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Michael Ratner, Wikileaks lawyer & civil liberties legend, dies at age 72

Civil rights attorney Michael Ratner, defender of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and Guantánamo Bay detainees, died Wednesday...

Leaked: Secret EU plan could see 80,000 Afghans deported, civil liberties group claims

Tens of thousands of Afghans could be deported back to the collapsing state from Europe...

The Post-Paris War on Encryption Is an Opportunistic Attack on Our Civil Liberties

The feds have had it out for encryption for decades, but in the wake of the Paris attacks, the vilification of cryptography - the...

FISA Court Needs Reform to Protect Americans’ Civil Liberties

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications, concludes...

Police Using Controversial Patriot Act Authority for ‘Everyday’ Cases: Civil Liberties Group

A contentious surveillance provision of the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to conduct searches while delaying informing the suspect, is broadly used, but...

Cameron vows to scrap Human Rights Act, civil liberties groups outraged

Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to terminate the Human Rights Act if the Conservatives are re-elected in Britain’s 2015 general election. The controversial...

Corporate Executives Couldn’t Care Less About Civil Liberties

The Washington Post reports that in 2008 the government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to relinquish user data on...

Proposed Anti-Terror Law in France Would Erode Civil Liberties

JILLIAN YORK A proposed anti-terrorism law in France has freedom of expression advocates concerned.  The bill, as our friends at La Quadrature du Net frame...

GCHQ tribunal hears civil liberties legal challenge

​Civil liberties groups are making a legal challenge against the alleged use of mass surveillance by UK intelligence services. The tribunal follows revelations about UK...

Take it from a civil liberties watchdog: not everything is bulk surveillance

President Obama appointed my oversight board to examine the classified details of a key intelligence program. You should believe what happened next James X Dempsey A...

“Civil liberties board” allows government to destroy ours

Thomas Gaist The five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), appointed by President Obama, released a report this week upholding core components of the...

U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties

Over the past year, the United States government has been in the news a lot for its efforts to undermine the Internet’s basic privacy...

The FBI’s Facial Recognition Database Combines Lo-Res Photos With Zero Civil Liberties Consideration

Another FOIA lawsuit brought against the government by the EFF has resulted in the release of previously withheld documents. The papers cut loose this time...

The Shift towards an Authoritarian Future: Why the West Slowly Abandons its Civil Liberties

Werner de Gruijter, Arnout Krediet and Sven Jense  RINF Alternative News Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who construct an image of toughness — tough...

N.Y. Judge: NSA Spying “Imperils Civil Liberties of Every Citizen” but “Legal”

Southern District of New York Judge William Pauley III declared in a December 27 decision that the NSA surveillance program – which draws in...

54 Civil Liberties and Public Interest Organizations Oppose the FISA Improvements Act

Fifty-four civil liberties and public interest groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership Wednesday opposing S. 1631, the FISA Improvements Act. The bill, promoted...

Obama administration defends NSA against civil liberties lawsuit

By John Burton26 November 2013 In New York federal court last Friday, the US Justice Department defended the National Security Agency (NSA) program that...

Big Brother’s Loyal Sister: How Dianne Feinstein Is Betraying Civil Liberties

Diane Feinstein Ever since the first big revelations about the National Security Agency five months ago, Dianne Feinstein has been in overdrive to defend the...

The Inner Crisis of American Society: Civil Liberties, Militarization, Economic Inequality

For all the enervating political tumult and shouting emanating from Washington these days, there is remarkably little to show for it except what...

Stand Up Americans: “Take Back our Civil Liberties, Close Down the Police State”

In less than 2 days, if the Treasury secretary can be believed, the Treasury will not have enough money to pay all its bills...

Civil liberties coalition wants Congress to probe DEA spy program

Concerns over the United States government’s vast surveillance apparatus aren’t subsiding, even three months after former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden first started leaking national...

NSA Sued Over 'Blatantly Unconstitutional Attack on Civil Liberties'

Developing...A diverse coalition of groups represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed suit against the NSA on Tuesday for its bulk, unconstitutional...

French Suit: NSA Spying a 'Foreign Attack' on Civil Liberties

As the NSA spying scandal ripples across the world, French human rights organizations announced Thursday they are taking legal action against US spying that...

On Civil Liberties, Comparing Obama With Bush Is Easy–and Mostly Wrong

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/on_civil_liberties_comparing_obama_with_bush_is_easy_--_and_mostly_wrong_20/ Posted on Jun 14, 2013 ...

86 Civil Liberties Groups and Internet Companies Demand an End to NSA Spying

Rainey Reitmaneff.orgJune 10, 2013 Today, a bipartisan coalition of 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies...

Vermont Politics, Threats to Civil Liberties and Freedom of Information

This is the tenth chapter of a series excerpted from “Maverick Chronicles,” a memoir-in-progress. Previous stories can be found at VTDigger. Before Burlington’s progressive revolution...

Bradley Manning Trail Begins: A 'Danger Zone' for Civil Liberties

Bradley Manning supporters in Fort Meade on Sunday. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/cc/flickr)Developing...The trial of 25-year-old army Pfc. Bradley Manning begins on Monday, "the latest and...

5 Worst Obama Assaults on Civil Liberties Besides the AP scandal

Is anyone really surprised that Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department followed the rules in seizing two months of telephone records from...

Civil Liberties and CCTV Camera Surveillance. Landmark Court Decision in Australia

Image by lonely radio Last week (2nd May), in the midst of Privacy Awareness Week , an Australian campaigner, Adam Bonner won a landmark decision...

Americans’ Economic Prospects And Civil Liberties Have Been Stolen

Not only has your economy been stolen from you but also your civil liberties. My coauthor Lawrence Stratton and I provide the scary details of the entire story in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

8 Ways Obama Is As Bad — Or Worse — Than Bush On Civil...

Despite a rare court victory on Friday, Obama's legacy is dismal.

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

March 18, 2013  |  

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Civil libertarians won a rare court victory against the Obama Administration’s ‘War on Terror’ on Friday when a U.S. District Court blocked the FBI from ordering telecom companies to turn over their customer’s data, such as e-mails and other records, and blocked FBI gag orders on this domestic spying program.

“In today's ruling, the court held that the gag order provisions of the statute violate the First Amendment and that the review procedures violate separation of powers,” Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers, who brought the suit, said. “Because those provisions were not separable from the rest of the statute, the court declared the entire statute unconstitutional.”

This is the second time in recent months that civil libertarians have won a court victory over the Obama administration, although it is all but certain that it will appeal and seek to suspend the ruling. Last fall, a federal court suspended a section of a major defense bill that gave the government permission to arrest people who were suspected of speaking with alleged terrorists, which included several journalists who sued. However, another federal court reinstated that provision pending appeal.

“What is appears to illustrate is there are probably duel U.S. Pakistani nationals or maybe U.S. Afghan nationals who are being detained in military facilities and denied due process,” said Chris Hedges, an ex-foreign correspondent who sued.

What these developments underscore is that the Obama Administration barely differs from the George W. Bush Administration when it comes to the ‘War on Terrorism.’ While the Obama Administration has not continued specific tactics used by his predecessor, such as CIA black sites and specific torture techniques known as “enhanced interrogation,” it has gone further than Bush in other areas, such as with targeted assassinations using drones, and expanding the domestic national security state.

“There are the two War on Terror presidents,” wrote Glenn Greenwald recently. “ George Bush seized on the 9/11 attack to usher in radical new surveillance and detention powers in the PATRIOT ACT, spied for years on the communications of US citizens without the warrants required by law, and claimed the power to indefinitely imprison even US citizens without charges in military brigs.

“His successor, Barack Obama, went further by claiming the power not merely to detain citizens without judicial review but to assassinate them (about which the New York Times said: ‘It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing’). He has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, dusting off [Woodrew] Wilson’s Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute more then double the number of whistleblowers than all prior presidents combined. And he has draped his actions with at least as much secrecy, if not more so, than any president in US history.”

Let’s go through these and other areas that, as the National Journal said, should result in an “F” for Obama when historians assess his civil liberties record.

This February, BillMoyers.com published a list of eight contrasting the Obama and Bush Administrations on civil liberties. On six of the eight areas, Obama expanded or codified his predecessor’s policies:

1. Patriot Act is renewed on May 27, 2011: “Obama signs a renewal of several of the Patriot Act’s most controversial segments, including the use of ‘ roving wiretaps,’ the government’s expanded access to business records, and the ‘lone wolf’ provision, which allows surveillance of individuals not affiliated with any known terrorist organization. 

2. Wiretaps and Data Collections: “On December 30, 2012, Obama signs a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act. Provisions for more oversight and public disclosure failed to pass Congress.” (This is the law that the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenged and won a U.S. District Court injunction against last week. The administration has 90 days to appeal.)

What Obama Said – and What He Meant – About Climate Change, War and...

obamadoublespeak

The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change — we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

Blow off steam with your demonstrations, you 350.org types. I’ll provide the platitudes. XL Keystone, here we come.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate — unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

“We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we’ll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

We don’t need flag-draped coffins coming home. We’re so civilized that we’re the planetary leaders at killing people with remote control from halfway around the world.

We must enlist our values in the fight. That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

I’m sick of taking flak just because I pick and choose which civil liberties I want to respect. If I need to give a bit more information to a few other pliant members of Congress, I will. The ones who get huffy about the Bill of Rights aren’t going to get the time of day from this White House. I recognize that some of my base is getting a bit upset about this civil-liberties thing, so I’ll ramp up the soothing words and make use of some prominent Democratic members of Congress who are of course afraid to polarize with me. Don’t underestimate this president; I know how to talk reverentially about our great nation’s “checks and balances” as I undermine them.

“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “preemptive war.”

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

What Obama Said (and What He Meant) About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties

The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change -- we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

Blow off steam with your demonstrations, you 350.org types. I’ll provide the platitudes. XL Keystone, here we come.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate -- unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

“We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we’ll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

We don’t need flag-draped coffins coming home. We’re so civilized that we’re the planetary leaders at killing people with remote control from halfway around the world.

We must enlist our values in the fight. That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

I’m sick of taking flak just because I pick and choose which civil liberties I want to respect. If I need to give a bit more information to a few other pliant members of Congress, I will. The ones who get huffy about the Bill of Rights aren’t going to get the time of day from this White House. I recognize that some of my base is getting a bit upset about this civil-liberties thing, so I’ll ramp up the soothing words and make use of some prominent Democratic members of Congress who are of course afraid to polarize with me. Don’t underestimate this president; I know how to talk reverentially about our great nation’s “checks and balances” as I undermine them.

“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “preemptive war.”

Norman Solomon

What Obama Said (and What He Meant) About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties

The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change -- we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

Blow off steam with your demonstrations, you 350.org types. I’ll provide the platitudes. XL Keystone, here we come.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate -- unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

“We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we’ll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

We don’t need flag-draped coffins coming home. We’re so civilized that we’re the planetary leaders at killing people with remote control from halfway around the world.

We must enlist our values in the fight. That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

I’m sick of taking flak just because I pick and choose which civil liberties I want to respect. If I need to give a bit more information to a few other pliant members of Congress, I will. The ones who get huffy about the Bill of Rights aren’t going to get the time of day from this White House. I recognize that some of my base is getting a bit upset about this civil-liberties thing, so I’ll ramp up the soothing words and make use of some prominent Democratic members of Congress who are of course afraid to polarize with me. Don’t underestimate this president; I know how to talk reverentially about our great nation’s “checks and balances” as I undermine them.

“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “preemptive war.”

Norman Solomon

Hamas Gags Civil Liberties in Gaza

GAZA CITY - Gaza is becoming increasingly radicalised as Hamas continues its crackdown on civil liberties, press freedom and the rights of women. In the last few weeks a number of journalists have been arrested and accused of being involved in “suspicious activities”, several detainees shot dead by police during arrest attempts, and female students asked to abide by a strict Islamic dress code.

A new crackdown on civil liberties makes the future for girls uncertain in Gaza. (Credit: Mohammed Omer/IPS) “Hamas is on a gradual track of the Islamisation of Gazan society, which goes against their early promises,” Dr Samir Awad from Birzeit University near Ramallah tells IPS. “Most people in Gaza, even the most conservative, oppose this. Gazans are already very conservative and they don’t need Hamas dictating their religion to them.”

Women have borne the brunt of the crackdown. Gaza’s Al Aqsa University has announced that female students will be required to wear full traditional Muslim garb, from head to toe.

Some female students have expressed outrage, claiming that the new demands are in violation of their public freedom. They say that already female students are modestly dressed but that some prefer wearing pants and a long overcoat rather than a burka, abaya or hijab.

In the past, Hamas has banned women from riding on the backs of motorbikes, from smoking water pipes, and men from working in female hair salons – saying such practices were immodest. Not all bans, however, have been imposed uniformly.

“Hamas has also banned mixed parties and mixed activities as well as enforcing other restrictions on women but not on men. Gaza’s entire seashore has practically been confiscated by Hamas as if it is their private property and they decide who can access the area and when,” Awad tells IPS.

The dress code decision has also further undermined the latest unity efforts between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated Fatah movement.

PA Minister for Higher Education Ali Jarbawi stresses that Hamas’s decision is illegal and cannot be implemented. He wrote an official letter to Al Aqsa’s president stating the illegality of the move which he said also violated Palestinian government decisions.

Dr. Faiq al-Naouk, advisor for managerial affairs at Al-Aqsa University responded saying that the controversial decision would be implemented only gradually as an act of “goodwill” before it becomes mandatory.

“Hamas’s increasing radicalisation is one of the sticking points for Fatah and Hamas being able to form a unity government,” says Awad.

Hamas has cracked down on other civil liberties too in the past few weeks. ‘New Star’, the annual Palestinian version of ‘American Idol’, was recently banned by the Islamist group on the grounds that it was “indecent” and violated conservative interpretations of Islam.

Producer Alaa Al Abed lashed out at the decision, of which he was only informed at the last moment, saying the ban prevented Gaza’s 12 contestants from competing in the second round of the competition.

“This is more serious than Hamas just killing fun in Gaza – they are limiting the freedoms of the people, according to their whims,” al-Abed says.

Teenage girls and women can only rarely be seen singing in public, but men are encouraged to sing, without musical instruments, about the glory of Islam and fighting Israel.

Journalists are also facing censure. Hamas has carried out a wave of arrests of Palestinian journalists in the coastal territory, accusing them of being involved in “suspicious activities”. Palestinian human rights groups say internal security services in the Gaza Strip have stepped up harassment of journalists in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) distributed a list of media workers it said had been arrested, and condemned the seemingly coordinated campaign, which Hamas officials deny.

Hamas interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan says his ministry guarantees freedom of the press, and says recent detainees were charged with recognisable offenses. He says they had admitted to charges that they “threatened the security of the community.”

The ministry added that “those persons are not journalists at all. Even those who work as journalists use this field as a cover to carry out suspicious acts.” The Palestinian media freedoms watchdog Mada issued a statement claiming abuse of those detained as well as confiscation of property and searches.

Gaza’s Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has expressed concern over the repeated use of lethal and excessive force by Hamas police following the death of several individuals during attempts to arrest them.

The organisation called on the Hamas authorities to use reasonable force to arrest people suspected of breaking the law, and further called for investigation into the conduct of the police officers involved.

“Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty,” says Mezan.

© 2013 IPS North America

Civil liberties are still the victim in the War on Terror

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A scary assault on civil liberties

By Lance Dickie As historians tally the incompetence, profligacy and lawless opacity of the Bush administration, a shorthand is already emerging: Katrina, Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu...

The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: ‘It’s Just the Way It Is’

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration’s shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting “national security” whistleblowers,...

The Restoration of Intelligible Civilization Based Upon Natural Liberties and True Justice

LoganPlanet InfowarsJuly 31, 2013 Love is impactful beyond belief Resistance to diabolical forces are a necessity in...

Israel’s Anti-terror Law Cruel and Racist, Warn Civil Rights Groups

Wearing a T-shirt, chanting songs at a demonstration or donating clothing could be enough for Israel’s large Palestinian minority to fall foul of a...

NYC homeless file complaint against police for violating civil rights

The New York Police Department is under fire once again for its treatment of the city’s...

‘Sheriff Joe’ Arpaio held in civil contempt for ignoring judge’s orders

Joe Arpaio claims to be “America's Toughest Sheriff,” but now he’s seeing the criminal justice system...

Civilian to monitor NYPD spying in settlement over covert surveillance of Muslims

In a landmark settlement, the New York Police Department has agreed on reforms to protect Muslims from its discriminatory and covert surveillance, including the...

‘Good Day’ for Transgender Students as Ruling Says School Violated Civil Rights

Ruling by US Department of Education is a win 'for all students, but especially those who are transgender all across the nation.' by Jon Queally The U.S....

Wikimedia joins civil rights groups in lawsuit against NSA internet spying

The Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International and a host of civil rights groups sued the National Security Agency and the US Department of Justice on...

Coalition of Civil Liberty Advocates and Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Oppose USA Freedom Act

WASHINGTON - OffNow has joined a trans-partisan coalition of surveillance whistleblowers, civil liberties advocates, and organizations representing millions of Americans urging Congress to reject...

Why There Will Be A Second American Civil War

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Dancing Around the Collapsing Edges of Industrial Civilization

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Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War And Great Power Confrontation?

Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War And Great Power Confrontation? Paul Craig Roberts People ask for solutions, but no solutions are possible in a disinformed world. Populations almost everywhere are dissatisfied, but few have any comprehension of the real situation. Before there can be solutions, people must know the truth about the problems. For those…

The post Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War And Great Power Confrontation? appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Los Angeles County sheriff retiring after accusations of civil rights violations and corruption

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Why TED Is a Recipe for Civilizational Disaster

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U.S. Drone Strike Kills Nearly a Dozen Civilians Traveling to Wedding in Yemen

Robert Greenwald, director of “Unmanned: America's...

What Will the Coming Civil Unrest Look Like?

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Civil Rights Lawyers Blast Decision to Remove Judge From Stop-and-Frisk Case

The Center for Constitutional Rights wants...

In Los Angeles, 50 Workers Arrested in Biggest Civil Disobedience against Walmart — Ever!

Hundreds protested against Walmart's “poverty wages”...

How America Was Lost: Without Accountable Government There is No Civil Liberty and no...

“No legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its power, position, and prestige.” Dean Acheson , 1962,...

How Feinstein is betraying liberties?

Ever since the first big revelations about the National Security Agency five months ago, Dianne Feinstein has been in overdrive to defend the surveillance...

Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society

This April 2010 path breaking article foresaw what is now unfolding in front of our very eyes: the repeal of civil liberties, privacy and...

Civil drones join military drones falling from the skies

As regular readers will know, Drone Wars UK tracks crashes of the larger type II and III military UAVs in our Drone Crash Database (details of UAV classifications here).  We have just updated our list with a further six crashes during... Read More ›

Cops nationwide stealing cash, jewelry, valuables from innocent citizens under ‘civil forfeiture’ laws

J.D. Heyes Natural News If you’ve never heard of “civil forfeiture laws,” you’re about to get an eye-opening education. What’s more, you’re going to be disappointed...

Obama continues attacks on civil liberty

In Oslo, the world's most important peace prize has been hijacked for war. In London, government authority has just fired a new shot at freedom...

US approves drones for civilian use

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to...

Drones approved for civilian use in US

In a major step that could boost the use of drones in US skies, federal regulators said they have certified two types of unmanned...

The Amash amendment failed, but civil libertarians won on Wednesday

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Globalization, Civil Rights and the Cyber-Surveillance State

Globalization has reached its apogee— spying on European friends as well as usual foreign suspects, and you. Recent revelations about NSA’s worldwide practices are globalization’s...

Iranian MP warns of Egypt civil war

Opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi protest in the coastal city of Alexandria on June 28, 2013.A senior Iranian lawmaker has warned that continued...

NYC Vote to Curb Stop-and-Frisk Is Another Win for Civil Rights

New York City Council passed two bills designed to guarantee safety and respect for all New Yorkers. The measures were championed by Communities United for Police...

Obama Calls Constitution ‘Charter of Negative Liberties’

Infowars.com June 12, 2013 Long before he was president, Barack Obama was already plotting to overturn the Constitution of the United...

Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances”

A recent Department of Defense instruction alters the US code applying to the military’s involvement in domestic law enforcement by allowing US troops to...

Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances”

Dod “instruction” seeks to abolish Posse Comitatus, grease skids for military coup Paul Joseph WatsonInfowars.comMay 17,...

The Militarization of Domestic Law Enforcement: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’

By Jed Morey The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local...

SOTU: Obama Poses as Dove while Civilians Bombed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - February 13 - KATHY KELLY, [email]
Just back from Afghanistan, Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She said today: “Obama is a ‘hawkish’ president who likes to sound ‘dovish.’ He spoke of ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and yet the Pentagon has already told the Afghan government that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan till 2024 and beyond. The Pentagon plans to keep U.S. Special Operations troops in Afghanistan. Just outside of Kabul, the former Blackwater firm, now called ‘Academi,’ is building a 10-acre base, ‘Camp Integrity,’ that will be used to train Special Forces for night raids, drone attacks and aerial bombardments.

“In Afghanistan, on Tuesday evening, February 12, at 10:00 p.m. U.S./NATO forces bombed two homes in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, claiming to attack Taliban forces. According to the Washington Post, nine civilians were killed.

“The Taliban has already responded to announcements about troop withdrawals, saying that troop levels don’t matter — they will continue fighting until the foreign troops leave. Continued U.S. military and security contractor fighting in Afghanistan will prolong the Taliban justification for fighting. The war will continue, and President Obama will force President Karzai to agree to immunity for all U.S. troops in Afghanistan, no matter what crimes they commit.

“U.S. war and development aid have not improved life for the majority of Afghans. The most recent U.S. ‘SIGAR’ [Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] report said that the U.S. development aid to Afghanistan is now approaching a sum of $100 billion. Yet close to a million Afghans under five are acutely malnourished, according to a UN-backed survey.

“Mainstream media has begun to question ‘drones’ and the ‘kill list’ — U.S. citizens should healthily question everything they have presumed to be ‘acceptable’ — for example, they should question the acceptability of ‘immunity’ for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.”

NORMAN SOLOMON, [email]
Available for a limited number of interviews, founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of War Made Easy, Solomon just wrote the piece “What Obama Said — and What He Meant — About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties,” which critiques Obama’s statements (in bold):

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate — unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

Last week, Solomon debated Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, on “Democracy Now!” Solomon wrote the piece “Washington’s War-Makers Aren’t ‘in a Bubble,’ They’re in a Bunker” based on the debate.

Florida sheriff wants drones to monitor civilians

Drones have already been deployed across several US states, but thousands of UAVs could soon be flying all across the country for surveillance purposes that some privacy advocates consider unconstitutional.

The Federal Aviation Administration has received at least 60 applications for drone employment in the US and this month approved 348 drones for domestic use. Most of the currently employed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used along the Mexican border to help law enforcement officers crack down on illegal immigration, but some drones will soon be used to monitor civilians.

The sheriff’s office in Orange County, Fl., has already experimented with two domestic surveillance drones that it plans to use over metro Orlando starting this summer, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The drones would not be armed, but would be used to track down criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants, as well as be used for environmental monitoring and wildfire surveillance, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The FAA predicts that 30,000 UAVs will fly over the US in less than 20 years, which has alarmed privacy advocates who claim the drones are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against ‘unreasonable searches’.

“This is unwise and unnecessary. … Sheriffs are supposed to be sheriffs, not the US Army,” said Doug Head, a Democratic activist who closely follows Orange County politics.

“It’s really easy to increase public surveillance. But when the inevitable problems arise, it’s much harder to bring them back,” said Baylor Johnson, a Miami-based spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Nationwide, about a dozen law enforcement agencies have or are using a drone for surveillance purposes already. Some legislators have attempted to place restrictions on the UAVs to protect their constituents’ privacy.  Florida state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, introduced a bill to limit the use of drones and allow their employment only when the federal government predicts a terrorist attack, to collect evidence in criminal cases where a search warrant has been approved, and during hostage-taking situations.

“I don’t think [drones] should be used to spy on American citizens,” Negron told USA Today, adding that the UAVs are “fine for killing terrorists.”

Across the nation, at least nine other legislators have taken steps to restrict the use of drones on their constituents. In December, state Sen. Alex Padilla introduced a bill to try to regulate drones in California, while Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey introduced a bill to establish national privacy safeguards and limit surveillance. Missouri Rep. Casey Guernsey considers the use of surveillance drones unconstitutional and this month introduced the ‘Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act’, which would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant in order to use UAV surveillance to gather criminal activity.

As drones become less expensive, our fear is that police and other agencies could use them for fishing expeditions that infringe on individual’s right to privacy,” Gary Brunk, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, told the Kansas City Star.

Employing drones in Orange County would cost $22,000 to $25,000 per vehicle, which County Sheriff Jerry Demings believes is well worth the money “to help keep our community safe.”

But Negron calls domestic drones an “intrusion of privacy”. The FAA is currently coming up with a set of rules that would regulate how drones can be used and how they can share the airspace with other commercial and private vehicles. Once these guidelines have been established in 2015, thousands of unmanned aircrafts will be brought into the American skies to search for criminal activity and monitor US citizens every questionable move.

Civil Disobedience at White House

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Taking liberties with information

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The Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind

By Clive Thompson Wired Trolling down the street in Manhattan, I suddenly hear a woman's voice. "Who's there? Who's there?" she whispers. I look around but can't...

DNA database threatens civil rights in health care

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Tether has secured a House of Commons debate on the impact of the proposed National DNA Database, which takes place...

VIDEO: Clips from ‘Taking Liberties’

People will only wake up to the destruction of their civil liberties when it is too late to do anything about it. That is...

US agencies train spy satellites on civilians

ERIC SCHMITT FICTIONAL agent Jack Bauer famously uses America's spies in the sky in his personal war on terror in TV series 24. But that's make-believe....

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