Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support
A. New York Times (7/16): Mental Illness Cited in Challenge to Terror Case
Lawyers for an Iranian-American man charged in a 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States asked a judge in Manhattan on Monday to order the suppression at trial of statements their client made during interrogation on the ground that he was suffering from serious mental illness, a new court filing shows.
B. The Guardian (7/18): Terrorism charges against five after London arrests
Three men from London – including Richard Dart, who appeared in a BBC .Three documentary after converting to Islam – were charged on Wednesday night with offences that involved travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism between July 2010 and July 2012. A man and a woman are charged over terrorist materials.
Islamophobia and Civil Rights
ThinkProgress (7/19): Federal Judge Orders Tennessee To Stop Blocking Muslims From Worshiping In New Mosque
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro suedRutherford County, TN yesterday, asking the district judge for an emergency order to allow the mosque to open its doors to worshipers before Ramadan begins at sundown today. Federal prosecutors also filed a similar lawsuit in Nashville, alleging violations of the federal law that guarantees freedom of religion and equal protection under the Constitution.
LA Times (7/16): Stop-and-frisk debate heats up in New York as shootings soar
Bloomberg addressed the controversy over stop-and-frisk, saying it had led to thousands of guns and tens of thousands of knives being taken off the streets. “At the same time, stops must be made for legitimate reasons, and no person should ever, ever be racially profiled,” he added. Critics, though, say that’s exactly what is happening, and some say stop-and-frisk has contributed to rising gun violence in New York by eroding people’s trust in police. Under the policy, police may search people stopped on the street who are suspected of criminal activity.
Civil Freedoms Under Threat
A. ProPublica (7/13): The Best Reporting on Detention and Rendition Under Obama
When Barack Obama took office, he banned torture, shut down the CIA’s network of black-site prisons and pledged to close Guantanamo. But exactly where terror suspects should go continues to be a legal and political challenge for the administration. So we’ve rounded up some of the best reporting on rendition and detention under Obama.
B. Huffington Post (7/18): Facial Recognition Technology Threatens Privacy, Civil Liberties, Experts Warn
Technology used to identify people in photos has become widespread, and may threaten Americans’ privacy and civil liberties if protections are not put in place, experts and lawmakers said Wednesday. At a Senate hearing on facial recognition software, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said he was concerned that law enforcement may misuse the technology, which can identify people by analyzing images of their facial features and matching them to a database of faces.
C. Wired (7/18): Newest U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: Trolling
Within the State Department, a Silicon Valley veteran has quietly launched an improbable new initiative to annoy, frustrate and humiliate denizens of online extremist forums. It’s so new that it hasn’t fully taken shape: Even its architects concede it hasn’t fleshed out an actual strategy yet, and accordingly can’t point to any results it’s yielded. Its annual budget is a rounding error. The Pentagon will spend more in Afghanistan in the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence.
Community Action/Building Our Coalition
A. The New American (7/16): EFF Obtains FAA Documents Detailing Domestic Drone Use
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the licensing of domestic drones has finally produced documents detailing the use of drones in the United States. According to a blog post written by EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch, the information obtained by the FAA includes “details about the specific drone models some entities are flying, where they fly, how frequently they fly, and how long they stay in the air.”
B. New York Times (7/18): Relatives Sue Officials Over U.S. Citizens Killed by Drone Strikes in Yemen
Relatives of three American citizens killed in drone strikes in Yemen last year filed a wrongful-death lawsuitagainst four senior national security officials on Wednesday. The suit, in the Federal District Court here, opened a new chapter in the legal wrangling over the Obama administration’s use of drones in pursuit of terrorism suspects away from traditional “hot” battlefields like Afghanistan.
See also: Drone Wars: Civil Liberties Groups Sue CIA, Pentagon Over Targeted Killings
Government Policy Under Scrutiny
A. Politico (7/17): Cybersecurity bill shows signs of life in Senate
Key lawmakers are racing to broker a compromise on a Senate cybersecurity bill, insisting that floor action is still possible as early as next week. The major players recognize they aren’t likely to find a deal that will resolve all lawmakers’ concerns before the real debate begins. But with limited time until the August recess, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) signaled he could introduce a new cybersecurity measure that includes a middle-of-the-road compromise on critical infrastructure while he and others reiterated a hope that members could work out remaining disagreements while a bill is on the floor.
B. Wall Street Journal (7/18): Covert FBI Power to Obtain Phone Data Faces Rare Test
Early last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent a secret letter to a phone company demanding that it turn over customer records for an investigation. The phone company then did something almost unheard of: It fought the letter in court. The U.S. Department of Justice fired back with a serious accusation. It filed a civil complaint claiming that the company, by not handing over its files, was interfering “with the United States’ sovereign interests” in national security. The legal clash represents a rare and significant test of an investigative tool strengthened by the USA Patriot Act, the counterterrorism law enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
C. Reuters (7/18): Guantanamo court holds closed session to discuss secret evidence
A Guantanamo war crimes tribunal judge held a closed hearing with lawyers on Wednesday to discuss a defense request to see secret evidence against a prisoner charged with orchestrating the deadly October 2000 attack on the warship USS Cole.
D. GuardianLV (7/19): Republican Party Denounces NDAA
The Clark County Republican Party Central Committee in Nevada unanimously passed a resolution soundly denouncing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, sections 1021 and 1022, and requesting immediate action against it by the Clark County Sheriff. These sections of NDAA 2012 include language that the Clark County Republican Party calls “blatant attacks on the United States Constitution, specifically Amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8 of our Bill of Rights”. In NDAA the federal government claims the right to detain American citizens indefinitely, without producing a search warrant.
A. Tom Junod in the Politics Blog (7/13): What Happens When Assassination Replaces Torture?
The moral risk of torture is not so different from the moral risk of targeted killing. Indeed, the moral risk of torture provides a template for the moral risk of targeted killing. What was introduced as an option of last resort becomes the option of first resort, then the only option. Sullivan always understood that torture was a temptation, and that the day would come when it was applied not in emergency, “ticking-clock” situations, but as a matter of routine. Well, that day has come, only now with targeted killing, where the option of first resort meets the court of no appeal.
B. Washington Post Editorial (7/16): The dark side of forensic science
Three recent cases should serve as a call to explore forensic errors that could have put more innocent men behind bars — or could do so in the future. In the wake of The Post’s reports, the Justice Department and the FBI announced last Tuesday the largest-ever post-conviction review, which will examine all cases after 1985 that relied on hair and fiber examinations. This is necessary and long overdue.
C. Shahid Buttar on ConstitutionCampaign.org (7/16): America’s one-party state
Among the most tragic casualties of the war on terror is the separation of powers that our Founders envisioned to help keep America free. Not only has executive power expanded to disturbing – and profoundly dangerous – proportions in the decade since the 9-11 attacks, but Presidents from both major parties have promoted this transformation.
D. Tom Toles in the Washington Post (7/17): Drone attack, oldschool
It’s too bad the term drone attack has come to have any meaning other than that of Former Unofficial President Dick Cheney going on and on in his sonorous monotone, doing his Mr. Gravitas routine and trying to put a glaze of sanity on his strategic “thinking” by putting a glaze on the viewers’ eyes.
E. Paul Seils in Al-Jazeera (7/17): International Justice Day: Accountability breeds dignity
As we mark July 17, designated International Justice Day by the state parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) just over two years ago, we should not limit our focus to the work of the court or criminal justice as such. It is vital we have a wider conception of how justice can be achieved in the aftermath of atrocities and why it is necessary to do so. Pursuing justice in these conditions presents an opportunity to do three crucial things: reaffirm a society’s shared values about basic ideas of right and wrong; restore confidence in the institutions of the state charged with protecting fundamental rights and freedoms; and recognise the human dignity of the victims of atrocities that have taken place.
F. Nat Parry in ConsortiumNews.com (7/18): Reviving the Rendition Debate
Bush-era torture and extraordinary rendition have been pushed aside by the Obama administration, as it still seeks to look forward, not backward. But a group of international parliamentarians revived the troubling issue in calling for serious investigations now, not later, reports Nat Parry.
G. Joe Davidson in the Washington Post (7/19): FDA isn’t the only agency snooping in e-mail
With the Food and Drug Administration’s surveillance of its staff, perhaps “FDA” should stand for the Federal Detective Administration. Actually, that could be an umbrella agency charged with coordinating all government programs that spy on federal employees. It would be an agency with a list of operations longer than many people realize. At the moment, the real FDA is at the top of the list because of disclosures this week about the extent of its internal monitoring of some agency workers.