Civil Rights

Submitted by tnjp on May 24, 2013 - 11:55am.

Verizon (and Google) Helped U.S. Government to Spy on Reporters
by Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch Blog
May 23rd, 2013

Technology companies willingly provided information to U.S. government agencies to help the Obama administration snoop on reporters from the Associated Press (AP) and Fox news in order to ostensibly crack down on leaks that pose a “threat” to national security.

Verizon, one of the largest mobile phone companies in the U.S., turned over records on 20 reporters from the AP who were working on a story on Yemen without questioning the government. Likewise Google turned over email records on Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a federal contractor, over his conversations about North Korea with Fox news.

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has asked telecommunication companies to turn over records on journalists. In 2010 the federal government asked for the phone records of New York Times reporter James Risen for his investigation of Operation Merlin, a failed attempt by the Clinton administration to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by supplying misleading information on key technology.

"Every president wants to control the message, but this administration has taken things to a different level," Kathleen McClellan, a lawyer for the Government Accountability Project

Submitted by tnjp on May 18, 2013 - 5:55pm.

This Isn’t the First Time the IRS has Targeted Specific Groups
by Rainforest Action Network
May 17, 2013
Written by Melanie Gleason

At first glance, it may seem like another annoying addition to the scandal du jour list: Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that the Justice Department and FBI began a criminal investigation on whether Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees broke the law when they targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status–using search terms such as “tea party” and “patriot.”

However, what may initially appear as a political party tit for tat goes much deeper–in that the IRS has long been a vehicle of political retribution (with politics depending on what administration is currently seated in power)–and perhaps most disconcerting of all: tossing the constitutionally guaranteed equal protection clause right out the window.

The recurrent theme of governmental power targeting marginalized political communities has been a consistent, abysmal tradition dating back to the FDR administration. The administration admitted using inflated charges of tax evasion on political targets such as former Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long. And the tactic of wielding the IRS’ fiery wrath is an equal opportunity strategy for both sides of the aisle: under the Nixon administration, the IRS created the Special Services Staff (SSS) to look into thousands of perceived political enemies–including reporters who wrote critical stories of Nixon, such as Newsday’s Robert Greene, and civil rights organizations like the NAACP.

Submitted by tnjp on April 26, 2013 - 6:07pm.

Boston: This is what a police state looks like
By Steve Gillis on April 23, 2013

Boston — Using war jargon associated with Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities have repeatedly described the blasts that killed three people and injured 176 at the crowded Boston Marathon on “Patriots Day,” April 15, as “IED bombings,” for improvised explosive devices. Many of the injured suffered horrific amputations and shrapnel wounds.

Since then, a common sentiment shared among people here has been, “This must be what it looks like every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Over the next four days, people in the greater Boston area experienced a police state operation that many also described as a preview of martial law.

Media: false reports and glorifying military

Thousands of heavily armed and mechanized National Guard troops, military police, FBI SWAT teams and federal agents of every stripe — from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the Drug Enforcement Administration — mobilized to assist the Boston police lockdown of the downtown area. At the same time, the media began a nearly uninterrupted 24/7 coverage of the “manhunt.”

TV newscasters breathlessly glorified a “courageous civilian” for allegedly tackling a “fleeing Saudi national” whose hands were “suspiciously burned” at the bombing scene. Boston police set up an armed guard at his hospital room and federal SWAT teams raided an apartment building in Revere known to house hundreds of international students, displaying bags of “seized evidence” to the cameras.

A CNN reporter repeatedly shared his scoop with the world, straight from “sources at the highest level of law enforcement,” that authorities were focusing on a “dark skinned, Black male seen with a package in surveillance video” at the scene shortly before the blasts....

Submitted by tnjp on July 29, 2012 - 5:39pm.

a speech at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland...
Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours | TomDispatch
Destroying the Commons
How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta
By Noam Chomsky

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. Whether it will be celebrated, mourned, or ignored is not at all clear.

That should be a matter of serious immediate concern. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist -- not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” -- a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished...

Submitted by tnjp on October 6, 2010 - 12:22pm.



By Kevin Gosztola
Video: Interview w/ Medea Benjamin on Pushing Hard to Get Peace Message into "One Nation" Rally
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODE PINK and "fair trade" advocacy group Global Exchange talks about the One Nation Working Together rally. She explains what it took for the peace movement to be a part of the organizing committee and what she thinks progressives should do to get their demands for peace and justice acted upon. She also addresses how CODE PINK has been singled out by Jon Stewartas a group contributing to insanity in politics...

Submitted by tnjp on September 26, 2010 - 2:22pm.

FBI Serves Terrorism Warrants In Minn., Chicago
STEVE KARNOWSKI
Sep. 25, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago. "These were search warrants only," Warfield said. "We're not anticipating any arrests at this time. They're seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

The homes of longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched, they said. All three were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago: Aby on Oct. 5, Sundin on Oct. 12 and Kelly on Oct. 19. "The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly saidbefore agents confiscated his cell phone...

Submitted by tnjp on March 13, 2009 - 10:53pm.

170 Organizations Request Special Prosecutor for Bush-Cheney

A movement is building around a simple statement at http://prosecutebushcheney.org

Organizations and individuals are signing on, and 170 organizations have already taken the lead.

Next week United for Peace and Justice will ask its 1,400 member groups to consider signing on.

Most of the 170 national and local groups signed onto this movement before the release of seven Justice Department memos from 2001-2002 in which top officials claimed the right to disregard the Fourth Amendment, Habeas Corpus, and Posse Comitatus:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/40420

Most of these groups signed on before learning that the CIA had destroyed 92, not 2, "interrogation" tapes:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/40360

Most of these groups signed on before the release of Emails in which we discover that British intelligence thought the Iraq weapons claims were laughably dishonest: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/40684

Most signed on prior to the United Nations declaring rendition illegal:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/40627

Would you or your organization like to be cutting edge?
You can sign on at http://prosecutebushcheney.org

Submitted by tnjp on August 16, 2008 - 4:51pm.


Denver officials weren't planning to reveal details about where activists would be detained in the event of mass arrests during the Democratic National Convention until after the event had started, but those plans were quickly dashed this week when CBS 4News reporter Rick Sallinger not only revealed that protesters would be locked up in a city-owned warehouse, but he also obtained clear video footage inside the facility, a building that includes barbed wire-topped cages and signs warning of stun-gun use.

Submitted by Carol on January 11, 2008 - 8:55pm.

Fact Sheet: Final Real ID Regulations (1/11/2008)

Compliance Deadlines. States need to do almost nothing to comply with Real ID before 2014 (or 2017 for those over the age of 50).

* DHS will grant an extension until Dec 31, 2009 to any state which requests one.

Submitted by Carol on January 6, 2008 - 11:20pm.

"For the past six years, our rights have been on the chopping block. If 2007 was the year we didn’t get our freedom back, 2008 will be the year we demand it. Our holiday wish list is simple: We want our Constitution back. It doesn’t even need a ribbon. This New Year, we resolve to hold our leaders accountable. We hope they will resolve to follow the law."

2007: The Year We Didn’t Get Our Freedoms Back

Top 10 ways our government failed us:

Submitted by tnjp on November 21, 2007 - 5:13am.



Hecklers dog Gonzales By JACK STRIPLING Nov 20, 2007
Hounded by hecklers and protesters, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended an admittedly imperfect record before a raucous University of Florida audience Monday night.

Gonzales devoted much of his speech to encouraging students to enter public service, despite the criticism that public officials like himself endure.

The fervency of that criticism was readily apparent as several protesters stood with their backs turned toward Gonzales throughout his speech, frequently interrupted him with calls of “liar” and “treason” and, in some cases, stormed the stage...

Submitted by tnjp on November 9, 2007 - 6:43pm.

This brings back memories of the Tallahassee Veterans Parade circa 2003 (see story below), when local anti-war veteran Tom Baxter and 30 others were kicked out of the Tallahassee parade...


Veterans and Military Families Barred From Marching in Veterans Day Parade

The L.A. chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War was recently denied permission to march in the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade on the grounds that they do not "represent the spirit of the parade." On November 7 members of IVAW, Veterans For Peace and Military Families Speak Out (whose local contingents were also denied permission to march) spoke before a meeting of the Long Beach City Council and asked the Council to overturn the Parade Committee's decision to ban them from the march. The Council denied their request...

Submitted by tnjp on November 7, 2007 - 6:00am.

Mukasey Must Denounce Torture, Publicly and On the Record
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Mukasey’s nomination without getting real answers on the issue of torture and the broader issue of executive authority. In doing so, they missed a real opportunity to make progress on ending torture and reining in a president that believes he is above the law. Now, every senator has a responsibility to act.

Take Action: Tell Your senators Mukasey must commit to enforcing torture and spying laws.

Full Senate Should Seek What the Judiciary Committee Failed To Obtain (11/6/2007)

Senate Should Not Move Forward with an Attorney General Nominee Who Refuses to Classify Waterboarding as Torture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON-- – As the Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to approve the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for attorney general, the American Civil Liberties Union now calls upon the full Senate to obtain what the committee could not – an admission from the nominee that waterboarding and other extreme interrogation tactics are torture. During the confirmation hearings and in his responses to further questions, Judge Mukasey carefully avoided stating whether waterboarding is torture when authorized by the federal government, as well as refusing to say that it is also illegal for foreign countries to waterboard, beat and shock American citizens...

Submitted by tnjp on August 15, 2007 - 10:52pm.


Help Us Run the "Congress as Sheep" Ads
Ever since a new Congress got elected last November, we’ve been waiting for it to end the violations of the Constitution and the lawless behavior of the Bush administration. Members of Congress acted, but instead of restoring our freedoms, they actually handed the Bush administration vast new powers to invade our privacy with no meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress...

Submitted by tnjp on May 4, 2007 - 12:25am.

More Bush, less freedom...


FBI opening far fewer civil rights inquiries -Last updated April 25, 2007 -Terrorism supersedes hate crimes, police abuse By PAUL SHUKOVSKY, TRACY JOHNSON AND DANIEL LATHROP
The FBI touts civil rights enforcement as a top priority, but the number of investigations into such cases -- from hate crimes to the actions of rogue police officers -- has fallen sharply, raising concerns that victims are left with nowhere else to turn....

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