Civil Freedoms Under Threat

  • Torture? Really?

    Courthouse News Service. Next time Ted Cruz or Donald Trump endorses torture, someone in the herd of sheep who masquerade as national reporters should ask Trump and Cruz if they would torture someone with their own hands. And if not: Why would they ask someone else to do it? Cruz and Trump don’t know a damn thing about torture. But I do. I’ve known hundreds of torture victims, and several torturers.

  • Court rules warrantless collection of cellphone location data constitutional

    Source: The Guardian. A federal appellate panel on Wednesday rejected a constitutional challenge to warrantless collection of cellphone location records, increasing the potential for the US supreme court to consider the legality of the practice. Timothy Carpenter and Timothy Sanders, who were convicted for their role in a string of cellphone store robberies, argued the practice was a constitutional violation under the fourth amendment. A brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union noted that the location tracking in this case reveals the “extraordinary private details” police can obtain via location tracking, including where the defendants may worship and who they may be sleeping with.

  • Cleveland buys riot-control gear for Republican National Convention

    Source: Cleveland will spend $848,640 on riot-control suits and batons for police working during the upcoming Republican National Convention, following a vote from a city contracting panel on Wednesday. The city will file for the purchases to be reimbursed under a $50 million federal grant to pay for security for the GOP convention, scheduled for July 18-21 in downtown Cleveland.

  • My Story, by Laila Yaghi, Mother of Ziyad Yaghi

    My Story, by Laila Yaghi, Mother of Ziyad Yaghi A Visit With My Son 3/28/16   Every time I approach my computer to write, I become frozen and run away from the fact of facing my fears, my reality. I feel like running for eternity and not turning back! I […]

  • Government witch hunt for ‘insider threats’ profiles public workers for sexuality and financial troubles

    Source: Alternet. In a witch-hunt for the “next Chelsea Manning,” the Obama administration is mass surveilling public employees for characteristics that fall under a dubious profile of the jailed whistleblower, including financial problems, family issues and, perhaps most invasively, gender dysphoria. The discovery was made by Manning herself, who obtained a 31-page document on February 16 through a freedom of information action request. Manning’s revelations come amid mounting concern over the civil rights implications of the Insider Threat program. it appears that whistleblowing has, in fact, served as justification for a massive government spying program. Documents obtained from the Department of Defense by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists reveal that 100,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel are under “continuous evaluation.”

  • ‘Chilling effect’ of mass surveillance is silencing dissent online, study says

    Source: Motherboard. Thanks largely to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, most Americans now realize that the intelligence community monitors and archives all sorts of online behaviors of both foreign nationals and US citizens. Now research suggests that widespread awareness of such mass surveillance could undermine democracy by making citizens fearful of voicing dissenting opinions in public.

  • Issue No. 453 – March 15, 2016

    IN THIS ISSUE-Today – Oral Arguments in CMU case, Aref v. Holder-The last poem of Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa-FBI wants to change iPhone’s iOS: Fmr CIA chief-As anti-Islam tone rises in U.S., Muslim women learn self-defense-Mississippi man pleads guilty to trying to join ISIS-American accused of assisting men in Isis attack at anti-Islam event in Texas-Trial for Florida Man in Alleged Bomb Plot off Until July-Surprise! NSA data will soon be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism-Is America on the brink of returning to torture?-New NSA rules allow agency to share data without privacy protections or terrorism links-US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America?

  • Pentagon report justifies deployment of military spy drones over the U.S.

    Source: USA Today. The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report. The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law. A senior policy analyst for the ACLU, Jay Stanley, said it is good news no legal violations were found, yet the technology is so advanced that it’s possible laws may require revision.

  • The FBI has a new plan to spy on high school students across the country

    Source: Alternet. Under new guidelines, the FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies and “western corruption” as potential future terrorists, warning that “anarchist extremists” are in the same category as ISIS and young people who are poor, immigrants or travel to “suspicious” countries are more likely to commit horrific violence. The FBI’s “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines, released in January, are almost certainly designed to single out and target Muslim-American communities. However, in its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination, the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance, especially if she is socio-economically marginalized or politically outspoken.

  • Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo would establish indefinite detention on U.S. soil

    Source: The Intercept. Saying that the prison at Guantánamo Bay “undermines our standing in the world,” President Barack Obama today announced a detailed plan to close the facility, 14 years after it was first inaugurated by President George W. Bush. Among other measures, the plan calls for a number of Guantánamo prisoners to be transferred into permanent custody in the United States. This component of the government’s plan has alarmed many legal experts, who say that it would create a dangerous precedent for indefinite detention without trial in the United States.