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Civil Liberties

US pushing local cops to stay mum on surveillance

Originally published at AP by Jack Gillum and Eileen Sullivan on 6/12/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.

Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment.…

Fisa court grants extension of licence for bulk collection of US phone records

Originally published at The Guardian by Dan Roberts on 6/20/14

Reauthorisation is fifth since the Guardian revealed existence of Section 215 telephony metadata program in June last year.

The Fisa court has granted a 90-day extension of the licence that allows the NSA to collect metadata.

US intelligence agencies have made a fifth attempt to extend their bulk collection of American telephone records – more than a year after the controversial practice was first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.…

White House more involved in CIA-Senate dispute

Originally posted By Stephanie Condon at CBS News on March 13, 2014

The White House has played a larger role in the serious dispute between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over an ongoing investigation, according to reports.

President Obama’s team has been withholding about 9,400 documents that the Intelligence Committee requested as part of its review of the CIA’s now-defunct detention and interrogation program, McClatchy reports. Since 2009, the White House has ignored or rejected multiple requests from the committee to review the documents.…

British Ex-Spy Launches Fund to Support Whistleblowers Like Snowden

Originally published at WIRED by John Borland on 12/29/13

HAMBURG – A new foundation to support whistleblowers is being launched by former British intelligence agent Annie Machon, whose resignation and revelations about U.K. spying activities in the 1990s sparked controversy echoing this year’s NSA news.

Speaking at the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) here, Machon said the foundation would be called the Courage Fund to Protect Journalistic Sources.

“Crucially, we want to encourage other whistleblowers to come forward,” she said.…

The Terrorism That Torture Didn’t Stop

Originally published at the Nation by Katherine Hawkins on 11/7/13

Over four years after President Obama promised to “look forward, not backward” regarding the CIA’s brutal treatment of captives under the Bush administration, the issue has not gone away. The torture debate may fade from the headlines for weeks or months at a time, but it al

ways come back. Last year the trigger was the release of Zero Dark Thirty. A few weeks ago, it was Abu Anas al-Libi’s capture, shipboard interrogation and transfer to the United States for trial.…

Revealed: NSA pushed 9/11 as key ‘sound bite’ to justify surveillance

Originally published at Aljazeera America by Jason Leopold on 10/30/13

The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.

The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

FBI calls half of populace with 9/11 doubts potential terrorists

Posted Sep 19, 2013 by Ralph Lopez

Photo of FBI Special Agent

A special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) New York Field Office Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team standing on the rooftop of a skyscraper in Downtown Manhattan

The FBI is instructing local police departments and “communities against terrorism” to consider anyone who harbors “conspiracy theories” about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist, in a circular released to local police departments.

The memo thus adds 9/11-official-story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement to be security threats, such as those who express “libertarian philosophies,” “Second Amendment-oriented views,” interest in “self-sufficiency,” “fears of Big Brother or big government,” and “Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties.”

A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all.…

The Center Cannot Hold

By Wendy McElroy

Two events recalled a passage from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world….
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Yeats (1865-1939) wrote “The Second Coming” in 1919 to describe the moral devastation of post-WWI Europe. The “mere anarchy” is not the laissez-faire version of contract and consent between free individuals which produces good will and prosperity.…

FISA Surveillance Applications Rose Slightly in 2012

“During calendar year 2012, the Government made 1,856 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authority to conduct electronic surveillance and/or physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes.”

That somewhat opaque statistic was disclosed in the Justice Department’s latest annual report to Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, filed on Tuesday. As is usually the case, none of the requests for electronic surveillance were denied by the Court.

No matter how it is sliced and diced, the newly disclosed number of applications does not yield much substance.…

TSA’s Grip on internal Travel is Tightening

Originally published at The Dollar Vigilante by Wendy McElroy on 12/11/12

Image of TSA agent putting on glovesThe 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.


The application was tucked away on page 71431 of Volume 77, Number 231 of the Federal Register (November 30).…

Massive New Surveillance Program Uncovered by Wall Street Journal

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.…

Mother of American Torture Victim José Padilla Brings Case Before International Human Rights Tribunal

U.S. Courts Have Denied Recourse
December 11, 2012


NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and Yale Law School’s Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic today filed a petition against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) for the unlawful detention and torture of José Padilla, a U.S. citizen, whom the United States detained and interrogated for four years.

The petition was filed by Padilla’s mother, Estella Lebron, on her own and on her son’s behalf.…

Ruby Ridge: The Age of State Terrorism Begins

August 22, 2012
By William Norman Grigg
Pro Libertate

Sara Weaver has forgiven the people responsible for murdering her mother Vicki and younger brother Samuel twenty years ago.

Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who shot Vicki in the head while she was holding a ten-month-old infant, is still being sheltered by the Regime that employed him. If he were any part of a man, Horiuchi would make a pilgrimage to Sara’s home in Montana to express remorse for the crimes he committed against her family.…

New 9/11 truth documentary among ‘most watched’ on PBS this week

September 8, 2012
By Victoria N. Alexander

“9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” is getting public attention and casting doubt on the scientific validity of the U.S. government’s investigation into the WTC tragedy. PBS is the first major network to air the program.

Just days away from the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy and months away from the U.S. presidential election, a game-changing 9/11 documentary is ranking number three among “most watched” documentaries on PBS and number one among “most shared.” Available for free online August 18th – September 4th, the documentary could have a significant effect on public opinion.…

History Commons New 9/11 Timeline Entries

August 9, 2012
New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Hijacking Exercises, Air Force One’s Movements, Laura Bush on Sept. 11, and More

History Commons is only halfway towards its summer fundraising goal. Please contribute generously to help the History Commons stay alive and functioning.

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, most of which provide new details about the events of the day of September 11, 2001.…

EFF Challenges National Security Letter Statute in Landmark Lawsuit

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.…

Obama Seizes Control of All Communications Systems With Executive Order

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.…

The U.S. Internment Camp: Prison for a New American Century

A newly uncovered Army document details U.S. internment camps on American soil .

Ryan Cummings, Contributor Activist Post

Photo of prison The topic of civilian internment camps in the United States has been largely dismissed as a paranoid “conspiracy theory” by the mainstream media. Recent legislation and newly uncovered government documents, however, reveal the sad truth: The United States is quickly descending into a full-blown authoritarian police state.

NDAA 2012: Patriot Act Part Two

On December 31, 2011, while the majority of Americans were busy watching balls drop and drinking themselves into oblivion, President Obama quietly signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.