Justices Find that Spied-On Telephone Customers Have the Right to Sue
San Francisco – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today blocked the government’s attempt to bury the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF’s) lawsuit against the government’s illegal mass surveillance program, returning Jewel v. NSA to the District Court for the next step.
The court found that Jewel had alleged sufficient specifics about the warrantless wiretapping program to proceed. Justices rejected the government’s argument that the allegations about the well-known spying program and the evidence of the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco were too speculative.
“Since the dragnet spying program first came to light, we have been fighting for the chance to have a court determine whether it is legal,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “Today, the Ninth Circuit has given us that chance, and we look forward to proving the program is an unconstitutional and illegal violation of the rights of millions of ordinary Americans.”
Also today, the court upheld the dismissal of EFF’s other case aimed at ending the illegal spying, Hepting v. AT&T, which was the first lawsuit against a telecom over its participation in the dragnet domestic wiretapping. The court found that the so-called “retroactive immunity” passed by Congress to stop telecommunications customers from suing the companies is constitutional, in part because the claims remained against the government in Jewel v. NSA.
“By passing the retroactive immunity for the telecoms’ complicity in the warrantless wiretapping program, Congress abdicated its duty… Continue reading
By Russ Baker
December 26, 2011
A growing body of evidence points to a concerted campaign to prepare Americans and the world for war against Iran. This is not idle speculation. It fits a pattern that repeatedly preceded previous hostilities.
Here are the recent examples on Iran:
-The claim that Iran is a WMD threat. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the long-term, continuing efforts to paint Iran as some kind of nuclear threat. This ignores the possibility that Iran is telling the truth in contending it is embarked on solely non-military nuclear research (debatable), and serious doubts among many experts that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons. Perhaps most important, it discounts the fact that many countries (including Iran’s arch-enemy Israel) have nuclear weapons, and disregards the undoubted truth that if a country like Iran ever did launch nuclear weapons, it would be wiped out in a nanosecond, creating a very strong disincentive for offensive use. At the same time, by encouraging other countries and internal foes to believe that it has nuclear weapons, Iran creates an inexpensive protective shield for its regime. A dangerous game, to be sure, but without further evidence of Iranian nukes, hardly a reason to launch a war that would surely cause even more death and destruction than the misguided Iraq invasion.
-The claim that Iran tried to hire Mexican drug cartel hit squads to kill a Saudi ambassador on US soil (fizzled). Remember this one? So ludicrous that even ultra-cautious corporate news organizations… Continue reading
By Elisabeth Bumiller
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware disposed of body parts of some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by burning them and dumping the ashes in a landfill, an independent panel said in a report to the Pentagon released on Tuesday.
The startling new disclosure was the latest to tarnish the reputation of Dover, hallowed ground for the military and the entry point for the nation’s war dead, and is likely to create further anguish among families of the Sept. 11 victims.
Mortuary officials had already been under fire for what the Air Force termed “gross mismanagement” for losing the body parts of two service members in 2009, repeated failures of command, doing little to change sloppy practices and sawing off the protruding arm bone of a dead Marine without informing his family.
The method of disposal of the Sept. 11 body parts was limited to what the report said were “several portions of remains” that could not be identified from the attack on the Pentagon and the crash site in Shanksville, Pa. The report said the remains were cremated and placed in containers provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor, which then incinerated them and put them in the landfill.
Air Force officials said they could not confirm all the information about the Sept. 11 remains and were trying to clarify details on Tuesday night.
Lisa Linden, a… Continue reading
By John Bursill
Unfortunately, it now appears that a war between the US and its allies with Iran is imminent. By any military analyst’s assessment this has a real chance of changing the current multi-theatre war against terrorism and so called rogue/terrorist states into a real World War III scenario!
Following the Mainstream media (MSM) in the West over the last few months, you would be sensing that many things have happened to support the war-with-Iran rationale: hearing that Iran wants a Nuclear bomb and would be prepared to use it against Israel and the US, other alarming stories include Iran trading in weapons with “rogue states,” Iran killing innocent people abroad, Iran‘s president is insane and wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” Iran has been involved in terrorist plots/bombings and may attack inside the US and Iran is trading drugs. The list of baseless accusation goes on and on.
Interesting to remember that after 9/11 the MSM did little to question the actual events and who benefited but devoted massive media speculation to Iraq being involved while no evidence existed, managing to convince the vast majority of the American public that Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks leading to growing public support for the 2003 invasion.
Many times over the last decade it was obvious by the rhetoric out of Washington and from their many think tanks like PNAC (The Project for the New American Century) and leaked memos from the Pentagon that the… Continue reading
Trust us, Attorney General Eric Holder says — we’ll only assassinate Americans after administrative “due process.” That’s not how the Constitution works, buddy.
By Jonathan Turley
On Monday, March 5, Northwestern University School of Law was the location of an extraordinary scene for a free nation. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder presented President Barack Obama’s claim that he has the authority to kill any U.S. citizen he considers a threat. It served as a retroactive justification for the slaying of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki last September by a drone strike in northeastern Yemen, as well as the targeted killings of at least two other Americans during Obama’s term.
What’s even more extraordinary is that this claim, which would be viewed by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution as the very definition of authoritarian power, was met not with outcry but muted applause. Where due process once resided, Holder offered only an assurance that the president would kill citizens with care. While that certainly relieved any concern that Obama, or his successor, would hunt citizens for sport, Holder offered no assurances on how this power would be used in the future beyond the now all-too-familiar “trust us” approach to civil liberties of this administration.
In his speech, Holder was clear and unambiguous on only one point: “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign… Continue reading
By Brandon Turbeville
In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of national defense.
Not only that, but the authority claimed inside the EO does not only apply to National Emergencies and times of war. It also applies in peacetime.
The Act to which this Executive Order refers is the national Defense Resources Act, first passed September 8, 1950, at the beginning of the Korean conflict, as the Cold War began. Wikipedia states (please read original for full links):
The Defense Production Act (Pub.L. 81-774) is a United States law enacted on September 8, 1950, in response to the start of the Korean War. It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. Its implementing regulations, the Defense Priorities and Allocation System (DPAS), are located at 15 CFR §§700 to 700.93. The Act has been periodically reauthorized and amended, and remains in force as of 2012.
The Act contains… Continue reading
By James Bamford
March 15, 2012
The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978–and the number of plural marriages has tripled–so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive,… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
We now have an extraordinary situation that reveals the impunity with which political elites commit the most egregious crimes, as well as the special privileges to which they explicitly believe they — and they alone — are entitled. That a large bipartisan cast of Washington officials got caught being paid substantial sums of money by an Iranian dissident group that is legally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, and then meeting with and advocating on behalf of that Terrorist group, is very significant for several reasons. New developments over the last week make it all the more telling. Just behold the truly amazing set of facts that have arisen:
In June, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law . In that case, the Court upheld the Obama DOJ’s very broad interpretation of the statute that criminalizes the providing of “material support” to groups formally designated by the State Department as Terrorist organizations. The five-judge conservative bloc (along with Justice Stevens) held that pure political speech could be permissibly criminalized as “material support for Terrorism” consistent with the First Amendment if the “advocacy [is] performed in coordination with , or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” (emphasis added). In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that… Continue reading
Bomber involved in plot to attack US-bound jet was working as an informer with
Saudi intelligence and the CIA, it has emerged
By Paul Harris and Ed Pilkington
May 8, 2012
A would-be "underwear bomber" involved in a plot to attack a US-based
jet was in fact working as an undercover informer with Saudi intelligence and
the CIA, it has emerged.
The revelation is the latest twist in an increasingly bizarre story about the
disruption of an apparent attempt by al-Qaida to strike at a high-profile American
target using a sophisticated device hidden in the clothing of an attacker.
The plot, which the White House said on Monday had involved the seizing of
an underwear bomb by authorities in the Middle East sometime in the last 10
days, had caused alarm throughout the US.
It has also been linked to a suspected US drone strike in Yemen where two Yemeni
members of al-Qaida were killed by a missile attack on their car on Sunday,
one of them a senior militant, Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso.
But the news that the individual at the heart of the bomb plot was in fact
an informer for US intelligence is likely to raise just as many questions as
Citing US and Yemeni officials, Associated Press reported that the unnamed
informant was working under cover for the Saudis and the CIA when he was given
the bomb, which was of a new non-metallic type aimed at getting past airport
The… Continue reading
In Mounting Evidence, Paul W. Rea, PhD, delivers an amply-researched critique of the 9/11 Commission and debunks the War on Terror. There’s little doubt the tragic attacks on 9/11 soon became the defining events of our time, shaping much of what has followed. But even now, over a decade later, how well does the public actually understand them? Other researchers have written about key facets of 9/11 — the fall of World Trade Center buildings, the air-defense failures, the backgrounds of the hijackers, or the role of the Saudi funders. In Mounting Evidence, Dr. Rea shows how, by understanding the shattering events of that dark day, Americans can end seemingly endless wars and take back personal liberties they’ve lost.
Dr. Rea feels so committed to bringing historical truth to the events of 9/11 that he has made his book, Mounting Evidence, available on Amazon.com.
Dr. Paul W. Rea has taught humanities at Ohio State University, the University of Northern Colorado and St. Mary’s College of California. Now a full-time researcher and writer, Dr. Rea focuses on political, peace and environmental issues.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, please attend in person to support.
Cost: Suggested donation $20 and a dish to share if you are also joining the 6-7 pm… Continue reading
by Philip Giraldi
The most recent issue of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s annual Report on Terrorism [.pdf] came out last week, covering the year 2011. I would like to say that it is well worth a read, but actually it is quite tedious. For those who are interested, it is essentially a statistical and analytical breakdown of the terrorism phenomenon derived from the U.S. government–maintained Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, or WITS, which is based on publicly available open-source material reporting alleged terrorist activity around the globe. Most often the analysis is bare bones and avoids political coloration, not, for example, going deeply into the motives of the various terrorist groups but instead providing information in a pie chart and chronological fashion. This year’s report is 33 pages long.
The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White… Continue reading
Investigative journalist and prolific author Chris Hedges was interviewed on C-Span’s BookTV January 19, 2012. Following is the full-length video:
BookTV’s video link to this Chris Hedges interview only offers about 10 minutes of the three hour show. The description uploaded with at BookTV’s YouTube user channel follows:
Chris Hedges is the author of nine books:
War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning (2002)
What Every Person Should Know About War (2003)
Losing Moses on the Freeway: The Ten Commandments in America (2005)
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007)
I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008)
Collateral Damage: America’s War Against Iraqi Civilians (2008)
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009)
The Death of the Liberal Class (2010)
The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress (2011)
The link to this video was brought to our attention as part of the daily newswire from Information Clearing House. You can subscribe to this excellent service at Informationclearinghouse.info.
by Susanne Posel
President Obama has usurped all available forms of communication for use and discretion of the US government. Under an Executive Order (June 6, 2012) entitled Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions, Obama has enabled the executive branch to control communications “under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience.” (For full text of the Executive Order, seen Annex below).
Radio and wired communications systems “of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.”
Cellular phone corporations like Sprint owned Boost Mobile have released messages to their customers concerning the US government’s allocation of their phone communications at the whim of the President. In a text message to customers, Boost Mobile said that: “. . . you can receive national and local emergency alerts directly on your phone.”
Back in 2011, Hillary Clinton admitted that the US government, via the mainstream media, is losing their “information war” with the American public. As alternative media becomes more prevalent, the propaganda must be taken up a notch in order to keep the masses onboard with the agendas of the US government.
Danny Schechter, filmmaker and investigative journalist, explains that MSM cannot compete with the alternative media. Schechter says that “America feels on the defensive because it can no longer” monopolize the thoughts of citizens domestically and abroad. Since the US government thinks “its point of view is the only point of view” these new news outlets are “extremely damaging” to the US continual purveyance of propaganda.
The Presidential Alert was announced in August of 2011, wherein the Commissioners for the FCC required that television, radio stations and cable systems (including satellites) will redirect broadcasting if the President wants to “alert Americans of impending danger”. Continue reading
July 17, 2012
By Matt Zimmerman
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Since the first national security letter statute was passed in 1986, the FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters seeking private telecommunications and financial records of Americans without any prior approval from courts. Indeed, for the period between 2003 and 2006 alone, almost 200,000 requests for private customer information were sought pursuant to various NSL statutes. Prior to 2011, the constitutionality of this legal authority to investigate the records of Americans without court oversight had been challenged in court — as far as we know — exactly one time. EFF is today releasing FBI-redacted briefing from a major new ongoing case in which it is challenging one of the NSL statutes on behalf of a telecommunications company that received an NSL in 2011. Not only does this briefing show that the Department of Justice continues to strongly protect the FBI’s NSL authority, it highlights a startlingly aggressive new tactic used by the Department of Justice: suing NSL recipients who challenge the FBI’s authority, arguing that court challenges to such authority themselves amount to breaking the law.
National security letter statutes — five in all — are controversial laws that allow the FBI to easily bypass courts and issue administrative letters on their own authority to telecommunications companies and financial institutions demanding information about their customers. The NSL statutes permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing the fact that the demand was made, preventing them from… Continue reading
by Karen McVeigh, UK Guardian
Five Guantánamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks were back before a military tribunal on Monday for pre-trial hearings after months of delay.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the alleged mastermind of 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in US history – and his four co-defendants sat quietly at the defence tables, watched by military guards. Defendant Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi responded to the judge’s questions about his request for additional legal counsel, according to the Associated Press, before the hearing was adjourned.
The calm start to the proceedings was in sharp contrast to the previous hearing in May, which was marred by protests, outbursts and the defendants’ refusal to answer questions from the judge. It lasted 13 hours.
The hearings, in Camp Justice, the war court compound at the US naval base in Cuba, are expected to focus on secrecy and transparency, but will cover a range of issues from whether the prison camps can force the men to attend their own trials to what they can wear in court, the Miami Herald reported.
The hearings are part of the legal proceedings required to move the case to trial, estimated to be at least a year away. They were scheduled for August but delayed by tropical storm Isaac.
Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen from Kuwait, who attended college in North Carolina, has told military officials that he planned the 9/11 attacks “from A to Z” and was involved in about 30 other terrorist plots. He… Continue reading
Introductory Comments by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted at PaulCraigRoberts.org
When Chris Floyd is at his best, as he is below, he puts things in perspective for readers that they otherwise never confront. Obama has won reelection, and his supporters think that somehow things are going to be different. Fat chance.
While evil continues to envelop America, the public is focused on CIA director General Petraeus’s resignation. The FBI spied on him and found that he was having an affair with his biographer, a woman 20 years younger than his 60 years.
What is it with Americans and sex? Why is an illicit affair the ONLY reason for removing someone from political office? Why is it that government officials, presidents and vice presidents included, can violate US statutory law and torture people, spy on Americans without the necessary warrants, murder US citizens without due process, confine US citizens to dungeons for life without evidence and due process of law, start multi-trillion dollar wars on the basis of contrived allegations that have no basis in fact, murder civilians in seven countries, overthrow legitimate governments, and all of these massive crimes against humanity can be accepted as long as no one in Washington gets any sex out of it? Is this feminism’s contribution to American morality?
Has the United States, the hero of the Cold War, become in its behavior and motivations the enemy it overcame? Why does Washington want hegemony over the world? Why does Washington want this hegemony so badly that… Continue reading
by Ryan Gallagher
When a former senior White House official describes a nationwide surveillance effort as “breathtaking,” you know civil liberties activists are preparing for a fight.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the little-known National Counterterrorism Center, based in an unmarked building in McLean, Va., has been granted sweeping new authority to store and monitor massive datasets about innocent Americans.
After internal wrangling over privacy and civil liberties issues, the Justice Department reportedly signed off on controversial new guidelines earlier this year. The guidelines allow the NCTC, for the first time, to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, using “predictive pattern-matching,” to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. The data the counterterrorism center has access to, according to the Journal, includes “entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others.”
Notably, the Journal reports that these changes also allow databases about U.S. civilians to be handed over to foreign governments for analysis, presumably so that they too can attempt to determine future criminal actions. The Department of Homeland Security’s former chief privacy officer said that it represents a “sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public.”
The snooping effort, which officials say is subject to “rigorous oversight,” is reminiscent of the so-called Total Information Awareness initiative, dreamt up in the aftermath of 9/11 by the Pentagon’s research unit DARPA. The aim of the TIA initiative was essentially to create… Continue reading
by Wendy McElroy
The Dollar Vigilante
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is tightening its grip on domestic travel. I don’t mean the random, unpredictable security checks at bus, subway and train stations which already exist. I mean a coordinated and systematic police control of internal travel within America. Groundwork is being laid.
APPLICATION TO MAKE U.S. INTO AN AIRPORT SCREENING ZONE
The application was tucked away on page 71431 of Volume 77, Number 231 of the Federal Register (November 30). It was surrounded by soporific references to forwarding “the new Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).”
The application for funding from the TSA constitutes a preliminary step toward systematically expanding TSA‘s authority from airports to highways and almost every other means of public travel. The expansion would erase one of the last remaining differences between the US and a total police state; namely, the ability to travel internally without being under police surveillance. The total police state you experience at airports wants to spill into roads and bus stops, to subways and trains. Or, rather, the TSA wants to solidify and spread the fledgling and erratic presence it already has.
The official request reads, “TSA‘s Highway BASE program [Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement] seeks to establish the current state of security gaps and implemented countermeasures throughout the highway mode of transportation by posing questions to… Continue reading