Key News Articles in Major Media on Civil Liberties
Civil liberties are the fundamental freedoms to which all people are entitled as inalienable rights. In the United States many of them are codified in the Bill of Rights. Since 9/11, governments around the world have passed many new laws to restrict our civil liberties, ostensibly in the name of "national security." Reliable, verifiable information like that given below is a basis on which we can preserve these civil liberties.
This message contains many highly revealing one-paragraph excerpts of important civil liberties articles from the mainstream media. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
2006-01-27, BBC News
A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations". The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act. Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it. The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks. The military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans. "Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public. Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads. The document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum". US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum". The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.
Echelon spy network revealed
1999-11-03, BBC News
Imagine a global spying network that can eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet. It sounds like science fiction, but it's true. Two of the chief protagonists - Britain and America - officially deny its existence. But the BBC has confirmation from the Australian Government that such a network really does exist and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are calling for an inquiry. The base is linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Mead in Maryland, and it is also linked to a series of other listening posts scattered across the world, like Britain's own GCHQ. The power of the network, codenamed Echelon, is astounding. Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime, like terrorism. The network is so secret that the British and American Governments refuse to admit that Echelon even exists. But another ally, Australia, has decided not to be so coy. The man who oversees Australia's security services, Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Bill Blick, has confirmed to the BBC that their Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) does form part of the network. Asked if they are then passed on to countries like Britain and America, he said: "They might be in certain circumstances." But the system is so widespread all sorts of private communications, often of a sensitive commercial nature, are hoovered up and analysed.
CIA and DOD Human Subjects Research Scandals
2007-00-00, U.S. Department of Energy Website
In December 1974, the New York Times reported that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens during the 1960s. That report prompted investigations by both Congress (in the form of the Church Committee) and a presidential commission (known as the Rockefeller Commission) into the domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military. Congressional hearings and the Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the DOD had conducted experiments on both cognizant and unwitting human subjects as part of an extensive program to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs (such as LSD and mescaline) and other chemical, biological, and psychological means. They also revealed that at least one subject had died after administration of LSD. Frank Olson, an Army scientist, was given LSD without his knowledge or consent in 1953 as part of a CIA experiment and apparently committed suicide a week later. Subsequent reports would show that another person ... died as a result of a secret Army experiment involving mescaline. The CIA program, known principally by the codename MKULTRA, began in 1950 and was motivated largely in response to alleged Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean uses of mind-control techniques on U.S. prisoners of war in Korea. Most of the MKULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then-Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms.
Note: This highly revealing article on a U.S. government website shows that the CIA was actively involved in mind control projects. For an excellent summary based on thousands of pages of declassified CIA documents showing the secret creation of unknowing assassins or "Manchurian Candidates," click here.
Whistle-blower Had to Fight NSA, LA Times to Tell Story
2007-03-06, ABC News
Whistle-blower AT&T technician Mark Klein says his effort to reveal alleged government surveillance of domestic Internet traffic was blocked not only by U.S. intelligence officials but also by the top editors of the Los Angeles Times. Klein describes how he stumbled across "secret NSA rooms" being installed at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco and later heard of similar rooms in at least six other cities. Eventually, Klein says he decided to take his documents to the Los Angeles Times, to blow the whistle on what he calls "an illegal and Orwellian project." But after working for two months with LA Times reporter Joe Menn, Klein says he was told the story had been killed at the request of then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and then-director of the NSA Gen. Michael Hayden. Klein says he then took his AT&T documents to The New York Times, which published its exclusive account last April. In the court case against AT&T, Negroponte formally invoked the "state secrets privilege," claiming the lawsuit and the information from Klein and others could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States." The Los Angeles Times' decision was made by the paper's editor at the time, Dean Baquet, now the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times. As the new Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, Baquet now oversees the reporters who have broken most of the major stories involving the government surveillance program, often over objections from the government.
Note: So after the NY Times has the guts to report this important story, the man who was responsible for the censorship at the LA Times is transferred to the very position in the NY Times where he can now block future stories there. For why this case of blatant media censorship isn't making headlines, click here.
Making Martial Law Easier
2007-02-19, New York Times
A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration's behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law. The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which ... essentially limits a president's use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights. The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. The president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any "other condition." Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation's governors.
First, do no harm (to whites)
2006-12-31, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
[Book Review of] Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present. Harriet Washington opens the door on the torture room in "Medical Apartheid". Experimental operations on the skulls of slave children, Washington writes, were a favorite pursuit of a particularly sadistic South Carolinian doctor named J. Marion Sims, widely revered today as the "father of gynecology." For years, Sims experimented on a group of slave women, to whom he refused anesthesia. The most notorious post-slavery racial crime of American medicine [was] the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972. More than 100 black subjects ... were denied treatment, even and especially after the discovery of penicillin in 1943. The research required that they suffer and die, the more slowly the better. Tuskegee was hardly unique. The Rockefeller Institute ... conducted a study in 1910 that saw 470 black syphilitics injected with a deadly strain of malaria. Black Americans were also disproportionately used ... as subjects in government inquiries into the effects of radiation. Washington's chilling history ends with contemporary case studies. At the Incarnation Children's Center in New York, Columbia University doctors continue to administer experimental AIDS drugs to minority orphans, even after many develop painful and debilitating reactions. As for current clinical trials in Africa, Washington describes the continent as the new "laboratory for the West," where unsuspecting patients regularly receive experimental therapies that might never receive state sanction in the United States or Europe.
Assault on Press Freedom
2006-11-26, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
In a nation that preaches the virtues of democracy, the United States government has consistently eroded the media's ability to report. U.S. press freedom has been slipping away since Sept. 11, 2001. Many other countries are now ranked freer than the United States. In the most recent survey by Freedom House [the U.S.] tied for 17th place. International free-press advocates Reporters Without Borders ranked us 53rd, tied with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. Now that we are in a seemingly permanent "war" on terrorism, the government claims wartime powers that result in restricting press freedom. The Bush administration has multiplied exponentially the number of documents it classifies as secret. The office of Vice President Dick Cheney claims to be exempt from reporting even the numbers of records it brands with the "classified" stamp. Within weeks after 9/11, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233, allowing him to veto public release not only of his own presidential papers but those of former [presidents]. One of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's first post-Sept. 11 acts was to issue a directive to federal agencies restricting access to government records under the Freedom of Information Act. Cheney [refused] to disclose even the identity of the corporate executives he met with to determine the administration's energy policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held ... that there is no such thing as a First Amendment right of access to government information or facilities. The Bush administration did not advance press freedom by producing ... favorable "news" stories with fake reporters. It is hard to stomach the hypocrisy of claiming to spread democracy abroad while restricting at home the very freedoms that make democracy possible.
[N.Y.] City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention
2007-03-25, New York Times
For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews. From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists. They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department's Intelligence Division. In hundreds of reports stamped "N.Y.P.D. Secret," the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law. These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports. In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. In addition to sharing information with other police departments, New York undercover officers were active themselves in at least 15 places outside New York -- including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montreal, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. -- and in Europe. To date, as the boundaries of the department's expanded powers continue to be debated, police officials have provided only glimpses of its intelligence-gathering.
My National Security Letter Gag Order
2007-03-23, Washington Post
The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national security letters." It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me. Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. The letter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients. There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on the context of the demand -- a context that the FBI still won't let me discuss publicly -- I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power. Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie. At some point -- a point we passed long ago -- the secrecy itself becomes a threat to our democracy.
An Orwellian solution to kids skipping school
2007-02-20, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta's leading newspaper)
Let's say your teenager is a habitual truant and there is nothing you can do about it. A Washington area politician thinks he might have the solution: Fit the child with a Global Positioning System chip, then have police track him down. "It allows them to get caught easier," said Maryland Delegate Doyle Niemann (D-Prince George's), who recently co-sponsored legislation in the House that would use electronic surveillance as part of a broader truancy reduction plan. "It's going to be done unobtrusively. The chips are tiny and can be put into a hospital ID band or a necklace." Niemann's legislation mirrors a bill sponsored by state Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's). Both would provide truants and their parents with better access to social services, such as mental health evaluations and help with schoolwork. Electronic monitoring would be a last resort. Still, the prospect of tagging children and using them in some "catch and release" hunt by police casts a pall over everything that's good about the plan. Odd how billions and billions of dollars keep going to a war that almost nobody wants, but there's never enough to fund the educational programs that nearly everybody says are needed. Aimed solely at students in Prince George's -- the only predominantly black county in the Washington area -- the truancy effort is called a "pilot program," a first-of-its-kind experiment. It would cost $400,000 to keep track of about 660 students a year.
Note: For more reliable information on the push to microchip the entire population, click here.
Victim owed compensation in CIA case, judge told
2007-01-11, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
Patients were put in isolation, tied down or drugged, and subjected to hours and hours of taped recordings meant to brainwash them at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency. They were subjected to massive electroshocks, experimental drugs and LSD, most of them unwilling and unknowingly part of the U.S. spy agency's experimentation. Now it's time for the federal government to compensate those victims, lawyer Alan Stein argued. Mr. Stein is seeking court approval for a class-action lawsuit on behalf of his client, Janine Huard, one of the hundreds of patients of Ewen Cameron to be subjected to the Cold War-era experiments. "She never knew ... that she was being used by Dr. Cameron and his staff as a guinea pig," Mr. Stein told the court. The CIA ... recruited Dr. Cameron to experiment with mind-control techniques beginning in 1950. The experiments ... were jointly funded by the CIA and the Canadian government. They were part of a larger CIA program called MK-ULTRA, which also saw LSD administered to U.S. prison inmates and patrons of brothels without their knowledge. Ms. Huard was one of nine Canadian victims who received nearly $67,000 (U.S.) from the CIA in 1988 to compensate her for her suffering. But her claim for compensation from the federal government ... was rejected three times. In 1994, 77 patients were awarded $100,000 each from the federal government, but more than 250 others were denied compensation because they were not "totally depatterned."
Note: What this article fails to mention is that Dr. Cameron was also the president of both the American Psychicatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association. For more reliable information, click here.
Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision
2004-08-14, Los Angeles Times
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be "enemy combatants" has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace. Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants. Ashcroft hopes to use his self-made "enemy combatant" stamp for any citizen whom he deems to be part of a wider terrorist conspiracy. Aides have indicated that a "high-level committee" will recommend which citizens are to be stripped of their constitutional rights and sent to Ashcroft's new camps. Few would have imagined any attorney general seeking to reestablish such camps for citizens. We have learned from painful experience that unchecked authority, once tasted, easily becomes insatiable. We are only now getting a full vision of Ashcroft's America. Ashcroft seems to dream of a country secured from itself, neatly contained and controlled by his judgment of loyalty. For more than 200 years, security and liberty have been viewed as coexistent values. Ashcroft and his aides appear to view this relationship as lineal, where security must precede liberty. Every generation has its test of principle in which people of good faith can no longer remain silent in the face of authoritarian ambition. If we cannot join together to fight the abomination of American camps, we have already lost what we are defending.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. This aritcle was written by Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University. Though Ashcroft resigned, the laws he crafted remain in place.
Final Note: These articles are taken from the WantToKnow.info news summary collection on civil liberties available here. To see all of the engaging news topics for which we have concise, highly revealing summaries, click here. WantToKnow.info also believes it is important to balance disturbing cover-up information with inspirational writings which call us to be all that we can be and to work together for positive change. Please visit our Inspiration Center at https://www.WantToKnow.info/inspirational for an abundance of uplifting material.
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