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Author Topic: Police State - Official Thread  (Read 106372 times)
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« Reply #1000 on: February 06, 2013, 08:25:01 PM »

WASHINGTON -- In October 2011, Scott Shane, a national security reporter for The New York Times, sent an email to a branch of the Department of Justice that deals with Freedom of Information Act requests, to check on one of his FOIA filings.

Sixteen months earlier, Shane had asked that DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel -- which advises the White House on the legality of government actions -- release any memoranda it had relating to the president's top-secret program of targeted killing of suspected terrorists, much of which was understood to be conducted by drones.

President Barack Obama's drone and targeted killing program, which has remained highly obscure despite expanding rapidly under his watch, burst into the public discourse again on Monday after a DOJ briefing paper, outlining the executive branch's interpretation of its powers to kill extrajudicially, was published by NBC News.

But back in late 2011, the program, and its possible reach, was just starting to receive attention. That September, an American citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki, who had become a significant figure in al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen. President Obama hailed the killing in a public address (see the video below).

A week later, Charles Savage, another national security reporter at the Times, wrote that Awlaki's killing -- and the killing, more broadly, of any American with close ties to al Qaeda -- had been authorized by a secret memo from the Office of Legal Counsel.

Shane pushed the Justice Department about his aging FOIA request. In June 2010, his request had been immediately accepted and granted "expedited processing," but now Shane wanted, as the OLC's FOIA officer later wrote to a colleague, "an explanation of why it had taken a year and a half to respond."

"We are almost finished processing his request," the colleague, OLC lawyer Peter Finn, wrote back.




A few days later, a response finally arrived in Shane's mailbox: Not only was the OLC denying his request, but it refused to acknowledge if the documents he'd requested even existed. "The very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents," the letter said, "is itself classified."

For the past three years, delays and convoluted explanations of this sort have been the response of the Obama administration to any effort to learn anything about the targeted killing program. For years, the government described any such program, and particularly the CIA's role in it, as so sensitive that it couldn't even be discussed. But long after the practice of targeted killing became a matter of widespread discussion -- and the president himself addressed targeting decisions in an informal Google hangout -- the administration has continued to use elaborate legal rationales and the blanket assertion of national security needs, to prevent any releases.

"To say that there is little transparency about the CIA's role in this is a real understatement," said Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has had several FOIA requests denied on similar grounds. "We really have nothing at all, from the CIA itself, about its role, about the standards, about the process used to add people to kill lists, about number killed, about anything."

On his first day in the Oval Office, Obama promised to deliver a new era of government openness and ordered that FOIA requests be met quickly and generously.

Instead, the administration has thrown up roadblocks at every effort to learn about the targeted killing program. Court filings have been greeted with assertions of executive privilege or national security exemptions. Human rights researchers have been ignored. And at least a dozen formal inquiries from Congress have been met with silence.

FOIA experts have explored every avenue to squeeze out information. Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter with Truthout, has even asked for the emails behind the government's decisions to deny other FOIA filings. (It was one of Leopold's requests, shared with The Huffington Post, that revealed the OLC exchange about Shane.)

The administration's effort not to answer has been so convoluted and shrouded in obfuscation that one federal judge recently decried its "Alice-in-Wonderland nature," even as she concluded there was no way around the administration's arguments.

The lack of information affects not just legal watchdogs and government oversight; it also limits outside attempts to measure the efficacy of the program.

James Cavallaro, a human rights researcher at Stanford, recently spent six months attempting to meet with members of Obama's national security team before publishing a study that revealed the deadly consequences of the U.S. drone program in Pakistan. He never received a reply.

"It's disconcerting that there's not greater transparency and really unacceptable," Cavallaro said.

In his research on human rights violations around the world, Cavallaro noted that it's not uncommon for host countries to rebuff his requests for access and interviews (although he's had luck in some unlikely places, like Panama and Cambodia).

"But here's the kicker," he said. "Is that the standard that should apply in the United States? The standards of the many abusive governments that commit rights violations? If that's the standard the U.S. should hold itself to, then they're doing a fine job."

The ACLU had no better luck when it brought a lawsuit in mid-2010 against the government to prevent the killing of Awlaki, with his father as the plaintiff. The government responded in part that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that defending itself would require acknowledging a classified program. The case died a few months later.

But with every new speech by an administration official discussing the program, the blanket claim that the government cannot respond to FOIA requests or defend itself in court "becomes substantially less plausible," said Micah Zenko, an expert on targeted killing at the Council on Foreign Relations who has closely followed the secrecy debate.

"Every administration wants maximum power and minimum oversight," Zenko said. "Nobody wants to have their homework graded. But the whole point of the Constitution is that the president has his homework graded."

The Awlaki killing was the first known time an American citizen was deliberately killed by a U.S.-controlled drone strike. Two weeks later, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed in a separate attack in Yemen. As Zenko has noted, administration officials initially claimed the boy was "in his mid-twenties" and "of military age," before being confronted with his true date of birth. The State Department still refuses to address the killing, saying that it has yet to receive proof of his death from Yemeni authorities.

The DOJ briefing paper published on Monday offers yet another twist in the saga. It is not the OLC memo on which Savage had reported in 2011, but is instead an unclassified summary of the memo that was given to Congress last summer.

But when a handful of journalists, learning about the existence of the paper last year, sent a FOIA request for a copy, they were told that it was just an unfinished part of the government's internal deliberation process. In other words, they were told it was a draft -- and not subject to FOIA release.

This story has been updated to note Truthout reporter Jason Leopold's work on uncovering the targeted killing program, including information he obtained from FOIA filings and shared with HuffPost.
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« Reply #1001 on: February 07, 2013, 09:51:51 AM »



Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens

The president's partisan lawyers purport to vest him with the most extreme power a political leader can seize



Glenn Greenwald

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 February 2013 10.56 EST

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Barack Obama Photograph: Reuters


The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.

Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".

When the New York Times back in April, 2010 first confirmed the existence of Obama's hit list, it made clear just what an extremist power this is, noting: "It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing." The NYT quoted a Bush intelligence official as saying "he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president". When the existence of Obama's hit list was first reported several months earlier by the Washington Post's Dana Priest, she wrote that the "list includes three Americans".

What has made these actions all the more radical is the absolute secrecy with which Obama has draped all of this. Not only is the entire process carried out solely within the Executive branch - with no checks or oversight of any kind - but there is zero transparency and zero accountability. The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from "baseball cards" and decrees in total secrecy who should die. The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark.

In fact, The Most Transparent Administration Ever™ has been so fixated on secrecy that they have refused even to disclose the legal memoranda prepared by Obama lawyers setting forth their legal rationale for why the president has this power. During the Bush years, when Bush refused to disclose the memoranda from his Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that legally authorized torture, rendition, warrantless eavesdropping and the like, leading Democratic lawyers such as Dawn Johnsen (Obama's first choice to lead the OLC) vehemently denounced this practice as a grave threat, warning that "the Bush Administration's excessive reliance on 'secret law' threatens the effective functioning of American democracy" and "the withholding from Congress and the public of legal interpretations by the [OLC] upsets the system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of government."

But when it comes to Obama's assassination power, this is exactly what his administration has done. It has repeatedly refused to disclose the principal legal memoranda prepared by Obama OLC lawyers that justified his kill list. It is, right now, vigorously resisting lawsuits from the New York Times and the ACLU to obtain that OLC memorandum. In sum, Obama not only claims he has the power to order US citizens killed with no transparency, but that even the documents explaining the legal rationale for this power are to be concealed. He's maintaining secret law on the most extremist power he can assert.

Last night, NBC News' Michael Isikoff released a 16-page "white paper" prepared by the Obama DOJ that purports to justify Obama's power to target even Americans for assassination without due process (the memo is embedded in full below). This is not the primary OLC memo justifying Obama's kill list - that is still concealed - but it appears to track the reasoning of that memo as anonymously described to the New York Times in October 2011.

This new memo is entitled: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or An Associated Force". It claims its conclusion is "reached with recognition of the extraordinary seriousness of a lethal operation by the United States against a US citizen". Yet it is every bit as chilling as the Bush OLC torture memos in how its clinical, legalistic tone completely sanitizes the radical and dangerous power it purports to authorize.

I've written many times at length about why the Obama assassination program is such an extreme and radical threat - see here for one of the most comprehensive discussions, with documentation of how completely all of this violates Obama and Holder's statements before obtaining power - and won't repeat those arguments here. Instead, there are numerous points that should be emphasized about the fundamentally misleading nature of this new memo:

1. Equating government accusations with guilt

The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to "terrorists" when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit.

Time and again, it emphasizes that the authorized assassinations are carried out "against a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or its associated forces who poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." Undoubtedly fearing that this document would one day be public, Obama lawyers made certain to incorporate this deceit into the title itself: "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida or An Associated Force."

This ensures that huge numbers of citizens - those who spend little time thinking about such things and/or authoritarians who assume all government claims are true - will instinctively justify what is being done here on the ground that we must kill the Terrorists or joining al-Qaida means you should be killed. That's the "reasoning" process that has driven the War on Terror since it commenced: if the US government simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such - with indefinite imprisonment or death.

But of course, when this memo refers to "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida", what it actually means is this: someone whom the President - in total secrecy and with no due process - has accused of being that. Indeed, the memo itself makes this clear, as it baldly states that presidential assassinations are justified when "an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US".

This is the crucial point: the memo isn't justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo - and those who defend Obama's assassination power - willfully ignore it.

Those who justify all of this by arguing that Obama can and should kill al-Qaida leaders who are trying to kill Americans are engaged in supreme question-begging. Without any due process, transparency or oversight, there is no way to know who is a "senior al-Qaida leader" and who is posing an "imminent threat" to Americans. All that can be known is who Obama, in total secrecy, accuses of this.

(Indeed, membership in al-Qaida is not even required to be assassinated, as one can be a member of a group deemed to be an "associated force" of al-Qaida, whatever that might mean: a formulation so broad and ill-defined that, as Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller argues, it means the memo "authorizes the use of lethal force against individuals whose targeting is, without more, prohibited by international law".)

The definition of an extreme authoritarian is one who is willing blindly to assume that government accusations are true without any evidence presented or opportunity to contest those accusations. This memo - and the entire theory justifying Obama's kill list - centrally relies on this authoritarian conflation of government accusations and valid proof of guilt.

They are not the same and never have been. Political leaders who decree guilt in secret and with no oversight inevitably succumb to error and/or abuse of power. Such unchecked accusatory decrees are inherently untrustworthy (indeed, Yemen experts have vehemently contested the claim that Awlaki himself was a senior al-Qaida leader posing an imminent threat to the US). That's why due process is guaranteed in the Constitution and why judicial review of government accusations has been a staple of western justice since the Magna Carta: because leaders can't be trusted to decree guilt and punish citizens without evidence and an adversarial process. That is the age-old basic right on which this memo, and the Obama presidency, is waging war.

2. Creating a ceiling, not a floor

The most vital fact to note about this memorandum is that it is not purporting to impose requirements on the president's power to assassinate US citizens. When it concludes that the president has the authority to assassinate "a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida" who "poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US" where capture is "infeasible", it is not concluding that assassinations are permissible only in those circumstances.
 
To the contrary, the memo expressly makes clear that presidential assassinations may be permitted even when none of those circumstances prevail: "This paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful." Instead, as the last line of the memo states: "it concludes only that the stated conditions would be sufficient to make lawful a lethal operation" - not that such conditions are necessary to find these assassinations legal. The memo explicitly leaves open the possibility that presidential assassinations of US citizens may be permissible even when the target is not a senior al-Qaida leader posing an imminent threat and/or when capture is feasible.

Critically, the rationale of the memo - that the US is engaged in a global war against al-Qaida and "associated forces" - can be easily used to justify presidential assassinations of US citizens in circumstances far beyond the ones described in this memo. If you believe the president has the power to execute US citizens based on the accusation that the citizen has joined al-Qaida, what possible limiting principle can you cite as to why that shouldn't apply to a low-level al-Qaida member, including ones found in places where capture may be feasible (including US soil)? The purported limitations on this power set forth in this memo, aside from being incredibly vague, can be easily discarded once the central theory of presidential power is embraced.

3. Relies on the core Bush/Cheney theory of a global battlefield

The primary theory embraced by the Bush administration to justify its War on Terror policies was that the "battlefield" is no longer confined to identifiable geographical areas, but instead, the entire globe is now one big, unlimited "battlefield". That theory is both radical and dangerous because a president's powers are basically omnipotent on a "battlefield". There, state power is shielded from law, from courts, from constitutional guarantees, from all forms of accountability: anyone on a battlefield can be killed or imprisoned without charges. Thus, to posit the world as a battlefield is, by definition, to create an imperial, omnipotent presidency. That is the radical theory that unleashed all the rest of the controversial and lawless Bush/Cheney policies.

This "world-is-a-battlefield" theory was once highly controversial among Democrats. John Kerry famously denounced it when running for president, arguing instead that the effort against terrorism is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world".

But this global-war theory is exactly what lies at heart of the Obama approach to Terrorism generally and this memo specifically. It is impossible to defend Obama's assassination powers without embracing it (which is why key Obama officials have consistently done so). That's because these assassinations are taking place in countries far from any war zone, such as Yemen and Somalia. You can't defend the application of "war powers" in these countries without embracing the once-very-controversial Bush/Cheney view that the whole is now a "battlefield" and the president's war powers thus exist without geographic limits.

This new memo makes clear that this Bush/Cheney worldview is at the heart of the Obama presidency. The president, it claims, "retains authority to use force against al-Qaida and associated forces outside the area of active hostilities". In other words: there are, subject to the entirely optional "feasibility of capture" element, no geographic limits to the president's authority to kill anyone he wants. This power applies not only to war zones, but everywhere in the world that he claims a member of al-Qaida is found. This memo embraces and institutionalizes the core Bush/Cheney theory that justified the entire panoply of policies Democrats back then pretended to find so objectionable.

4. Expanding the concept of "imminence" beyond recognition

The memo claims that the president's assassination power applies to a senior al-Qaida member who "poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States". That is designed to convince citizens to accept this power by leading them to believe it's similar to common and familiar domestic uses of lethal force on US soil: if, for instance, an armed criminal is in the process of robbing a bank or is about to shoot hostages, then the "imminence" of the threat he poses justifies the use of lethal force against him by the police.

But this rhetorical tactic is totally misleading. The memo is authorizing assassinations against citizens in circumstances far beyond this understanding of "imminence". Indeed, the memo expressly states that it is inventing "a broader concept of imminence" than is typically used in domestic law. Specifically, the president's assassination power "does not require that the US have clear evidence that a specific attack . . . will take place in the immediate future". The US routinely assassinates its targets not when they are engaged in or plotting attacks but when they are at home, with family members, riding in a car, at work, at funerals, rescuing other drone victims, etc.

Many of the early objections to this new memo have focused on this warped and incredibly broad definition of "imminence". The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer told Isikoff that the memo "redefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning". Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller called Jaffer's objection "an understatement", noting that the memo's understanding of "imminence" is "wildly overbroad" under international law.

Crucially, Heller points out what I noted above: once you accept the memo's reasoning - that the US is engaged in a global war, that the world is a battlefield, and the president has the power to assassinate any member of al-Qaida or associated forces - then there is no way coherent way to limit this power to places where capture is infeasible or to persons posing an "imminent" threat. The legal framework adopted by the memo means the president can kill anyone he claims is a member of al-Qaida regardless of where they are found or what they are doing.

The only reason to add these limitations of "imminence" and "feasibility of capture" is, as Heller said, purely political: to make the theories more politically palatable. But the definitions for these terms are so vague and broad that they provide no real limits on the president's assassination power. As the ACLU's Jaffer says: "This is a chilling document" because "it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen" and the purported limits "are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated."

5. Converting Obama underlings into objective courts

This memo is not a judicial opinion. It was not written by anyone independent of the president. To the contrary, it was written by life-long partisan lackeys: lawyers whose careerist interests depend upon staying in the good graces of Obama and the Democrats, almost certainly Marty Lederman and David Barron. Treating this document as though it confers any authority on Obama is like treating the statements of one's lawyer as a judicial finding or jury verdict.

Indeed, recall the primary excuse used to shield Bush officials from prosecution for their crimes of torture and illegal eavesdropping: namely, they got Bush-appointed lawyers in the DOJ to say that their conduct was legal, and therefore, it should be treated as such. This tactic - getting partisan lawyers and underlings of the president to say that the president's conduct is legal - was appropriately treated with scorn when invoked by Bush officials to justify their radical programs. As Digby wrote about Bush officials who pointed to the OLC memos it got its lawyers to issue about torture and eavesdropping, such a practice amounts to:


"validating the idea that obscure Justice Department officials can be granted the authority to essentially immunize officials at all levels of the government, from the president down to the lowest field officer, by issuing a secret memo. This is a very important new development in western jurisprudence and one that surely requires more study and consideration. If Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan had known about this, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble."

Life-long Democratic Party lawyers are not going to oppose the terrorism policies of the president who appointed them. A president can always find underlings and political appointees to endorse whatever he wants to do. That's all this memo is: the by-product of obsequious lawyers telling their Party's leader that he is (of course) free to do exactly that which he wants to do, in exactly the same way that Bush got John Yoo to tell him that torture was not torture, and that even it if were, it was legal.

That's why courts, not the president's partisan lawyers, should be making these determinations. But when the ACLU tried to obtain a judicial determination as to whether Obama is actually authorized to assassinate US citizens, the Obama DOJ went to extreme lengths to block the court from ruling on that question. They didn't want independent judges to determine the law. They wanted their own lawyers to do so.

That's all this memo is: Obama-loyal appointees telling their leader that he has the authority to do what he wants. But in the warped world of US politics, this - secret memos from partisan lackeys - has replaced judicial review as the means to determine the legality of the president's conduct.

6. Making a mockery of "due process"

The core freedom most under attack by the War on Terror is the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process. It provides that "no person shall be . . . deprived of life . . . without due process of law". Like putting people in cages for life on island prisons with no trial, claiming that the president has the right to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield without any charges or trial is the supreme evisceration of this right.

The memo pays lip service to the right it is destroying: "Under the traditional due process balancing analysis . . . . we recognize that there is no private interest more weighty than a person's interest in his life." But it nonetheless argues that a "balancing test" is necessary to determine the extent of the process that is due before the president can deprive someone of their life, and further argues that, as the New York Times put it when this theory was first unveiled: "while the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch."

Stephen Colbert perfectly mocked this theory when Eric Holder first unveiled it to defend the president's assassination program. At the time, Holder actually said: "due process and judicial process are not one and the same." Colbert interpreted that claim as follows:


"Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do. The current process is apparently, first the president meets with his advisers and decides who he can kill. Then he kills them."

It is fitting indeed that the memo expressly embraces two core Bush/Cheney theories to justify this view of what "due process" requires. First, it cites the Bush DOJ's core view, as enunciated by John Yoo, that courts have no role to play in what the president does in the War on Terror because judicial review constitutes "judicial encroachment" on the "judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force". And then it cites the Bush DOJ's mostly successful arguments in the 2004 Hamdi case that the president has the authority even to imprison US citizens without trial provided that he accuses them of being a terrorist.

The reason this is so fitting is because, as I've detailed many times, it was these same early Bush/Cheney theories that made me want to begin writing about politics, all driven by my perception that the US government was becoming extremist and dangerous. During the early Bush years, the very idea that the US government asserted the power to imprison US citizens without charges and due process (or to eavesdrop on them) was so radical that, at the time, I could hardly believe they were being asserted out in the open.

Yet here we are almost a full decade later. And we have the current president asserting the power not merely to imprison or eavesdrop on US citizens without charges or trial, but to order them executed - and to do so in total secrecy, with no checks or oversight. If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it's truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable.
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« Reply #1002 on: February 07, 2013, 11:36:34 AM »

Lawyer Sums Up The Enormous Stakes Of The NDAA Indefinite Detention Lawsuit
 


Michael Kelley|36 minutes ago|183|



Hedges v. Obama, the lawsuit challenging the indefinite detention provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), continued Wednesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
 
A three-judge panel heard oral arguments regarding the indefinite detention clause of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allow the U.S. military to indefinitely detain anyone who provides "substantial support" to the Taliban, al-Qaeda or "associated forces," including "any person who has committed a belligerent act" in the aid of enemy forces.
 
A decision — whether to reinstate a permanent block of the provision or to overrule the injunction and affirm the clause — is expected in coming months. The clause is currently in effect (pending that decision), and the case is expected to go to the Supreme Court.

 
After the hearing, plaintiffs of the case held a panel in which attorney Carl Mayer gave a perfect summary of why this case is so important:
 
"In broad terms, the stakes are very high because what our case comes do to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that's ingrained in the Constitution and was always very important in com batting tyranny and building a democratic society. And what the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America, to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons, and — probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA — it allows detention 'until the end of hostilities.'
 
We're now, by my count, [on] day 4,163 of this war, which is an open-ended war against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and now it's defined as 'associated forces' in the NDAA."
 
Mayer then noted that this "type of militarization of our justice system has occurred before," citing the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
 
"We're trying to prevent a repeat of episodes like that," Mayer said. "That's what the case is about — it's really about preserving our civil liberties and preserving our civil justice system, in broad terms."
 
Here's a video of the panel. Mayer's comments are at 7:20:
 


Section 1021 of the NDAA is being challenged in the case, and it reads (in part):
 
The President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who were part of or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in the aid of such enemy forces.
 
The government has argued that section 1021 is merely an "affirmation" of the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF), a joint resolution passed a week after 9/11 that authorizes the government to indefinitely detain “those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided in the actual 9/11 attacks” as well as those who harbored them.
 
The plaintiffs argue, and initial judge Judge Katherine Forrest agreed, that the extra language added to the NDAA (i.e. "The President also has the authority...") appeared to be a retroactive legislative fix "to provide the President (in 2012) with broader detention authority than was provided in the AUMF in 2001."
 
As the War on Terror has extended, so has its global scope. The plaintiffs in Hedges v. Obama are attempting to block the U.S. military's detainment powers on its own shores.
 
The bottom line, according to plaintiff lawyer Bruce Afran, is that the NDAA "is still unconstitutional because it allows citizens or persons in the U.S. to be held in military custody, a position that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held is unconstitutional."


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/stakes-of-indefinite-detention-lawsuit-2013-2#ixzz2KEvcuo87

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« Reply #1003 on: February 07, 2013, 12:07:40 PM »

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/02/06/cop-accused-of-seducing-women-involved-in-domestic-disputes


LMFAO!   Typical. 
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« Reply #1004 on: February 07, 2013, 01:47:12 PM »

Woman Allegedly Lied About Baby’s Abduction To Get Cops To Find Stolen Car

February 6, 2013 4:55 PM
 

Photo Gallery: Super Bowl XLVII
 

CHICAGO (CBS) – A young mother from Harvey was in trouble with police after lying about her baby being in her car when it was stolen Wednesday morning on Chicago’s South Side.
 
Jeanette Holt, 25, has been charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct, police said.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports police rushed to a Chatham neighborhood daycare center around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, after Holt called 911 to report her 1997 Chevy Monte Carlo had been stolen with her 1-year-old son inside.



 
At least seven squad cars were put on alert to search the area.
 
Police conducted a massive search for the car, only to find out the child was not inside to begin with. He had been in daycare all along.
 
Police sources said the boy’s mother lied about the abduction because she wanted officers to look for her car.

 

“We arrested her as a result,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said. “And we need to do that when people make false claims like that, because … it’s very serious, it endangers the public at large, and definitely our police officers who may be responding in a different fashion than just to take a report for a stolen vehicle.”
 
Such false reports also consume police resources at a time when the city is only responding to 911 calls where an imminent threat is present, which was not the case here.

“The case was she dropped her baby off at daycare. Upon signing the child in, someone had jumped in her car, because she left her car running, and they drove off,” said Eltonjia Thompson, owner of 4 Ever Young Daycare.
 
To be safe, the toddler’s father was called to the daycare, and verified his son was safe.
 
Thompson said it was “very stressful.”
 
Holt was taken into custody outside the daycare as soon as police realized she was lying, about an hour after the search had begun.

She was due in court on Thursday.
 
Incidentally, it’s also illegal in the state of Illinois to leave your car running on a public street.
 
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« Reply #1005 on: February 07, 2013, 02:58:47 PM »

Entire Miami police squad fired after footage shows cops shopping, dining and kissing while ignoring 911 calls


 
  RT — An investigation into Miami police officers’ on-duty conduct found six officers were ignoring 911 calls while instead kissing their girlfriends, shopping, and drinking coffee.
 
One 911 call involved an unconscious five-month-old baby. Video footage shows Miami police officer Dario Socarras ignoring dispatch orders to save the child, while drinking coffee for nine minutes and lying to the dispatcher about being “en route”. Paramedics eventually reached the unconscious child, while Socarras never went – but still, the officer wrote in his daily report that he attended the scene.
 
And Socarras is only one of six officers caught neglecting their duties: after being followed and caught on surveillance video by Internal Affairs, two officers and a sergeant were fired and three were suspended without pay for dereliction of duty from the Miami Dade Police Department.
 
 The footage of the incidents documents the department’s worst case of delinquency in its history.
 
 Aside from ignoring the dispatch orders to save the unconscious baby, Socarras was also found to have ignored armed robbery and residential burglary calls. Instead, the officer was found kissing and cuddling with his girlfriend in the parking lot of a shopping mall on two different occasions.
 
 Socarras was also caught misleading a crime victim, promising to fill out a police report about items that were stolen form her, while telling dispatchers that no crime had occurred. The officer proceeded to give the victim a phony case number.
 
 “We’re talking about falsification of official records, stealing time that doesn’t belong to you, because they are supposed to be available for service or duty and they are not,” former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms told CBS4.
 
 And the officer’s supervisor was no better: Sgt. Jennifer Gonzalez was drinking coffee with Socorras while he ignored a dispatch order and was separately recorded shopping while on duty at stores including Target, Lowes and Kohl’s. In one incident, Gonzalez bought so many items at a department store that she even requested a store clerk to help her carry and load her goods into her police car.
 
 Investigators also found that Gonzalez would spend hours visiting her parents in an area that was outside of the district she was employed to be working in. The sergeant has been accused of letting her own neglectful work habits affect others in her department, since all of the officers accused of dereliction of duty were working for her.
 
 Officer Jose Huerta was found repeatedly lying about his availability, claiming he was stuck on a call involving a traffic incident when in fact he was free to respond to calls that the dispatcher had waiting for him. In one incident, he failed to immediately respond to a call about a five-year-old child being locked inside a vehicle – an incident that can quickly turn deadly in the heat under the Miami sun.
 
 Internal Affairs discovered many other incidents of neglectful duties among officers and sergeants in the Miami Dade Police Department. Even though the investigation was conducted in 2010, the delinquent sergeant and officers were not penalized until late 2012.
 
 While this is the Miami police department’s worst case of delinquency, its officers have repeatedly come under scrutiny for illegal and negligent actions. Last week, a Miami officer was fired for shooting an unarmed motorist. In September, police officer Fausto Lopez was fired for driving more than 120 miles per hour and was found to have driven more than 90 miles per hour more than 80 times.
 
 Cases of police neglecting their duties and violating the law are not unusual in Miami, and the video surveillance acquired by the Internal Affairs investigation shows just how dire the situation is.
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« Reply #1006 on: February 07, 2013, 05:06:23 PM »

Entire Miami police squad fired after footage shows cops shopping, dining and kissing while ignoring 911 calls

Wow...
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« Reply #1007 on: February 07, 2013, 08:17:03 PM »

Entire Miami police squad fired after footage shows cops shopping, dining and kissing while ignoring 911 calls


They should be charged as accomplices to all those incidents they ignored.
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« Reply #1008 on: February 08, 2013, 05:49:28 AM »

Entire Miami police squad fired after footage shows cops shopping, dining and kissing while ignoring 911 calls


 
  RT — An investigation into Miami police officers’ on-duty conduct found six officers were ignoring 911 calls while instead kissing their girlfriends, shopping, and drinking coffee.
 
One 911 call involved an unconscious five-month-old baby. Video footage shows Miami police officer Dario Socarras ignoring dispatch orders to save the child, while drinking coffee for nine minutes and lying to the dispatcher about being “en route”. Paramedics eventually reached the unconscious child, while Socarras never went – but still, the officer wrote in his daily report that he attended the scene.
 
And Socarras is only one of six officers caught neglecting their duties: after being followed and caught on surveillance video by Internal Affairs, two officers and a sergeant were fired and three were suspended without pay for dereliction of duty from the Miami Dade Police Department.
 
 The footage of the incidents documents the department’s worst case of delinquency in its history.
 
 Aside from ignoring the dispatch orders to save the unconscious baby, Socarras was also found to have ignored armed robbery and residential burglary calls. Instead, the officer was found kissing and cuddling with his girlfriend in the parking lot of a shopping mall on two different occasions.
 
 Socarras was also caught misleading a crime victim, promising to fill out a police report about items that were stolen form her, while telling dispatchers that no crime had occurred. The officer proceeded to give the victim a phony case number.
 
 “We’re talking about falsification of official records, stealing time that doesn’t belong to you, because they are supposed to be available for service or duty and they are not,” former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms told CBS4.
 
 And the officer’s supervisor was no better: Sgt. Jennifer Gonzalez was drinking coffee with Socorras while he ignored a dispatch order and was separately recorded shopping while on duty at stores including Target, Lowes and Kohl’s. In one incident, Gonzalez bought so many items at a department store that she even requested a store clerk to help her carry and load her goods into her police car.
 
 Investigators also found that Gonzalez would spend hours visiting her parents in an area that was outside of the district she was employed to be working in. The sergeant has been accused of letting her own neglectful work habits affect others in her department, since all of the officers accused of dereliction of duty were working for her.
 
 Officer Jose Huerta was found repeatedly lying about his availability, claiming he was stuck on a call involving a traffic incident when in fact he was free to respond to calls that the dispatcher had waiting for him. In one incident, he failed to immediately respond to a call about a five-year-old child being locked inside a vehicle – an incident that can quickly turn deadly in the heat under the Miami sun.
 
 Internal Affairs discovered many other incidents of neglectful duties among officers and sergeants in the Miami Dade Police Department. Even though the investigation was conducted in 2010, the delinquent sergeant and officers were not penalized until late 2012.
 
 While this is the Miami police department’s worst case of delinquency, its officers have repeatedly come under scrutiny for illegal and negligent actions. Last week, a Miami officer was fired for shooting an unarmed motorist. In September, police officer Fausto Lopez was fired for driving more than 120 miles per hour and was found to have driven more than 90 miles per hour more than 80 times.
 
 Cases of police neglecting their duties and violating the law are not unusual in Miami, and the video surveillance acquired by the Internal Affairs investigation shows just how dire the situation is.


 Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #1009 on: February 08, 2013, 09:45:02 AM »

REPORT: A Tiny 71-Year-Old Woman Was Shot Twice In The Back During The LAPD's Manhunt
 


Erin Fuchs|Feb. 8, 2013, 10:01 AM|1,747|8
 


Police who were hunting a former LAPD cop accidentally shot a 71-year-old woman and her daughter as they delivered the LA Times, that newspaper reports.
 
Sources told the LA Times cops were trying to protect an LAPD officer named in former cop Christopher Dorner's online manifesto when they shot the two women in Torrance, Calif.
 
Cops thought the royal blue Toyota Tacoma occupied by 71-year-old Emma Hernandez and her 47-year-old daughter Maggie Carranza matched descriptions for Dorner's Nissan pickup truck, CBS Los Angeles reported.
 
"Tragically, we believe this is a case of mistaken identity," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters.
 
But the women's lawyer, Glen Jonas, hinted that cops were being overzealous in trying to protect their own, according to the LA Times story.
 
"The problem with the situation is it looked like the cops were administering street justice and didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man," Jonas told the Times.
 
Hernandez was shot twice in the back and was stable as of late Thursday, Jonas told the Times. Her daughter just had stitches in her finger.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/lapd-officers-hunting-dorner-shot-women-2013-2#ixzz2KKK6c37o

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« Reply #1010 on: February 08, 2013, 12:24:37 PM »

REPORT: A Tiny 71-Year-Old Woman Was Shot Twice In The Back During The LAPD's Manhunt
 


Erin Fuchs|Feb. 8, 2013, 10:01 AM|1,747|8
 


Police who were hunting a former LAPD cop accidentally shot a 71-year-old woman and her daughter as they delivered the LA Times, that newspaper reports.
 
Sources told the LA Times cops were trying to protect an LAPD officer named in former cop Christopher Dorner's online manifesto when they shot the two women in Torrance, Calif.
 
Cops thought the royal blue Toyota Tacoma occupied by 71-year-old Emma Hernandez and her 47-year-old daughter Maggie Carranza matched descriptions for Dorner's Nissan pickup truck, CBS Los Angeles reported.
 
"Tragically, we believe this is a case of mistaken identity," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters.
 
But the women's lawyer, Glen Jonas, hinted that cops were being overzealous in trying to protect their own, according to the LA Times story.
 
"The problem with the situation is it looked like the cops were administering street justice and didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man," Jonas told the Times.
 
Hernandez was shot twice in the back and was stable as of late Thursday, Jonas told the Times. Her daughter just had stitches in her finger.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/lapd-officers-hunting-dorner-shot-women-2013-2#ixzz2KKK6c37o



Cops should be banned.
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« Reply #1011 on: February 08, 2013, 01:10:09 PM »

The LAPD is gonna be so fucked when this is all done.

No matter how it plays out, they are gonna look like COMPLETE idiots.

It is nothing less than bizarre.
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« Reply #1012 on: February 09, 2013, 05:55:00 AM »

http://www.infowars.com/video-cop-lands-helicopter-to-harass-woman


Unreal - but typical. 
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« Reply #1013 on: February 10, 2013, 05:59:52 AM »

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/02/07/chicago-police-want-12-percent-pay-raise
 Grin

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« Reply #1014 on: February 10, 2013, 07:19:44 AM »

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How the LAPD Lost my Trust
Gun Watch ^ | 10 February, 2013 | Dean Weingarten
Posted on February 9, 2013 8:19:56 PM EST by marktwain

I am a certified firearms instructor who has taught CCW classes in Arizona since the beginning of the CCW program there in 1994. As we are on the border with California, I watch the developments there with some interest. Unfortunately, nearly everything that I have read and heard about the LAPD and guns has lead me to distrust them.

I had numerous students who had dealings with the LAPD. I started hearing stories about how guns were seized, even if there were no crime involved. If an officer came across a gun, it was seized, and it would not be returned until the LAPD received a court order demanding that it be returned. As hiring a lawyer to obtain a court order could easily cost thousands of dollars, very few people even tried, as the cost was far more than the firearms were worth. This is legalized theft.

The practice has finally been challenged in court, and the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the under the fourth amendment, LAPD cannot simply steal firearms that are lawfully owned. The government is appealing the decision in Messerschmidt v. Millender.

I have also heard of California police who stop someone that has a firearm in their vehicle, who may have violated one of the many arcane firearms laws of the State. If the officer is being charitable, he may allow the individual to simply give the gun to him, rather than face felony charges.

The crowning moment came for me when I was describing the practice to a class of students, and one of them said "My brother is an LAPD police officer, and he has an amazing collection of firearms. Citizens just gave them to him to dispose of."

This is the stuff of third world dictatorships.

The other practice that made me distrust the LAPD has been their scofflaw attitude toward court orders to administer the California CCW program as the law requires. They have failed to do this for 17 years, even though ordered to do so by the court. The Court order was originally obtained by a legal action won by the Second Amendment Foundation. In the intervening years two more amended judgements of declaratory relief were signed. A current appeal to enforce the court order is in the works from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

When the LAPD engages in systematic legalized theft, and refuses to follow court orders to uphold the law, when they routinely fail to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, even though they have taken an oath to do so, they have lost my trust.

Dean Weingarten

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« Reply #1015 on: February 12, 2013, 06:45:35 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgixrRZ-Avg" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgixrRZ-Avg</a>
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« Reply #1016 on: February 14, 2013, 12:30:34 PM »

'Big Sis' Reasserts Unlimited Power to Seize and Inspect Laptops
 Townhall.com ^ | February 13, 2013 | Bob Barr

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:07:55 PM by Kaslin

 President Obama did not mention it in his State of the Union address last night, and there hasn’t been much attention devoted to it in the Congress of late; but, the fundamental right to privacy Americans have a right to expect from their own government, has suffered yet another body blow.



On the surface, things seem to be in order. For example, at the beginning of February, the Federal Trade Commission released a staff report outlining consumer privacy recommendations for developers of mobile phone apps. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz called the recommendations “best practices” intended to “safeguard consumer privacy,” that would “build trust in the mobile marketplace.”



Unfortunately, the rest of the Obama Administration hasn’t gotten the message.



The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), headed by Secretary Janet (“Big Sis”) Napolitano, just reaffirmed its policy that Americans returning home from travels abroad are subject to arbitrary searches and seizures of their computers and other electronic devices.



The controversy surrounding warrantless and suspicion-less searches at the U.S. border has been brewing for years. In 2009, for example, Napolitano asserted the government’s right to inspect and detain electronics from all persons traveling into the United States, and to copy any information stored on those devices. Continuing this view, the department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties last week released its “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of the directives after originally setting a 120-day deadline back in August 2009.



As has become typical, the report contends the government can have its cake and eat it too. Confusingly, DHS concludes “current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment,” but that actually requiring federal agents to follow the Constitution would be “operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.” In other words, what government is doing is constitutional even though the cost of following the Constitution would outweigh the benefits to be realized by the citizens. Clear? As mud.



Courts have long recognized the federal government’s robust power to inspect people and goods entering the country. After all, the very foundation of national sovereignty is a nation’s ability to protect its borders. Until recently, however, this “border search” power was reasonably considered to be limited to physical searches necessary to discover illegal contraband attempted to be brought into the country; inspecting a traveler’s suitcases, for example.



The proliferation of electronic communications devices -- personal computers, iPads, Blackberries, and what not -- and the potential treasure trove of information contained in such devices, however, has pushed the government to assert the power and the right to inspect such devices and anything stored thereon, under the “border search” provision.



In Uncle Sam’s view, because evidence of potential criminal activity can be found in a laptop computer’s hard drive just as in the tourist’s suitcase following a visit to Mexico, the former enjoys no more protection against government snooping than the latter. This limitless perspective, and the vast power grab reflected in it -- based on nothing more than the fact that a person has travelled abroad and is returning to their home -- is preposterous. More important, this assertion seriously undermines the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.



The average American returning from a trip abroad likely -- and understandably -- assumes the contents of his or her electronic device does not come close to meeting the threshold of “criminal” activity, such as would give a government agent the right to seize and peruse their iPad just because they are returning from a vacation. Government agents at our borders and ports of entry, however, are undeterred by such common sense and historically-sound notions of privacy.



In Napolitano’s view, just because an iPad is being carried by an American student returning from a semester studying in London, instead of returning to New York from Los Angeles, it becomes fair game for her agents to seize, inspect, download and retain data; all without any suspicion whatsoever the device’s owner has engaged in any illegal activity.



The “exhaustive,” three-year study conducted by the Department of Homeland is as flawed as most government “reports.” Unfortunately, unlike many other such projects, this one does more than just cost American taxpayers money; it comes at a heavy price to their fundamental, God-given right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution.
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« Reply #1017 on: February 15, 2013, 07:15:34 AM »

Obama DOJ again refuses to tell a court whether CIA drone program even exists

As the nation spent the week debating the CIA assassination program, Obama lawyers exploit secrecy to shield it from all review

Glenn Greenwald

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 February 2013 08.50 EST

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The Obama DOJ again tells a court that it cannot safely confirm or deny the existence of the CIA drone program Photograph: Alamy


It is not news that the US government systematically abuses its secrecy powers to shield its actions from public scrutiny, democratic accountability, and judicial review. But sometimes that abuse is so extreme, so glaring, that it is worth taking note of, as it reveals its purported concern over national security to be a complete sham.

Such is the case with the Obama DOJ's behavior in the lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the CIA to compel a response to the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about Obama's CIA assassination program. That FOIA request seeks nothing sensitive, but rather only the most basic and benign information about the "targeted killing" program: such as "the putative legal basis for carrying out targeted killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out."

Everyone in the world knows that the CIA has a targeted killing program whereby it uses drones to bomb and shoot missiles at those it wants dead, including US citizens. This is all openly discussed in every media outlet.

Key Obama officials, including the president himself, not only make selective disclosures about this program but openly boast about its alleged successes. Leon Panetta, then the CIA Director, publicly said all the way back in 2009 when asked about the CIA drone program: "I think it does suffice to say that these operations have been very effective because they have been very precise." In 2010, Panetta, speaking to the Washington Post, hailed the CIA drone program in Pakistan as "the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in in our history". This is just a partial sample of Obama official boasts about this very program (for more, see pages 15 to 28 here).

Despite all that, the Obama DOJ from the start has refused not only to provide the requested documents about the CIA drone program, but they refuse to say whether such documents even exist. They do so by insisting that whether there even exists such a thing as a "CIA drone program" is itself classified, and therefore, they can neither admit nor deny whether they possess any of the documents sought by the FOIA request: "the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified," repeats the Obama DOJ over and over like some hypnotic Kafkaesque mantra.
 
Even in the face of the endless stream of public statements from the president on down discussing and boasting about the drone program, the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit last September meekly deferred (as usual) to the DOJ's secrecy claims and dismissed the ACLU's lawsuit. The judge, Rosemary Collyer, ruled that all of the public statements cited by the ACLU whereby Obama officials boasted of the drone program do not constitute official acknowledgment that the CIA (as opposed to some other government generally) has a drone program. The ACLU has appealed this decision.

As ludicrous as the DOJ's secrecy claims were before, they have now reached Alice in Wonderland proportions. Just last week, Obama's nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan, spent hours upon hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee praising the CIA targeted killing program and discussing the oversight he would make available for that program as CIA director. Then, GOP House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers went on Face the Nation and did the same; when asked if "the administration has been straight with Congress in sharing information on what the rules are about using" drones, Rep. Rogers replied: "Monthly, I have my committee go to the CIA to review them. I as chairman review every single air strike that we use in the war on terror, both from the civilian and the military side when it comes to terrorist strikes."

Clearer and more definitive acknowledgment by the US government that the CIA has a drone program is impossible to imagine. As a result, late last week, the ACLU wrote a letter to the appellate court where its case is now pending to notify the court of these new public acknowledgments. Specifically, as the ACLU put it, Brennan and the Committee members "extensively discussed various aspects of the CIA's targeted-killing program, including the 'role' of the 'CIA director in [the]
approval process' for targeted killings abroad". Moreover, Rogers openly "discusse[d] his committee's 'monthly' oversight of the CIA's targeted-killing program." Now, there is simply no way to deny in good faith that the US government has publicly and officially acknowledged the CIA drone program.

But good faith is no impediment to the Obama DOJ when it comes to its abuse of secrecy powers. This morning, the DOJ sent a letter to the court replying to the ACLU. Ever after the events of last week, they have the audacity to claim that even the question of whether there is a CIA drone program must still be concealed. The DOJ argues - completely falsely - that the ACLU "identif[ies] no statement in which Mr. Brennan allegedly confirms purported CIA involvement in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for 'targeted killing'", but merely cite "general discussions of 'targeted killing' that do not address the involvement of any particular agency". They dismiss the admissions of Chairman Rogers on the ground that "statements made by members of Congress do not constitute official disclosure by an Executive Branch agency."

Just think about that: Obama and his aides routinely boast about the drone program to make the president look like daddy-protector tough guy. Someone in the administration just disclosed last week to NBC News a "white paper" sent by the Obama DOJ to Congress purporting to legally justify the CIA assassination program. Everyone knows and is now debating whether the CIA should be doing this.

But what is missing from the debate is the most basic information about what the CIA does and even their claimed legal justification for doing it. The Obama administration still refuses to publicly disclose the OLC memo that purported to authorize it (they agreed two weeks ago to make it available only to certain members of Congress without staff present, thus still maintaining "secret law"). They conceal all of this - and thus prevent basic democratic accountability - based on the indescribably cynical and inane pretense that they cannot even confirm or deny the existence of the CIA program without seriously jeopardizing national security.

This is a complete perversion of their secrecy powers. Even among the DC cliques that exist to defend US government behavior, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to defend what is being done here. The Obama administration runs around telling journalists how great and precise and devastating the CIA's assassination program is, then tells courts that no disclosure is permissible because they cannot safely confirm in court that the program even exists.

Such flagrant abuse of secrecy power is at once Orwellian and tyrannical. It has the effect of blocking even the most minimal transparency on the most consequential question: the government's claimed authority to execute anyone it wants without charges, far from a battlefield, in total secrecy. It yet again demonstrates that excessive government secrecy is an infinitely greater threat than unauthorized disclosures. This is why we need radical transparency projects and aggressive whistle-blowers. And it's why nobody should respect the secrecy claims of the Obama administration or believe the assertions they make about national security. What else do they need to do to prove how untrustworthy those claims are?

Use on US soil

Last week, Esquire's Charles Pierce noted that Brennan, at his confirmation hearing, refused to say whether the US government has the power to target US citizens for execution without charges even on US soil. Yesterday, GOP Sen. Rand Paul - who used his State of the Union response to denounce "secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial" - said that he would block Brennan's confirmation "until Brennan declares whether he believes the United States has the authority to use unmanned drones to conduct targeting killings of Americans — in the United States."

To understand just how radical the Obama administration is when it comes to secrecy, just think about the fact that it refuses to answer even that question.
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« Reply #1018 on: February 18, 2013, 10:57:13 AM »

DHS Advances Plan For “Public Safety” Drones



http://www.infowars.com/dhs-advances-plan-for-public-safety-drones



More incarnations of spy technology to undergo testing
 
Paul Joseph Watson
 Infowars.com
February 18, 2013
 
The Department of Homeland Security is advancing its plan to use surveillance drones for “public safety” applications, announcing last week that it had received a deluge of “excellent” responses from potential vendors and was set to carry out more tests of the technology.
 

New testing of spy drones for “public safety” applications has been rubber stamped by the DHS. Image: YouTube
 
As we first reported in July last year, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told a House Committee on Homeland Security that the federal agency was “looking at drones that could be utilized to give us situational awareness in a large public safety [matter] or disaster,” despite the fact that the agency had previously indicated it was reticent to use spy drones to keep tabs on the public.
 
This was followed by a “market research” announcement in September that confirmed the DHS was exploring a “Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety” (RAPS) project, and was asking small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) vendors to take part.
 
In an update posted on the FedBizOpps website last week (PDF), the federal agency announced that, “Vendor response to our Request for Information (RFI), Number: DHS 13-01, on small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) was excellent and included the submission of over 70 white papers.”
 
The announcement added that a small number of the submissions would now be participating in the “first phase of assessments” for the technology in 2013 and 2014. The DHS refuses to specify which proposals were accepted and for what reasons.
 
Initial testing of robotic spy drones for “public safety” applications was conducted by the DHS’ Science and Technology directorate at Fort Sill, Oklahoma last year.
 
As Wired Magazine reported, the DHS is pursuing lightweight spy drones that can fly for two hours at a time, but it is also interested in military-style drones fitted with cameras that can spy on up to four square miles at a time.
 
As we reported last week, the ARGUS-IS surveillance camera system, developed by BAE Systems in conjunction with DARPA, has the capability to track every moving object across an area of 15 square miles, or a medium-sized city – and could be fitted to unmanned drones that can stay airborne for years at a time.
 
The DHS is already using another type of airborne drone surveillance, also utilized to track insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.
 
Experts predict that there will be 30,000 surveillance drones in American skies by 2020 following a bill passed last year by Congress that permits the use of unmanned aerial spy vehicles on domestic soil.
 
Last week, a Federal Aviation Administration official told a conference in Northern Virginia that unmanned surveillance drones deployed in US airspace would not be armed with missiles.
 
*********************
 
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.
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« Reply #1019 on: February 18, 2013, 12:19:43 PM »

The death of a man with Down syndrome who was reportedly killed after laying face-down in police custody has been ruled a homicide.

Via HP

 

WJLA reports that Robert Saylor, 26, of New Market, Md., was asphyxiated on Jan. 12, according to a medical examiner's ruling late last week.

A "law enforcement source familiar with the case" told the station that Saylor "went into distress when he was put face down on the ground."

Police were reportedly called to a Frederick movie theater by employees who couldn't get Saylor to leave. He had come to the theater with a health aide, paid admission for "Zero Dark Thirty," but allegedly remained after it was over.

Dr. George Kirkham, a criminologist and former law enforcement officer, told the Frederick News Post that Saylor's death may have been caused by positional asphyxia.

From the Post:

Positional asphyxia is typically the result of an intense struggle and often involves a person who is handcuffed and lying on their stomach after the struggle. Kirkham said people often panic and can't catch their breath. People with larger stomachs are particularly vulnerable, he said, because their bellies will push into their sternums, making breathing even more difficult.
 
Baltimore County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jennifer Bailey said the case is still under investigation and that the three officers involved in Saylor's death -- Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris -- "continue to work their normal assignments," according to the Post.

Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said his office is reviewing the incident and has not decided whether to bring charges.

WJLA previously spoke with Saylor's mom after the incident.

"He just loved unconditionally everybody," Patti Saylor said. "He has never had anyone put their hands on him in his life. He would not have been doing anything threatening to anybody."

Police officers nationwide often lack appropriate training for dealing with suspects who are mentally ill, according to an investigation by the Portland Press Herald.

In Maine alone, the investigation found that "42 percent of people shot by police since 2000 -- and 58 percent of those who died from their injuries -- had mental health problems."

Even the well-funded New York Police Department has reportedly resisted implementing "the best practices for police interactions with the mentally ill," according to a Village Voice feature published last August
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« Reply #1020 on: February 18, 2013, 12:52:31 PM »

Originally published February 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM | Page modified February 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM


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Misstep in gun bill could defeat the effort

One of the major gun-control efforts in Olympia this session calls for the sheriff to inspect the homes of assault-weapon owners. The bill’s backers say that was a mistake.






By Danny Westneat

Seattle Times staff columnist



Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?
 
As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn’t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia.
 
That it’s part of one of the major gun-control efforts pains me. It seemed in recent weeks lawmakers might be headed toward some common-sense regulation of gun sales. But then last week they went too far. By mistake, they claim. But still too far.

“They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”
 
That’s no gun-rights absolutist talking, but Lance Palmer, a Seattle trial lawyer and self-described liberal who brought the troubling Senate Bill 5737 to my attention. It’s the long-awaited assault-weapons ban, introduced last week by three Seattle Democrats.

Responding to the Newtown school massacre, the bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable ammunition magazines. Clips that contain more than 10 rounds would be illegal.
 
But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:
 
“In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall ... safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.”
 
In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail.

“I’m a liberal Democrat — I’ve voted for only one Republican in my life,” Palmer told me. “But now I understand why my right-wing opponents worry about having to fight a government takeover.”
 
He added: “It’s exactly this sort of thing that drives people into the arms of the NRA.”
 
I have been blasting the NRA for its paranoia in the gun-control debate. But Palmer is right — you can’t fully blame them, when cops going door-to-door shows up in legislation.

I spoke to two of the sponsors. One, Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, a lawyer who typically is hyper-attuned to civil-liberties issues, said he did not know the bill authorized police searches because he had not read it closely before signing on.
 
“I made a mistake,” Kline said. “I frankly should have vetted this more closely.”

That lawmakers sponsor bills they haven’t read is common. Still, it’s disappointing on one of this political magnitude. Not counting a long table, it’s only an eight-page bill.
 
The prime sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, also condemned the search provision in his own bill, after I asked him about it. He said Palmer is right that it’s probably unconstitutional.

“I have to admit that shouldn’t be in there,” Murray said.
 
He said he came to realize that an assault-weapons ban has little chance of passing this year anyway. So he put in this bill more as “a general statement, as a guiding light of where we need to go.” Without sweating all the details.
 
Later, a Senate Democratic spokesman blamed unnamed staff and said a new bill will be introduced.

Murray had alluded at a gun-control rally in January that progress on guns could take years.
 
“We will only win if we reach out and continue to change the hearts and minds of Washingtonians,” Murray said. “We can attack them, or start a dialogue.”
 
Good plan, very bad start. What’s worse, the case for the perfectly reasonable gun-control bills in Olympia just got tougher.

Danny Westneat’s column appears Wednesday and Sunday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or dwestneat@seattletimes.com

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Using Surveillance for Political Subversion(?)


« Reply #1021 on: February 18, 2013, 01:08:52 PM »

WJLA previously spoke with Saylor's mom after the incident.

"He just loved unconditionally everybody," Patti Saylor said. "He has never had anyone put their hands on him in his life. He would not have been doing anything threatening to anybody."


I believe her.
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« Reply #1022 on: February 18, 2013, 07:52:33 PM »

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/pittsburgh-leaders-seek-grant-buy-hovercraft/nWRRf

Unreal 
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« Reply #1023 on: February 19, 2013, 01:52:09 PM »


Emergency services (like police and fire departments) are a legitimate function of government. They frequently provide rescue services. If this hovercraft can help, why shouldn't they have it?
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« Reply #1024 on: February 19, 2013, 01:54:34 PM »

Emergency services (like police and fire departments) are a legitimate function of government. They frequently provide rescue services. If this hovercraft can help, why shouldn't they have it?

In Pittsburgh they need hovercrafts? 
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