Oct 11

FYI.


ACLU Exposes “1984-Style” Police Surveillance On Twitter, Facebook:

Just when you thought it was safe to selfie you latest WalMart-looting or molotov-cocktail-throwing night out, think again. According to the ACLU, law enforcement officials implemented a far-reaching surveillance program to track protesters in both Ferguson and Baltimore during their recent uprisings and relied on special feeds of user data provided by three top social media companies: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

aclu-surveillance

The ACLU of California has obtained records showing that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provided user data access to Geofeedia, a developer of a social media monitoring product that we have seen marketed to law enforcement as a tool to monitor activists and protesters.

We are pleased that after we reported our findings to the companies, Instagram cut off Geofeedia’s access to public user posts, and Facebook has cut its access to a topic-based feed of public user posts. Twitter has also taken some recent steps to rein in Geofeedia though it has not ended the data relationship.

Further steps are required if these companies are to live up to their principles and policies by protecting users of all backgrounds engaging in political and social discourse.

We now know the following about these agreements: Continue reading »

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May 28

freedom-slavery

Oregon Senator Warns – The U.S. Government is Dramatically Expanding its Hacking and Surveillance Authority:

The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.

– From the post: More “War on Terror” Abuses – Spying Powers Are Used for Terrorism Only 0.5% of the Time

Ron Wyden, a Senator from Oregon, has been one of the most influential and significant champions of Americans’ embattled 4th Amendment rights in the digital age. Recall that it was Sen. Wyden who caught Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lying under oath about government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Mr. Wyden continues to be a courageous voice for the public when it comes to pushing back against Big Brother spying. His latest post at Medium is a perfect example.

Here it is in full: Continue reading »

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Aug 13

No-fly list uses ‘predictive assessments’ instead of hard evidence, US admits (Guardian, Aug 10, 2015):

In May filing, Justice Department and FBI officials admit stopping US and other citizens from travelling is based on what the government believes they might do

The Obama administration’s no-fly lists and broader watchlisting system is based on predicting crimes rather than relying on records of demonstrated offenses, the government has been forced to admit in court.

In a little-noticed filing before an Oregon federal judge, the US Justice Department and the FBI conceded that stopping US and other citizens from travelling on airplanes is a matter of “predictive assessments about potential threats”, the government asserted in May. Continue reading »

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Nov 15

cessna

Report: The U.S. is putting fake cell towers in planes to spy on people (PC World, Nov 13, 2014):

The U.S. Department of Justice is putting devices that emulate cellphone towers in Cessna aircraft and flying them around the country to track the locations of cell phones, a practice that targets criminal suspects but may also affect thousands of U.S. citizens, according to a news report Thursday.The program is run by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Marshals Service and has been in operation since at least 2007, according to the report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited two unnamed sources. The aircraft are flown out of at least five metropolitan-area airports and can cover most of the U.S. population, it said.

Cell phones are programmed to connect to whichever nearby cell tower has the strongest signal. The fake cell towers trick phones into thinking they have the strongest signal, then read the devices’ unique registration numbers when they connect, the Journal report says. Continue reading »

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Sep 13

FBI Whistleblower: Pentagon, CIA, NATO and MI6 Were Masterminds Behind 9/11 (Washington’s Blog, Sep 11, 2014):

“As Far As People Who Ran The Show, It Was The Highest Levels of NATO, the U.S., MI6, CIA And The Pentagon”

Sibel Edmonds has just released her fantastic spy thriller,  The Lone Gladio.     Here’s our review, comparing it to the best of Clancy or Ludlum … but with a twist.

In the real world, Edmonds is a former FBI translator who translated terror-related communications for the FBI right after 9/11. In that capacity, she read communications between terrorists and other radicals.

Edmonds has been deemed credible by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, several senators (free subscription required), and a coalition of prominent conservative and liberal groups.

The ACLU described Edmonds as:

The most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.

Famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says that Edmonds possesses information “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”. He also says that the White House has ordered the press not to cover Edmonds: Continue reading »

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Mar 29

After seven years, exactly one person gets off the gov’t no-fly list (Ars Technica, March 27, 2014):

New report on terrorism “blacklists” suggests it won’t be easier the next time.

A hearing in federal court Tuesday has apparently marked the conclusion of a drawn-out, costly, and, to use the judge’s own term, “Kafkaesque” legal battle over the government no-fly list. Malaysian college professor Rahinah Ibrahim sued the government back in 2006, after Dr. Ibrahim’s name mistakenly ended up on a federal government no-fly list.

Continue reading »

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Mar 15

Civil rights group report said names added to list based on secret evidence, no meaningful process to challenge errors

Watchlist could be saddling innocent people with terror label, ACLU warns
Watchlist could be saddling innocent people with terror label, ACLU warnsChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US terror ‘watchlist’ risks stigmatizing hundreds of thousands, says ACLU (Al Jazeera, March 15, 2014):

The U.S. government’s “massive” watchlist database risks stigmatizing hundreds of thousands of people as known or suspected terrorists – including some its own citizens, a leading civil liberties group has warned.

Around 875,000 names are believed to be on the list, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said. Many are included “based on information that is often stale, poorly reviewed, or of questionable reliability,” it added in a report published Friday. Moreover people are being put onto the watch list based on secret evidence and secret standards, with no meaningful process to challenge mistakes, the ACLU warned.

Continue reading »

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Jan 18

Obama’s NSA ‘reforms’ are little more than a PR attempt to mollify the public (Guardian, Jan 17, 2014):

Obama is draping the banner of change over the NSA status quo. Bulk surveillance that caused such outrage will remain in place

In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. It is the one that has been hauled out over decades in response to many of America’s most significant political scandals. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama’s much-heralded Friday speech to announce his proposals for “reforming” the National Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy.

The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are “serious questions that have been raised”. They vow changes to fix the system and ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic “reforms” so as to placate public anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge.

Continue reading »

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Dec 13


YouTube Added: Dec 12, 2013

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Dec 11

Meet Jack. Or, What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data (ACLU):

We now know that the NSA is collecting location information en masse. As we’ve long said, location data is an extremely powerful set of information about people. To flesh out why that is true, here is the kind of future memo that we fear may someday soon be uncovered:


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Dec 02

Over 700,000 people on US watch list: and once you get on, there’s no way off (RT, Dec 2, 2013):

The names of nearly three-quarters of a million individuals have been secretly added to watch lists administered by the United States government, but federal officials are adamant about keeping information about these rosters under wraps.

A report by the New York Times’ Susan Stellin published over the weekend attempted to shine much-deserved light on an otherwise largely unexposed program of federal watch lists, but details about these directories — including the names of individuals on them and what they did to get there — remain as elusive as ever.

Continue reading »

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Nov 17

FYI.



YouTube Added: Nov 14, 2013

Description:

Abby Martin remarks on a recent ACLU report highlighting the shockingly high number of people serving life sentences without parole for non-violent crime, calling out state laws that leave judges without options when setting these mandatory sentences.

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Oct 08

Book by whistleblower at center of ‘Fast and Furious’ blocked by the ATF (RT, Oct 8, 2013):

A book authored by an agent at the center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” gun running debacle has been rejected and barred from being published by the agency, citing concerns for morale.

Special Agent John Dodson, who became a whistleblower in 2011 when he approached Republican lawmakers in Congress with details of a botched attempt by the ATF to allow sales of firearms in order to build a case against Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel, has already penned a book on the saga, though it was unclear on Monday whether it will ever see the light of day.

“This would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix [field division] and would have a detremental [sic] effect on our relationships with [the Drug Enforcement Administration] and FBI,” the ATF’s rejection letter stated.

Current restrictions prevent federal employees from profiting from “any source other than the government for teaching, speaking or writing that relates to the employee’s official duties,” ruling out the possibility for Dodson to cash in on any book deal. Continue reading »

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Oct 08

FBI Accused of Using No-Fly List to Recruit Informants (AllGov, Oct 7, 2013):

Is this the beginning of the end for the federal government’s no-fly list? Just weeks after federal Judge Anna J. Brown of Portland, Oregon, refused to dismiss an ACLU suit against the list because there is “a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in traveling internationally by air which is affected by being placed on the list,” a separate lawsuit alleges that the FBI has been placing Muslims on the list “in retaliation for their refusal to work as informants against their communities and submit to questioning.”

Instituted shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the no-fly list contains the names of about 20,000 people who are not permitted to board aircraft for travel in or out of the U.S. because the government has a “reasonable suspicion” they are connected to terrorism. The names on the list are a secret, and if denied boarding a traveler’s only recourse is to submit a “Traveler Redress Inquiry Procedure” form to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and wait for a reply. Even then, however, DHS neither confirms nor denies that one is on the list, and the only way of knowing for sure is to buy an airline ticket and try to board a plane.

Continue reading »

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Aug 16

A Broken, Corrupt and Immoral Criminal Justice System (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 15, 2013):

You know that the rule of law has essentially vanished when the Attorney General himself feels compelled to state: “America’s legal system, we must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is in too many respects broken.” That is precisely what Eric Holder stated earlier this week, while seemingly taking no responsibility for that fact despite being the top lawyer in the nation. Guess he was too busy protecting his banker masters from prosecution to notice.

In any event, the broken criminal justice system really took center stage earlier this year when the federal prosector Carmen Ortiz drove child prodigy Aaron Swartz to his death by piling on overzealous charges in an attempt to advance her career. Instead she drove a gentle genius to an untimely death. Kudos Ortiz.

In light of Holder’s comment, Bloomberg columnist Clive Crook wrote an excellent article outlining some of the main attributes of out increasingly Kafkaesque legal system. Here are some key excerpts: Continue reading »

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Aug 01

Decoding the NSA: How the Agency Manipulates Language to Mislead the Public (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 1, 2013):

When we as a species use language to communicate and engage with one another, we have a certain understanding that certain words mean certain things. That is the entire purpose of language, effective communication between human beings that can be easily understood. As a result, we should be able to assume that when government bureaucrats utilize words that are commonplace within society, that these words represent specific commonly understood meanings. That would be a huge mistake.

Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman of the ACLU have compiled an excellent list of some commonplace words used by the NSA to mislead us into thinking they aren’t doing the bad things that they are actually doing. Words such as “surveillance,” “collect,” and “relevant.”

From Slate:

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has been harshly criticized for having misled Congress earlier this year about the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities. The criticism is entirely justified. An equally insidious threat to the integrity of our national debate, however, comes not from officials’ outright lies but from the language they use to tell the truth. When it comes to discussing government surveillance, U.S. intelligence officials have been using a vocabulary of misdirection—a language that allows them to say one thing while meaning quite another.
Continue reading »

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Jul 31

Greenwald: NSA hearing canceled (Politics, July 30, 2013):

This week’s informal congressional hearing on the National Security Agency’s surveillance program has been canceled, according to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who was expected to testify via satellite.

Democratic congressman Alan Grayson and a bipartisan group of congressman were expected to hear from Greenwald and other critics of the NSA’s surveillance practices on Wednesday, according to a Guardian report from last week. The meeting was not meant to be a formal committee hearing, but would take place on the Hill before a dozen members of Congress from both parties.

But Greenwald now tells POLITICO that the hearing has been canceled due to Obama’s decision to meet with House Democrats.

“Obama developed a sudden and newfound interest in House Democrats and scheduled a meeting with them for that same time,” he wrote in an email, adding that the committee was trying to re-schedule the meeting to take place before congress goes on recess.

Representatives from both the American Civil Liberties Union and the conservative Cato Institute were expected to testify, Grayson told The Guardian.

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Jul 17


Germany out

Obama administration drowning in lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance (RT, July 16/17, 2013):

Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation have sued the Obama administration and are demanding the White House stop the dragnet surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency.

Both the White House and Congress have weighed in on the case of Edward Snowden and the revelations he’s made by leaking National Security Agency documents. Now the courts are having their turn to opine, and with opportunities aplenty.

Day by day, new lawsuits waged against the United States government are being filed in federal court, and with the same regularity President Barack Obama and the preceding administration are being charged with vast constitutional violations alleged to have occurred through the NSA spy programs exposed by Mr. Snowden.

Continue reading »

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Jun 14

Sanity prevails: US Supreme Court rules that human genes are not eligible for patent protection (Natural News, June 13, 2013):

In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. The ruling invalidates the thousands of patents that have already been granted on human genes, including the patent by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA breast cancer genes which the company says no one else can research or even detect without paying it a royalty. Click here to read the complete ruling.

“Myriad did not create anything,” said Justice Clarence Thomas. “To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”

Well, exactly. This point should have been obvious to the lower courts, too, but in today’s world of corporate domination over seemingly everything, gene industry lawyers were able to argue that patent protection would somehow inspire more innovation and research. “The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment,” wrote Reuters.

Continue reading »

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Jun 12

“Metadata” Can Tell the Government More About You Than the Content of Your Phonecalls (Washington’s Blog, June 12, 2013)

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Jun 11

See also:

Ron Paul Blasts Presstitute Piers Morgan & NSA ‘PRISM’ Defenders: ‘What Should The Penalty Be For People Who Destroy The Constitution?’ – ‘You’re Justifying Dictatorship!’ (Video)


Supreme Court Standoff Next? ACLU Sues Obama Over Constitutionality Of NSA Surveillance (ZeroHedge, June 11, 2013):

If the constitutional scholar was hoping he would quietly avoid a major showdown over the constitutionality of the biggest spying scandal since Nixon (whether legal or not remains to be determined) and which would likely have led to an early POTUS retirement if current president was republican, the ACLU just slammed the door shut on the possibility. Moments ago, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic phone calls, contending that the once-secret program is illegal and asking a judge to both stop it and order the records purged. And, as the NYT reports, “the lawsuit, filed in New York, could set up an eventual Supreme Court test.” Only once that happens it will be too bad that InTrade is no longer available, to take the other side of a trade that believes the SCOTUS will for once do the right thing and preserve the constitution when everyone knows the decision to formally enact a Big Brother state will pass along political party lines and America will officially become the country that for 5 decades, at least superficially, it was waging “cold war” against.

From NYT:

The program began as part of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 programs of surveillance without warrants, and, it is now known, it has continued since 2006 with the blessing of a national security court, which has ruled in still-secret legal opinions that such bulk surveillance was authorized by a section of the Patriot Act that allows the F.B.I. to obtain “business records” if they are relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.

Continue reading »

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Jun 06

Disclosed classified docs show vast, real-time, warrantless NSA online surveillance (RT, June 6, 2013):

Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.

The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.

The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.

According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.

That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”

With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more. Continue reading »

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May 10

Guess What’s Hidden in the Immigration Bill? A National Biometric Database for Citizens (Liberty  Blitzkrieg, May 10, 2013):

Oh just another eight hundred page “bipartisan” bill that nobody will read,  mainstream media will refuse to cover, and that will merely further destroy any remnants of freedom left in these United States.  Never forget the George Carlin quote on bipartisanship:

“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”

From Wired:

The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.

Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.

This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.

“It starts to change the relationship between the citizen and state, you do have to get permission to do things,” said Chris Calabrese, a congressional lobbyist with the American Civil Liberties Union. “More fundamentally, it could be the start of keeping a record of all things.”

Continue reading »

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May 09

No Joke…This is What the ACLU Received from the Government on Text Surveillance Policy (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 9, 2013):

Fifteen pages of black squares.  How’s that freedom tasting?  Take that terrorists!

Most. Transparent. Ever.

ACLU

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Apr 11

IRS: We can read emails without warrant (The Hill, April 10, 2013):

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.

In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy. Continue reading »

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Feb 20

Just Say NO: Seattle Residents Kill the City’s Drone Program (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 19, 2013):

The anti-surveillance state movement is gaining traction and following Charlottesville, Virginia becoming the first city to pass anti-drone legislation, the engaged citizenry of Seattle have now succeeded in killing their city’s own drone program earlier this month.  On the state level, while legislation has been introduced in several places, it appears Florida is closest to enacting domestic surveillance drone regulations into law.  The title of the bill is the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act.”

From Forbes: Continue reading »

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Feb 11

Goodbye Fourth Amendment: Homeland Security Affirms “Suspicionless” Confiscation Of Devices Along Border (ZeroHedge, Feb 9, 2013):

Slowly but surely the administration is making sure that both the US constitution, and its various amendments, become a thing of the past. In the name of national security, of course. And while until now it was the First and Second amendments that were the target of the administration’s ongoing efforts to eavesdrop on anyone, all the time, in order to decide who may be a domestic terrorist and thus fit for ‘droning’, coupled with an aggressive push to disarm and curtail the propagation of weapons in what some perceive is nothing more than an attempt to take away a population’s one recourse to defend itself against a tyrannical government, the time may be coming to say goodbye to the Fourth amendment – the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures – next. But only in close proximity to the border at first. According to Wired, “the Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.”

More on America’s quest, by a very select few, to one by one extinguish its civil liberties from Wired:

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

Continue reading »

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Feb 09

DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border (Wired, Feb 8, 2013):

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

Continue reading »

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Jan 20

Justice Department ‘Complies’ With FOIA Request For GPS Tracking Memos; Hands ACLU 111 Fully Redacted Pages (TechDirt, Jan 17,2013)

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Jan 03

From the article:

‘The public has a right to know more about the circumstances in which the government believes it can lawfully kill people, including US citizens, who are far from any battlefield and have never been charged with a crime.’


White House wins fight to keep drone killings of Americans secret (RT, Jan 2, 2013):

A federal judge issued a 75-page ruling on Wednesday that declares that the US Justice Department does not have a legal obligation to explain the rationale behind killing Americans with targeted drone strikes.

United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon wrote in her finding this week that the Obama administration was largely in the right by rejecting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times for materials pertaining to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to execute three US citizens abroad in late 2011 [pdf].

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both US nationals with alleged ties to al-Qaeda, were killed on September 30 of that year using drone aircraft; days later, al-Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was executed in the same manner. Although the Obama administration has remained largely quiet about the killings in the year since, a handful of statements made from senior White House officials, including Pres. Barack Obama himself, have provided some but little insight into the Executive Branch’s insistence that the killings were all justified and constitutionally-sound. Attempts from the ACLU and the Times via FOIA requests to find out more have been unfruitful, though, which spawned a federal lawsuit that has only now been decided in court.

Continue reading »

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Nov 28

Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois (Chicago Tribune, Nov 26, 2012):

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers.
Continue reading »

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Sep 29

All Your Private Data Are Belong To Obama (ZeroHedge, Sep 28, 2012):

When it comes to spying, eavesdropping on its citizens as well as the complete invasion of American privacy, the first thing that comes to mind is the Patriot ACT and Dubya. And with good reason: because while the rest of the world may “hate us for our freedoms”, they certainly love us for the fact that the NSA usually can autocomplete sentences before they are written in any electronic medium (recall: NSA Whistleblower Speaks Live: “The Government Is Lying To You“). However, as it turns out that the first thing that should be coming to mind is none other than the current administration and Barack Obama. Here are the facts: as the ACLU reveals using documents released by the Justice Department following months of litigation, “federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.” How “increasingly”? Look at the chart below and decide.

From the ACLU: Between 20909 and 2011 “the number of people whose telephones were the subject of pen register and trap and trace surveillance more than tripled. In fact, more people were subjected to pen register and trap and trace surveillance in the past two years than in the entire previous decade.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is how Uncle Sam spies on you: Continue reading »

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Sep 20

Supreme Court to rule on legality of wiretapping through FISA (RT, Sep 19, 2012):

The fight to stop the government’s sweeping surveillance of emails and phone calls will go all the way to the Supreme Court. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping provisions included under the FISA Amendment Acts.

The US House of Representative voted last week to reauthorize the 2008 amendments added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that allow for blanketing surveillance and eavesdropping of any communication suspected to be sent outside of the United States. Under the FISA Amendment Act (FAA), the government is granted the power to peer into the inboxes of any American and listen in on long-distance calls without ever requiring a judge’s approval. Pending approval from the Senate, the FAA will be renewed this year and be left on the books for another five years. The American Civil Liberties Union is adamantly opposed, however, and has asked the highest court in America to intervene.

On Monday, attorneys with the ACLU filed a brief (.pdf) with the Supreme Court challenging FISA and the FAA in hopes of keeping the feds from further snooping on message assumed to be private but made open to the National Security Agency with little oversight into their endeavors. The claim was filed on behalf of plaintiffs composed of human rights activists, attorneys, journalists and others opposed to the act “whose work requires them to engage in sensitive and sometimes privileged telephone and e-mail communications with people located outside the U.S,” the ACLU explains.

“Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals,” the ACLU writes in the brief.

Continue reading »

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Sep 20

CIA sued over drone killings (RT, Sep 20, 2012):

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking the CIA to court for the agency’s refusal to comply with a FOIA request to hand over documents about the Obama administration’s “targeted killing” drone program.

The CIA claims its drone program is “secret,” even though President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and senior government officials have publicly spoken about the program. In May, the New York Times found that President Obama personally oversees a drone “kill list,” using the weapon to target and kill terrorists abroad and often cause fatalities to bystanders near the target. But the CIA considers all military-age males killed in a strike zone to be “combatants,” the Times found.

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in January 2010 asking the government to disclose “its use of predator drones to conduct ‘targeted killings’ overseas,” but the CIA refused to confirm or deny any information regarding the drones.

The CIA cannot deny the existence of the government’s targeted killing program and refuse to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about the program while officials continue to make public statements about it,” the ACLU wrote in a press release.

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Aug 30

From the article:

Obama is a despicable patsy, a front man for powerful private interests, and Democrats should be totally ashamed to have elevated such a cowardly lowlife. But as awful as Obama is, a vote for Republicans is a vote for Hitler or Stalin. Indeed, the election of Romney and Ryan would be worse than either.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Putin Is Demonized While Democracy Fails In Amerika (Paul Craig Roberts, Aug 30, 2012):

The latest “rights group” to jump on Russia’s President Putin about Pussy Riot is RootsAction. Following the propaganda line that Washington has established, RootsAction’s appeal for money and petition signers states that the three Russian women were sentenced to two years in prison “for the ‘crime’ of performing a song against Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church.”

This statement is a propagandistic misrepresentation of the offense for which the women were tried and convicted.

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Aug 28

Watch the video HERE.

The Program (New York Times, Aug 22, 2012):

It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.

“The decision must have been made in September 2001,” Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. “That’s when the equipment started coming in.” In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying. Continue reading »

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Jul 18

Pentagon, CIA Sued for Lethal Drone Attacks on U.S. Citizens (Wired, July 18, 2012):

Survivors of three Americans killed by targeted drone attacks in Yemen last year sued top-ranking members of the United States government, alleging Wednesday they illegally killed the three, including a 16-year-old boy, in violation of international human rights law and the U.S. Constitution.

“The government has killed three Americans. It should account for its actions. This case gives us an opportunity to do that,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a press call.

The suit, (.pdf) being litigated by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, seeks unspecified damages and highlights the government’s so-called unmanned drone “targeted killing” program that the ACLU and the center maintain have killed thousands, including hundreds of innocent bystanders overseas.

The suit, the first of its kind, alleges the United States was not engaged in an armed conflict with or within Yemen, prohibiting the use of lethal force unless “at the time it is applied, lethal force is a last resort to protect against a concrete, specific, and imminent threat of death or serious physical injury.” The case directly challenges the government’s decision to kill Americans without judicial scrutiny.

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Jul 01
From the very beginning of genetic research and modification, it was obvious that it would only be a matter of time before a claim would be staked on the very programming of human life by governments or international corporations. Unfortunately, that day has finally come with the recent patent of two human genes by Myriad Genetics.
The two genes being targeted by Myriad are BRCA1 and BRCA2 and they have already been the subject of several court rulings and a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Some scientists are claiming that these genes provide a link to “hereditary” breast or ovarian cancer. Yet, considering the history of corporations and the advantages they would gain by “owning” the DNA of a species (particularly of the human variety), we can safely assume that there is another agenda afoot which is concerned with more than mere science and development.
With that in mind, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit directed against Myriad Genetics aimed at challenging their claim to the human genes. Interestingly enough, this lawsuit is also working its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for a second time.

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May 25

Groups Concerned Over Arming Of Domestic Drones (CBS, May 23, 2012):

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the use of domestic drones increasing, concern has not just come up over privacy issues, but also over the potential use of lethal force by the unmanned aircraft.

Drones have been used overseas to target and kill high-level terror leaders and are also being used along the U.S.-Mexico border in the battle against illegal immigration. But now, these drones are starting to be used domestically at an increasing rate.

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras.

Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.

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May 18


YouTube Added: 17.05.2012

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