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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping

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  • Valerie E. Caproni, the F.B.I.’s general counsel, has said the government is trying to prevent its existing surveillance power from eroding.
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  • "Has the nation already gone past the tipping point to being a surveillance state? Probably not quite yet, but it won't be that much longer." --Joseph Taylor, Suburban Maryland
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  • Obama's DOJ vs. the First Amendment
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Charlie Savage, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

Scott Stantis

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.

The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

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Obama's DOJ vs. the First Amendment, Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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  • The Obama Justice Department--or at least one of its top prosecutors--is cracking down on investigative reporting without regard for the First Amendment.
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  • White House reporters afraid to criticize the White House
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  • Chomsky: Obama's No Human Rights Crusader -- Just Look at How He Aids Israel's Atrocities
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Discovery of GPS tracker becomes privacy issue

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  • "Yasir hasn't done anything to warrant that kind of surveillance. This was a blatant example of profiling," said attorney Zahra Billoo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
    One federal judge wrote that the widespread use of the device was straight out of George Orwell's novel, "1984".

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Paul Elias,  Associated Press/Herald Bulletin | IN

In this undated photo provided by Yasir Afifi, shows a GPS monitoring device he found on his car in Santa Clara, CA.

Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old computer salesman and community college student, took his car in for an oil change earlier this month and his mechanic spotted an odd wire hanging from the undercarriage.

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The wire was attached to a strange magnetic device that puzzled Afifi and the mechanic. They freed it from the car and posted images of it online, asking for help in identifying it.

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Two days later, FBI agents arrived at Afifi's Santa Clara apartment and demanded the return of their property — a global positioning system tracking device now at the center of a raging legal debate over privacy rights.
One federal judge wrote that the widespread use of the device was straight out of George Orwell's novel, "1984".

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For now, antiwar activists will not be forced to testify

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  • Subpoenas  issued to activists raided by FBI canceled.
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  • "No one knows what will happen. That's sort of the problem with all this," Parker-Hartog said. "The net is definitely getting wider. We are hearing from more of our brothers and sisters around the country that they, too, are being looked at."
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  • Supreme Court ruling makes ‘it a crime to work for peace and human rights’
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James Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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Thistle Parker-Hartog originally was supposed to testify before a grand jury in Chicago Tuesday (Oct 12). She didn't go. Mick Kelly was scheduled to make the same trip next week. Don't bet on it.

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In all, 14 antiwar activists and several organizations from the Twin Cities and Chicago who are being investigated for alleged support of terror groups received subpoenas to appear before the grand jury this month. All -- including five who were to appear last week -- have told the U.S. Department of Justice that they are not going. Instead, several were among about 60 people gathered in front of the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday (Oct 12) to protest what they consider harassment and intimidation because they oppose U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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Supreme Court ruling makes ‘it a crime to work for peace and human rights’: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Raw Story<>

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  • Coleen Rowley: Important! June 2010 Supreme Court ruling is major legal factor that contributes to making fishing expeditions [like last Friday's (Sep 25) FBI raids against Minneapolis and Chicago peace activists] possible.
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  • Illinois, Minnesota Anti-War Activists Accuse FBI Of Intimidation
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Special Report | Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo

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  • The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability.
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  • The Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Paresh Nath

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Anti-Torture Group to Protest Appearance of John Yoo and Robert Delahunty on October 7, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
Don’t allow the practice of torture to be legitimized via crazy notions of “Presidential War Powers”!
Register (free) to attend "Presidential Powers: Prudence or Perversion?"
Contact Person: Reverend Sonja Johnson, 612-721-1416 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.

Torture: The Prisoner's Reality and International Law, Betsy Reznicek, Veterans for Peace
Will be live streamed on Saturday October 9 (12pm Central Time) at http://www.veteransforpeace.org

The U.S. wins the right to abduct innocent people with impunity, Glenn Greenwald, Salon
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle
The Supreme Court today (Jun 14) denied a petition of review from Maher Arar, the Canadian and Syrian citizen who was abducted by the U.S. Government at a stopover at JFK Airport when returning to Canada in 2002, held incommunicado for two weeks, and then rendered to Syria, where he spent the next 10 months being tortured, even though -- as everyone acknowledges -- he was guilty of absolutely nothing.  Arar sued the U.S. Government for what was done to him, and last November, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit on the ground that courts have no right to interfere in these decisions of the Executive Branch.  That was the decision which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand today, ending Arar's attempt to be compensated for what was done to him.

The CIA and Secrecy, Boston Globe | MA

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  • Torture gets a free pass
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  • The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo
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  • ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies
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Other Countries Probing Bush-era Torture — Why Aren't We? Shashank Bengali, the McClatchy Newspapers/Common Dreams
"That's part of why we're so concerned. The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability."

The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, Common Dreams
On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

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Center for Torture Accountability lists St. Thomas Professor Delahunty as deserving probe, The Center for Torture Accountability
Delahunty helps John Yoo write memos making legal case for suspending constitutional rights and protections

The Appalling Cowardice of the NY Times and the Rest of America's Big Newspapers -- Too Scared to Say 'Torture' Will Bunch, Media Matters for America
Before 2004, the newspapers called waterboarding torture. After the revelations of Gitmo and black sites of the Bush years, they've gone silent.

Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A., Charlie Savage, New York Times | NY
The Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.

Secrets and lies: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Exposed!

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  • Along with our friends at the Courage Campaign, we've launched a website that pulls back the curtain on NOM for everyone to see.
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  • We'll post up-to-the-minute news on NOM over the coming months and years, so bookmark the site and come back often.
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Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

Are you tired of the National Organization for Marriage, a.k.a. NOM, putting on a mask of tolerance for the media?

Are you sick of their claim that they speak for a majority of Americans – while they support extreme anti-gay zealots and keep their donors secret?

Well, we are. And today, along with our friends at the Courage Campaign, we're launching a website that pulls back the curtain on NOM for everyone to see.

NOM Exposed uncovers shocking secrets so people can get the real facts as NOM throws its weight around in race after race this election cycle. We'll post up-to-the-minute dirt on NOM over the coming months and years, so bookmark the site and come back often.

Check out our new site – then add your name to the "NOM Doesn't Speak for Me" petition and help spread the truth!

NOM recently released a slick new ad on behalf of Tom Emmer, the candidate for governor of Minnesota with ties to a group that condoned the execution of gays. The ad disguises NOM's anti-LGBT agenda behind a fake claim of protecting civil rights.

NOM even had the gall to compare itself to Martin Luther King, Jr., flashing images of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. It's a flagrant distortion of reality – the latest in a history of deception since NOM opened for business during the Prop. 8 campaign.

NOMexposed.org is about spreading truth. We've spent months digging into NOM's funding, shady ties, ethics violations, and more. We created this site so that every time someone searches for NOM – voters, elected leaders, reporters – they'll get the real story. They'll find out that:

▪    Brian Brown, NOM's President, has said that "allowing gay marriage is akin to allowing polygamous marriage."
▪    Not to be outdone, NOM founder Maggie Gallagher has said same-sex marriage is worse than polygamy.
▪    NOM has close ties to the powerful and secretive right-wing religious group Opus Dei.
▪    Robert George, the "reigning brain of the Christian right" and Chairman of NOM's board co-authored the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have written anti-gay discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. He also believes that repealing antiquated laws banning sodomy will lead to incest.
▪    To hide its political activities, NOM has blatantly flouted campaign finance laws.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. We've tracked NOM's financial ties, showing how huge, secret donations have swelled its budget from $500,000 to $10 million in just three years. We've connected the dots to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church.

Now we need your help to get the word out – share shocking facts on Facebook and Twitter or spread the truth by simply passing this email along.

If you believe that strong families aren't about "straight" or "gay" but about love and commitment; if you're a person of faith; if you're straight or LGBT, married, partnered or single – add your name and say "NOM Doesn't Speak for Me." We'll share this petition with officials and the media in states where NOM is at work.

Visit NOMexposed.org – add your name, and share the truth with friends and family.

We've called NOM out before, whether revealing the audition tape for "Gathering Storm" or alerting the press to their lies. But NOM Exposed goes deep into the organization's roots and represents a commitment to keep tabs on their activity and connect the dots for voters.

NOM wants to claim the middle ground. But people don't know who they really are. We are not going to sit by and let them dictate the terms of the debate. We're going to expose the lies – not just today, but every day.

Won’t you join us?

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