Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support
A. First they came for the Muslims, then to the Anarchists ….. Another Entrapment case
New York times (5/1): 5 Men Arrested in Ohio Bridge Plot
The Justice Department said on Tuesday that five men were arrested on charges that they planned to blow up a bridge near Cleveland. “The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by an undercover F.B.I. employee,” the Justice Department said in a news release.
B. FightBack! (4/26): Judge orders May 15 trial for Carlos Monte
After long oral arguments, Judge Lomeli denied the motion by civil rights attorney Jorge Gonzalez for discovery and to dismiss charges against Montes on the grounds of selective prosecution. This means that the court will not look at the role of the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force in initiating the case against Montes. That will have to be exposed during the trial.
Community Action/Building Our Coalition
Tenth Amendment Center (4/30): Stop the NDAA in your State, County and Town
As Congress focused last week on the so-called “indefinite detention” provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), organizers of the “Nullify the NDAA” event in Los Angeles say that it’s states and local communities, and not Congress, who will ultimately put a stop to such powers. Grassroots and media attention has turned towards Virginia, which became the first state in the country to reject, by law, participation in these newly-claimed federal powers. In Arizona, a similar bill is awaiting a signature from Governor Jan Brewer. And, more than ten local governments around the country have already passed similar legislation, including the California cities of Fairfax and Santa Cruz.
Civil Freedoms Under Threat
A. Reuters (4/27): Senate probe finds little evidence of effective “torture”
The Intelligence committee has not issued any official statements about what its inquiry has found or when it expects to wrap up. But committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein has made relatively strong statements about the lack of evidence that enhanced interrogations played any material role in generating information leading to bin Laden’s killing. Only days after the commando raid in which bin Laden was killed, Feinstein told journalists: “I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted, and, in my view, nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used.”
B. New York Times (4/30): In Suit, Protesters Say City Violated Their Constitutional Rights
The lawsuit, which included several City Council members as plaintiffs, said that the city “in concert with various private and public entities” subjected the plaintiffs to “violations of rights to free speech, assembly, freedom of the press, false arrest, excessive force, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.” At times, the Police Department had improperly photographed people who were arrested and may not have destroyed those pictures, when required by law, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in Manhattan. In addition, the lawsuit said, the city had stopped some plaintiffs from “carrying out their duties as elected officials.’’
C. Reuters (4/30): Occupy supporters in New York, Wisconsin sue over free speech
East In the 150-page lawsuit, police were also accused of false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. “This unlawful conduct has been undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring and retaliating against plaintiffs for engaging in Constitutionally protected protest activities,” the lawsuit said. The police conduct was so outrageous, the lawsuit said, that the court should appoint an outside monitor for future demonstrations.
D. Los Angeles Times (5/1): Europe takes hard look at nations that allowed U.S. interrogations
East Europeans are sensitive to the use of torture and other harsh techniques because of their experience under totalitarian regimes, which arrested and abused opponents at will. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said his country won’t be silent about human rights abusers in its midst, “even if they do so with the world’s greatest superpower.” Judicial authorities recently charged the former head of intelligence, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, with exceeding his authority in allowing the CIA to set up a secret prison in the remote northern village of Stare Kiejkuty.
Government Policy Under Scrutiny
A. AllGov (4/26): Obama Has Authoritarian Powers Bush Could Only Dream Of
Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 as a civil libertarian, a former professor of Constitutional Law who promised to close the military prison at Guantánamo, Cuba, undo the unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” and stop the relentless accumulation of power in the presidency. Yet since taking power, Obama has undone little, and has in fact been amassing additional powers to himself and the presidency.
B. New York Times (4/26): House Votes to Approve Disputed Hacking Bill
The vote was 248 to 168, as 42 Democrats joined 206 Republicans in backing the bill. The “no” votes were cast by 140 Democrats and 28 Republicans, including a number who described the measure as a potential threat to privacy and civil liberties. Under the bill, the federal government can share classified information with private companies to help them protect their computer networks. Companies, in turn, could voluntarily share information about cyberthreats with the government and would generally be protected against lawsuits for doing so if they acted in good faith. The White House opposed the bill, saying it could “undermine the public’s trust in the government as well as in the Internet by undermining fundamental privacy, confidentiality, civil liberties and consumer protections.”
A. David Shipler in the New York Times (4/28): Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.
“Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn’t in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in,” said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counterterrorism, and for good reason. “There isn’t a business of terrorism in the United States, thank God,” a former federal prosecutor, David Raskin, explained.
B. Jameel Jaffer and Nathan Freed Wessler in the New York Times (4/29): The C.I.A.’s Misuse of Secrecy
[I]n court, the Central Intelligence Agency refuses even to acknowledge that the targeted killing program exists. The agency’s argument is based on a 35-year-old judicial doctrine called Glomar, which allows government agencies to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of the records that have been requested. The doctrine sometimes serves a legitimate purpose, but the C.I.A. has grossly abused it, in cases relating to the targeted killing program and other counterterrorism operations. It is invoking the doctrine not to protect legitimately classified information from disclosure, but to shield controversial decisions from public scrutiny and to spare officials from having to defend their policies in court.