in-house legal opinion used to justify the policy, which he's refused to release and is the subject of a civil liberties lawsuit. Obama still hasn't closed the Guantanamo Bay gulag as promised. Now he's shielding targeted killings from genuine review. This presidential subversion of rule of law was unacceptable under George W. Bush, and it is unacceptable under Barack Obama.

Note: Attorney General Holder's claim that US citizens can be killed by the government without judicial process clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to the Fifth Amendment that states that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," the Sixth Amendment states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."




Feinstein detainee bill for citizens, residents
2012-03-01, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-03-06 08:43:36
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/29/MN701NDUR3.DTL

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said [on February 29] that her legislation to roll back an antiterror law, which allows the military to indefinitely detain people in the United States suspected of ties to al Qaeda or "associated forces," would have to be limited to citizens and permanent legal residents. Her bill, the Due Process Guarantee Act, ... would ensure that the detainee portions of last year's National Defense Authorization Act, or any declaration of war or congressional authorization to use military force, would not allow the military to imprison without trial citizens and green card holders living in the United States. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove (Sacramento County) has introduced a companion bill in the House. The detainee provisions of the law ... have generated a rare combination of outrage from liberals and conservatives who say it violates constitutional liberties and habeas corpus rights that provide an individual redress to unlawful imprisonment by the state. Civil liberties groups have argued that the Constitution's Bill of Rights extends to all people, regardless of their citizenship. Noncitizens include tourists, students and business travelers as well as illegal immigrants. Feinstein said including noncitizens in her bill is not politically feasible. Feinstein described her bill as a follow-on to the 1971 Non-Detention Act, a response to the Japanese internment that was signed by former President Richard Nixon. The act bars imprisonment of citizens suspected of sabotage without explicit congressional approval.

Note: The NDAA clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights, which clearly states in the fifth amendment that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," and in the sixth amendment which states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." It is simply amazing that the American public is not loudly protesting this breach of the constitution.




Interpol accused after Malaysia arrests journalist over Muhammad tweet
2012-02-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-02-28 10:24:29
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/10/interpol-journalist-arrested-muha...

Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia allegedly used the organisation's red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport "following a request made to us by Interpol" the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you … I will not pray for you." Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for him to be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death. Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country. Kashgari's detention has triggered criticism by human rights groups of Malaysia's decision to arrest the journalist and of Interpol's cooperation in the process. Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said: "If an Interpol red notice is the reason for [Kashgari's] arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be barred from any involvement in religious or political cases."




Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies
2012-02-18, New York Times
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:23:26
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/technology/drones-with-an-eye-on-the-public...

A new federal law, signed by the president on [February 14], compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Some questions likely to come up: Can a drone flying over a house pick up heat from a lamp used to grow marijuana inside, or take pictures from outside someone’s third-floor fire escape? Can images taken from a drone be sold to a third party, and how long can they be kept? The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are calling for new protections against what the A.C.L.U. has said could be “routine aerial surveillance of American life.” The new law, part of a broader financing bill for the F.A.A., came after intense lobbying by drone makers and potential customers. These manufacturers have been awaiting lucrative new opportunities at home. The market for drones is valued at $5.9 billion and is expected to double in the next decade, according to industry figures. Drones can cost millions of dollars for the most sophisticated varieties to as little as $300 for one that can be piloted from an iPhone.

Note: For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For more on the threats to civil liberties created by this new law, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.




Can Congress Steal Your Constitutional Freedoms?
2011-12-01, Fox News
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:21:08
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/12/01/can-congress-steal-your-constitutio...

Can the president use the military to arrest anyone he wants, keep that person away from a judge and jury, and lock him up for as long as he wants? In the Senate’s dark and terrifying vision of the Constitution, he can. Last week ... the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to meet in secret. Behind closed doors, it drafted an amendment to a bill appropriating money for the Pentagon. The amendment would permit the president to use the military for law enforcement purposes in the United States. Essentially, this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases. And that person, under this terrifying bill, would have no recourse to a judge to require the president either to file charges against him or to set him free. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Note, the Founders used the word “person.” Thus, the requirement of due process must be accorded to all human beings held by the government -- not just Americans, not just nice people, but all persons. If this legislation becomes law, it will be dangerous for anyone to be right when the government is wrong. It will be dangerous for all of us. Just consider what any president could get away with. Who would he make disappear first? Might it be his political opponents? Might it be you?

Note: The author of this op-ed, Andrew P. Napolitano, is a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. His most recent book is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.




The US schools with their own police
2012-01-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-02-07 16:56:20
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/09/texas-police-schools

More and more US schools have police patrolling the corridors. Pupils are being arrested for throwing paper planes and failing to pick up crumbs from the canteen floor. Why is the state criminalising normal childhood behaviour? Like hundreds of schools in the state, and across large parts of the rest of the US, Fulmore Middle [school] has its own police force with officers in uniform who carry guns to keep order in the canteens, playgrounds and lessons. Each day, hundreds of schoolchildren appear before courts in Texas charged with offences such as swearing, misbehaving on the school bus or getting in to a punch-up in the playground. Children have been arrested for possessing cigarettes, wearing "inappropriate" clothes and being late for school. In 2010, the police gave close to 300,000 "Class C misdemeanour" tickets to children as young as six in Texas for offences in and out of school, which result in fines, community service and even prison time. What was once handled with a telling-off by the teacher or a call to parents can now result in arrest and a record that may cost a young person a place in college or a job years later. "We've taken childhood behaviour and made it criminal," said Kady Simpkins, a lawyer. "They're kids." The very young are not spared. Texas records show more than 1,000 tickets were issued to primary schoolchildren over the past six years .

Note: For a long list of bizarre arrests of children, for behavior not at all unusual, that have been reported in the mainstream media, click here.




10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free
2012-01-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2012-01-27 10:38:55
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of...

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of [the] free. Yet ... in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. [Yet] the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit. These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country. The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11: 1. Assassination of U.S. citizens. 2. Indefinite detention. 3. Arbitrary justice. 4. Warrantless searches. 5. Secret evidence. 6. War crimes. 7. Secret court. 8. Immunity from judicial review. 9. Continual monitoring of citizens. 10. Extraordinary renditions.

Note: Thank you to the Washington Post for publishing this amazing article revealing the disturbing and severe erosion of freedom and civil liberties in the U.S. ever since 9/11. Written by Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University in the nation's capital, this incisive essay lays bare what so many citizens don't know, and what many don't even want to know. Yet, in this case, ignorance is not bliss. Don't miss the full article listing the loss of 10 important civil liberties at this link.




North Carolina sterilisation victims win compensation
2012-01-11, BBC News
Posted: 2012-01-17 15:31:13
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16515827

Victims of a decades-old sterilisation programme in the US state of North Carolina are to receive $50,000 each in compensation. As many as 7,600 people were sterilised by the state from 1929 to 1974, often without their knowledge. About half a dozen states have apologised for similar programmes, but North Carolina is the only one to consider financial payment. The figure will have to be approved as part of the state's next budget. The sterilisation victims were sometimes mentally disabled or institutionalised people. However, a task force set up by North Carolina found that starting the 1950s the state increasingly focussed its programme - which the task force dubbed a "eugenics" programme - on welfare recipients. This led to a "dramatic rise of sterilisation for African-Americans and women that did not reside in state institutions". Dr Laura Gerald, the head of the task force, said in a statement that the compensation served to send the message that "we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights". North Carolina has so far verified 72 sterilisation victims, but about 2,000 are estimated to still be alive.

Note: For a detailed timeline of disturbing experiments where humans were used as guinea pigs without their knowledge with links to reliable sources for verification, click here.




The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty
2012-01-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:58:25
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-...

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. The White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. [But] sponsor Senator Carl Levin ... went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House [that] insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision. The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the constitution. The White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying the president as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or, as Obama maintains, a reluctant president with dictatorial powers. Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this un-American measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who, they insist, betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents.

Note: For important analyses of the implications of Obama's signing of the NDAA legislation, click here, here and here.




Parade ordinance power grab
2012-01-02, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:55:55
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-emanuel-protest-permits-20120...

A City Hall rewrite to tighten rules for protesters at this spring's gathering of international leaders in Chicago would also place permanent and little-publicized restrictions on all future demonstrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the changes to the city's parade ordinance in his December request to the City Council for expanded powers to deal with the NATO and G-8 summits, set to overlap between May 19-21. The mayor said his request for new spending authority and additional restrictions on public gatherings "is temporary and it's just for the conference and it's appropriate." But the mayor's office now acknowledges the protest rules would be permanent. And a closer look at Emanuel's proposals reveals a series of changes to arcane parade regulations that would be accompanied by a large boost in fines for violations — from the current $50 for some to a minimum $1,000 per violation. Stiffening rules on typically fluid demonstrations will increase the likelihood of violations, giving police more opportunity to crack down and making it more costly for demonstrators, free speech advocates said. "It's clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

Note: For those who may have forgotten Rahm Emanuel is Obama's former chief of staff.




FBI tracking videotapers as terrorists?
2011-12-29, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2012-01-03 18:15:44
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-fbi-tracking-animal-vi...

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has recommended for many years that animal activists who carry out undercover investigations on farms could be prosecuted as domestic terrorists. New documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by activist Ryan Shapiro show the FBI advising that activists – including Shapiro – who walked onto a farm, videotaped animals there and “rescued” an animal had violated terrorism statutes. The documents ... were issued by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2003 in response to an article in an animal rights publication in which Shapiro and two other activists (whose names were redacted from the document), openly claimed responsibility for shooting video and taking animals from a farm. The FBI notes discuss the videotaping, illegal entry and the removal of animals, then concludes with “there is a reasonable indication that [Subject 1] and other members of the [redacted] have violated the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 18 USC Section 43 (a).” The penalties for such a conviction can include terrorism enhancements which can add decades to a sentence. “It’s simply outrageous to consider civil disobedience as terrorism,” Shapiro [said]. “Civil disobedience is not terrorism. It has a long and proud place in our nation’s history, from Martin Luther King to Occupy Wall Street, and the [Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act] takes that kind of advocacy that we celebrate from the civil rights movement and turns it into a terrorist event.”

Note: As the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act shows, the animal experimentation lobby has demonstrated its considerable clout by getting Congress to pass legislation making principled demonstrations against animal torture and killing into a form of "terrorism". Do you think that Wall Street might lobby for a similar law making "terrorists" out of Occupiers?





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