The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.This document was first revealed last July by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to call attention to an expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 — which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for . According to Wyden, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the government violated the Fourth Amendment. The FISC mostly operates in secret, so the actual court decision remained classified. Wyden was only able to say the FISC decision existed; he was unable to disclose any details about the actual surveillance techniques that were deemed unconstitutional or how many Americans they affected.
It is said that when you lie often, sooner or later you will be caught in your own web of deceit. That may have just happened with Attorney General Eric Holder.
Last week Holder appeared before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee to provide testimony regarding the Justice Department’s potentially improper confiscation of the phone records of 20 Associated Press reporters and editors.
With the euphoric market once again serving as a much needed distraction from far bigger geopolitical issues, many have forgotten the plethora of scandals the Obama administration has recently found itself engulfed in. This may change shortly, following news that the head of the US Department of Justice, Eric Holder himself, is now being investigated for lying under oath. Will he too receive an extended absence of leave (with pay) after pleading the fifth, or will the circle of lies slowly but surely start to unwind? Of course, in the New Normal it is probably not only expected, but given, that the chief legal enforcer is just a little more equal when it comes to the same justice he is tasked to enforce.
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his May 15 testimony on the Justice Department’s (DOJ) surveillance of reporters, an aide close to the matter told The Hill.
Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on the decision to seek the personal emails of a Fox News reporter by suggesting he was a “co-conspirator” in a criminal leak case, the Department of Justice confirmed in a statement on Friday.
The department “took great care in deciding that a search warrant was necessary in the Kim matter, vetting the decision at the highest levels of the Department, including discussions with the Attorney General,” the DOJ said in a statement about the search warrant seeking James Rosen’s emails.
The Justice Department argued that Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails should be monitored for an indefinite period of time, even in the absence of being able to bring charges against him, according to court filings unearthed by The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza.
If you are looking for a hilarious, short video to end the workweek with…look no further! Nothing sums up the state of disorder in the the union like watching Attorney General Eric Holder stumble when confronted on his incompetence and cronyism by the almost equally corrupt Congress. Let’s cut the guy some slack though, he was probably too busy prosecuting banker crimes to be bothered with such trivial matters…
*HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM AP PHONE RECORDS CASE
*HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF BECAUSE HE WAS QUESTIONED IN CASE
Yesterday, the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had been secretly monitoring both the personal and work phones of numerous AP editors and reporters. So just what did Holder know? For now, it is not known if Holder authorized or even knew about the investigation.
Individual liberty is being burned at the stake, as governments set fire to people natural rights. This time it has everything to do with homeschooling.
It all started in Germany. Uwe and Hannelore Romeike were raising their five children in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, when they decided to remove their children from the public education system. In 2006, the Romeike’s illegally withdrew their children from the German public schools system and began homeschooling. Believing that the public education system was undermining their Christian faith, the Romeike’s began breaking the law and teaching their kids at home. By exercising their natural rights, the Romeikes were fined over $10,000 by the German government and at one point their children were forcefully removed from their home. In 2010, after getting their children back, they chose to flee Germany and move to the United States.
Finding freedom in the US, only to be challenged again, this time by the US
Upon arrival in Tennessee, the Romeikes were granted asylum. A federal judge rebuked the German policy and ruled that the Romeike’s had a reasonable fear of persecution for their personal beliefs if they returned to Germany.
Nothing much was said about the issue until the Obama’s Administration’s Department of Justice got involved.
Attorney General, Eric Holder came out and opposed the federal court ruling, siding with the German government. He pleaded that the Romeike’s be denied their asylum. Holder believes that governments may legitimately use force and authority to make parents comply with government-sanctioned schools.
With statements like these, the United States, once a beacon for liberty, is now endorsing force and mandates in regard to education. The right to homeschool and teach one’s own children is a fundamental human right is now at stake. It doesn’t matter what beliefs each family has. It’s liberty that matters. According to Holder, that liberty should be supervised by the federal government. Continue reading »
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”
– Aldous Huxley, 1961
“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” – Adolf Hitler
And so the final curtain falls on the myth of what was supposed to be, in its own words, the “most transparent administration“ in history.
As it turns out, the big Friday story of Bloomberg journalists snooping on its clients was just amateur hour compared to what the AP was about to serve. In fact, the Watergate affair may soon appear like a walk in the park compared to the First Amendment shitstorm that is about to be unleashed following the just reported news that the US Department of Justice had “secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.”
First amendment? Freedom of speech and press? Surely not when it comes to the Nobel-peace prize winning President and those who dare to expose his secret ways.
And what’s worst, is that the AP breach has all the makings of a spiteful hack driven by personal vengeance against one of America’s premier news outlets.
We can’t wait to see the rest of the not so conservative media stands up in arms and defend one of their peers against an administration whose utter disdain for all checks and balances puts Stalinist Russia to shame. Or perhaps it will be merely a case of “first they came for AP’s reporters, and we said nothing…”
And while it has long been known that the NSA actively intercepts and records every single form of electronic communication, the unspoken truth is that the government can do anything it wants as long as it doesn’t get caught. It just did, and not only in Benghazi, or the IRS fiasco, but in making a complete mockery of the First Amendment.
As the NSA whistleblower told Wired Magazine over a year ago, “we are this far from a turnkey totalitarian state“, all we can add is “we are now in a full-blown totalitarian state.”
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling may be the latest beneficiary of the culture of pervasive permitted, even according to some – encouraged, crime. After being sentenced to prison for 24 years in the aftermath of Enron’s spectacular 2001 bankruptcy, the former CEO may be released after serving well less than half of his term. As a result his prison term, which scheduled to end in 2028, may be cut by more than half as a result of a new agreement with the Department of Justice. It appears that AG Eric Holder is so busy not prosecuting Wall Street for being Too Big To Prosecute, he has decided it is far wiser to spend his time productively by commuting the sentences of convicted financial felons, because apparently there is nothing more important to do.
Reuters reports: “Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, who is serving a 24-year sentence over the company’s spectacular collapse, may get a chance to leave prison early. The U.S. Department of Justice posted a notice indicating that prosecutors are considering entering an agreement with Skilling that could result in his being resentenced. It is unclear how much Skilling’s term could be shortened under a resentencing agreement. Wednesday’s notice gives former Enron employees, stockholders and other victims of Skilling’s fraud that led to Enron’s 2001 bankruptcy a chance to object.”
It was only yesterday that we wrote about comparable problems to those which Russian depositors may (or may not be?) suffering in Cyprus right, this time impacting wealthy Americans and their Swiss bank accounts, where as a result of unprecedented DOJ pressure the local banks will soon breach all client confidentiality and expose all US citizens who still have cash in the former tax haven under the assumption that they are all tax evaders and violators. And in the continuum of creeping wealth taxes which first started in Switzerland, then Cyprus, and soon who knows where else, there was just one question: “The question then is: how many of the oligarchs, Russian or otherwise, who avoided a complete wipe out and total capital controls in Cyprus, will wait to find out if the same fate will befall them in Switzerland? Or Luxembourg? Or Liechtenstein? Or Singapore?” Today we got the answer, and yes it was one of the abovementioned usual suspects. The winner is…. Liechtenstein.
Those who watched Frontline’s special on why nobody has been prosecuted on Wall Street titled appropriately “The Untouchables” didn’t learn much new. The rehash of ideas presented is what has been well known for years – namely that when it comes to prosecuting Wall Street criminals nothing will ever happen, because as Bill Gross tweeted ” Its not Republican in politics. Its not Dem in politics. Its money in politics” and all the money in politics comes from Wall Street, which happens to be the ultimate ruler of the United States of America, pushing levers here and pulling stringer there to give the impression the constitutional republic is still alive. It isn’t – this country has become an unchecked despotism of those in charge of money creation and who control capital – just the thing Andrew Jackson warned against. One thing we did learn, was courtesy of Assistant Attorney General Lenny Breuer who made it very clear that when it comes to the concept of justice the banks are and always have been “more equal” than others. He does so in such shocking clarity and enthusiasm that it is a miracle that this person is still employed by the US Department of Justice.
Earlier today, we reported that “Assistant Attorney General Admits On TV That In The US Justice Does Not Apply To The Banks” when we commented on last night’s PBS special “The Untouchables.” Explicitly, we said that it was “Lenny Breuer who made it very clear that when it comes to the concept of justice the banks are and always have been “more equal” than others. He does so in such shocking clarity and enthusiasm that it is a miracle that this person is still employed by the US Department of Justice.” As of minutes ago that is no longer the case as his employment contract has been torn up. The WaPo reports, that Lanny A. Breuer is leaving the Justice Department “after leading the agency’s efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation’s largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter….It is not clear when Breuer intends to leave, nor what he plans to do once he departs, but it is certain that the prosecutor’s days in office are winding down, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.”
Breuer is widely credited with aggressively going after white-collar crime in the aftermath of the crisis. He also stepped up the division’s involvement in money laundering cases, launching a series of criminal investigations that have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements. Continue reading »
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.”
Depending on how you look at it, the world’s most notorious mercenary firm just got away with misleading the government about arming and training foreign governments — or the company agreed to pay millions, only to defer a potential prosecution on those charges. The firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to fork over $7.5 million to the Justice Department $7.5 million to avoid going to court on 17 criminal charges. It’s not exactly a bank-breaker for the company, now known as Academi LLC. Then again, the legal deal announced yesterday doesn’t get Academi entirely off the hook. Continue reading »
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.
The Justice Department is defending the government’s refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann.
Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.
These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law.
After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them.
Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir has slammed the decision by US courts to open her Twitter account to the US authorities and is taking her case to the Council of Europe.
On Thursday a US judge ruled Twitter must release the details of her account and those of two other Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks. Jonsdottir learned in January that her Twitter account was under scrutiny from the Justice Department because of her involvement last year with WikiLeaks’ release of a video showing a US military helicopter shooting two Reuters reporters in Iraq. She believes the US authorities want to use her information to try and build a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media,” said Jonsdottir. “We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the US authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
She said she would press for the Council of Europe to act on the case, which she believes sets a worrying precedent for private citizens and politicians across the world.