Posts tagged ACLU

Daily Briefing—19th Aug 2010

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Filed under: Daily Briefing Tagged: ACLU, Afghanistan, Arianna Huffington, AU, BlackBerry, BP, Central African Republic, Colombia, Corboda House, David Petraeus, food insecurity, France, Gaza, Ground Zero Mosque, Gulf oil spill, Haiti, IDF, India, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Jason Ditz, Latin America, Mavi Marmara, middle class, Obama Administration, odious debt, Park 51, privacy rights, public education, RIM, Scott Horton, torture, Uganda, UJ, UN, UN Security Council, United States, universal jurisdiction, World Food Programme

Daily Briefing—10th Aug 2010

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Filed under: Daily Briefing Tagged: ACLU, Af-Pak War, Afghanistan, Ahmed Moor, AMISOM, BP, Carol Rosenberg, CCR, Chicago, civil liberties, civilian casualties, climate, climate change, criminal justice, democracy, DNA, drug war, EUR, euro, Federal Reserve, George Donnelly, global warming, Gulf oil spill, ICE, India, Iran, Israel, Kashmir, Leslie Lefkow, Los Angeles, Maria Burnett, marijuana, Mel Frykberg, Mexico, Netanyahu, Omar Khadr, protectionism, Robert Gates, sales tax, Sharia Law, Somalia, Taliban, Uganda, USD, war spending, Wikileaks, Zionism

Daily Briefing—4th Aug 2010

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Filed under: Daily Briefing Tagged: 14th Amendment, ACLU, Aegis System, Af-Pak War, Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, al-Quds, Allison Kilkenny, Allstate, Amazon, American Empire, Andy Worthington, Anwar al-Awlaki, Asif Ali Zardari, assimilation, Baathists, bailout, Bashar Assad, black sites, body scanners, BP, Bradley Manning, Bruce Fein, CCR, Charles Davis, China, Chuck Schumer, CIA, cluster bombs, COIN, Colombia, copyrights, Dahr Jamail, Death Penalty, Desmond Tutu, Dianne Feinstein, dispersants, domestic surveillance, DPRK, e-waste, East Jerusalem, economic sanctions, Ecopetrol, Ecuador oil drilling, Edward Lee, embed journalists, Eric Margolis, extrajudicial assassination, fair use, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Gareth Porter, gay marriage, Gaza, George Donnelly, Germany, Glenn Greenwald, Goldman Sachs, Guantanamo Bay, Gulf oil spill, Hizbollah, human rghts, ICC, IED's, illegal immirgation, immigration, imperialism, India, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Iraq withdrawal, IRGC, Islamic State of Iraq, Israel, Jeremy Scahill, JPEL, Julian Assange, Kagame, Kashmir, land grabbing, landmine treaty, Lebanon, Libya, LTTE, Marc Lynch, Marc Thiessen, Michael Hastings, Middle East, Mike Rogers, missile shields, Noam Chomsky, North Korea, nuclear revolution, nuclear weapons, NY Fed, NY Times, Obama, Obama Administration, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Omar Khadr, OTC derivatives, Pakistan, Pardiss Kebriaei, poverty, Prop 8, Prudential, Rwanda, Rwanda genocide, SCOTUS, SOFA, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, state capitalism, static kill, Status of Forces Agreement, Stephen Walt, Sudan, Syria, Taliban, Talisman, Tamil Tigers, TARP, Task Force 373, TF 373, Timothy Geithner, Tom Engelhardt, toxic assets, Treasury Department, TSA, Turkey, UN, UN Security Council, Venezuela, Wall Street, Wikileaks
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Daily Briefing—26th July 2010

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Filed under: Daily Briefing Tagged: ACLU, Af-Pak War, Afghanistan, African Union, AFRICOM, AIG, airstrikes, Al Shabaab, Amira Hass, AMISOM, Amnesty International, AU, Boeing, BP, Bradley Manning, Bronwyn Bruton, Charlie Rangel, China, Citigroup, civilian casualties, COIN, Conn Halliman, counterinsurgency, David Goldman, David Kramer, Dennis Kucinich, DHS, drones, Duch, economic sanctions, Egypt, EU, Ezra Klein, Fallujah, Fatah, FinReg, Gaza, Goldman Sachs, Hamas, Horn of Africa, Human Rights Watch, ICC, ICE, ICJ, illegal immigration, India, Iran, ISI, Japan, Johann Hari, Julian Assange, Kashmir, Khmer Rouge, Lehman Brothers, Libya, Lockerbie bomber, Lockheed MArtin, Mike mUlleen, military industrial complex, NATO, Northop Gruman, nuclear weapons, Obama Administration, Pakistan, Patrick Cockburn, payday loans, Rafah, renminbi, Ron Paul, Somalia, TFG, The Hague, Tony Blair, UK, USD, West Bank, Wikileaks, yuan

ACLU Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Charging Inadequate Medical Care At Ely State Prison

Submitted by Phil Hooper on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 10:58. ACLUNV The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Nevada late yesterday filed in federal court a proposed agreement between a class of over 1,000 prisoners at Ely State Prison and top state prison and governmental officials that would settle a 2008 lawsuit charging that a pervasive pattern of grossly inadequate

LA Times: Court settlement would upgrade Nevada prison’s medical care

The ACLU negotiates a deal that includes better staffing and monitoring of treatment that one doctor called 'shocking and callous.'By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles TimesJuly 16, 2010Reporting from Las Vegas —A Nevada prison's medical care — once described as displaying a "shocking and callous disregard for human life" — would be upgraded and monitored under a proposed court settlement filed

Report: Perpetual War Machine Depression-Proof at Least ‘Until 2016′

The Pentagon has confirmed the weapons budget will grow at a rate past inflation for many years to come.

Continue reading at Little Alex in Wonderland …

Evening Briefing—29th June 2010

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Filed under: Daily Briefing Tagged: ACLU, Af-Pak War, Afghanistan, airstrikes, Andrew Clark, Avigdor Liberman, BitTorrent, Chicago Police, Colombia, copyright, David Cameron, David Petraeus, DHS, drones, economy, Ecuador, espionage, extrajudicial assassinations, file sharing, FinReg, free press, Gaza, global economic crisis, Homeland Security, human trafficking, Iran, Iraq, Jack Hunter, Jon Burge, Karl Eikenberry, Kashmir, Lond Police, Mitsubishi, National Pork Board, Noam Chomsky, Obama Administration, Pakistan, police brutality, Royal Dutch Shell, Rules of Engagement, Russia, SCOTUS, soft, Susan Antilla, Thalif Deen, The Southern Avenger, ThinkGeek.com, Toronto G20 Summit, Toronto Police, torture, trademark, UN, US dollar, USD, Washington lobbyists, West Bank

A.C.L.U. Finds ‘Steady Resurgence’ of ‘Political Spying’, Kidnapping of Americans

A recent study released by the civil liberties advocacy group highlights the rise in U.S. government Big Brother policies by localizing the National Security State with no accountability.

Politically motivated domestic surveillance and harassment are surging in the U.S., a recent study by the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) found. Though recent reports have indicated the military is taking a Bush Administration spy program out of hibernation—of datamining information collected through domestic surveillance policies—the civil liberties group added that local agencies and private corporation are violating rights to privacy and free speech with impunity.

The release of the report, “Policing Free Speech: Police Surveillance and Obstruction of First Amendment‐Protected Activity” [.pdf], coincides with the civil liberties advocacy group’s launch of “Spy Files“, a “web hub on domestic political surveillance, which will serve as a comprehensive resource on domestic spying”, according to a statement.

“It will include a database of documents obtained through state and federal open-records requests as well as links to news reports and other relevant materials,” it added.

Analyzing 111 incidents in 33 states, the group found that all levels of law enforcement are abusing weak standards of probable cause to meet low burdens of proof to threaten and spy on people. The government’s policies result in harassing, surveying and kidnapping people “for doing little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights” displays a regression of basic human rights defense, according to the A.C.L.U., which added:

Political spying—rampant during the Cold War under the F.B.I.’s COINTELPRO, the C.I.A.’s Operation Chaos and other programs—has experienced a steady resurgence in the years following 9/11 as state and local law enforcement are being urged by federal law enforcement agencies to participate in counterterrorism practices.

“In our country, under our Constitution, the authorities aren’t allowed to spy on you unless they have specific and individual suspicion that you are doing something illegal,” said Michael German, A.C.L.U. Policy Counsel and former F.B.I. Special Agent. “Unfortunately, law enforcement in our country seems to be reverting to certain old, bad behaviors when it comes to political surveillance. Our review of these practices has found that Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by the police just for deciding to organize, march, protest, espouse unusual viewpoints and engage in normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public.”

Community policing projects—“suspicious activity reporting” (S.A.R.) programs [.pdf]—are expanding the reach of what the U.S. Supreme Court called the “reasonable suspicion” standard, a “Spy Files” post adds:

S.A.R. programs increase the probability that innocent people will be stopped by police and have their personal information collected for inclusion in law enforcement and intelligence data bases. They also open the door to racial profiling and other improper police practices by giving police unwarranted discretion to stop people who are not reasonably suspected of wrongdoing.

[...]

The Supreme Court established “reasonable suspicion” as the standard for police stops in Terry v. Ohio in 1968. This standard required suspicion supported by articulable facts suggesting criminal activity was afoot before a policeman could stop a person for investigative purposes. Likewise, the Department of Justice established a reasonable suspicion standard for the inclusion of personally identifiable information into criminal intelligence systems. Title 28, Part 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations states that law enforcement agencies receiving federal funds:

shall collect and maintain criminal intelligence information concerning an individual only if there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal conduct or activity and the information is relevant to that criminal conduct or activity [emphasis added].

S.A.R. programs threaten this reasonable, time-tested law enforcement standard by encouraging the police and the public to report behaviors that are not reasonably indicative of criminal or terrorist behavior.

In January 2008 the D.N.I. [Information Sharing Environment (I.S.E.)] Program Manager published functional standards for state and local law enforcement officers to report ‘suspicious’ activities to fusion centers and to the federal intelligence community through the I.S.E. The behaviors it described as inherently suspicious included such innocuous activities as photography, acquisition of expertise, and eliciting informationThe following March the Los Angeles Police Department (L.A.P.D.) initiated its own S.A.R. program to “gather, record, and analyze information of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism,” and included a list of 65 behaviors L.A.P.D. officers “shall” report, which included taking pictures or video footage, taking notes, drawing diagrams and espousing extreme views. In June 2008, long before either of these programs could be evaluated, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security teamed up with the Major City Chiefs Association to issue a report recommending expanding the S.A.R. program to other U.S. cities. (Indeed, in April 2009 the L.A.P.D. admitted its S.A.R. program had not foiled any terrorist threats during its first year in operation.) The F.B.I. began its own S.A.R. collection program called eGuardian in 2008, and in 2010 the military announced it would implement a S.A.R. program through eGuardian.

Programs like COINTELPRO, Operation Chaos, the Denver Police Department labeling a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Quaker organization and a 73-year-old nun as “criminal extremists,” and a case—just settled this week—of an antiwar activist being spied on and arrested on false charges to keep him from attending a protest are “quickly becoming a dime a dozen”, Amanda Simon posted today at the A.C.L.U. Blog of Rights.

In a separate post, describing the objective of “Spy Files”, the A.C.L.U. stated these policies are “directed at all of us” and the motivations are politically manufactured fear. They are not isolated to federal law enforcement, military intelligence and foreign intelligence agencies, but extend to local agencies—even those unrelated to law enforcement:

Today the government is spying on Americans in ways the founders of our country never could have imagined. The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships. The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants.

This surveillance activity is not directed solely at suspected terrorists and criminals. It’s directed at all of us. Increasingly, the government is engaged in suspicionless surveillance that vacuums up and tracks sensitive information about innocent people. Even more disturbingly, as the government’s surveillance powers have grown more intrusive and more powerful, the restrictions on many of those powers have been weakened or eliminated. And this surveillance often takes place in secret, with little or no oversight by the courts, by legislatures, or by the public.

“Spy Files” has a section where users can monitor government “spying on First Amendment activity” cases by state.


Filed under: National News, Political Science Tagged: 9/11, ACLU, Amanda Simon, Bush Administration, CIA, civil liberties, COINTELPRO, constitutional rights, corporatism, counterterrorism, DIA, domestic surveillance, fascism, FBI, free speech, fusion centers, government spying, human rights, ISE, JTTF, LAPD, law enforcement, libertarian, liberty, Obama Administration, Operation Chaos, police, reasonable suspicion, SAR programs, SCOTUS, Spy Files, Sweden, terrorism, Terry v. Ohio, US, War on Terror

‘Dozens’ of American Citizens Maybe Targeted for Assassination by Obama Administration

Glenn Greenwald was on “The Dylan Ratigan Show” at MSNBC discussing the Obama Administration’s extension of the previous administration’s extrajudicial assassination program to include citizens of the U.S. (h/t: Scott Horton – 3:28):

The Obama Administration has asserted the privilege to assassinate American citizens who the government believes to have joined anti-American organizations it labels as ‘terrorist groups’. The number of these Americans are in the dozens, the president’s advisor at the Department of Homeland Security said last week in an interview with The Washington Times.

“There are, in my mind, dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world, and they are very concerning to us,” John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, said in the interview. Eli Lake, who reported the interview, added:

The remarks came in response to questions about procedures used by the president to order lethal strikes on U.S. citizens who have joined al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

On Feb. 3, Dennis C. Blair, then director of national intelligence, said in congressional testimony that special permission must first be obtained by military or intelligence forces before what he termed “direct action” strikes against American citizens.

The Administration granted “special permission” in April—to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based cleric from New Mexico.

“The reasons for Awlaki’s impending assassination are vague, to say the least,” Jason Ditz wrote in April at AntiWar News.” Though officials have repeatedly accused Awlaki of being ‘in al-Qa’ida,’ he is not currently accused of any crimes and the only specific accusation against him is that he has criticized U.S. foreign policy, and that this has made it easier for al-Qa’ida to recruit.”

Mr. Lake’s report continued:

The main weapon in recent C.I.A. and U.S. military counterterrorism operations has been attacks with missile-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The administration has said it has killed dozens or perhaps scores of terrorists with these strikes over the past several years.

That practice was criticized in a report earlier this month authored by Philip Alston, the independent U.N. investigator on extrajudicial killings, who said the practice may violate international humanitarian law.

The American Civil Liberties Union in a letter to Mr. Obama on April 28 warned that the current program to kill terrorists in foreign countries would create a precedent for other countries to kill suspected terrorists all over the world.

The American-born cleric and U.S. citizen who now resides in Yemen is thought to be high on the list of those targeted for killing by the United States.

Mr. Brennan would not comment on the details of lethal operations or the procedure for targeting Americans.

“If a person is a U.S. citizen, and he is on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq trying to attack our troops, he will face the full brunt of the U.S. military response,” Mr. Brennan said. “If an American person or citizen is in a Yemen or in a Pakistan or in Somalia or another place, and they are trying to carry out attacks against U.S. interests, they also will face the full brunt of a U.S. response. And it can take many forms.”

Mr. Brennan added, “To me, terrorists should not be able to hide behind their passports and their citizenship, and that includes U.S. citizens, whether they are overseas or whether they are here in the United States. What we need to do is to apply the appropriate tool and the appropriate response.”

Glenn Greenwald at Salon noted the red herring used by Mr. Brennan to manufacture consent for this draconian, authoritarian policy of the worst kind [italics his]:

That theory—the whole world is a battlefield, even the U.S.—was the core premise that spawned 8 years of Bush/Cheney radicalism, and it has been adopted in full by the Obama Administration (indeed, it was that “whole-world-is-a-battlefield” theory which Elena Kagan explicitly endorsed during her confirmation hearing for Solicitor General).

Mr. Lake noted at the end of his article:

Mr. Brennan toward the end of the interview acknowledged that, despite some differences, there is considerable continuity between the counterterrorism policies of President Bush and President Obama.

Mr. Greenwald added that the greatest extension of the Bush Administration to the current regime is the “due-process-free policy” of ‘criminal justice’—a policy that was widely criticized by the former administration for its execution of warrantless domestic surveillance on American citizens. He added how this is being exported to Afghanistan:

There, the U.S. last year compiled a “hit list” of 50 Afghan citizens whose assassination it authorized on the alleged ground (never charged or convicted) that they were drug “kingpins” or funding the Talbian [sic].

Afghan officials resisted this policy. To which, Mr. Greenwald wrote:

In other words, Afghans—the people we’re occupying in order to teach about Freedom and Democracy—are far more protective of due process and the rule of law for their own citizens than Americans are who meekly submit to Obama’s identical policy of assassination for their fellow citizens.  It might make more sense for Afghanistan to invade and occupy the U.S. in order to spread the rule of law and constitutional values here.

What makes all this most remarkable is the level of screeching protests Democrats engaged in when Bush merely wanted to eavesdrop on and detain Americans without any judicial oversight or due process.  Remember all that?  Click here and here for a quick refresher.  Yet here is Barack Obama doing far worse to them than that without any due process or judicial oversight—he’s targeting them for assassination—and there is barely a peep of protest from the same Party that spent years depicting “mere” warrantless eavesdropping and due-process-free detention to be the acts of a savage, lawless tyrant.

In all honesty, the ‘Team America’ bunch ought to be up in arms about this as well. If American exceptionalism is a valid concept, wouldn’t Americans have the greatest right to due process? Isn’t due process something inherently ‘American’ to those idiots? Or do they now have to admit that the concept of American exceptionalism is a silly superstition and that due process is a vital construct to defending the most fundamental rights of man—no matter what their passport says on the cover.

When we can accept that rights belong to humans and are not bestowed by geographical dirt, the “secret war” of assassination run amok in 75 countries by the Obama Administration—compared to 60 at the beginning of 2009 left active by his predecessor—in Yemen, Somalia, Philippines, Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, are absolutely wrong and ought not be tolerated by any person of any sort of virtue.


Filed under: Af-Pak War, International Affairs, National News, Political Science Tagged: ACLU, Af-Pak War, Afghanistan, Africa, airstrikes, al-Qaeda, al-Qaida, Anwar al-Awlaki, Bush Administration, Central Asia, CIA, civil liberties, Colombia, counterterrorism, Democrats, DHS, drones, due process, Eli Lake, extrajudicial assassinations, fascism, Glenn Greenwald, Homeland Security, human rights, international law, Jason Ditz, John Brennan, JSOC, law, liberals, libertarian, liberty, Middle East, Newspeak, Obama Administration, Pakistan, Philippines, progressives, Somalia, terrorism, US, War, War on Terror, Yemen