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Civil Liberties

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The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

By James Bamford
March 15, 2012
Wired.com


Photo Credit, Name withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz

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

New Obama Executive Order Seizes U.S. Infrastructure and Citizens for Military Preparedness

By Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

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.

 

Show Editor’s Note: »

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

Obama’s Kill Doctrine

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
Foreignpolicy.com

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.
 

Editor’s Note:
See also: “Who said it: Bush or Obama?” by Uri Friedman, also at ForeignPolicy.com.

 
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

Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal

February 29, 2012
RT.com

Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.

Under current law, White House trespassers are prosecuted under a local ordinance, a Washington, DC legislation that can bring misdemeanor charges for anyone trying to get close to the president without authorization. Under H.R. 347, a federal law will formally be applied to such instances, but will also allow the government to bring charges to protesters, demonstrators and activists at political events and other outings across America.

The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a… Continue reading

How To Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect

February 20, 2012
by Eva Galperin

Electronic Frontier Foundation

[UPDATE 2/22/2012] It is important to note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. More information at the end of this post.]

On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.

Here’s how you can do that:

1. Sign into your Google account.

Image of Google Web History

2. Go to https://www.google.com/history

Image for removing google web history

3. Click “remove all Web History.”

Final image for removing all web history from Google

4. Click “ok.”

Image of page showing web history is paused

Note that removing your Web History also pauses it. Web History will remain off until you enable it again.

[UPDATE 2/22/2012]: Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using… Continue reading

FBI: Paying Cash for Coffee Potential Terrorism?

FBI says paying for your morning coffee with cash a potential terrorist activity, urges coffee shop owners to report cash-paying customers to authorities

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
NaturalNews.com

Purchasing a cup of coffee using cash instead of a credit or debit card, using Google Maps to view photos of sporting event stadiums and large cities, and installing software to protect your internet privacy on your mobile phone — these and many other mundane activities are now considered to be potential terrorist activities by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). And the agency is now distributing a new series of flyers as part of its new “Communities Against Terrorism” (CAT) program that urges shop owners and others to report such “suspicious” activity to authorities.

“The Communities Against Terrorism program is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the SLATT Program to provide law enforcement agencies with a tool to engage members of the local community in the fight against terrorism,” writes SLATT.org, the program of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance that is promoting the program, on its website. “To assist law enforcement in the outreach effort, templates of flyers containing potential indicators have been created for distribution to specific industries” (https://www.slatt.org/CAT).

The SLATT program offers both on-site and online training (indoctrination) for coffee shop owners, financial institution employees, tattoo shop artists, and many others into how to spot potential terrorist activities. Included among the many propaganda flyers the FBI is distributing as… Continue reading

Imagine having to rely on government-sanctioned media and publishers

Imagine …

Having to rely on government-sanctioned
media and publishers
to “allow” you access to history or current events and government actions.

No 911truth.org …
No Historycommons.org …
No Wikipedia.org …
No Secrecy News sharing CRS Reports, No CLG, No Information Clearinghouse, No access to information released because of FOIA efforts
… No more of whatever sources you rely on to be in-the-know so that you can make informed decisions …

Imagine a United States with No Human Being-managed information sources accessible
online …

STOP SOPA &
PIPA

Learn
more

Take
action TODAY

“An informed citizenry is the only
true repository of the public will.”

“What country can preserve its liberties
if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the
spirit of resistance?”

“In matters of style, swim with the
current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock”

Thomas Jefferson

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

By Jonathan Turley

Washington Post

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act , signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack… Continue reading

Appeals Court Revives EFF’s Challenge to Government’s Massive Spying Program

Justices Find that Spied-On Telephone Customers Have the Right to Sue

Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF.org

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

Senate Approves Requiring Military Custody [of US Citizens in US] in Terror Cases

By Charlie Savage
November 29, 2011
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Defying the Obama administration’s threat of a veto, the Senate on Tuesday voted to increase the role of the military in imprisoning suspected members of Al Qaeda and its allies — including people arrested inside the United States.

By a vote of 61 to 37, the Senate turned back an effort to strip a major military bill of a set of disputed provisions affecting the handling of terrorism cases. While the legislation still has several steps to go, the vote makes it likely that Congress will eventually send to President Obama’s desk a bill that contains detainee-related provisions his national-security team has said are unacceptable.

The most disputed provision would require the government to place into military custody any suspected member of Al Qaeda or one of its allies connected to a plot against the United States or its allies. The provision would exempt American citizens, but would otherwise extend to arrests on United States soil. The executive branch could issue a waiver and keep such a prisoner in the civilian system.

In recent days, several top national security officials — including the secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta; the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper; and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, have voiced opposition to the proposal, as have several former counterterrorism officials from the Bush administration.

But among Republican senators, there was nearly unanimous support for keeping the detainee… Continue reading

Are Americans in Line for Gitmo?

By Ray McGovern
Consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: Though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade ago, Congress continues to exploit them to pass evermore draconian laws on “terrorism,” with the Senate now empowering the military to arrest people on U.S. soil and hold them without trial, a serious threat to American liberties, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Ambiguous but alarming new wording, which is tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and was just passed by the Senate, is reminiscent of the “extraordinary measures” introduced by the Nazis after they took power in 1933.

And the relative lack of reaction so far calls to mind the oddly calm indifference with which most Germans watched the erosion of the rights that had been guaranteed by their own Constitution. As one German writer observed, “With sheepish submissiveness we watched it unfold, as if from a box at the theater.”

The writer was Sebastian Haffner (real name Raimond Pretzel), a young German lawyer worried at what he saw in 1933 in Berlin, but helpless to stop it since, as he put it, the German people “collectively and limply collapsed, yielded and capitulated.”

“The result of this millionfold nervous breakdown,” wrote Haffner at the time, “is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.” Not a happy analogy.

The Senate bill, in effect, revokes an 1878 law known as the Posse Comitatus Act, which banned the Army from domestic law enforcement after the military had… Continue reading

Setting the Trap

Levin-McCain bill would create a presidential dictatorship. Where is the outrage?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com

Buried in the annual defense appropriations bill is a provision that would give the President the power to use the military to intern anyone — including American citizens — indefinitely, and hold them without charges or trial, anywhere in the world, including on American soil . The provision essentially repeals the longstanding Posse Comitatus Act , which prevents the military from engaging in law enforcement on US territory — the greatest fear of the Founders. Approved by a Senate subcommittee in secret hearings, the provisions open the road to a military dictatorship in this country — and for that we can thank Senators Carl Levin and John McCain , who introduced the measure. Both the FBI and the Pentagon came out against the Levin-McCain monstrosity, and Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) introduced an amendment striking the provision: the amendment was defeated in the Senate, 37-61 .

The mind reels. As the ACLU’s Chris Anders

puts it :

“I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged… Continue reading

Civil Liberties Oversight Board Still Dormant

November 29, 2011
Steven Aftergood
Secrecy News Blog
fas.org/blog/secrecy

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that was supposed to provide independent oversight of U.S. counterterrorism policies remains dormant and out of service because its members have still not been named and confirmed.

In a report that was newly updated this month, the Congressional Research Service traced the origins of the Board from a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission through its initial establishment as a White House agency to its reconstitution as an independent agency chartered by statute in 2007.

The Board was assigned two overriding missions: It was supposed to “analyze and review actions the executive branch takes to protect the Nation from terrorism, ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties”; and to “ensure that liberty concerns are appropriately considered in the development and implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism.”

So had the Board been functional, it might have been a valuable participant in current deliberations over military detention authority, for example. It might also have conducted investigative oversight into any number of other counterterrorism policies, as mandated by law. But for all practical purposes, there is no Board.

Last January, President Obama named Elisebeth C. Cook and James X. Dempsey to serve on the Board. The Senate has not acted on their nomination. Even if they had been confirmed, however, they would not have constituted a quorum. Thus,… Continue reading

Fusion Center documents label OKC Bombing investigators as terrorists

By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor
RedDirtReport.com

Screenshot of BJA/Fusion Center document

OperationDefuse.com — A screenshot featuring the page from a BJA/Fusion Center document listing OKCbombing,net as a terroristic organization.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ten years after 9/11 and 16 years after the Oklahoma City bombing, it appears the federal government continues to view some Americans who embrace their First Amendment rights — press and speech, primarily — as a danger to the State, and as a result they are listing certain investigative websites as extremist and a terroristic threat to the “homeland.”

One, labeled as “extremist” and therefore a threat to the U.S. Government, includes a well-known site, once operated by a truth-seeking Oklahoma state legislator, working to expose anomalies related to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — OKCbombing.net . A link to the document can be seen here .

This shocking designation is indeed troubling, particularly to the local documentary film production company Free Mind Films , which is also releasing an explosive documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing, A Noble Lie.
 

 
OKCbombing.net was formerly operated by State Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City), as a site to inform the public about reams of information discovered by the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, much of it originally ignored by the same federal agencies who now list the site as a threat to the homeland. As for Rep. Key, he concluded his role in the OBIC in approximately 2002 and Free Mind Films is now paying for access and domain rights to… Continue reading

Trickle-down tyranny – why ordinary people in positions of local power are adopting tactics of tyrants

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com

(NaturalNews) When I read a story yesterday about an 89-year-old woman being water-boarded by nursing home staff over an argument about ice cream, I knew something terrible was amiss across the American landscape. Spontaneous acts of tyranny have been cropping up lately like cancer tumors: a food tyrant in Nevada raids a farm picnic and orders everyone to destroy their food ( http://www.naturalnews.com/034125_f… ); student protesters in California get pepper-sprayed by thuggish cops who clearly enjoy causing pain and suffering ( http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/_ne… ); and now nursing home staffers torture their own resident using techniques borrowed from Guantánamo Bay ( http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2011/11… ). I watched all this with a sense of sadness and disgrace for the human race. And then a realization hit me like a sledgehammer…
 

Show Editor’s Note: »

And On a Related Theme…
Chancellor Katehi’s impressive learning skills
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

The UC-Davis Chancellor responsible for the pepper-spraying of her students, Linda Katehi, today went on Good Morning America and explained why she should not resign or otherwise be held accountable: “we really need to start the healing process and move forward.” On a radio program in the afternoon, she expanded on this view by saying: “We need to move on.” So apparently — yet again — the only way everyone can begin to “heal” and “move forward” is if everyone agrees that those in power with the greatest responsibility be fully shielded from any consequences and that… Continue reading

Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned

Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting
vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots

by Paul Harris

16 November 2011

guardian.co.uk

Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned

Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots

David Williams did not have an easy life. He moved to Newburgh, a gritty, impoverished town on the banks of the Hudson an hour or so north of New York, at just 10 years old. For a young, black American boy with a father in jail, trouble was everywhere.

Williams also made bad choices. He ended up going to jail for dealing drugs. When he came out in 2007 he tried to go straight, but money was tight and his brother, Lord, needed cash for a liver transplant. Life is hard in Newburgh if you are poor, have a drug rap and need cash quickly.

His aunt, Alicia McWilliams, was honest about the tough streets her nephew was dealing with. “Newburgh is a hard place,” she said. So it was perhaps no surprise that in May, 2009, David Williams was arrested again and hit with a 25-year jail sentence. But it was not for drugs offences. Or any other common crime. Instead Williams and three other struggling local men beset by drug, criminal and mental health issues were convicted of an Islamic terrorist plot to blow up Jewish synagogues and shoot down… Continue reading

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make – 14 New Ways That The Government Is Watching You

Big Brother is Watching You Graphic From EndoftheAmericanDream.com at Lewrockwell.com

If you live in the United States today, you need to understand that your privacy is being constantly eroded. Our world is going crazy, government paranoia is off the charts and law enforcement authorities have become absolutely obsessed with watching us, listening to us, tracking us, recording us, compiling information on all of us and getting us all to spy on one another. If you doubt that we are rapidly getting to the point where the government will monitor every breath you take and every move you make, just read the rest of this article. The truth is that the government is watching you more closely than ever, and they are spending billions upon billions of dollars to enhance their surveillance capabilities even further. If our society stays on this current path, we will eventually have zero privacy left. At this point, it is not too hard to imagine a society where we will not be able to say anything, buy anything, sell anything, assemble with others or even leave our homes without government permission. We truly are descending into a dystopian nightmare and the American people had better wake up.

Sadly, most people living in the United States and in Europe do not realize what is happening. Most of them think that everything is just fine. The “Big Brother control grid” that is being constructed all over the western world squeezes all of us just a little bit tighter every single day, and most people… Continue reading

U.S. Vets, Suffering From Unemployment and Homelessness, Support Occupy Protests

By Olivia Katrandjian

October 29, 2011

ABCNews.com

Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old two-tour Iraq veteran whose skull was fractured by a rubber bullet or tear gas canister fired by police during an Occupy Oakland protest, has become a symbol for the Oakland, Calif., protests and put a spotlight on veterans’ solidarity with the Occupy movement.

Olsen had joined joined the Occupy Oakland protest after work Tuesday, before clashes broke out between demonstrators and police trying to evict them from a city plaza. Videos of Olsen posted on YouTube show him standing still in a space between police a protesters when he was hit in the head by something and fell to the ground.

When fellow demonstrators tried to come to Olsen’s aid, a tear gas canister exploded in their midst, driving them away from the injured man.

“He joined the military to fight for people’s rights, and that’s not what he found himself doing in Iraq. And so he came home and started fighting for people’s rights here and for his brothers and sisters who were still deployed,” said Iraq veteran Aaron Hughes, the central and team leader of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“There is a massive disconnect between the larger society and U.S. service members. Right now we have high unemployment, homeless and suicide rates among veterans. Scott is just one example of hundreds and thousands of service members who are tired of the rhetoric and want real substantive change,” said Hughes, who said he returned to Iraq as a civilian after his tour to fight for peace.…

Continue reading
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