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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo

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On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

Andy Worthington, Common Dreams

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

On the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001 that prompted the launch of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” the closure of Guantánamo and calls for accountability for those who instigated torture and established secret prisons and imprisonment without charge or trial remain as important as ever.

This is especially true because, on this particular anniversary, the crimes and injustices initiated by the Bush administration are, arguably, less in the public eye than at any time in the last six years. In 2004, after the Abu Ghraib scandal first alerted US citizens to a culture of torture and abuse that was sanctioned at the highest levels of government (however much the administration tried to brush it off as the work of “a few bad apples”), the US Supreme Court intervened, in Rasul v. Bush, to raise awareness of the lawless plight of the prisoners at Guantánamo by granting them habeas corpus rights, allowing lawyers to visit the men and to begin to puncture the veil of secrecy in which Guantánamo had been shrouded for the first two and a half years of its existence.

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Summary: Immigration Reform: Week of September 12

3 New Items including:

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  • Principles for Immigration Reform
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  • Misconceptions Behind the Immigrant Scare
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Monte Wolverton

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Principles for Immigration Reform, Marshall Fitz , Angela Maria Kelley, Center for American Progress

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  • Our broken immigration system undermines core national interests and must be reformed. The public demands it. Our security requires it. Global competitiveness and economic reality compel it. Our identity as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws depends on it.
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  • Read the full report (pdf)
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  • Download the executive summary (pdf)
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AZ GOP utility commission candidate wants to cut off all utility services to homes with undocumented immigrants, Sean Alfano, NY Daily News | NY

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  • One Arizona politician has made a vow to make illegal immigrants powerless — literally.
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  • Guidelines for Fixing Our Broken Immigration System
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  • Obama: Immigration plan 'cannot pass without Republican votes'
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Misconceptions Behind the Immigrant Scare, Scott Horton, Harper's

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  • A major independent study shows that the actual number of illegal immigrants in America is declining, sharply.
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  • A brief history of immigration
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Misconceptions Behind the Immigrant Scare

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  • A major independent study shows that the actual number of illegal immigrants in America is declining, sharply.
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  • A brief history of immigration
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Scott Horton, Harper's

America, we are told by breathless voices on the political right, faces a horrible crisis from illegal immigrants, particularly from Mexico. These histrionics recently helped drive Arizona legislators and Governor Jan Brewer to enact SB 1070, under which the state’s law enforcement officers are authorized to stop anyone they suspect of being “foreign” and demand to see their documentation. But how sound are the premises of the fear campaign that drives this movement? As the New York Times reports, a major independent study shows that the actual number of illegal immigrants in America is declining, sharply:

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The number of illegal immigrants in the United States, after peaking at 12 million in 2007, fell to about 11.1 million in 2009, the first clear decline in two decades, according to a report published Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center. The reduction came primarily from decreases among illegal immigrants from Latin American countries other than Mexico, the report found. The number of Mexicans living in the United States without legal immigration status did not change significantly from 2007 to 2009. Some seven million Mexicans make up about 60 percent of all illegal immigrants, still by far the largest national group, the Pew Center said.

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A brief history of immigration, Frances Symes, Congress.org

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  • Fights over immigration law have been going on in the U.S. since the 1790s.
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  • Democrats unveil immigration proposal
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Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act! Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI), in Change.org
Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM Act. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM Act.

A step backwards on privacy

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  • The Obama administration is proposing its own changes to Electronic Communications Privacy Act ECPA aimed at weakening—not strengthening—your personal on-line privacy.
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  • The administration's plan would allow government officials to obtain more of your personal information using warrantless National Security Letters, without going to court and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.
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Anthony D. Romero, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

Tens of thousands of supporters added their names to the ACLU's Protect Our Privacy Petition—calling on Congress to update and strengthen the decades-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

But now, the Obama administration is proposing its own changes to ECPA aimed at weakening—not strengthening—your personal privacy.
ECPA is one of the few laws that can protect our privacy online, but the administration's proposal would warp this crucial law—expanding the government's power to collect Americans' email and internet use records in national security investigations.

That's a huge step in the wrong direction for personal privacy even as we're trying hard to advance our privacy protections.

Sign our petition and demand changes that strengthen, rather than weaken, our personal privacy.

The administration's plan would do exactly the opposite by allowing government officials to obtain more of your personal information using warrantless National Security Letters, without going to court and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

That means more secret requests for your personal information—and more gag orders to stop companies from disclosing what they were forced to turn over.

Congress has already held hearings on updating ECPA, and the issue will soon come up again.  We must make sure that any changes to our laws come down on the side of protecting privacy.

Add your name to the petition and tell Congress to strengthen our privacy laws.

We can't sit back and let our privacy protections be replaced by new privacy invasions.  Please raise your voice today.

Thanks for speaking out.

Inside Top Secret America

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A major investigation reveals the extent of America's vast and heavily privatized military-corporate-intelligence establishment.

Lindsay Beyerstein, AlterNet

The brick warehouse is not just a warehouse. Drive through the gate and around back, and there, hidden away, is someone's personal security detail: a fleet of black SUVs that have been armored up to withstand explosions and gunfire.

In July, the Washington Post published the Top Secret America project -- a sweeping portrait of America’s heavily privatized military-corporate-intelligence establishment. Lead reporter Dana Priest calls it the “vast and hidden apparatus of the war on terror.”

Priest, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes, described the project as the most challenging investigation of her career. She teamed up with national security journalist William Arkin and a team of about 20 Post staffers to create an “alternative geography” of a hidden world that has exploded since the attacks of 9/11. At last count, the official U.S. intelligence budget stood at $75 billion -- more than two and a half times what it was on September 10, 2001.

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