Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives.
More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one.
The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.
“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act. Continue reading »
Alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was convicted not on the basis of any evidence but by a jury intimidated by Tsarnaev’s prior conviction in the media by statements made by authorities precisely for the purpose of preventing a trial based on evidence. The jurors knew that the failure to convict would make them pariahs among their brainwashed families, friends, and communities. In former times when the US had the rule of law, the irresponsible statements by public officials repeated endlessly in the media would have likely resulted in the court dismissing the case on the grounds that public authorities had made a fair trial impossible.
Tsarnaev’s attorney knew that evidence would play no role in the case and focused on trying to save Dzhokhar from a death sentence by blaming the older brother who was killed by police. Perhaps Dzhokhar’s attorney remembered what happened to attorney Lynne Stewart who was sentenced to prison for representing a client for whom the government only wanted a pro forma representation. Continue reading »
While a source of much schadenfreude by its neighbors and casual onlookers, Turkey has become a glaring example of what happens to a formerly respectable nation as it devolves entirely into a banana republic with not only authoritarian overtones but a police state to boot. And earlier today, Turkey’s conversion to a full blown police state was complete when, after weeks of heated debates and brawls in parliament, Turkey’s government passed a security package expanding police powers, along with an online surveillance law and a discretionary fund for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fund covert operations.
In other words, president Erdogan has just voted himself quasi-dictatorial powers with a private police force to defend him. Continue reading »
Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security — we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change.
Whenever I hear “bipartisan bill,” the first thing that pops into my mind is that classic George Carlin quote:
The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.
Nevertheless, when I looked at the sponsors and some of the language being used with regard to the Surveillance State Repeal Act, it became pretty clear to me that this bill might actually do what it says. While I’m unfamiliar with Mark Pocan, I’m familiar with Thomas Massie as a result of his close relationship with one of the few members of Congress I respect, Justin Amash. Continue reading »
On February 28, 2015, the collective of organizations known as Acción Colectiva del Maíz announced that they had secured four more favorable court decisions involving amparo (shelter) corporate challenges seeking to end the GMO corn ban in Mexico. These are pivotal victories but the group explains that more administrative and judicial reviews remain to be adjudicated, including five by Monsanto and Syngenta against the use of precautionary measures to manage the bio-safety risks posed by GM corn. Continue reading »
George Orwell wasn’t psychic; he was a time traveler, and we’re permanently falling down the rabbit hole of 1984.
If you live in France, your right to visit certain websites has just been terminated by the almighty government.
Why? Because terrorism.
According to a report by Glenn Greenwald, “What’s Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in Its Name?,” the French Interior Ministry has now ordered that five websites be blocked by the government because they have officially been accused of promoting terrorism.
Something I hope to encourage readers of Liberty Blitzkrieg to become aware of is their civil rights. Although the situation seems to have improved in recent years, many citizens remain woefully ignorant of their individual rights. Rights that were intentionally enshrined in the U.S. Constitution specifically to prevent the emergence of tyranny.
In our ever-changing modern technological world, the application of the Bill of Rights from time to time has needed a bit of clarification from the court system. One example of such was the 2011 case of Glik v. Cunniffe, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit noted that: “videotaping of public officials is an exercise of First Amendment liberties.”Continue reading »
… understanding what this President has done is institute the very toughest ethics and transparency rules of any administration in history… I think the President has returned to a stance of transparency and ethics that hasn’t been matched by any other White House.
… the President believes strongly in transparency… that transparency in that way in the best policy
… understand that what the President campaigned on – toughening our ethics rules, making more transparent our transparency policy – was something that he was passionate about and is proud of the progress that we’ve made in ensuring that.
And here is the president himself: “We have put in place the toughest ethics and transparency laws of any administration in history.”
Lies, lies, and nothing but lies. The lies end now.
As reported moments ago, the White House is voiding a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA (incidentally the same act that discovered none of Hillary Clinton’s “personal” government-business emails since they were not even stored on government property!) which as USA Today explains, makes “official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.” Continue reading »
The National Vaccine Information Center has issued an alert for Texans to help stop forced vaccination and government coercion in their home state. A total of nine bills are currently pending in the Texas state legislature that threaten medical choice and fundamental human rights.
These laws are the extension of the current wave of vaccine hysteria sweeping America thanks to an aggressive new push toward medical fascism by the mainstream media.
These bills blatantly violate the American Medical Association’s published Code of Ethics which require informed consent for all medical interventions. But medical extremism in America today is not bound by anything resembling medical ethics, and if these Texas lawmakers get their way, every person living in Texas will be tracked like dogs with a government-run vaccine status database that will almost certainly be used to conduct house-to-house SWAT raids and arrests of those who refuse to be vaccinated. Continue reading »
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. Continue reading »
If you are caught driving while intoxicated and happen to be an American citizen then you’re going to be arrested, fined, and potentially jailed – and rightfully so, as by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs you are putting the lives of others in danger when you drive on public roads.
But, as we’ve come to learn in recent years, if you are an undocumented alien who has entered this country illegally, the laws don’t really apply to you. You not only get to break the law by entering the United States without authorization, but you also get free health care, housing, food and tax refunds even if you falsified your employment paperwork. Continue reading »
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) has filed a writ of summons against the Ghanaian National Biosafety Committee (NBC) and the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture MoFA, with an application for an interim injunction to stop any release or commercialization of genetically modified cowpeas and rice, until the provisions of Ghana’s Biosafety Act are expressly and fully obeyed.
FSG are not only calling for an injunction on the commercialization of GM rice and Bt cowpeas, but on all GM crops until the National Biosafety Authority is in place. Continue reading »
As the new Greek government begins ‘reforming’ the previous administration’s austerity reforms and travels the length and breadth of Europe pitching its “we don’t want more loans, we want debt reduction” ultimatum, Greek judges back at home have had their own moment of clarity in the new normal. The Greek Court of Auditors ruled on Monday that a decision by the previous government to cut the pensions of judges retroactively from August 2012 was unconstitutional and in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights… Well played judges.
In a ruling Thursday lauded by Costa Rica’s anti-GMO activists, the country’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, struck down the government’s regulatory framework on genetically modified organisms, declaring the process of approval for GMO projects unconstitutional.
In the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Gilbert Armijo Sancho wrote that the regulations violate the Costa Rican Constitution because the secrecy allowed to GMO companies in terms of the genetic information of their products violates the constitutional right to freedom of information. Continue reading »
UPDATED: Read Holder’s memo here. The order also excludes joint task forces, which limits some of the potential impact.
Big, huge news on the civil asset forfeiture front: Eric Holder is ordering an end to most of the Department of Justice’s Equitable Sharing Program. This is the program where the DOJ works with local law enforcement agencies for busts, and then the law enforcement agencies are permitted to keep 80 percent of the assets seized. It has been an incubator of the worst police abuses, as some agencies looked for any possible reason to take people’s property without ever actually accusing them with a crime.
WAIMANOLO, Hawaii (AP) – Native Hawaiians could be in line for federal recognition similar to many American Indian tribes. But the issue is inflaming distrust between moderates who support the idea and others who want to see the Hawaiian Kingdom restored.
Before Hawaii became a tourist mecca, the islands were ruled by royal families. The kingdom was overthrown by a group of American businessmen in 1893. Continue reading »
Then, President Bush responded by stating, with bravado, that they attacked us because they hate our freedoms.
This time, the attack against the publication of satirical Mohammed cartoon, was not only an act of terrorism, but an attack on the spirit of free speech.
And the government response this time? After staging a photo op of world leaders, various heads of state have proposed new waves of surveillance and repressive attempts to ban encryption and violate the freedom of speech in communication devices through new spy policies and laws.
On Sunday, as more than 3 million people flooded the streets of Paris in support of the free speech principles that Charlie Hebdo embodied, a group of 12 European ministers issued a joint statement calling for internet service providers to more swiftly report and remove online material “that aims to incite hatred and terror.”
Establishing a framework to enhance police work and intelligence sharing concerning the actions of alleged terrorists and extremists, the joint statement from 12 European ministers and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declares the intent to: “counter violent extremism” and “fight against radicalization, notably on the Internet,” in part through the “swift reporting [and removal] of material that aims to incite hatred and terror.” Meanwhile, it aims to beef European border control, “step up the detection and screening of travel movements” and enhance law enforcement, particularly in “working to reduce the supply of illegal firearms throughout Europe.”Continue reading »
New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, was passed by MEPs on Tuesday. The legislation, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, was originally tabled in 2010 but was then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro- and anti-GMO member states.
“This agreement will ensure more flexibility for member states who wish to restrict the cultivation of the GMOs in their territory. It will, moreover, signpost a debate which is far from over between pro- and anti-GMO positions” said Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), who is steering the legislation through Parliament. Continue reading »