Socialism Is Not Freedom, And Socialists Need To Stop Pretending It Is

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One has to wonder why more and more people are clinging onto this dangerous agenda, but when you think about it, it most certainly can give you a headache. Why? When has socialism really ever worked? Sure it’s worked for some people(the socialists), but as a whole it has never been successful.

First off, Socialism and Communism are basically the same ideology. Socialists and Communists will argue against that until their heads explode. I have not yet met a single person who has been able to prove otherwise, it is what it is. Communism is just an extreme version of Socialism, there are no major differences at all. In fact, the Soviet Union called itself the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) from 1922-1991. The Soviet Union considered itself Communist, but as you can see, they were both because they are mostly the same ideology. Both are forced on everyone, there’s nothing free about that. But it seems when these folks hear the word “free”, they start salivating, some even foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. It looks to me that all they care about is “free” stuff, not FREEDOM. Those are totally different things, it’s not rocket science. Nothing is free, someone is paying for it. With this type of system others are being forced to give up money to help others who may not be as successful.

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Now we all remember that interview with that Hollywood clown Russell Brand and how he believes we should all embrace socialism. Ever since then, I have seen more and more people attaching themselves to this ideology. It looks like Hollywood is doing its job! Socialism calls for “redistributing the wealth” by taking from the “rich” to give to the poor. A modern-day Robin Hood they say. Well folks, Robin Hood was a thief and I’m not sure why anyone would ever think it’s alright to steal from others just because they are rich. Sure, there are some rich scumbags on this planet, but not all of them are. Even taking that into account, stealing money from wealthy people to redistribute to the poor people is wrong. Socialism if forced, there’s no way around that. How any socialist can go around talking about their “freedoms” being taken away while practicing their dangerous agenda is beyond me. It takes away an individual’s rights and responsibilities and passes them off to the State. We’re going backwards here, folks! Hello? Is there anybody in there?

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Now let’s move to taxes. When someone busts their ass their entire life and builds a company, put their blood, sweat, and tears into it and turns a good profit, why should they be punished? Why should others get their earnings? They shouldn’t. When you take money from the more successful people it creates less successful people and it encourages people to be failures. So when there are more people in need of help from the State, the more they tax others? Good grief! This means that the wealth gets concentrated into fewer hands, and this is why you see such a monopoly on the money as it is. The economy slows down, enough that it can’t produce enough tax revenue to stay intact. How do you think the Soviet Union crumbled? Socialism uses taxation to promote economic egalitarianism and one of the goals in The Communist Manifesto is the abolishing of “private property”. This is what we are seeing right now in the United States. It’s been going on for a long time and it’s only getting worse. You cannot implement this system and expect true liberty, it will never happen. In fact, you are only making it harder for the people who want true freedom and liberty, and it’s pissing people off, including me.

Let’s move onto parental rights. You need to understand that socialism allows the State to control education. This means parents have no say in the education system. Your best bet is to home school your children, but when parents are busting their butts to make ends meet, that means they have to put more time into work. That means it’s nearly impossible to home school your children. Why would a parent want the State to control this? To me that is absurd! The curriculum the public schools teach is exactly what the State itself wants to teach them, how is that not dangerous? That is exactly the type of brainwashing a lot of us fight against, yet we have these people claiming they want their liberty. Like my comparison to the word “free” to freedom, liberty is not “liberal”, stop making that connection!

“How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” -Ronald Reagan

The above quote is so true. Whether you liked him or not, he is correct. I always wonder how many communists and socialists have picked up a book like The Communist Manifesto and actually read it. I have, and that’s a big part of why I’m knowledgeable on this subject. What’s that saying a lot of us say? Know your enemy. Well I know my enemy. Do you? If you’re a socialist, I can assure you, with me wanting my freedom and liberty, that puts me in that enemy spot, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You could stop pushing your government coercion on me and others who do not want anything to do with it, or you can continue to blindly push this agenda and destroy this country even more. You do have to make a decision though and I suggest you get on the right side of history before it’s too late.


Click below for out latest interview with Julia Tourianksi from Brave The World and listen to what she has to say about socialism and more.

Julia T YT


Chris Perkins is chief editor and writer for Authentic Enlightenment and host/producer of Lost In Transmission on the CAV Radio Network

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10 Things The US Government Doesn’t Want You To Know

united-states-secrets

When it comes to governance, especially in the case of a democratic government, the voters get to choose trusted leaders to deal with all the affairs involved in running the country. This means that the population entrusts the country to a few people, who are supposed to be accountable to them, responsible in all their actions, innovative in problem solving and selfless when it comes to executing their duties in office. During the campaign period, the leaders in question always promise the voters heaven on earth, only for them to get to office and fall short on all their promises. This is the situation in all parts of the world, and it begs the question “what changes in an individual when he or she ascends to power?”
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The U.S. Government Is Using Hitler’s Playbook And The Dice Are Cast

hitler

Once again history is repeating…

I’ve asserted for years that the U.S. Government is an amalgamation of the Third Reich, “Atlas Shrugged,” “Animal Farm,” and “1984.”   Once again history is repeating.  The Nazis’ contemporaries are the neoconservatives who are running the U.S. Government behind the facade of Obama’s White House.

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Snowden: “The Balance of Power Is Beginning to Shift”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years after Edward Snowden first leaked information about the National Security Agency’s illegal domestic spying programs, the once-cynical whistleblower is now striking a more optimistic tone about what he sees as a rising “post-terror” America.edward-snowden-power-shift (1)

In an op-ed published Thursday in The New York Times, whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden reflected on how circumstances have changed on the two-year anniversary of his first leaks. “Two years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong,” wrote Snowden in the opening of his retrospective.

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The DEA Is Seizing Cash Without Warrants In Its Version Of Stop-and-Frisk

stopnfrisk

Federal drug agents may be racially profiling and unjustly seizing cash from travelers in the nation’s airports, bus stations and train stations. A new report released by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Justice examined the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s controversial use of “cold consent.”

In a cold consent encounter, a person is stopped if an agent thinks that person’s behavior fits a drug courier profile. Or an agent can stop a person cold “based on no particular behavior,” according to the Inspector General report. The agent then asks people they have stopped for consent to question them and sometimes to search their possessions as well. By gaining consent, law enforcement officers can bypass the need for a warrant. Continue reading

Obama wins back the right to indefinitely detain under NDAA

 

 

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(RT) -The Obama administration has won the latest battle in their fight to indefinitely detain US citizens and foreigners suspected of being affiliated with terrorists under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

Congress granted the president the authority to arrest and hold individuals accused of terrorism without due process under the NDAA, but Mr. Obama said in an accompanying signing statement that he will not abuse these privileges to keep American citizens imprisoned indefinitely. These assurances, however, were not enough to keep a group of journalists and human rights activists from filing a federal lawsuit last year, which contested the constitutionality of Section 1021, the particular provision that provides for such broad power. Continue reading

Rasmussen Poll Reports Majority of U.S. Support Nullification

 

In what must be bad news to Attorney General Eric Holder (and his boss in the Oval Office), results of a new Rasmussen poll indicate that 49 percent of respondents believe that the regulation of gun ownership is a state or local issue.

On May 3-4, 2013, Rasmussen Reports polled the opinions of 1,000 likely voters. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

What is even less favorable to the administration’s program to exalt the federal government above the states is the poll’s finding that 44 percent of those who participated in the survey believe states retain the right to nullify any act of the federal government they deem constitutionally invalid.

Simply stated, nullification is the exercise by a state or states of the right to hold as null, void, and of no legal effect any act of the federal government that exceeds the boundaries of the powers given to it by the states in the Constitution.

The issue, while not new, has regained prominence recently as the federal government has enacted ObamaCare and various gun control restrictions. Opponents of these efforts point to the fact that the authority to do neither of these things is granted to the federal government in the Constitution. Therefore, states are flexing their sovereign muscles, nullifying these and other attempts by the federal government to constrict the scope of liberty.

Of more particular interest to those in the liberty movement (especially elected officials looking to communicate with likely supporters) is the Rasmussen report that of “mainstream voters” who participated in the survey, 52 percent say that state governments have the right to refuse to enforce any federal act with which they disagree “on legal grounds.”

Read that again: A majority of Americans who vote believe that the federal government does not have the exclusive or the ultimate right to impose its rule on states that regard its acts as unconstitutional or illegal.

And it must be pointed out that nullification is not the right of states to nullify any federal act. Rather, it is the right of states to choose to not enforce any federal act that fails to conform to the constitutionally established limits on the authority of the federal government.

Nullification presupposes that there are myriad (albeit limited) areas over which the Constitution has given purview to the federal government: defense, naturalization, foreign relations, interstate commerce, etc.

When Washington decides to go walkabout, however, and start legislating (or issuing edicts, in the case of President Obama) in areas not within its constitutional boundaries (healthcare, education, gun ownership), the states reserve the right to check that usurpation by refusing to afford such acts the power of law. Conversely, it would be a usurpation on the part of the states should they attempt to disregard federal laws that are constitutionally sound.

Americans, it seems, are getting the message that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison sent out over 200 years ago in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.

As Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolution of 1798,

In case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

And:

that a spirit has in sundry instances, been manifested by the federal government, to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter which defines them; and that implications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases… so as to destroy the meaning and effect, of the particular enumeration which necessarily explains and limits the general phrases; and so as to consolidate the states by degrees, into one sovereignty, the obvious tendency and inevitable consequence of which would be, to transform the present republican system of the United States, into an absolute, or at best a mixed monarchy.

If they are an accurate measure of public opinion, then, these Rasmussen poll numbers are surely music to the ears of the scores of state lawmakers who have boldly put themselves on record as opposing federal overreach by voting in favor of numerous nullification bills currently wending their way through the legislative process in state capitals nationwide.

Lately, federal wrath has been turned on Topeka as the state legislature passed and the governor signed a law prohibiting the enforcement of federal gun control regulations on guns manufactured and maintained within the state of Kansas.

As The New American has reported, Attorney General Eric Holder recently “reminded” Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas that his state’s attempt to nullify federal gun control statutes was “unconstitutional” and that the Obama administration would “take all appropriate actions” to make sure Kansas toed the federal line.

To his credit, Brownback wrote back to Holder, informing him that he would not bow to federal pressure and would continue to support his state’s constitutional prerogative to nullify unconstitutional federal acts.

In fairness, regardless of the swelling support for nullification in the homes of “mainstream voters,” there remains in academia an almost apoplectic revulsion to the concept.

Earlier this year, several articles and op-ed pieces were published on blogs and in newspapers where the authors labeled nullification as “nuts” and a “bizarre fad.”

To the contrary, the Rasmussen poll results suggest that it is the notion of an all-powerful, always-supreme federal government that is being pushed further and further into the hinterlands of the political landscape.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, and the surveillance state. He can be reached at jwolverton@thenewamerican.com

http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/item/15333-rasmussen-poll-reports-majority-of-u-s-support-nullification

Michigan House Unanimously Passes NDAA Nullification Bill

Michigan House Unanimously Passes NDAA Nullification Bill

On Thursday, April 18, the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting state agents and law enforcement from participating with the federal government in the indefinite detention of its citizens.

By a vote of 109-0, state representatives joined their colleagues in the state senate in protecting citizens of the Wolverine State from being apprehended and detained in federal prisons without trial. The state senate unanimously approved an identical measure in March.

Representative Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), the primary sponsor of HB 4138, spoke out in favor of his bill. “We’re standing up for the rights of people in Michigan,” McMillin said. “Due process should be a no-brainer.”

It should be, but it isn’t. Not anymore.

The Michigan bill is a direct nullification of provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that purport to authorize the president to deploy the U.S. military to apprehend and detain American citizens inside the United States suspected by the president of aiding enemies of the homeland.

Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA purport to grant to the president the power to deploy the U.S. armed forces to apprehend and detain any person he suspects of aiding al-Qaeda or “associated forces.” Anyone imprisoned under these provisions will be denied their rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, including the right to due process and the right to assistance of counsel.

With regard to the latter, in 2011, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) infamously told anyone who may be detained indefinitely, “Shut up! You don’t get a lawyer!”

If states are to perform their obligation to stand as bulwarks of liberty, lawmakers must stand and refuse to allow Senator Graham, President Obama, or any other agent of the federal government to deprive citizens of those rights given to them by God and protected by the Constitution.

The most potent weapon in the state arsenal against federal tyranny is nullification. Nullification occurs when a state holds as null, void, and of no legal effect any act of the federal government that exceeds the boundaries of its power as drawn in the Constitution.

States retain the right to act as arbiters of the constitutionality of federal acts because they formed the union, and as creators of the compact, they hold ultimate authority as to the limits of the power of the central government to enact laws that are applicable to the states and the citizens thereof.

As Congress continues to surrender to the president all legislative, executive, and judicial power, the need for nullification is urgent, and liberty-minded citizens are encouraged to see state legislators boldly asserting their right to restrain the federal government through application of that very powerful and very constitutional principle.

Michigan becomes just the second state — Virginia was first — to pass an act nullifying the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA. There are several states and local governments considering similar measures.

Local and state lawmakers opposing the tyranny of the NDAA and indefinite detention stand on very sound constitutional ground in their battle against federal overreaching. Any unconstitutional act of the federal government is prima facie void and must not be given the respect or force of law. In fact, such measures are not law at all.

As Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist, No. 33:

If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted [sic] to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies and the individuals of whom they are composed…. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the larger society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. [Emphasis in original.]

The pair of bills in Michigan specifically forbid state and local law enforcement, including the state national guard, from aiding “an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 of the national defense authorization act….”

For his part, in a signing statement attached to the NDAA, President Obama assured Americans that he would never use this power to deny them of their due process rights.

Representative McMillin doesn’t buy it. Speaking to MLive, he said, “I think more and more people are realizing that indefinite detention without due process is something we’ve got to push back on. It’s not every day that we do something to push back on what the federal government does, but this is a good example of an area where we should.”

It is the obligation of all state legislatures to oppose any and all federal acts that exceed the narrow scope of the powers granted to the federal government by the states in the Constitution.

Americans Under Siege – Has Tomorrow Become a Reality?

Activist Post

Just a little over a year ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order titled National Defense Resources Preparedness. This act stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy – both for and against. At one end of the spectrum were those that thought this was an overt act signalizing unilateral militarization of our country. Others felt this was a ho-hum restatement of existing presidential controls.

Whatever your feelings at the time, it is now a year later and events of the past couple of weeks bring more questions than answers to those who seek the truth. Sadly, it is my opinion that Americans are under siege by our own government and by the mysterious and secretive powers that control our elected officials. More and more, ordinary citizens are filled with angst as we witness the wholesale cannibalization of our freedom and of the Constitution.

To echo my own words: I begin to wonder whether there is some grand plan. Perhaps there is some master puppeteer poised to pull our strings when and if the rise to elitism reaches the pinnacle.

So with much personal angst, I have begun to believe that the rank-and-file citizens of the United States of America are being herded down the path to a Police State. Or, better put, will soon be running from the rising tsunami of the police state.
WHAT IS A POLICE STATE?

According to Wikipedia:

A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.

So let me get this right: A police state occurs when the government takes over control of the country by restricting the freedom of the population. Residents of the police state are required to obey the occupying authorities and may be punished for not doing so. They may be required to perform non-military, government-mandated duties serving at the pleasure of the chief executive, the military and the PTB. They may be detained indefinitely if considered a threat, rendering the protections of the Constitution null and void. And, finally, their goods and their lives become the property of the government.

TOMORROW HAS BECOME A REALITY

As someone who for the most part lives a quiet and even boring life, I find myself shocked at the reality of the recent Boston lockdown. Military patrols, door-to-door searches, curfews, involuntary disruption of transportation systems, cell phone surveillance and mandatory confinement to one’s home sounds more like Nazi Germany than America to me.

And what about the rights of the accused? Regardless of how heinous the alleged deed, this is still America where you are innocent until proven guilty. And no Miranda rights? What is with that?

The new reality is that the government may come knocking on our doors, ordering us to stay put. Do we fight or do we acquiesce? The answer to this question is complicated and requires a bit of soul searching as we try to separate fact from myth, reality from fantasy and conspiracy from paranoia.

LOCKDOWN VERSUS SHELTER IN PLACE

Another thing. Especially troubling is the recent widespread use of the term “Shelter in Place” to describe a mandatory lockdown where all day-to-day activities are forced to come to halt. In Boston, people were basically told to cower in their homes and to stay put. The term used was “shelter in place”.

Anyone who has been prudently prepping for the big one – be it an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other disaster – knows that having the knowledge and ability to shelter in place is a good thing and not something to be feared. And it bugs the heck out of me to see this term abused by both the government and the media as they describe a lockdown and the mandatory restriction of movement.

Sheltering in place is something you do following the release of hazardous contaminants following a radiological, biological, or chemical event. And yet Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said:

We’re asking people to shelter in place — in other words, to stay indoors with their doors locked and not to open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law enforcement officer.

This to me sounds like a lockdown within the confines of a prison system. It makes me mad and is just one more indication that our government will do whatever it takes to discredit the preppers who plan and prepare for a real emergency.

ADVICE – IF YOU CARE TO TAKE IT

Notwithstanding the horrifying events that took place during the 2013 Boston Marathon and the short period thereafter, my advice, if you care to take it, is to keep living your life with your eyes and your mind wide open. Moreover, this is not the time to be a slacker when it comes to your preps.

Continue prepping in an ordinary and non-obtrusive manner by gathering emergency food and supplies. Learn coping skills for stressful times and practical skills that you can use if the lights go out and there is no power. Stay healthy so you can reduce your reliance on medical supplies.

Most of all, try not to become overwhelmed by bad news. But don’t ignore it either. Practice your faith and your belief in yourself. Just remember that you are not alone in your thoughts and that you must hang in there, prepping wise, to ensure your safety and long-term survival.

THE FINAL WORD

A lot has been speculated this past week. Was Boston a false flag event? Was there a cover-up? Was this a drill gone wrong created by the the alphabet soup agencies that are supposed to protect our country and its citizens? And was the reaction of public officials a blueprint for future attacks?

What is the truth and what are the lies? I suspect that with the abundance of disinformation being perpetuated by both the mainstream and alternate press, we may never know.

One thing I do know, however, is that I agree with Michael Snyder and his article Mourn For America: Whenever A Tragedy Happens They Take Even More Freedom From Us. He writes:

If you cower in fear when a bully comes after you, what is the bully going to do? The bully is just going to keep coming after you because his actions are being rewarded. Those that are trying to create fear love it when you become fearful. It is exactly what they want.

California Liberty Preservation Act Passes Committee 6-0 to Nullify the NDAA

Dozens of states and local jurisdictions continue to move toward nullifying the unconstitutional National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Yesterday we announced that Montana has taken the next step with Senate approval by a margin of 43-7 to protect its citizens from indefinite detention, and the measure is only awaiting signature from Governor Steve Bullock.

Now California has taken a much-needed step toward rebuking federal overreach. And, once again, the protections afforded by the Liberty Preservation Act are seeing support from a wide spectrum of political interest.

The 2012 NDAA applies broad detention power, using terms such as “associated forces” and “substantially supported,” allowing the federal government to detain and even execute any person, including an American citizen, on U.S. soil without due process. Sections 1021 and 1022 are particularly onerous.
The author of the California bill, Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly stated:

The NDAA gives the executive branch—under not only President Obama, but also every future president — unprecedented power to detain US citizens without due process . . .

This runs counter to the very principles that make America great, and violates our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. . .

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution authorizes the United States federal government to exercise only those powers specifically delegated to it in the United States Constitution.”

The Daily Caller notes that even though the bill was introduced by a Republican, it received a unanimous vote across party lines

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled committee 6-0 with the support of a wide-ranging coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union, Tenth Amendment Center, San Francisco 99% Coalition, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Libertarian Party of California.

Grassroots movements everywhere should be commended for the surge toward liberty, as well large activist centers such as People Against the National Defense Authorization Act, the Tenth Amendment Center, and the People’s Blog For the Constitution. Please lend your support by clicking the links above and donating if possible. Is your community or state taking action? Please use the model legislation linked to beneath the image above to help restore liberty to where you live.

Article Source:
http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/12/california-bill-to-nullify-ndaa-unanimously-passes-committee/

Google Involved in ‘Regime Change’: WikiLeaks

April 08, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Al-Akhbar” –  Top Google execs, including the company’s CEO and one of Barack Obama’s major presidential campaign donors Eric Schmidt, informed the intelligence agency Stratfor about Google’s activities and internal communication regarding “regime change” in the Middle East, according to Stratfor emails released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Al-Akhbar. The other source cited was Google’s director for security and safety Marty Lev.

The briefings mainly focused on the movements of Jared Cohen, currently the director of Google Ideas, a “think/do-tank” billed as a vehicle for spreading American-style liberal democracy. Cohen was also a former member of US Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and former advisor to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Email exchanges, starting February 2011, suggest that Google execs were suspicious that Cohen was coordinating his moves with the White House and cut Cohen’s mission short at times for fear he was taking too many risks. Stratfor’s vice-president of counter-terrorism Fred Burton, who seemed opposed to Google’s alleged covert role in “foaming” uprisings, describes Cohen as a “loose Cannon” whose killing or kidnapping “might be the best thing to happen” to expose Google.

The Cohen Conspiracy

Stratfor’s spotlight on Cohen began on 9 February 2012 after Burton forwarded to the secure email list a Foreign Policy article discussing Cohen’s move from the State Department to Google Ideas. With this article, Burton noted that Cohen had dinner in Cairo with Wael Ghonim on January 27, 2011 just hours before the Egyptian Google Executive was famously picked up by Egypt’s State Security. (doc-id 1122191)

On the same day, Stratfor’s staff make reference to a Huffington Post article which highlighted Cohen’s role in “delaying the scheduled maintenance on Twitter so the Iranian revolution could keep going” and a Foreign Policy article that noted that Cohen “was a Rhodes scholar, spent time in Iran, [and] hung out in Iraq during the war…”. These casual discovers further perked Stratfor’s curiosity about Cohen. (doc-id 1629270)

The following day, Burton forwarded a message to the secure email list from “a very good Google source” who claimed that Cohen “[was] off to Gaza next week”. Burton added, “Cohen, a Jew, is bound to get himself whacked….Google is not clear if Cohen is operating [with a] State Dept [or] WH [White House] license, or [is] a hippie activist.”

Korena Zucha, another senior analyst on the list, queried, “Why hasn’t Google cut ties to Cohen yet? Or is Cohen’s activity being endorsed by those higher up in the [company] than your contact?”

In turn, Burton replied, “Cohen’s rabbi is Eric Schmidt and Obama lackey. My source is trying to find out if the billionaire owners are backing Cohen’s efforts for regime change.” (doc-id 1111729)

Later on, Burton forwarded information from the “Google source” of Cohen’s links in establishing Movements.org. The source added, “A site created to help online organization of groups and individuals to move democracy in stubborn nations. Funded through public-private partnerships.” Burton pointed out that the US State Department is the organization’s public sponsor.” (doc-id 1118344)

Indeed, the State Department, partnering with a number of corporations, was the main sponsor for the 2008 inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements summit in New York City that subsequently established Movements.org. Hillary Clinton endorsed the organization and presented a video message during the second summit held in Mexico City a year later.

On 11 February, Burton wrote to the secure email list that Cohen was still planning to head to Gaza. He added, “The dude is a loose can[n]on. GOOGLE is trying to stop his entry into Gaza now because the dude is like scorched earth. It’s unclear to GOOGLE if he’s driving without a license, but GOOGLE believes he’s on a specific mission of “regime change” on the part of leftist fools inside the WH who are using him for their agendas.” (doc-id 1113596)

Throughout this day, the idea proposed by Burton, and seemingly felt by his Google contacts as well, of Cohen and the White House’s involvement in the uprisings was actively discussed among the analysts, especially in regards to who would be targeted next. (doc-id 1113965)

By Monday, 14 February 2011, Burton shared intelligence with George Friedman, Stratfor’s founder, and Scott Stewart, vice-president of Stratfor’s tactical department, from his source in Google that Cohen was ordered not to go to Gaza. Burton’s Google source further stated, “Also, thinking I [the unnamed source] may be on the right track about him despite his denials [in reference to Cohen working for the White House/State Department].”

When asked to clarify his sources on Cohen, Burton claimed that they were Marty Lev, Google’s director for security and safety, and Eric Schmidt, the current CEO of Google. (doc-id 398679)

A week later, Burton forwarded an internal Google email obtained from a ‘senior Google executive’. This email was seemingly sent by Cohen to the senior Google executive to discuss Cohen’s planned trip in March.

In it, Cohen wrote, “I wanted to follow-up and get a sense of your latest thinking on the proposed March trip to UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The purpose of this trip is to exclusively engage the Iranian community to better understand the challenges faced by Iranians as part of one of our Google Ideas groups on repressive societies. Here is what we are thinking: Drive to Azerbaijan/Iranian border and engage the Iranian communities closer to the border (this is important because we need the Azeri Iranian perspective).”

After reading Cohen’s email, Stewart remarked, “Cohen might end up having an accident if he is not careful. This is not child’s play.”

Burton responded, “GOOGLE is getting WH [White House] and State Dept. support and air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do. But, I agree with you. He’s going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose GOOGLE’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and GOOGLE is left holding the shit bag.” (doc-id 1121800)

On 10 March 2011, Burton forwarded another message from his ‘senior Google executive’ source detailing how Cohen was requested not to travel on his proposed trip. The source explained that Google had concerns over Cohen’s “baggage” as a “US State Dept. policy maker, his research and publications on Muslim extremists and youth movements and his presence in Egypt just as the uprising started.”The source also stated that Cohen was recommended to “take a lower profile on this specific trip and let time pass before being visible and associated with people known by their states to be active in challenging repressive societies.” (doc-id 1164190)

A subsequent message from Burton’s source on 22 March 2011 affirmed that Cohen “heeded the advice not to go to Turkey or UAE for those meetings.” (doc-id 1133861)

The final email dealing with Cohen was on 30 March 2011.
Here, Burton forwarded to the alpha (secure) email list a response by his source to Burton’s question of whether Cohen was playing any role in Libya at the time. The source stated, “Not that I’m aware of. He heeded the advice to avoid Turkey and UAE and didn’t go on that trip.” (doc-id 1160182)


Google Ideas: Politicizing Technology

Certainly, there is more than meets the eye to Cohen and his actions; even his superiors in Google seem to think so.

The belief, chiefly by Burton, that Cohen had seemingly played a role in fermenting the uprisings that toppled Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak underplays, and at times entirely disregards, the ability and agency by local movements in Tunisia and Egypt.

Nevertheless, Google Ideas, which Cohen directs, is a new animal. According to a report by the Financial Times published last July, Google Ideas seems to bond idealistic activist sensibilities with Google’s pursuit for continued global expansion – blurring the lines between business and political action. Schmidt and Cohen dub Google Ideas as a “think/do-tank” that aims to tackle political and diplomatic matters through the use of technology.

The first public event for the think/do-tank, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival, was held last June in Dublin. It gathered around 80 ‘former’ extremists, including former Muslim radicals, neo-Nazis, US gang members, and others, in a “Summit Against Violent Extremism”. The announcement by Google declared that the summit’s aim is “to initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent young people from becoming radicalised and how to de-radicalise others” and that “the ideas generated at the Dublin summit will be included in a study to be published later in the year.”

One spin off was the creation of the Against Violent Extremism group, apparently a network for those who attended the Dublin Summit. Beyond merely networking, the group also advertises certain projects that are in need of funding. Notably, much of the projects pertain to the Middle East, including an “Al-Awlaki Counter-Campaign” – Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen of Yemeni origin, was assassinated in September of last year by the US for his alleged al-Qaeda connections.

But the Against Violent Extremism site does not seem to be presently active. The last update for projects in need of funding was made in September and the last announcement regarding the workings of the site was made in October.

More recently, Foreign Policy reported in January that the Brookings Institute, one of the oldest and most influential think-tanks in Washington, DC, named Google Ideas as “the best new think tank established in the last 18 months.” Such accolades arguably suggests that Google Ideas is expected to be a major player in the near future.

Communists Stand in Defiance of Bill of Rights

(fromthetrenchesworldreport.com) The communist insurgents within the United States continue their push to disarm we American nationals, even to the point of presenting poll numbers which have been proven to be false via their own previous admissions.  Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was making the rounds over the weekend, spouting his sedition while trying to present himself as some kind of American hero.

Let’s look at this logically and ask the question. Does the government grant the people their rights?  Was the Bill of Rights written by the government to outline the privileges they were to bestow upon us, said privileges of course to be revoked, altered, or regulated at the government’s whim?

This is the position the government would like to establish.  It is however absolutely a fiction.  This government did not grant us our rights, as all power within this nation resides in the people.  We granted the government limited power, which they have distorted.  Our rights are inalienable, they cannot be removed as we are born with them and they stay with us until our deaths.

The 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights states in part: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is an absolute statement and there is no way it can be misconstrued.

Infringe is defined as: “Act so as to limit or undermine; encroach on”, therefore any government action that alters, in the smallest degree, any American nationals right to arm, as he or she sees fit, is by definition an infringement and is not law, but rather an act of sedition.

The infringements that have been levied upon our Bill of Rights are too numerous to count.  These infringements have in fact brought us to the precipice of slavery.  The only thing standing in the way of a complete takeover of the people by the government is our possession of our firearms which have not yet been made a part of the infringements.

This is not just about our 2nd Article right.  This is about our freedom and liberty, et.al.  A person who is governed by another person is not free.  This is why our Republic emphasizes self governess of, by, and for the individual.

Mark Kelly spouted the lie that 92% of the American people support universalbackground checks, which can only be accomplished through universal registration.  Again, this is a lie, but even if it were not, it would not matter.  If 99.999% supported it, no one of us can alter the rights of another.

Our employees in the government are forbidden by law to advocate in any way to alter our Bill of Rights. The 1934 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, and tell me how bold would these actors within this police state be in attacking our homes, if we still had our machine guns and hand grenades?  The 1968 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, as the 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except for those who are felons. “

These communists are parasites of the lowest degree and have sleazed their way into our lives in taking our kindness for weakness, said kindness fostered in reality via stupidity as the most feared threat to our safety is an armed government wielding tyranny over an unarmed population.

These present infringements have been put forth for no other reason than to segment another portion of our population to be without their inalienable rights.  And with the new mental health aspect, hell you do not even have to be accused of harming anyone.  Now, instead of being dispossessed of our rights via conviction, which again is unconstitutional, we are to be disarmed for what could happen: an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’.

We must stand firm in our defiance of universal background check registration and let these communists know that not only are they going to cease and desist in their attempt at further infringement, but we demand that all past infringements be removed as a precursor to their trials for sedition.

God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

Michigan Senate Votes 37-0 to Defeat NDAA

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(Activist Post) -In a vote of 37-0 (1 absent), the Michigan Senate joined the growing list of of states and municipalities throughout America in passing their version of the Liberty Preservation Act, released by the Tenth Amendment Center. Senate Bill 94 (SB94) now proceeds to the Michigan State House. State Senator Rick Jones, the bill’s sponsor, and grassroots activists forged the bipartisan alliance against the federal law which applies the law of war and indefinite detention to anyone on U.S. soil.

After the bill’s passage in the Senate, PANDA Michigan’s Dennis Marburger vowed relentless opposition to all federal legislation which subverts the U.S. Constitution, saying:

The very active and knowledgeable group of Michiganians fighting this egregious Federal overreach will not rest until there is real, tangible and viable state resistance to D.C.’s attempts to deny our rights and threaten our safety – whatever unconstitutional legislation, edict or judicial fiat our government employees use as an excuse.

The unlawful mandates of the NDAA are sections 1021 and 1022 which allow the arrest, detention and/or transport to foreign prisons of anyone the federal government “suspects” is a terrorist.

Those so imprisoned can be denied trial, access to an attorney, and the ability to even advise someone they have been detained.
To enforce NDAA, the federal government will need assistance from the states. If signed into law, SB94 will announce the strong determination of the people of Michigan that the 2012 NDAA is unconstitutional.SB94 is a companion bill of HB4138, sponsored by State Representative Tom McMillin. A similar bill passed the Michigan House last fall on a vote of 107-0.If you are in Michigan, or know someone in Michigan, it is time to fight for your rights.Contact your Michigan State Representative at: http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/

Join us in the battle to stop the NDAA nationwide: http://pandaunite.org/join-us/

CIA Head Sworn In On Draft Constitution WITHOUT Bill of Rights

(WashingtonsBlog) -The government has absolutely shred the Bill of Rights in the last decade or so.

New CIA boss John Brennan endorses torture, assassination of unidentified strangers (including Americans) without due process, and spying on all Americans.

As such, it is fitting that Mr. Brennan specially requested that he be sworn in on a draft of the Constitution lacking the Bill of Rights.

A draft which doesn’t even begin with the famous preamble we all know and love:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America ….

But rather starts with:

We the People of the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia, do ordain, declare and establish the following Constitution for the Government of Ourselves and our Posterity….

That has a very different tone from the final version of the Constitution. And again, this version has no Bill of Rights.

Here’s the actual draft Brennan swore in on, courtesy of the National Archives (click any image for larger view):

The handwriting is that of George Washington.

Washington was a brave leader (but a terrible general). More importantly, he was one man … and the whole idea of the Bill of Rights is that the people have inalienable rights – e.g. no deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law – which cannot be taken away by any leader … including the president or the head of the CIA.

Army refuses to drop charges against Bradley Manning

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(RT) -Bradley Manning will remain in military prison awaiting his eventual trial after an Army judge refused again a request to dismiss charges against the alleged whistleblower.

The military judge presiding over the case of Army Private first class Bradley Manning denied a motion entered by attorneys for the accused WikiLeaks source which would have dismissed charges against him due to the absence of a speedy trial.

Manning, 25, recently celebrated his one-thousandth day in military custody. From Ft. Meade, Maryland on Tuesday morning, however, Col. Denise Lind said that nearly three years of delays didn’t constitute a violation of the speedy trial statute provided under the United States Rules for Military Commissions.

Under RMC 707, the court had 120 days to get the case against Pfc Manning off the ground. But although the accused has yet to be formally tried, the judge said that Army prosecutors were able to start pre-trial matters well before the deadline, with the arraignment occurring after only three months — taking into consideration, of course, delays that Lind considered excusable by the court.

Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network reports from the courthouse that the judge ruled that delays in the case in 2011 caused by the government weren’t grounds to dismiss the charges since the Original Classification Authorities delegated to complete lengthy classification reviews in the case were permissible.

Lind found those delays “reasonable” and the prosecution of Pfc Manning “diligent,” the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington reports from Ft. Meade. On the other hand, he says, attorneys for the defendant called the ruling “shameful.”

Private Manning was arrested in May 2010 and accused of leaking sensitive documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. His formal court-martial is currently scheduled to begin in June, more than three years after he was first detained by the US military.

Last year, Manning’s attorney lost a bid to dismiss the charges against him based off of the egregious treatment the soldier endured while detained in a brig at Quantico Military Base in Northern Virginia. Col. Lind credited Manning with 112 days off of whatever sentence is handed out if he’s convicted when he’s brought to trial later this year. Manning himself is expected to testify for only the second time later this week when he enters a plea deal: in lieu of charges that could put him in prison for life, Pfc Manning intends to plead guilty to lesser charges.

“Pfc Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses,” his attorney David Coombs said last year.

Bradley Manning court to rule on claims of ‘shameful’ delay in trial

Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning marked his 1,000th day in detention without trial last weekend. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

(Guardian) -The military court that is handling the prosecution of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning is likely to rule this week on whether the drawn-out nature of his court martial is in breach of his rights to a prompt trial.

The latest Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland that starts on Tuesday will focus on a “speedy trial” motion brought by the defence. It argues that the legal build-up to his eventual court martial has been so agonisingly slow that the defendant’s basic rights have been violated.

Last weekend, Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 at the US army base outside Baghdad where he was working as an intelligence analyst, entered his 1,000th day in detention without trial. The moment was marked by scores of demonstrations around the world.

Military personnel are afforded similar protection against excessive delays before trial as are civilians. Under Article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the US government is required to use “reasonable diligence” in proceeding to trial for anyone held in pre-trial confinement.

But in legal argument to the court prepared by Manning’s main lawyer, David Coombs, the government is accused of deliberately dragging its feet.

“The government’s behavior is nothing short of shameful,” Coombs writes. He points out that it took 530 days to elicit classification reviews of sensitive material from different government departments.

“These classification reviews were not Tolstoy novels – they were generally documents that spanned three or four pages. Under no stretch of the imagination can a 530 day lag in completing a three or four page classification review be characterized as reasonably diligent,” the defence lawyer wrote, adding: “530 days spent languishing in a brig is a very long time.”

The Rules for Courts Martial (RCM) 707 states that under normal circumstances the accused should be brought to trial within 120 days of charges having been brought. With the start of the court martial now pencilled in for 3 June – more than three years after Manning was arrested – the defence is calling for all charges against him to be thrown out because of the breach of his rights.

The prosecution has argued that the material under discussion – the hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and other confidential state documents that Manning has effectively admitted passing to WikiLeaks – is so sensitive and potentially damaging to national security that the legal process has been by necessity slower to advance than usual. The government has also pointed out that some of the delays in the trial process have come as a result of defence requests.

It will fall to the military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, to decide which side of the argument holds sway. She could agree with the government and dismiss the defence motion out of hand; or she could side with the defence and dismiss the charges, even theoretically allowing Manning to walk free, though few close observers expect such a dramatic outcome to happen.

Montana votes 20-0 in favor of anti-NDAA bill

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(Activist Post) -The anti-NDAA movement continues to gain traction. There is still much more work to be done as part of Operation Homeland Liberty, but People’s Blog for The Constitution highlights the latest development we can add to the victory column in Montana’s step toward resisting federal intrusion.

By a vote of 20-0, a bill that bans cooperation with federal agents over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has just passed the Montana House Judiciary Committee. Known as HB 522, the bill would also require the state’s attorney general to report any attempts by federal officials who try to enforce the NDAA. HB 522 is now one step closer to becoming law.

Additional details below with contact information for Montana legislators..

Introduced by freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, the bill has gathered over 20 Democratic and Republican cosponsors in the House, including the Speaker Pro Tempore Austin Knudsen and the chair of the Judiciary committee, Krayton Kerns.

Speaking at a committee hearing on Wednesday, Schwaderer articulated why he opposes the NDAA and indefinite detention: “There’s a lot of us on both sides of the aisle that feels that this flies in the face of habeas corpus and a free society and the better part of a millennium of human progress.”

View previous reports on how Montana and communities all across the nation are working to stop the NDAA and restore due process. You can find contact information for Montana legislators online.

Address letters to:
Senator XXXX
Montana Senate
PO Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500

or

Rep. XXXX
Montana House of Representatives
PO Box 200400
Helena, MT 59620-0400

By Fax

During sessions:
House 406-444-4825
Senate 406-444-4875

Please visit constitutioncampaign.org and lend your support for this and other NDAA activist initiatives.

Study Shows Black Men Receive 20% Longer Prison Terms Than White Men For Committing The Same Crime

(Refreshing News) Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.

That racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005, according to the Sentencing Commission’s findings, which were submitted to Congress last month and released publicly this week.

In its report, the commission recommended that federal judges give sentencing guidelines more weight, and that appeals courts more closely scrutinize sentences that fall beyond them.

The commission, which is part of the judicial branch, was careful to avoid the implication of racism among federal judges, acknowledging that they “make sentencing decisions based on many legitimate considerations that are not or cannot be measured.”

Still, the findings drew criticism from advocacy groups and researchers, who said the commission’s focus on the very end of the criminal-justice process ignored possible bias at earlier stages, such as when a person is arrested and charged, or enters into a plea deal with prosecutors.

“They’ve only got data on this final slice of the process, but they are still missing crucial parts of the criminal-justice process,” said Sonja Starr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, who has analyzed sentencing and arrest data and found no marked increase in racial disparity since 2005.

Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at the Ohio State University who studies sentencing, said, “It’s not surprising that the commission that’s in charge of both monitoring and amending the guidelines has a general affinity for the guidelines.”

The Sentencing Commission didn’t return requests for comment.

The Supreme Court, in the 2005 case U.S. v. Booker, struck down a 1984 law that required federal district judges to impose a sentence within the range of the federal sentencing guidelines, which are set by the commission.

The law was meant to alleviate the disparity in federal sentences, but critics say placing restrictions on judges can exacerbate the problem by rendering them powerless to deviate from guidelines and laws that are inherently biased. An often-cited example is a federal law that created steeper penalties for crack-cocaine offenses, which are committed by blacks more frequently than whites, than for powder-cocaine offenses.

Congress reduced the disparity in 2010.

In the two years after the Booker ruling, sentences of blacks were on average 15.2% longer than the sentences of similarly situated whites, according to the Sentencing Commission report. Between December 2007 and September 2011, the most recent period covered in the report, sentences of black males were 19.5% longer than those for whites. The analysis also found that black males were 25% less likely than whites in the same period to receive a sentence below the guidelines’ range.

The Sentencing Commission released a similar report in 2010. Researchers criticized its analysis for including sentences of probation, which they argued amplified the demographic differences.

In the new study, the Sentencing Commission conducted a separate analysis that excluded sentences of probation. It yielded the same pattern, but the racial disparity was less pronounced. Sentences of black males were 14.5% longer than whites, rather than nearly 20%.

Jeff Ulmer, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, described the commission’s latest report as an improvement but said it was “a long way from proving that [judicial discretion] has caused greater black-white federal sentencing disparity.”

Obama’s Guantanamo Is Never Going To Close, So Everyone Might As Well Get Comfortable

(Huffington Post) In late January, shortly after President Barack Obama began his second term, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz stood inside an old airplane hangar on the southernmost tip of the island and reflected on a central but unfulfilled promise of Obama’s 2008 campaign.

“We’re still here,” Ruiz said, as reporters milled around the aging hangar, which has been repurposed as a work space for the journalists and human rights observers who have been flying in and out of Guantanamo since the first suspected terrorists were brought here 11 years ago. Instead of planes, the hangar is now home to several trailer-size sheds with slanted roofs. More offices line the hangar’s perimeter, and a giant map of the base is painted on the floor. Screeching bats fly in and out of the hangar at night.

“We’re still in military commissions. We’re still arguing about the basic protections the system affords us. We’re still talking about indefinite detention,” Ruiz continued. “We’re still talking about not closing the facility.”

After years of legal wrangling, the trials of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other men allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks have barely gotten off the ground. Ruiz, an attorney for alleged 9/11 organizer and financier Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, estimates he has traveled to Guantanamo 50 to 100 times for client meetings and pre-trial hearings on legal minutiae since he joined the military’s defense counsel office in September 2008.

“I’m here trying this case, people were here trying this case in 2008, arguing many of the same motions we’re arguing now,” Ruiz said. “And I think folks that have been around here for a while would tell you not much has changed at all.”

During his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to end an ugly chapter in American history and prove to the world that the United States could safeguard the country from terrorism without sacrificing its commitment to freedom and liberty.

“In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” Obama declared in a speech on Aug. 1, 2007. In one of his first acts upon taking office in January 2009, the president, flanked by admirals and generals, directed the military to close the prison camp here within a year.

Today, however, the detention center at Guantanamo appears less likely than ever to close. There are 166 people currently imprisoned, down from a high of 684 in 2003. But those who remain are likely to do so indefinitely. Effectively banned from the continental U.S. by Congress, disowned by their home countries and unwelcome pretty much everywhere else, they have no place to go.

In addition to the seven Guantanamo detainees currently facing charges — including the five charged in relation to the 9/11 attacks — 24 may face charges in the future. Three current detainees have already been convicted in military tribunals: one was sentenced to life in prison, one is scheduled to be released pending testimony in another case and one has had his sentencing delayed for four years.

Of the rest, however, the U.S. has designated 86 detainees for release but can’t actually set them free. Thirty are from Yemen, and the U.S. won’t send them back there while it remains a hotbed of terrorism. No country is willing to accept the others. And it’s a political nonstarter to release them into the U.S.

In 2010, Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force determined that another 46 were “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” And so they remain stuck here, in limbo.

Obama has periodically reiterated his intention to close the detention center, most recently during an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart in October. But the public pressure on him to do so has largely died down, as tales of detainee abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators fade into the past and the media turns its attention to new fronts in the war on terrorism, such as the administration’s drone program.

The truth is that nobody is really in a hurry to close Guantanamo. Defense attorneys, whose ultimate goal is to keep their clients alive, certainly aren’t in a rush, and have adopted a strategy of throwing up procedural objections that often slow the court’s already glacial pace. Prosecutors, anxious to avoid any possible legal challenges that could come up on appeal, are moving deliberately to make sure they’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” Last month, the Obama administration shuttered the State Department office tasked with planning Guantanamo’s closure.

As a result, the vague idea of indefinite detention is looking more specifically like life in prison, at least for those detainees who are not sentenced to death by the military commissions. And with the youngest detainee still in his 20s, Guantanamo could conceivably remain open for decades to come.

‘HAVE A GOOD TIME’

It’s no surprise, then, that as Obama’s second term begins, Guantanamo seems to be putting down roots. Indeed, parts of the naval base have taken on the appearance of a new beachside housing development. Hundreds of homes are currently under construction in neighborhoods with names like Iguana Terrace and Marina Point, to house the growing population of military personnel, civilian contractors and their families, which currently stands at approximately 5,000.

The base features a Starbucks, a Subway, a McDonald’s, a KFC/Taco Bell, a supermarket, a golf course, a restaurant serving Jamaican jerk chicken and an Irish pub. A gift shop sells stuffed iguanas and T-shirts emblazoned with Guantanamo Bay slogans like “Close, But No Cigar.”

Fidel Castro bobbleheads are one of the most popular items for sale at the base’s radio station, Radio GTMO, which broadcasts popular tunes like PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. Cuban music bleeds over from stations on the other side of the island.

Improvements have also been made to the areas of the base that house the detainees. The Bush administration quickly replaced the temporary Camp X-Ray with more permanent facilities in 2002, after photos emerged of detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting in chain-link holding pens, causing an outcry from human rights groups and criticism from around the world. In 2011, the Obama administration added a new soccer field for some of the cooperative detainees, along with covered walkways that allow them to move between cellblocks unescorted.

The joke around Gitmo is that the detainees enjoy nicer facilities than the guards, who live in temporary metal trailers scattered all over the base. But the guards, too, may soon get an upgrade. The commander of the base, Capt. John Nettleton, recently told Reuters that he wants to build a new cafeteria for the camp’s personnel, along with a permanent barracks.

Some of the most significant changes have taken place at Camp Justice, the section of the base that houses the court facilities and the tent city for visiting lawyers, human rights observers, journalists and court officials. The Bush administration had proposed a major $125 million expansion, including a new courthouse and a hotel to replace the tent city. Congress balked at the project, however, and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates quickly condemned it. The $12 million substitute, technically a temporary facility, was completed in 2008.

The windowless, barn-like structure looks like something that might hold a high-school basketball court, and is surrounded by layers of barbed-wire fences. Inside, however, it is state of the art, featuring a soundproof spectator gallery, digital document displays for lawyers and audio speakers under the table that broadcast Arabic translations of the proceedings for defendants who refuse to wear headphones. Whereas the old courthouse held a single, cramped courtroom, the new facility has space to try up to five defendants at once.

Visiting defense attorneys now stay in new townhouse condos, but journalists and observers remain relegated to Camp Justice’s tent city. In the airplane hangar, there is an “internet cafe” where human rights observers have set up an office. “We now have a printer this time, which we’ve been asking for for a while,” said Laura Pitter, a counterterrorism adviser with Human Rights Watch. “We have a working phone in there now. We didn’t have a working phone last time.”

In addition to his official portrait, visible in a few locations around the base, there are other subtle reminders that Obama is now in charge. The tents at Camp Justice are outfitted with energy-efficient light bulbs. The cover of “The Wire” — the newsletter of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the entity which runs GTMO’s prisons — features a photo of Obama’s ceremonial swearing in at his second inauguration. A military spokesman who travels with reporters to Guantanamo is married to another man.

There have been victories for members of the media. New divider walls give journalists a bit more privacy in their heavily air-conditioned six-person tents. Reporters are now allowed to roam around parts of the base without an escort and no longer have a curfew — privileges that journalists embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed for years but were absent at Guantanamo until last month. In January, visiting journalists were given a tour of one of the holding cells located next to the courtroom facility for the first time in years.

“Have a good time,” a young guard told the reporters about to tour the cell, after scanning them for metal or electronic devices.

Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration has been relatively hands off when it comes to media restrictions at Guantanamo, letting officials on the ground set the rules.

Still, it was under Obama that four reporters, including Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg, widely considered the dean of the Guantanamo press corps, were banned from Guantanamo for life in May 2010 for disclosing the name of a witness whose identity is under a protective order, despite the fact that his name was already public. The reporters fought the ban, and the Pentagon overturned it that July.

The new courthouse, in many ways, is the end result of a long debate about how to try the detainees. The Bush administration — which housed the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo in order to avoid the due process required under the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as the Geneva conventions’ prohibitions on torture — adamantly opposed the idea of trying them in U.S. courts. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that foreign terrorism suspects do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.

Obama shut down the military tribunals as soon as he took office and began exploring ways to transfer the suspected terrorists to American soil — possibly to a prison in Illinois — and try them in federal courts. Throughout the long, hot summer of 2009, however, as the Tea Party movement blossomed, Republicans charged that closing Guantanamo would put Americans in danger, potentially even leading to terrorist prison breaks. Senate Democrats, lead by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also opposed transfering the detainees and cut off $80 million Obama had requested to do so, claiming the administration had done too little to outline its plans.

Andy Worthington, a journalist and activist who has been writing about the camp for seven years, said that Congress, which has repeatedly prevented Obama from using federal money to transfer any detainees out of Guantanamo, shares some of the blame for the camp’s continued existence. Reid, who recently claimed it was “nobody’s fault” that Guantanamo had not been closed, is “part of the absolute failure,” Worthington said.

Reid did not respond to a request for comment.

At Guantanamo, some members of the military are quick to point out that the Pentagon didn’t seek out the duty of trying terrorists in the tribunal system, but that it was rather a burden imposed on the military by Congress. “They should really call them congressional commissions instead of military commissions,” one officer joked.

But ultimately, Worthington said, Obama will have his name attached to the camp, just as Bush’s was.

“He will go down in history fairly clearly as the man who failed to close this abomination,” Worthington said. “They will judge that President Obama failed to close it pretty much because he ran up against political difficulties.”

“I think that Obama did not want to invest the political capital in it to take the steps necessary to make it happen,” Pitter said.

THE ‘RE-BRANDER’

Unable to close Guantanamo, Obama restarted the military commissions in March 2011. He did succeed, however, in reforming them to a certain extent, increasing transparency and bringing their policies and handling of evidence closer in line with U.S. courts. But the legality of the commissions is still being debated, and the detainees may appeal any verdicts in federal court, setting up a prolonged battle that will likely wind its way back to the Supreme Court.

For now, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins is the man with the difficult task of selling the world on the legitimacy of the proceedings. Martins took the job of chief prosecutor in October 2011, and he is a staunch defender of trying the detainees in military commissions as opposed to federal courts.

“There are narrow but important differences, and this often gets lost when I talk about federal courts, because someone will say, ‘Hey, he should try to just mimic federal courts, why do you need [military commissions]?'” Martins said, sitting in a bare-bones office in the old court building at the top of the hill overlooking the new courthouse. “This just fuels the argument about how, why are they necessary? The differences are important.”

Miranda rights don’t apply in military commissions — statements just need to be determined to be voluntary in order to be included as evidence. There are also looser rules on hearsay statements. Martins said the distinctions between U.S. courts and the military commissions could be “decisive in certain cases.”

The reformed military commissions are designed to address some of the concerns of both the U.S. government and human rights advocates. Any statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel or degrading treatment are prohibited. Detainees have greater access to classified information that might be relevant to building their defense cases. Journalists have increased standing before the court.

“Anyone who was familiar with the process before and looks at it now, I think, is looking fairly at it, would say there’s a significant proportion more of this proceeding that we can look at, understand, analyze,” Martins said.

Demonstrating that transparency has proven difficult at times, however. Last month, in the first day of hearings in the 9/11 case, an anonymous censor cut off the closed-circuit TV feed of the proceedings that members of the media were watching. Normally, the judge and the court security officer could censor information they feel should remain classified. But neither had moved to censor the information in this instance, leaving journalists and defense lawyers to infer that the CIA was secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes and undermining the commission’s established rules.

The judge ordered the outside censor button removed, but the controversy ate up most of the week’s proceedings, even bleeding into a separate hearing involving a defendant charged in connection with the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, as defense attorneys questioned whether they could ethically continue if they believed their communications were being monitored. Two weeks later, when the hearings reconvened, lawyers were still debating issues involving the monitoring of communications that the incident raised.

Similarly, Martins has sought to dismiss charges against a number of detainees that he feels are not sustainable under international law, only to be overruled by the more senior Pentagon officials who oversee the military commissions.

Martins told HuffPost that, to him, the dispute over the charges is about “principled disagreements” between government officials carrying out their duties “honorably and faithfully under the law.” Critics, however, say it shows that the reforms to the commissions system are just cosmetic changes to a fundamentally flawed tribunal process.

“Some people call him the ‘re-brander.’ He was going to come in here, he was going to lend his name, his rank, his stature, and legitimize this process,” Ruiz said of Martins. “Now you have that person talking to another official and telling him, ‘I think this is a bad idea. I think we need to remove these charges because it will remove the legal uncertainty moving forward.’ And you have this non-entity — which is not a party, not a prosecutor, not a defense counsel, he’s not a judge — who says, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.'”

“That alone is remarkable,” said Ruiz.

“What happens when he’s not here?” asked Human Rights Watch’s Pitter, who similarly praised Martins for bringing the military commission procedures closer in line with those of federal courts. “What happens when there’s a prosecutor who is going to use all the rules at his disposal for a commission like this?”

Martins, who is 52 and has deferred promotion and retirement to continue in his role as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, said he’s in it for the long haul. “We’re making progress,” he insisted.

“I’m here as long as it takes,” Martins said. “This is my last job in the military. I’ve gotten word that although my retirement date would have been November of 2014, it can actually be years, well after that. I’m committed to this.”

Obama reaches out to a repressive Putin

(Washington Post) PRESIDENT OBAMA is preparing to reach out once again to Russian ruler Vladi­mir Putinin the hope of striking a new agreement to reduce nuclear arms. The president mentioned the initiative in his State of the Union address; according to a senior Russian legislator, national security adviser Thomas Donilon will soon travel to Moscow with a letter outlining Mr. Obama’s ideas. The reduction of nuclear stockpiles is a top priority of this president and a worthy one. But what’s striking about Mr. Obama’s strategy is its seeming detachment from the reality of how Mr. Putin has governed Russia since his return to the presidency last year.

Mr. Obama’s first nuclear-arms agreement with Mr. Putin, in 2010, came about in the context of a warming of U.S.-Russian relations. The new proposal will hit Moscow in the middle of a Putin-directed campaign against both his domestic political opposition and the United States, which in his mind are linked. In recent months Mr. Putin has expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development, placed new restrictions on local nonprofit organizations receiving foreign funds, bumped U.S.-funded Radio Liberty from domestic airwaves and overseen a propaganda campaign that accuses the United States of orchestrating anti-government demonstrations.

Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board. News reporters and editors never contribute to editorial board discussions, and editorial board members don’t have any role in news coverage.

The regime, meanwhile, has steadily escalated a campaign against the leaders of the peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations that erupted in Russia in late 2011. For Russians, the cynical tactics are bone-wearyingly familiar: Transparently trumped-up criminal cases are being brought against the activists, with the promise of lengthy prison terms. Alexei Navalny, the founder of an anti-corruption organization, has himself been charged with corruption. Last week leftist firebrand Sergei Udaltsov was placed under house arrest ahead of his upcoming trial on charges of organizing an anti-Putin rally in May.
Some Russian analysts believe that the regime is well on its way to crushing the opposition movement, which attracted the support of much of the urban middle class. Others regard the repression as the death spasms of an exhausted autocracy. “There are classical criteria of a dying regime and its key signs are evident in Russia,” Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow office wrote recently, citing “the Kremlin’s inability either to preserve the status quo or begin changes.” Either side might be right, though our bet is with Ms. Shevtsova.

What’s strange is that the Obama administration would seek to undertake a major new piece of business with Mr. Putin without regard for this ugly climate. New U.S.-Russian nuclear warhead reductions, while welcome, are hardly urgent: The big challenges of nuclear weapons lie elsewhere in the world. At the same time, the survival of a pro-democracy movement in Russia is an important and pressing U.S. interest, just as Mr. Putin’s growing hostility to the United States threatens U.S. initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere. Maybe offering Mr. Putin a new nuclear weapons deal is the best way to counter his noxious policies — but it is hard to see how.

Are you Shocked?Op-Ed: Obama closes office devoted to closing Guantanamo

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(Digital Journal) -The Obama administration has decided to close the office  devoted to closing the Guantanamo prison in Cuba. The special envoy associated  with the office has been reassigned and not replaced.

A report in the New  York Times claims:

“The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s  second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues  aimed at repatriating or resettling detainees ,appeared to signal that the  administration does not currently see the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison  as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do  so.”

Fried’s former  responsibilities will be taken over by the office of the department’s legal  adviser with no senior official replacing him.

Even back in May 2009, Obama  shelved a plan to bring a number of innocent and wrongly detained prisoners to  the US who could not safely be repatriated. Worthington also points out :

“In January 2010,” he imposed a ban on releasing any cleared Yemeni  prisoners, after it was revealed that the failed underwear bomb plot of  Christmas 2009 was hatched in Yemen, even though the deeply insulting rationale  for the ban is that Yemenis, although cleared for release, can instead be  imprisoned for life on the basis of ‘guilt by nationality.’”

To be fair, Congress has done all it  can to block Obama from closing Guantanamo or giving innocent detainees refuge  in the US. In some cases courts have blocked Obama as well. The announcement  happens just as 5 detainees at Guantanamo are facing death penalty charges  before a military tribunal over the 9/11 attacks. The detainees were informed  they had the right not to attend future sessions of the hearings. All five said  they understood their right but one detainee said that there was no motivation  to attend anyway since  “the prosecution does not want us to hear or understand  or say anything.”

Daniel Fried’s post of special envoy  was created in 2009, not long after Obama assumed the presidency and had  promised to close the prison within a year. Fried worked hard, traveling the  world trying to repatriate detainees cleared for release. He repatriated 31  detainees and also persuaded third-party countries to resettle another 40  detainees.

However, as the US Congress imposed  more and more restrictions on any further transfers, Fried had less to do. In  fact, Fried was given the task of resettling Iranian exiles from the M.E.K,.  designated a terrorist group by the US, who had been living in a refugee camp in  Iraq.

A  spokesperson for Fried’s office said:

“We remain committed to closing Guantánamo, and doing so in a  responsible fashion. The administration continues to express its opposition to  Congressional restrictions that impede our ability to implement transfers.”

The most recent defense authorization  act restricts Obama’s ability to transfer detainees even further. While Obama  threatened to veto the bill, he signed it instead. He did, however, issue a  statement saying that as commander in chief he had the power to override the  restrictions since they involve wartime prisoners.

Recently, a federal appeals court  in Washington vacated  guilty verdicts against two detainees because the crimes of which they were  convicted were not internationally recognized war crimes. Attorney General Eric  Holder Jr., nevertheless, continues to argue that it is permissible to bring  such conspiracy charges before a military commission.

President Obama, as well as the US  Congress, has made it clear that the rule of law in the US includes indefinite  detention with no charges and without any real due process. Since holding too  many people is an embarrassment and an expense, Obama also carries out a  targeted killing program on suspects that avoids the cost of keeping prisoners  indefinitely.

It would seem that Obama also believes  in indefinite closing of Guantanamo.

 

5 chilling new ways police violate your rights

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(Salon) -One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.

As a result, every year the police get more tools, gadgets, weapons, and surveillance technologies that, whatever their stated purpose, serve to give cops greater capabilities to curtail the rights of anyone unlucky enough to be standing in their path.

We were going to list these in order from least to most creepy, but that proved far too challenging. So here are some cop tools you may not be familiar with, in no particular order.

1. Shock-cuffs.These made a splash in late 2012 when it was reported that Scottsdale Inventions had submitted a patent for metal handcuffs capable of delivering “high-voltage, low amperage shocks to disrupt a person’s voluntary nervous system,” much like Tasers. Depending on the model used, the handcuffs could shock a detainee at the will of his captor, or if the detainee wanders past a certain border – like an invisible fence for dogs.

Even more disturbing is the potential to arm the handcuffs with needles capable of injecting medications, sedatives or any number of liquid or gas substances into the detainee. But don’t worry – some models may include a flashing light or sound-alert to warn the person that a shock is about to happen.

2. Rapid DNA analysis. One of the main stories of the future of policing will be cops’ ability to collect biometric data in the field, instead of at the downtown precinct. EFF reported earlier this month on a potentially troubling technology called Rapid DNA analysis, being developed by contractors with the federal government. The machine, which is about the size of a laser printer, has the ability to collect, analyze and catalog your DNA onsite in about 90 minutes.

The stated purpose of the technology is to help identify family relationships between refugees, which could be beneficial if used in limited ways. According to EFF, however, the US Citizenship and Immigration agency suggests “that DNA should be collected from all immigration applicants—possibly even infants—and then stored in the FBI’s criminal DNA database.” As with all data collection in the US, the wrench only goes one way, and once local police forces obtain this technology the potential for abuse is huge.

3. Mobile fingerprinting. Police forces across the country have become enamored of smart phone-sized fingerprint scanners. The police use the devices to scan two fingers of the suspect and transmit the data via Bluetooth to the officer’s laptop in his cruiser. The laptop then checks the image against criminal databases for a match.

The ACLU of Washington is concerned that the devices could be used to collect fingerprints, not simply scan them, though Seattle police insist they don’t keep the scanned fingerprints.

4. Iris scans.When I was arrested covering Occupy in December 2011, a livestreamer who was an old hat at political arrests warned me about the iris scan. Beginning in 2010, the NYPD started scanning arrestees’ irises on intake and immediately prior to arraignment. The stated purpose of these scans is to ensure that the person brought before the judge is the right one (there were some instances of mistaken identity), but in practice the scope of the iris scan is much broader. It’s plainly an example of collecting biometric data of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime, as well as a mechanism to punish those who refuse the scan.

The scan isn’t mandatory, but as I wrote about my own experience, “if you don’t submit to it, you will be punished.” In my case, I refused the scan on intake, but was told I would be held in jail for an extra night if I didn’t allow my eyes to be scanned before I saw the arraignment judge, despite the fact that there was no initial scan to compare it with.

This technology, like DNA analysis and fingerprinting, can now be used in the field. BI2 Technologies has developed a device that slides over an iPhone and allows officers to scan a suspect’s face and eyes, and then check that scan against a criminal database. Critics say the tool is problematic because it can scan a person’s face from up to four feet away, possibly without their awareness. Beyond that, there is a disturbing partnership emerging between BI2 Technologies, the FBI and local police forces, with reports that the FBI plans to launch an iris national database in 2014.

5. License plate recognition.It’s not just your eyeballs and fingertips that law enforcement wants to scan. Relatively new technology called license plate recognition allows police to run thousands of tags a day, all while just driving around. Cameras mounted on cop cars constantly scan the area and check plates against databases, and alert the officer if there’s a match.

A Long Beach police officer describes the scope of LPR this way:

In our case we are running multiple databases — we have “wanted felony vehicles,” “be on the lookout,” “24 hour hotsheet,” “wanted by detectives,” “LA County warrants,” and our gang unit. In addition to this we have “stolen vehicles,” which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads.

Just like the other surveillance tools, police departments expect use of LPR to increase in the coming years. According to a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) survey, “71 percent of responding agencies already have LPRs,” though often just on a handful of cruisers. Tellingly, “almost every police agency expects to acquire or increase their use of LPRs in coming years, and that five years from now, on average they expect to have 25 percent of their cars equipped with LPRs.”

As Kevin Goztola notes, this kind of technology isn’t inherently inappropriate, but without strict regulation many innocent people could be surveilled unconstitutionally. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a US person who discovered through requests for public records that his daily routine had been monitored automatically. The WSJ concludes, “The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people’s everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception.”

When it comes to drones, the future is wide open. From proposed surveillance in Seattle to assisting arrests in North Dakota, police drones are here and they aren’t going anywhere. NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly recently told a crowd that his department was “looking into” using drones to surveil political protests, though “a drones program is not being actively pursued at this time.” Recently obtained FOIA documents, however, show that the NYPD counter-terrorism unit may be in the early stages of developing the use of drones.

As drones get smaller, more versatile and increasingly capable of behaving “autonomously,” it’s not difficult to imagine a time in the future when drone surveillance is integrated with LPR technology, all in the name of increased security.

Judge: Army GI in WikiLeaks illegally punished

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(AP) -An Army private suspected of sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website was illegally punished at a Marine Corps brig and should get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he receives if convicted, a military judge ruled Tuesday.

Army Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing that authorities went too far in their strict confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning for nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., in 2010 and 2011. Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials said it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.

Lind said Manning’s confinement was “more rigorous than necessary.” She added that the conditions “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars. His trial begins March 6.

The 25-year-old intelligence analyst had sought to have the charges thrown out, arguing the conditions were egregious. Military prosecutors had recommended a seven-day sentence reduction, conceding Manning was improperly kept for that length of time on highly restrictive suicide watch, contrary to a psychiatrist’s recommendation.

Lind rejected a defense contention that brig commanders were influenced by higher-ranking Marine Corps officials at Quantico or the Pentagon.

Manning showed no reaction as Lind read her decision. He fidgeted when the judge took the bench to announce her ruling, sometimes tapping his chin or mouth with a pen and frequently glancing at his attorney’s notepad, but those movements tapered off during the hour and 45 minutes it took the judge to read the lengthy opinion.

Mike McKee, one of about a dozen Manning supporters in the courtroom, said he was disappointed. He called the ruling “very conservative,” although he said he didn’t expect the charges to be thrown out.

“I don’t find it a victory,” McKee said. “Credit like that becomes much less valuable if the sentence turns out to be 80 years.”

Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network, which is funding Manning’s defense, said the sentencing credit “doesn’t come close to compensating Bradley” for his harsh treatment.

“The ruling is not strong enough to give the military pause before mistreating the next American soldier awaiting trial,” Paterson wrote in an email.

Lind ruled on the first day of a scheduled four-day hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore.

The hearing is partly to determine whether Manning’s motivation matters. Prosecutors want the judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. They say motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked intelligence, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida

Manning allegedly told an online confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the material because “I want people to see the truth” and “information should be free.”

Defense attorney David Coombs said Tuesday that barring such evidence would cripple the defense’s ability to argue that Manning leaked only information that he believed couldn’t hurt the United States or help a foreign nation.

Manning has offered to take responsibility for the leaks in a pending plea offer but he still could face trial on charges such as aiding the enemy.

The Crescent, Okla., native is accused of leaking classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. He is also charged with leaking 2007 video of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.

Manning supporters consider him a whistleblower whose actions exposed war crimes and helped trigger the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings in late 2010.

Obama signs NDAA 2013 without objecting to indefinite detention of Americans

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(RT) -President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on Wednesday, giving his stamp of approval to a Pentagon spending bill that will keep Guantanamo Bay open and make indefinite detention for US citizens as likely as ever.

The president inked his name to the 2013 NDAA on Wednesday evening to little fanfare, and accompanied his signature with a statement condemning a fair number of provisions contained in a bill that he nevertheless endorsed.

The NDAA, an otherwise mundane annual bill that lays out the use of funds for the Department of Defense, has come under attack during the Obama administration for the introduction of a provision last year that allows the military to detain United States citizens indefinitely without charge or trial for mere suspicions of ties to terrorism. Under the 2012 NDAA’s Sec. 1021, Pres. Obama agreed to give the military the power to arrest and hold Americans without the writ of habeas corpus, although he promised with that year’s signing statement that his administration would not abuse that privilege.

In response to the controversial indefinite detention provision from last year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced an amendment in December 2012 that would have forbid the government from using military force to indefinitely detain Americans without trial under the 2013 NDAA. Although that provision, dubbed the “Feinstein Amendment,” passed the Senate unanimously, a select panel of lawmakers led by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan) stripped it from the final version of the NDAA two week later before it could clear Congress. In exchange, Congress added a provision, Sec. 1029, that claims to ensure that “any person inside the United States” is allowed their constitutional rights, including habeas corpus, but supporters of the Feinstein Amendment say that the swapped wording does nothing to erase the indefinite detention provision from the previous year.

“Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus – the right to be presented before a judge – is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said after the Feinstein Amendment was removed.

“Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators’ convenience. When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury,” Sen. Paul added.

Although the Pres. Obama rejected the indefinite detention clause when signing the 2012 NDAA, a statement issued late Wednesday from the White House failed to touch on the military’s detainment abilities. On the other hand, Pres. Obama did voice his opposition to a number of provisions included in the latest bill, particularly ones that will essentially render his promise of closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison impossible.

Despite repeated pleas that Gitmo will be closed on his watch, Pres. Obama failed to do as much during his first term in the White House. Thanks to a provision in the 2013 NDAA, the Pentagon will be unable to use funds to transfer detainees out of that facility and to other sights, ensuring they will remain at the top-secret military prison for the time being.

“Even though I support the vast majority of the provisions contained in this Act, which is comprised of hundreds of sections spanning more than 680 pages of text, I do not agree with them all. Our Constitution does not afford the president the opportunity to approve or reject statutory sections one by one,” Pres. Obama writes.

Congress, claims the president, designed sections of the new defense bill “in order to foreclose my ability to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”

“I continue to believe that operating the facility weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and strengthening our enemies,” he says.

Elsewhere, the president claims that certain provisions in the act threaten to interview with his “constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch” of the United States.

Before the 2013 NDAA was finalized, it was reported by the White House that Pres. Obama would veto the legislation over the provisions involving Guantanamo Bay. Similarly, the White House originally said the president would veto the 2012 NDAA over the indefinite detention provisions, although he signed it regardless “with reservations” on December 31 of that year.

Since authorizing the 2012 NDAA, the president has been challenged in federal court by a team of plaintiffs who say that the indefinite detention clause is unconstitutional. US District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed that Sec. 1021 of the 2012 NDAA violated the US Constitution and granted a permanent injunction on the Obama administration from using that provision, but the White House successfully fought to appeal that decision.

Commenting on the latest signing, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero says, “President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day.”

“His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended,” adds Romero. “He also has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime–including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer–may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year. The president should use whatever discretion he has in the law to order many of the detainees transferred home, and finally step up next year to close Guantanamo and bring a definite end to indefinite detention.”

Senate set to approve FISA spying bill

 

U.S. Senate.(Reuters / Jim Young)

(RT) -With less than a week until a powerful legislation expires that lets the government eavesdrop on the phone and email conversations of Americans, the Senate has convened in DC to discuss whether or not to renew the FISA Amendment Act.

The 2008 FISA Amendment Act, an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of the 1970s, allows the government to wiretap any conversation involving US citizens, without obtaining a warrant, as long as investigators reasonably suspect those talks to involve at least one party located outside of the United States. Despite demands from members of Washington’s intelligence committee, though, very little information if any has been made available about how the government uses the FISA Amendment Act, or FAA, and whom they target.

“Everyone becomes suspect when big brother is listening,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said recently while arguing against renewing the FAA in the House of Representatives.

Despite pleas from Rep. Kucinich and others, the House has agreed to support renewing the FAA, a decision that has met the approval of the Obama White House as well.

Earlier this month, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) even told his colleagues in the Senate that there was no need to debate the bill at all since it had already received the blessing of US President Barack Obama.

Had Sen. Chambliss had his way, the Senate was likely to have skipped debates altogether and approved a renewal of the FAA without any discussion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) urged his peers to do otherwise, though, and insisted that talks be held in Washington immediately in order to tackle the FAA before it expires.

Should the Senate not re-new the FAA before December 31, the bill will expire and the warrantless wiretapping provisions will be erased. On Thursday, December 27, members of the Senate met in Washington to begin discussing the act. A vote was scheduled later in the afternoon, but then was moved to Friday.

If the FAA is renewed, the federal government will be extended the ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans for another five years. If that is the case, though, Congress will be given another chance to consider provisions that will provide for at least some transparency only a day later.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a long-time opponent of FISA, is expected to have the chance to introduce an amendment on Friday that, if approved, will force the National Security Agency (NSA) to finally open up about their use of the FAA’s warrantless wiretapping provisions.

Earlier this year, Sen. Wyden told Wired’s Danger Room, “If no one will even estimate how many Americans have had their communications collected under this law then it is all the more important that Congress act to close the ‘back door searches’ loophole, to keep the government from searching for Americans’ phone calls and emails without a warrant.”

Wyden — who sits on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committees — has unsuccessfully asked time and time against for the NSA to explain how they use the FAA. Even if the FAA is renewed this week, the approval of Sen. Wyden’s proposed amendment would mean the NSA would have to at least give a general estimate of how many Americans it has targeted since 2008.

Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) are all expected to propose amendments that will influence how the NSA uses the FAA too.

‘Abomination’: Rand Paul slams NDAA as bill passes US Senate

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(RT) -The controversial NDAA bill, which allows for the indefinite detention of US citizens, was approved by the Senate despite White House threats to veto the legislation. Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has decried the law as an “abomination.”
The libertarian Republican voiced his concerns to a conference committee following the decision to give the present version of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) the go-ahead. Paul cited the committee’s decision to scrap an amendment that would have prohibited the indefinite detention of US citizens suspected of terrorist activities.“It’s [the amendment] been removed because they want the ability to hold American citizens without trial in our country. This is so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can’t go unnoticed,” Paul told the committee. He went on to condemn the bill as an “abomination” that deprives US citizens of the right to a fair trial.

“When you’re accused of a crime in our country you get a trial, you get a trial by a jury of your peers, no matter how heinous your crime is, no matter how awful you are, we give you a trial,” he said.

Senators in favor of the bill disregarded Paul’s claims, maintaining that the language in the legislation protected Americans’ constitutional right to a trial. They argue that US citizens who affiliate themselves with foreign powers consequently sacrifice their constitutional rights.

Under the contested act, the President reserves the right to jail any US citizen suspected of aiding terrorists or forces hostile to the US and its allies.

Earlier this month, the Senate approved the Feinstein Amendment that specifically prohibited “detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.” The exemption of this amendment by Senators removes current safeguards that prevent the president from incarcerating an individual suspected of terrorism.

The Legislation will now go to the White House, where it may be vetoed by President Obama.

“The Administration strongly objects to section 1031’s restrictions on the use of funds to transfer detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries,” the White House said in a policy statement.

Obama signed the 2012 version of the document into law last September, but included a statement saying that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

The legislation also stipulates a significant increase in the Pentagon budget, including $88.5 billion for America’s ongoing wars and other operations around the world. The total amount of military spending set out in the new bill is $1.7 billion over what the Obama Administration initially put forward in its 2013 budget.

The House Armed Services Committee has hailed the measures as “an incremental step to address the $46 billion decrease when considering where the president proposed national defense [spending] would be for fiscal year 2013 in last year’s budget.”

DOJ’s Eric Holder Confirms: Obama Looking at Taking Executive Action to Pass Gun Control

(OffGridSurvival) -Hours after President Obama’s new Gun Task force met for the first time, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that The Obama Administration may use executive order to implement gun control in the wake of the Connecticut School shooting.

Obama Holder Biden Gun Task Force

According to Reuters, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that The Obama Administration will consider executive action as part of its new gun policy. Holder, who was once quoted saying we have to “Brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way”, told reporters that they are working on a range of options that will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

Holder is part of a new gun violence task force, created by President Barack Obama and headed by Vice President Joe Biden, that will guide the administration through their efforts to enact gun control legislation.

Thursday’s meeting included Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. After the meeting concluded, Holder told reporters that any gun control measures would include a “strong and robust” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In my opinion, this action has been in the works for some time. In fact, back in August we reported how the DOJ was in the process of figuring out how they could use their power to make it more difficult for Americans to purchase guns.

List Of House Members Who Voted For HR 4310 NDAA Bill

 

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On December 20 2012 The House Of Dis-Representatives passed the very controversial  HR 4310 NDAA  Bill by a count of 315 to 107.

Language regarding the “indefinite detention of Americans” has NOT been scrubbed from the bill.

If you’re unfamiliar with the magnitude  of this Amendment please read the two articles links below to get  a better idea  of what’s at stake. In the meantime  use the ” yea-nay” list to call your local representative and express your outrage at their unconstitutional voting pattern. Story 1   Story 2

VOTE PARTY REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
Alaska
YEA   R Young, Don AK
Alabama
YEA   R Bonner, Jo AL 1st
YEA   R Roby, Martha AL 2nd
YEA   R Rogers, Mike AL 3rd
YEA   R Aderholt, Robert AL 4th
YEA   R Brooks, Mo AL 5th
YEA   R Bachus, Spencer AL 6th
YEA   D Sewell, Terri AL 7th
Arkansas
YEA   R Crawford, Rick AR 1st
YEA   R Griffin, Tim AR 2nd
YEA   R Womack, Steve AR 3rd
YEA   D Ross, Mike AR 4th
Arizona
NAY   R Gosar, Paul AZ 1st
YEA   R Franks, Trent AZ 2nd
YEA   R Quayle, Ben AZ 3rd
YEA   D Pastor, Ed AZ 4th
NAY   R Schweikert, David AZ 5th
YEA   R Flake, Jeff AZ 6th
NAY   D Grijalva, Raul AZ 7th
YEA   D Barber, Ron AZ 8th
California
NAY   D Thompson, Mike CA 1st
YEA   R Herger, Wally CA 2nd
YEA   R Lungren, Daniel CA 3rd
NAY   R McClintock, Tom CA 4th
NAY   D Matsui, Doris CA 5th
NAY   D Woolsey, Lynn CA 6th
NAY   D Miller, George CA 7th
NAY   D Pelosi, Nancy CA 8th
NAY   D Lee, Barbara CA 9th
YEA   D Garamendi, John CA 10th
YEA   D McNerney, Jerry CA 11th
YEA   D Speier, Jackie CA 12th
NO VOTE   D Stark, Pete CA 13th
YEA   D Eshoo, Anna CA 14th
NAY   D Honda, Mike CA 15th
NAY   D Lofgren, Zoe CA 16th
NAY   D Farr, Sam CA 17th
YEA   R Denham, Jeff CA 19th
YEA   D Costa, Jim CA 20th
YEA   R Nunes, Devin CA 21st
YEA   R McCarthy, Kevin CA 22nd
YEA   D Capps, Lois CA 23rd
YEA   R Gallegly, Elton CA 24th
YEA   R McKeon, Buck CA 25th
YEA   R Dreier, David CA 26th
YEA   D Sherman, Brad CA 27th
YEA   D Berman, Howard CA 28th
YEA   D Schiff, Adam CA 29th
YEA   D Waxman, Henry CA 30th
NAY   D Becerra, Xavier CA 31st
NAY   D Chu, Judy CA 32nd
NAY   D Bass, Karen CA 33rd
NO VOTE   D Roybal-Allard, Lucille CA 34th
NAY   D Waters, Maxine CA 35th
NAY   D Hahn, Janice CA 36th
YEA   D Richardson, Laura CA 37th
NAY   D Napolitano, Grace CA 38th
YEA   D Sánchez, Linda CA 39th
YEA   R Royce, Ed CA 40th
YEA   R Lewis, Jerry CA 41st
YEA   R Miller, Gary CA 42nd
YEA   D Baca, Joe CA 43rd
YEA   R Calvert, Ken CA 44th
YEA   R Bono Mack, Mary CA 45th
YEA   R Rohrabacher, Dana CA 46th
YEA   D Sanchez, Loretta CA 47th
NAY   R Campbell, John CA 48th
YEA   R Issa, Darrell CA 49th
YEA   R Bilbray, Brian CA 50th
YEA   R Hunter, Duncan CA 52nd
YEA   D Davis, Susan CA 53rd
Colorado
NAY   D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
NAY   D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
YEA   R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
YEA   R Gardner, Cory CO 4th
YEA   R Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
YEA   R Coffman, Mike CO 6th
YEA   D Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th
Connecticut
YEA   D Larson, John CT 1st
YEA   D Courtney, Joe CT 2nd
NAY   D DeLauro, Rosa CT 3rd
NAY   D Himes, James CT 4th
NAY   D Murphy, Christopher CT 5th
Delaware
NAY   D Carney, John DE
Florida
YEA   R Miller, Jeff FL 1st
YEA   R Southerland, Steve FL 2nd
YEA   D Brown, Corrine FL 3rd
YEA   R Crenshaw, Ander FL 4th
NAY   R Nugent, Richard FL 5th
YEA   R Stearns, Cliff FL 6th
YEA   R Mica, John FL 7th
YEA   R Webster, Daniel FL 8th
YEA   R Bilirakis, Gus FL 9th
YEA   R Young, Bill FL 10th
YEA   D Castor, Kathy FL 11th
YEA   R Ross, Dennis FL 12th
YEA   R Buchanan, Vern FL 13th
NAY   R Mack, Connie FL 14th
YEA   R Posey, Bill FL 15th
YEA   R Rooney, Thomas FL 16th
YEA   D Wilson, Frederica FL 17th
YEA   R Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana FL 18th
YEA   D Deutch, Ted FL 19th
YEA   D Wasserman Schultz, Debbie FL 20th
YEA   R Diaz-Balart, Mario FL 21st
YEA   R West, Allen FL 22nd
YEA   D Hastings, Alcee FL 23rd
YEA   R Adams, Sandy FL 24th
NO VOTE   R Rivera, David FL 25th
Georgia
YEA   R Kingston, Jack GA 1st
YEA   D Bishop, Sanford GA 2nd
YEA   R Westmoreland, Lynn GA 3rd
NAY   D Johnson, Hank GA 4th
NAY   D Lewis, John GA 5th
YEA   R Price, Tom GA 6th
YEA   R Woodall, Rob GA 7th
YEA   R Scott, Austin GA 8th
NAY   R Graves, Tom GA 9th
YEA   R Broun, Paul GA 10th
YEA   R Gingrey, John GA 11th
YEA   D Barrow, John GA 12th
YEA   D Scott, David GA 13th
Hawaii
YEA   D Hanabusa, Colleen HI 1st
YEA   D Hirono, Mazie HI 2nd
Iowa
NAY   D Braley, Bruce IA 1st
NAY   D Loebsack, David IA 2nd
NAY   D Boswell, Leonard IA 3rd
NAY   R Latham, Tom IA 4th
YEA   R King, Steve IA 5th
Idaho
NAY   R Labrador, Raúl ID 1st
YEA   R Simpson, Mike ID 2nd
Illinois
NAY   D Rush, Bobby IL 1st
YEA   D Lipinski, Daniel IL 3rd
NAY   D Gutiérrez, Luis IL 4th
NAY   D Quigley, Mike IL 5th
YEA   R Roskam, Peter IL 6th
NAY   D Davis, Danny IL 7th
NAY   R Walsh, Joe IL 8th
NAY   D Schakowsky, Jan IL 9th
YEA   R Dold, Bob IL 10th
YEA   R Kinzinger, Adam IL 11th
YEA   D Costello, Jerry IL 12th
YEA   R Biggert, Judy IL 13th
YEA   R Hultgren, Randy IL 14th
NAY   R Johnson, Timothy IL 15th
YEA   R Manzullo, Donald IL 16th
YEA   R Schilling, Bobby IL 17th
VOTE PARTY REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
YEA   R Schock, Aaron IL 18th
YEA   R Shimkus, John IL 19th
Indiana
YEA   D Visclosky, Peter IN 1st
YEA   D Donnelly, Joe IN 2nd
YEA   R Stutzman, Marlin IN 3rd
YEA   R Rokita, Todd IN 4th
NO VOTE   R Burton, Dan IN 5th
YEA   R Pence, Mike IN 6th
NAY   D Carson, André IN 7th
YEA   R Bucshon, Larry IN 8th
YEA   R Young, Todd IN 9th
Kansas
NAY   R Huelskamp, Tim KS 1st
YEA   R Jenkins, Lynn KS 2nd
YEA   R Yoder, Kevin KS 3rd
YEA   R Pompeo, Mike KS 4th
Kentucky
YEA   R Whitfield, Ed KY 1st
YEA   R Guthrie, Brett KY 2nd
NAY   D Yarmuth, John KY 3rd
NAY   R Massie, Thomas KY 4th
YEA   R Rogers, Hal KY 5th
YEA   D Chandler, Ben KY 6th
Louisiana
YEA   R Scalise, Steve LA 1st
YEA   D Richmond, Cedric LA 2nd
NAY   R Landry, Jeff LA 3rd
YEA   R Fleming, John LA 4th
YEA   R Alexander, Rodney LA 5th
YEA   R Cassidy, Bill LA 6th
YEA   R Boustany, Charles LA 7th
Massachusetts
NAY   D Olver, John MA 1st
NAY   D Neal, Richard MA 2nd
NAY   D McGovern, Jim MA 3rd
NAY   D Frank, Barney MA 4th
YEA   D Tsongas, Niki MA 5th
NAY   D Tierney, John MA 6th
NAY   D Markey, Ed MA 7th
NAY   D Capuano, Michael MA 8th
NAY   D Lynch, Stephen MA 9th
YEA   D Keating, William MA 10th
Maryland
NAY   R Harris, Andy MD 1st
YEA   D Ruppersberger, Dutch MD 2nd
NAY   D Sarbanes, John MD 3rd
NAY   D Edwards, Donna MD 4th
YEA   D Hoyer, Steny MD 5th
YEA   R Bartlett, Roscoe MD 6th
YEA   D Cummings, Elijah MD 7th
NAY   D Van Hollen, Chris MD 8th
Maine
NAY   D Pingree, Chellie ME 1st
NAY   D Michaud, Michael ME 2nd
Michigan
YEA   R Benishek, Dan MI 1st
YEA   R Huizenga, Bill MI 2nd
NAY   R Amash, Justin MI 3rd
YEA   R Camp, Dave MI 4th
YEA   D Kildee, Dale MI 5th
YEA   R Upton, Fred MI 6th
NAY   R Walberg, Timothy MI 7th
YEA   R Rogers, Mike MI 8th
NAY   D Peters, Gary MI 9th
YEA   R Miller, Candice MI 10th
YEA   D Curson, David MI 11th
YEA   D Levin, Sander MI 12th
NAY   D Clarke, Hansen MI 13th
NAY   D Conyers, John MI 14th
YEA   D Dingell, John MI 15th
Minnesota
YEA   D Walz, Timothy MN 1st
YEA   R Kline, John MN 2nd
YEA   R Paulsen, Erik MN 3rd
NAY   D McCollum, Betty MN 4th
NAY   D Ellison, Keith MN 5th
NAY   R Bachmann, Michele MN 6th
YEA   D Peterson, Collin MN 7th
YEA   R Cravaack, Chip MN 8th
Missouri
YEA   D Clay, William MO 1st
YEA   R Akin, Todd MO 2nd
YEA   D Carnahan, Russ MO 3rd
YEA   R Hartzler, Vicky MO 4th
YEA   D Cleaver, Emanuel MO 5th
YEA   R Graves, Sam MO 6th
YEA   R Long, Billy MO 7th
YEA   R Emerson, Jo Ann MO 8th
YEA   R Luetkemeyer, Blaine MO 9th
Mississippi
YEA   R Nunnelee, Alan MS 1st
YEA   D Thompson, Bennie MS 2nd
YEA   R Harper, Gregg MS 3rd
YEA   R Palazzo, Steven MS 4th
Montana
YEA   R Rehberg, Denny MT
North Carolina
YEA   D Butterfield, G.K. NC 1st
YEA   R Ellmers, Renee NC 2nd
NAY   R Jones, Walter NC 3rd
YEA   D Price, David NC 4th
YEA   R Foxx, Virginia NC 5th
YEA   R Coble, Howard NC 6th
YEA   D McIntyre, Mike NC 7th
YEA   D Kissell, Larry NC 8th
YEA   R Myrick, Sue NC 9th
YEA   R McHenry, Patrick NC 10th
YEA   D Shuler, Heath NC 11th
NAY   D Watt, Mel NC 12th
NAY   D Miller, Brad NC 13th
North Dakota
YEA   R Berg, Rick ND
Nebraska
NO VOTE   R Fortenberry, Jeffrey NE 1st
YEA   R Terry, Lee NE 2nd
YEA   R Smith, Adrian NE 3rd
New Hampshire
YEA   R Guinta, Frank NH 1st
YEA   R Bass, Charles NH 2nd
New Jersey
YEA   D Andrews, Rob NJ 1st
YEA   R LoBiondo, Frank NJ 2nd
YEA   R Runyan, Jon NJ 3rd
YEA   R Smith, Chris NJ 4th
YEA   R Garrett, Scott NJ 5th
NAY   D Pallone, Frank NJ 6th
YEA   R Lance, Leonard NJ 7th
YEA   D Pascrell, Bill NJ 8th
YEA   D Rothman, Steven NJ 9th
NAY   D Payne, Donald NJ 10th
YEA   R Frelinghuysen, Rodney NJ 11th
YEA   D Holt, Rush NJ 12th
YEA   D Sires, Albio NJ 13th
New Mexico
YEA   D Heinrich, Martin NM 1st
YEA   R Pearce, Steve NM 2nd
YEA   D Luján, Ben NM 3rd
Nevada
NO VOTE   D Berkley, Shelley NV 1st
YEA   R Amodei, Mark NV 2nd
YEA   R Heck, Joe NV 3rd
New York
YEA   D Bishop, Timothy NY 1st
YEA   D Israel, Steve NY 2nd
YEA   R King, Pete NY 3rd
YEA   D McCarthy, Carolyn NY 4th
NAY   D Ackerman, Gary NY 5th
YEA   D Meeks, Gregory NY 6th
NAY   D Crowley, Joseph NY 7th
NAY   D Nadler, Jerrold NY 8th
YEA   R Turner, Robert NY 9th
YEA   D Towns, Ed NY 10th
NAY   D Clarke, Yvette NY 11th
NAY   D Velázquez, Nydia NY 12th
YEA   R Grimm, Michael NY 13th
NAY   D Maloney, Carolyn NY 14th
NAY   D Rangel, Charles NY 15th
NAY   D Serrano, José NY 16th
YEA   D Engel, Eliot NY 17th
YEA   D Lowey, Nita NY 18th

 

VOTE PARTY REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
YEA   R Hayworth, Nan NY 19th
NAY   R Gibson, Chris NY 20th
NAY   D Tonko, Paul NY 21st
NAY   D Hinchey, Maurice NY 22nd
YEA   D Owens, William NY 23rd
YEA   R Hanna, Richard NY 24th
YEA   R Buerkle, Ann Marie NY 25th
YEA   D Hochul, Kathleen NY 26th
YEA   D Higgins, Brian NY 27th
NAY   D Slaughter, Louise NY 28th
YEA   R Reed, Tom NY 29th
Ohio
YEA   R Chabot, Steve OH 1st
YEA   R Schmidt, Jean OH 2nd
YEA   R Turner, Michael OH 3rd
YEA   R Jordan, Jim OH 4th
YEA   R Latta, Robert OH 5th
YEA   R Johnson, Bill OH 6th
YEA   R Austria, Steve OH 7th
YEA   D Kaptur, Marcy OH 9th
NAY   D Kucinich, Dennis OH 10th
YEA   D Fudge, Marcia OH 11th
YEA   R Tiberi, Pat OH 12th
YEA   D Sutton, Betty OH 13th
YEA   R LaTourette, Steven OH 14th
YEA   R Stivers, Steve OH 15th
YEA   R Renacci, Jim OH 16th
YEA   D Ryan, Timothy OH 17th
YEA   R Gibbs, Bob OH 18th
Oklahoma
YEA   R Sullivan, John OK 1st
YEA   D Boren, Dan OK 2nd
YEA   R Lucas, Frank OK 3rd
YEA   R Cole, Tom OK 4th
YEA   R Lankford, James OK 5th
Oregon
YEA   D Bonamici, Suzanne OR 1st
YEA   R Walden, Greg OR 2nd
NAY   D Blumenauer, Earl OR 3rd
YEA   D DeFazio, Peter OR 4th
YEA   D Schrader, Kurt OR 5th
Pennsylvania
YEA   D Brady, Robert PA 1st
NAY   D Fattah, Chaka PA 2nd
YEA   R Kelly, Mike PA 3rd
YEA   D Altmire, Jason PA 4th
YEA   R Thompson, Glenn PA 5th
YEA   R Gerlach, Jim PA 6th
YEA   R Meehan, Patrick PA 7th
YEA   R Fitzpatrick, Michael PA 8th
YEA   R Shuster, Bill PA 9th
YEA   R Marino, Thomas PA 10th
YEA   R Barletta, Lou PA 11th
YEA   D Critz, Mark PA 12th
YEA   D Schwartz, Allyson PA 13th
NAY   D Doyle, Mike PA 14th
YEA   R Dent, Charles PA 15th
YEA   R Pitts, Joseph PA 16th
YEA   D Holden, Tim PA 17th
YEA   R Murphy, Tim PA 18th
YEA   R Platts, Todd PA 19th
Rhode Island
YEA   D Cicilline, David RI 1st
YEA   D Langevin, Jim RI 2nd
South Carolina
YEA   R Scott, Tim SC 1st
YEA   R Wilson, Joe SC 2nd
YEA   R Duncan, Jeff SC 3rd
YEA   R Gowdy, Trey SC 4th
YEA   R Mulvaney, Mick SC 5th
YEA   D Clyburn, Jim SC 6th
South Dakota
YEA   R Noem, Kristi SD
Tennessee
NAY   R Roe, Phil TN 1st
NAY   R Duncan, John TN 2nd
YEA   R Fleischmann, Chuck TN 3rd
NAY   R DesJarlais, Scott TN 4th
YEA   D Cooper, Jim TN 5th
YEA   R Black, Diane TN 6th
YEA   R Blackburn, Marsha TN 7th
YEA   R Fincher, Stephen TN 8th
NAY   D Cohen, Steve TN 9th
Texas
YEA   R Gohmert, Louis TX 1st
YEA   R Poe, Ted TX 2nd
NO VOTE   R Johnson, Sam TX 3rd
NAY   R Hall, Ralph TX 4th
YEA   R Hensarling, Jeb TX 5th
YEA   R Barton, Joe TX 6th
NO VOTE   R Culberson, John TX 7th
YEA   R Brady, Kevin TX 8th
YEA   D Green, Al TX 9th
YEA   R McCaul, Michael TX 10th
YEA   R Conaway, Michael TX 11th
YEA   R Granger, Kay TX 12th
YEA   R Thornberry, Mac TX 13th
NAY   R Paul, Ron TX 14th
YEA   D Hinojosa, Rubén TX 15th
NO VOTE   D Reyes, Silvestre TX 16th
YEA   R Flores, Bill TX 17th
YEA   D Jackson-Lee, Sheila TX 18th
YEA   R Neugebauer, Randy TX 19th
YEA   D Gonzalez, Charles TX 20th
YEA   R Smith, Lamar TX 21st
YEA   R Olson, Pete TX 22nd
YEA   R Canseco, Quico TX 23rd
NAY   R Marchant, Kenny TX 24th
YEA   D Doggett, Lloyd TX 25th
YEA   R Burgess, Michael TX 26th
YEA   R Farenthold, Blake TX 27th
YEA   D Cuellar, Henry TX 28th
YEA   D Green, Gene TX 29th
YEA   D Johnson, Eddie TX 30th
YEA   R Carter, John TX 31st
YEA   R Sessions, Pete TX 32nd
Utah
YEA   R Bishop, Rob UT 1st
YEA   D Matheson, Jim UT 2nd
YEA   R Chaffetz, Jason UT 3rd
Virginia
YEA   R Wittman, Rob VA 1st
YEA   R Rigell, Scott VA 2nd
YEA   D Scott, Bobby VA 3rd
YEA   R Forbes, Randy VA 4th
YEA   R Hurt, Robert VA 5th
YEA   R Goodlatte, Bob VA 6th
YEA   R Cantor, Eric VA 7th
YEA   D Moran, Jim VA 8th
NAY   R Griffith, Morgan VA 9th
YEA   R Wolf, Frank VA 10th
YEA   D Connolly, Gerald VA 11th
Vermont
NAY   D Welch, Peter VT
Washington
YEA   D DelBene, Suzan WA 1st
YEA   D Larsen, Rick WA 2nd
YEA   R Herrera Beutler, Jaime WA 3rd
YEA   R Hastings, Doc WA 4th
YEA   R McMorris Rodgers, Cathy WA 5th
YEA   D Dicks, Norm WA 6th
NAY   D McDermott, Jim WA 7th
YEA   R Reichert, Dave WA 8th
YEA   D Smith, Adam WA 9th
Wisconsin
YEA   R Ryan, Paul WI 1st
NAY   D Baldwin, Tammy WI 2nd
NAY   D Kind, Ron WI 3rd
NAY   D Moore, Gwen WI 4th
NAY   R Sensenbrenner, James WI 5th
YEA   R Petri, Tom WI 6th
YEA   R Duffy, Sean WI 7th
NAY   R Ribble, Reid WI 8th
West Virginia
YEA   R McKinley, David WV 1st
YEA   R Capito, Shelley WV 2nd
YEA   D Rahall, Nick WV 3rd
Wyoming
NAY   R Lummis, Cynthia WY

Nevada State Senator Introduces Anti-NDAA Legislation to Fight Indefinite Detention

 

(EndTheLie) – Nevada State Senator Don Gustavson introduced a bill in the Nevada State Legislature on Dec. 9, 2012 in an attempt to push back against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill, BDR 728, also known as the Nevada Liberty Preservation Act, is an effort to preserve the right to due process, formerly protected by the Constitution and later stripped away by Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA (a fact which was confirmed in federal court in a landmark ruling that was quickly overturned in an appeals court).

Both the 2012 and 2013 versions of the NDAA include the indefinite detention provisions. In fact, the newest version makes it even easier to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial.

It is unclear at this point if the bill is aimed at fighting the specific version of the NDAA signed into law on December 31, 2011, known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or the 2013 NDAA.

That being said, the press release from the Nevada chapters of People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA) solely mentions the 2013 NDAA and the 2013 version has not yet been signed into law.

The press release, authored by Chris Corbett of Reno PANDA, mentions the fact that the 2012 NDAA was “overwhelmingly passed by Congress.” The 2013 NDAA, unlike the 2012 NDAA, passed the Senate unanimously with only two abstentions.

Currently, the 2013 NDAA is being finalized in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, with Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announcing that the committee completed their conference on Dec. 18.

“The same day, Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., announced he would file the conference report on behalf of the conferees this evening to accompany the NDAA,” Biomass Magazine reported on Dec. 19.

The anti-NDAA effort in Nevada involved three PANDA chapters working together to gather support for the initiative in the Nevada Legislature.

“We are working hard every day to restore the rights of every Nevadan, and will work tirelessly until we have succeeded,” said Daphne Lee, head of the Clark County PANDA chapter.

“I appreciate the community support backing up our efforts and the courage of those members of our governing bodies who are willing to actively protect the constitutional rights of their constituents,” said Chris Corbett, the Nevada State Coordinator for PANDA.

“We need to restore the Constitutionally protected right to due process for every American,” Corbett added.

“While introduction of BDR 728 marks a major milestone, the group has also made significant progress at the City and County levels,” stated Corbett’s press release.

In addition, the press release adds that in the first quarter of 2013, efforts to nullify the NDAA will be on the agenda for both the Washoe County Commission and the Reno City Council.

While these aren’t efforts carried out at the national level, they are still vitally important, especially since attempts to shut down the legislation in federal courts have already been shot down, as mentioned above.

You can keep track of various efforts to nullify the NDAA across the United States thanks to the resources provided by the Tenth Amendment Center.

NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Mysteriously Stripped From Bill

Indefinite Detention Provision Mysteriously Stripped From Bill

Posted: 12/18/2012  9:03 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/19/2012 11:31 am EST

Ndaa Indefinite Detention

WASHINGTON — Congress stripped a provision Tuesday from a defense bill that aimed to shield Americans from the possibility of being imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the military. The provision was replaced with a passage that appears to give citizens little protection from indefinite detention.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 was added by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), but there was no similar language in the version of the bill that passed the House, and it was dumped from the final bill released Tuesday after a conference committee from both chambers worked out a unified measure.

It declared that “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

The provision sparked a heated debate in the Senate, but ultimately passed by a wide majority with both supporters and opponents of U.S. terrorist detention practices voting for it, citing differing interpretations. Feinstein offered the amendment to clarify a part of the 2012 NDAA that for the first time codified the ability of the military and White House to detain terrorism suspects.

Spokespeople for Senate committee leaders did not immediately answer why the amendment was stripped, but pointed to the language that replaced it:

Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541) or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112–81) shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution to any person inside the United States who would be entitled to the availability of such writ or to such rights in the absence of such laws.

The new provision appears to do little, because the Supreme Court has already declared that the writ of habeas corpus — requiring that someone be presented to a judge — applies to all people. The more difficult part of whether people deserve a trial remains unsettled, and the new provision does not appear to resolve it.

“This language doesn’t do anything of substance,” said Raha Wala, a lawyer in the law and national security program of Human Rights First. “It doesn’t ban indefinite detention within the United States or change anything about existing law.”

Feinstein said she was not pleased that her attempt to at least shield citizens and legal residents was stripped.

“I was saddened and disappointed that we could not take a step forward to ensure at the very least American citizens and legal residents could not be held in detention without charge or trial,” Feinstein said. “To me that was a no-brainer.”

Nevertheless, many activists who oppose indefinite detention were not all that enamored with her amendment because some felt it asserted that Congress had the right to make laws requiring detention of citizens. Others believed it failed the test of constitutionality because the Constitution specifies its protections extend to all people, not just citizens. It also did not address terror suspects captured overseas.

The White House had threatened to veto both the House and Senate versions over numerous other provisions included in the legislation. Among them were restrictions on the executive’s ability to transfer prisoners from the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether the threats stood.

SWAT cops to ask for IDs from everyone in Arkansas town

Seattle Police Department SWAT team officers leave the scene of an all night stakeout in Seattle(RT) – There isn’t a lot to do in Paragould, Arkansas, but residents of the town of barely 25,000 seem to have no problem finding trouble. Now in order to curb the rising crime rate, the city is proposing heavily armed police patrol the streets on foot.

At a town hall meeting on Thursday, Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall endorsed a plan to send cops dressed in full-fledged SWAT gear and equipped with AR-15s into downtown Paragould starting in 2013.The militarized police force will be tasked with trying to control a crime rate that has made Paragould an increasingly dangerous place to live in recent years. According to statistics collected by city-data.com, Paragould has had a property crime index rating more than double the national average since 2007. Rapes, burglaries, thefts and assaults per capita are also well above the mean there, statistically suggesting Paragould is perhaps the least-safe among area cities.“This fear is what’s given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they’re scared, we can do this,” Stovall said, according to the Paragould Daily Press. “It allows us to do what we’re fixing to do.”

In order to bring crime down, residents of Paragould may soon have to endure police officers brandishing semi-automatic assault riddles on the regular. What’s more, Stovall says, is he intends to have the cops collecting identification from everyone and anyone in an attempt to discourage criminal activity.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID,” the Daily Press reports him saying during last week’s meeting.

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” added Mayor Gaskill, “but they’re going to have to prove it.”

Soon after the Paragould Daily Press picked up the story, news of the small town’s efforts to enforce martial law began making headlines outside of Arkansas. On Sunday, Stovall authored an explanation on the Paragould Police Department website to clarify how exactly the proposed Street Crimes Unit will interact with citizens.

“Most often, this identification process will be nothing more than making contact with a subject, handing them a business card, and asking if they live in the area and if there’s anything we can do for them,” he says. During hours in which crime seems to be more prevalent, however, Chief Stovall says their process “will become more stringent.”

“We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact.”

Stovall adds that they program would not violate the constitutional rights of Paragould citizens, claiming, “Once we have an area that shows a high crime rate or a high call volume, it is our duty and obligation to find out why this is occurring and what we can do to prevent the trend from continuing. Therefore, identifying subjects in those problem areas help us to solve crimes, and hopefully to prevent future crimes.”

Paragould has scheduled two more town hall meetings to discuss the Street Crimes Unit.

5 Unbelievably Creepy Surveillance Tactics

(Alternet) -Since the erosion of Americans’ civil liberties depends on high levels of public apathy, some of the most dangerous privacy breaches take place incrementally and under the radar; if it invites comparisons to Blade Runner or Orwell, then someone in the PR department didn’t do their job. Meanwhile, some of the biggest threats to privacy, like insecure online data or iPhone GPS tracking, are physically unobtrusive and therefore easily ignored. And it’ll beat least a year or two until the sky is overrun by spy drones.

So when a method of surveillance literally resembles a prop or plot point in a sci-fi movie, it helps to reveal just how widespread and sophisticated commercial and government monitoring has become. Here are five recent developments that seem almost unreal in their dystopian creepiness.

1. Buses and street cars that can hear what you say.

You can’t really go anywhere in America without being tracked by surveillance cameras. But seeing what people do is not enough; according to a report by the Daily, cities all over the country are literally bugging public transportation.

In San Francisco, city officials have plans to install surveillance cameras that record sound on 357 buses and trolley cars, the Daily reported. Eugene, Oregon and Columbus, Hartford and Athens, Georgia, also have audio recording plans in the works. The systems have the capacity to filter background noise and hone in on passengers’ conversations.

Officials have said that the system is merely intended to help resolve disputes between bus riders. San Francisco officials did not comment, but the Daily found a similar justification in procurement documents for the technology. “The purpose of this project is to replace the existing video surveillance systems in SFMTA’s fleet of revenue vehicles with a reliable and technologically advanced system to increase passenger safety and improve reliability and maintainability of the system.”

It’s nice that the Department of Homeland Security, which covered the entire cost of San Francisco’s system, is so committed to ensuring pleasant bus rides for passengers.

2. Mannequins that can see you.

A handful of retailers in the US and Europe are installing mannequins in their stores that can determine customers’ age, gender and race, Bloomberg reported last month. Don’t worry, the face recognition-equipped camera is hidden, so there is no way to tell whether the giant plastic dolls in the store are watching you as you shop. The company that developed the mannequins (named EyeSee) sells their attributes thusly:

This special camera installed inside the mannequin’s head analyzes the facial features of people passing through the front and provides statistical and contextual information useful to the development of targeted marketing strategies. The embedded software can also provide other data such as the number of people passing in front of a window at certain times of the day.

They are also developing audio technology that can pick up key words from customer conversations to help them tailor their marketing plans. A screen that displays advertising geared specifically to each customers’ demographic is also in EyeSee’s future.

Really, wouldn’t the ideal marketing scenario be if human customers were replaced by mannequins programmed to buy everything the other mannequins were selling?

3. Biometric time clocks.

For too long, employers lacked the ability to extract every second of labor from their workers with scientific precision. Thanks to the wonders of face recognition technology, many employees in low-wage workplaces are now required to log in to work on face recognition readers instead of using key cards or codes. Biometric time clocks like FaceIn, most commonly used at construction sites, create an avatar of the workers’ face that the machine keeps forever and that ages alongside the employee. Allegedly, it can tell twins apart.

Meanwhile, many fast food restaurants and retailers have started using biometric time clocks that record digital fingerprints, like the creepily named U.are.U digital fingerprint reader, to prevent employees from coming in late or giving out discounts.

4. Tagging children.

It’s probably best to train people in robotic discipline early, and many US schools, aided by surveillance technology vendors, are on it. Last month, a Texas sophomore sued her school district for making students carry RFID chips that tracked their movements, but that’s just the start. School administrators all over the country use CCTV cameras, RFID chips, and GPS tracking to moniter where students go and what they do, as David Rosen reported for AlterNet. One pilot program for middle schoolers used GPS to make sure kids aren’t late:

Each school day, the delinquent students get an automated “wake-up” phone call reminding them that they need to get to school on time. In addition, five times a day they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations: as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8pm. These students are also assigned an adult “coach” who calls them at least three times a week to see how they are doing and help them find effective ways to make sure they get to school.

5. Biometric databases.

Federal agencies ranging from the DoD to the FBI to the DHS are revamping their databases to include iris scans, voice patterning, measures of gait, face recognition, and records of scars and tattoos. They also have a mandate to indiscriminately share this information between agencies and with unnamed foreign entities.

Human rights court: CIA beat and sodomized wrongly detained German citizen

CIA HQ via AFP

(Raw Story) -CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

 

It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

“The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment,” said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

He described the judgment as “an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror”. It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was “simply unacceptable”, he said.

Jamil Dakwar, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the ruling as “a huge victory for justice and the rule of law”.

The use of CIA interrogation methods widely denounced as torture during the Bush administration’s “war on terror” also came under scrutiny in Congress on Thursday. The US Senate’s select committee on intelligence was expected to vote on whether to approve a mammoth review it has undertaken into the controversial practices that included waterboarding, stress positions, forced nudity, beatings and sleep and sensory deprivation.

The report, that runs to almost 6,000 pages based on a three-year review of more than 6m pieces of information, is believed to conclude that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” adopted by the CIA during the Bush years did not produce any major breakthroughs in intelligence, contrary to previous claims. The committee, which is dominated by the Democrats, is likely to vote to approve the report, though opposition from the Republican members may prevent the report ever seeing the light of day.

 

The Strasbourg court said it found Masri’s account of what happened to him “to be established beyond reasonable doubt” and that Macedonia had been “responsible for his torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial ‘rendition’”.

In January 2004, Macedonian police took him to a hotel in Skopje, where he was kept locked in a room for 23 days and questioned in English, despite his limited proficiency in that language, about his alleged ties with terrorist organisations, the court said in its judgment. His requests to contact the German embassy were refused. At one point, when he said he intended to leave, he was threatened with being shot.

“Masri’s treatment at Skopje airport at the hands of the CIA rendition team – being severely beaten, sodomised, shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation – had been carried out in the presence of state officials of [Macedonia] and within its jurisdiction,” the court ruled.

It added: “Its government was consequently responsible for those acts performed by foreign officials. It had failed to submit any arguments explaining or justifying the degree of force used or the necessity of the invasive and potentially debasing measures. Those measures had been used with premeditation, the aim being to cause Mr Masri severe pain or suffering in order to obtain information. In the court’s view, such treatment had amounted to torture, in violation of Article 3 [of the European human rights convention].”

In Afghanistan, Masri was incarcerated for more than four months in a small, dirty, dark concrete cell in a brick factory near the capital, Kabul, where he was repeatedly interrogated and was beaten, kicked and threatened. His repeated requests to meet with a representative of the German government were ignored, said the court.

Masri was released in April 2004. He was taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, by plane to Albania and subsequently to Germany, after the CIA admited he was wrongly detained. The Macedonian government, which the court ordered must pay Masri €60,000 (£49,000) in compensation, has denied involvement in kidnapping.

UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, described the ruling as “a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush administration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture”.

He said the US government must issue an apology for its “central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA, and to pay voluntary compensation to Mr el-Masri”.

Germany should ensure that the US officials involved in this case were now brought to trial.

Tweeters ‘could be military targets’

(The Age) -Social media users who use tweets and online posts to comment on a military operation could be regarded as legitimate military targets.

Australian army Land Warfare Studies Centre analyst Chloe Diggins on Thursday said a recent social media war between Israel and Hamas raised complex ethical questions about who was a combatant and therefore a legitimate military target.

A key question was whether such comments constituted an act of war.

“If that’s the case, this might mean that those using social media in support of military operations are now legitimate targets,” she wrote in a blog for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

 

The Geneva Convention defines legitimate military targets as objects “which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage”.

The convention protects civilians unless they are taking a direct part in hostilities.

“So if social media operators or users engage in the conflict by uploading, downloading, sharing, or otherwise adding to content in any way, they then become actors contributing to hostilities,” Ms Diggins said.

“In doing so, civilian social media users lose their protected status and can become legitimate targets.”

Ms Diggins said if a country could declare war over Twitter – as Israel did when it announced the start of recent hostilities – who’s to say Twitter users could not “fight” in the information space of that war?

“Moreover, who’s to say they shouldn’t reasonably expect to become legitimate targets themselves?” she said.Ms Diggins stressed her views did not reflect those of the Australian Defence Force.

US admits to imprisoning Afghan children

(Digital Journal) – The United States has admitted to imprisoning  hundreds of Afghan children as ‘enemy combatants’ in a report to the United  Nations.

The Associated Press reports  that the State Department informed the world body of the detentions as part of  compliance with the UN  Convention on the Rights of the Child.

More than 200 children, who were mostly  16-year-olds according to the United States’ admission, have been captured  during the ongoing 11-year-long US invasion and occupation in Afghanistan. They  are held for about a year each at the Parwan Detention Facility, a military  prison next to Bagram  Airfield where detainees are held without charge or trial and where Afghan  President Hamid Karzai and former prisoners claim they are held in  “Guantanamo-like conditions” and tortured.

Pentagon documents report at least two  detainee homicides  committed by US troops at Bagram.

The US has been imprisoning the Afghan  children “to prevent a combatant from returning to the battlefield,” according  to the report.

“Many of them have been released or  transferred to the Afghan government,” the report states.

While the military admits that the  average age of the captured detainees is around 16, human rights advocates claim  that much younger children have been rounded up and imprisoned by US forces.

“I’ve represented children as young as  11 or 12 who have been at Bagram,” Tina M. Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, a group that  represents Bagram detainees, told the Associated Press. Foster also questioned  the number of children imprisoned by the United States.

“I question the number 200, because  there are thousands of detainees at Parwan. There are other children whose  parents have said these children are under 18 at the time of their capture, and  the US doesn’t allow the detainees or their families to contest their age.”

Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil  Liberties Union also believes that younger children are being held in the  prison.

“It is highly likely that some children  were as young as 14 or 13 years old when they were detained by US forces,”  Dakwar told the Associated Press.

Dakwar said that imprisoning youngsters  for lengthy periods “exposes children in detention to greater risk of physical  and mental abuse, especially if they are denied access to protections guaranteed  to them under international law.”

In its last report to the United  Nations, filed in 2008, the US admitted that the military held around 500 Iraqi  children. According to that report, the US imprisoned around 2,500 children,  most of them in Iraq, during the course of the War on Terror. Children  as young as 12 were also jailed in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay,  Cuba.

At the notorious Abu Ghraib prison  outside Baghdad, former commander Gen. Janis Karpinski said she visited child  detainees, including one boy who “looked like he was eight years old.”

Children  as young as 11 were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib. Girls, as well as boys, were  held. Both girls and boys were raped and sexually assaulted, as were older  women, by US troops and contractors at the prison; Maj. Gen. Anthony  Taguba’s scathing 2004 report  compiled in the wake of the torture  photo scandal tells of an Army translator who raped  a teenage boy while a female soldier photographed the attack.

Sadly, the vast  majority of prisoners held by the US in Iraq– as many as 90 percent of  them, according to US intelligence estimates– were innocent. Many innocent  Iraqis, especially women, were imprisoned as bargaining  chips in the hope that male relatives suspected of resisting the US-led  invasion and occupation would turn themselves in, another clear violation of  international law.

Gen. Karpinski, who was in charge of  Abu Ghraib at the time of the torture photo scandal, told the BBC that a  superior officer told her he didn’t care about innocent civilians imprisoned by  mistake.

“I don’t care if we’re holding 15,000  innocent civilians,” Maj. Gen. Walter Wodjakowski, then the second-highest Army  general in Iraq, allegedly told Karpinski. “We’re winning the war.”

Although the United States is  submitting its report in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the  Child, the  US and Somalia are the only two nations which have not ratified the treaty.

The Obama administration also indirectly  supports the use of child soldiers by repeatedly granting waivers from the  Child Soldiers Protection Act, signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008, to  countries in Africa and the Middle East which use children in their armed  forces. The waivers, personally  authorized by President Barack Obama, allow war-torn nations such as Libya,  Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan to receive hundreds  of millions of dollars in US military aid despite the fact that they are known  to use child soldiers.

FL Senate President Laughs At Constitutionalist, Calls For Nullifiers To Be “Shot” & “Hanged”

gaetzRepublican Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz showed the true face of tyrannical RINOs in the Republican Party when he openly laughed and mocked the Constitutional principles espoused by KrisAnne Hall, an attorney and former prosecutor, who supports the Tenth Amendment and the right of the States to nullify unconstitutional laws implemented by the federal government. However, it appears that Mr. Gaetz also indicated his support of the tactic of the seventh President of the United States Andrew Jackson in how he would deal with “nullifiers.” He would have them shot and hanged.

According to Mrs. Hall, she not only spoke to Gaetz, but even wrote him and explained the positions of men like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton on State sovereignty. She then received what can only be explained as a violence threatening email from Gaetz to anyone that would support nullification. Here’s what Sen. Gaetz wrote:

Thank you for your email and for your passionate views.
Like you, I believe Obamacare is unconstitutional and wrong-headed policy. I have consistently voted in the Florida Legislature for legislation that affirms our state’s options, obligations and sovereignty under the United States Constitution. I am working every day to ensure the election of national candidates who will repeal and replace this extraordinarily bad policy.

As to nullification, I tend to favor the approach used by Florida’s first Governor, Andrew Jackson:

It is said that one evening, while he was president, General Jackson was interrupted in his reading in his bedroom by an alarmed military aide who breathlessly reported, “Mr. President, the “nullifiers” are in front of the Executive Mansion with torches and guns. They are screaming that each state has the right to decide for itself which federal laws to follow. They threaten to burn us down if you will not agree with them.”

Without lifting his head from his reading, Andrew Jackson said, “Shoot the first nullifier who touches the Flag. And hang the rest.

Chaplain, I have sworn an oath on my father’s Bible before Almighty God to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Count me with Andrew Jackson.

Senator Don Gaetz

Apparently Senator Gaetz is completely ignorant of the Constitution concerning the Tenth Amendment, or has at best, a warped understanding of it, which leads him to threaten not only people like yours truly and Mrs. Hall, but all those who support State nullification of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/12/fl-senate-president-laughs-at-constitutionalist-calls-for-nullifiers-to-be-shot-hung/#ixzz2EcBUioDU

NDAA Nullification Bill Passes Michigan House, 107-0

 

(OpEdNews) – The Michigan House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of House bill 5768 (HB5768) today.  Representative Tom McMillin, who introduced the bill, showed his excitement for it’s passage, and his expectations for the State Senate.

“My bill opposing NDAA’s indefinite detention and taking away due process and prohibiting MI government from participating passed the House today. Onto the State Senate!”

Due to support from a wide coalition of grassroots activists across the political spectrum, including the Tenth Amendment Center and People Against The NDAA (P.A.N.D.A), the bill passed unanimously. The final vote was 107-0. HB5768 asserts that no State employee or agency will assist the Federal government – in any way – in the detainment of people under the 2012 NDAA. The Obama administration has aggressively argued in court that the executive branch has this power. The bill states, in part,

“no agency of this state, no political subdivision of this state, no employee of an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state acting in his or her official capacity, and no member of the Michigan national guard on official state duty shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 of the national defense authorization act…”

HB5768 was first introduced on June 14, 2012 by Representatives McMillin, MacMaster, Irwin, Ananich, Foster, and McBroom, and was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

The bill will now move on to the Senate for further consideration and concurrence.

FBI and State Police Conduct Manhunt/Raid Against Prepper Angry Over Obama Reelection

(IntelHub) -Due to its close proximity to Washington DC, in recent years Maryland has become one of the worst police states in the country.

Last month, we reported on a botched FBI raid in Maryland, where unarmed teenagers were shot at simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then, just the other day in Baltimore, an activist and blogger had his house surrounded by police over a trumped-up charge that was over 3 years old.

Now, in a more rural area of Maryland, a man named Terry Porter became the target of a massive manhunt involving FBI and state police after being reported to be a“survivalist” with a “collection of guns” who outlined his anger over the presidential reelection to an undercover officer.

This situation apparently stemmed from an anonymous tip from someone who reported Terry to the police because he owned guns and invested in a bomb shelter.

Where this “anonymous” tip actually came from is still a mystery due to the fact that many of the neighbors in the area who were questioned by reporters have expressed support for Terry and have said that they are extremely offended by the tax dollars and police resources that were used to hunt down a nonviolent person.

It seems from all accounts that Mr. Porter is a nonviolent person who has come under federal suspicion simply for preparing himself and his family for any trouble that may occur in the future.

Sadly, AFTER the police begun to investigate the man, they found out that he had a 1992 felony drug conviction on his record which enabled them to be able to then attack his house with 150 armed officers.

This is not some doomsday maniac as the mainstream media would suggest, disasters happen all the time, and more often than not, people are unprepared just as we are seeing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

According to the initial local news report:

A Sharpsburg area man who was the subject of a massive search by police Thursday afternoon turned himself in to Maryland State Police on Friday and was charged with 14 firearms violations, according to the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office and Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore.

Terry Allen Porter, 46, of 4433 Mills Road, was being held on $75,000 bond Friday night at the Washington County Detention Center, according to a jail spokesperson.

State police issued a press release after 6 p.m. Friday that said Porter turned himself in at the Hagerstown Barrack at 9:30 a.m., and that he and his attorney met with investigators.

Police went to Porter’s home Friday and seized a rifle and a shotgun, the release said. That was in addition to two rifles and three shotguns recovered Thursday night, the release said.

The confirmation that Porter was at the detention center was the first acknowledgment that he was the subject of Thursday’s manhunt.

Earlier Friday, a day after FBI agents, Maryland State Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies, two special response units and others descended on an area south of Sharpsburg for a massive manhunt, authorities had little to say about what they were doing, why they were doing it and for whom they were searching.

After receiving complaints from the anonymous tipper, police sent in an undercover officer posing as a customer for the mans business.

A Sharpsburg man charged last week with illegal possession of firearms is a“doomsday prepper” who told an undercover Maryland State Police trooper about an underground bunker and surveillance cameras on his property, according to a charging document filed in Washington County District Court.

[…..]

A state police corporal went to Porter’s home Nov. 16, posing as a customer for the business Porter runs from his home, the charging document said. Porter got “very irritated” during a discussion of the recent presidential election and “openly admitted to being a prepper,” the document said.

From all accounts, Porter had been a law-abiding sentence for the last 20 years. An article by a local Maryland blogger confirmed this fact.

It is true that Porter had a 20-year-old drug conviction on his record (confirmed here by the Hagerstown Herald Mail) but apparently had no subsequent run-ins with the law.

He is legally not allowed to own a gun so he does have a legal problem, but that doesn’t justify the cost and scope of this massive operation.

Heather Hamilton, 35, who lives at 18809 Burnside Bridge Road, around the corner from Porter’s house, said Friday that a Maryland State Police trooper went to her home the day before to talk to her about what was going on and mentioned that it was regarding a man she had known since childhood.

“You had helicopters flying over, SWAT crews down here, excavation equipment was brought in, and armored vehicles,” she said.

“It was ridiculous for (the man), who would not hurt another person for anything. Unless you would attack him, he’s not going to go after anyone.”

She said she viewed the operation as “a big waste of taxpayer money.”

Another neighbor, Doug Bigelow, also outlined his support for Porter. “Surprised at what was going on, Bigelow said he always found his friend to live his life on the “straight and narrow.

Bigelow said he “would feel safe leaving his kids with the man.”

Basically, a man worried about the tyrannical Obama regime as well as a possible collapse of society was raided by at least 150 agents acting on initial information that the man was a survivalist.

The fact that 20 years before he had a drug conviction enabled the FBI to carry out a raid they would have never even considered if it wasnt for the fact that they knew that the man was preparing and was distrustful of the government. To say the raid was simply for illegal possession of firearms is to ignore all the facts of this horrific story.

Terry Porter was doing nothing illegal by preparing and basically made the mistake of being too public with his preparedness and dislike for Obama which apparently is now cause for a FBI investigation which could in turn lead to a raid in what has now become the modern American police state.