- 6/18, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, A Medical Ethics-free Zone? Guantánamo Doctors Urged to Stop Force-Feeding Hunger-Striking Prisoners
- 6/17, Wendy Kaminer, The Atlantic, Don’t Want Corporations to Have Rights? Then the ACLU Suit Is Dead
- 6/17, Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald, FOIA suit reveals Guantánamo’s ‘indefinite detainees’
- 6/17, Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Fine Print: In digital world, oversight of intelligence gathering is key
- 6/17, Editor, Fox News, NSA chief Alexander to testify on classified leaks in rare public hearing
- 6/17, Dominic Rushe and Stuart Dredge, Guardian (UK), Apple follows Facebook’s lead and reveals US surveillance requests
- 6/17, Reid Cherlin, GQ, Obama’s Drone-Master
This guest blog post was written by Imad Khan.
On June 14, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed HB 912 into law, putting restrictions on the use of drones by law enforcement officials. This is a historic moment, especially in the wake of leaks from the NSA’s wiretapping schemes, confirming that Texas will not allow dragnet surveillance abuses by law enforcement agencies within the state’s jurisdiction.
It’s quite impressive that this bill came into law considering how powerfully its opposition challenged the measure’s sponsors and supporters. It took the cooperation of multiple parties to push this through, and Texas should be seen as a model for the rest of the country in regards to drones.
With the onset of the PATRIOT Act, it became apparent that technology could be used to violate civil liberties in the name of security. Many have scrutinized the PATRIOT Act, and later measures, for giving the executive branch overarching power without any congressional oversight. Legislatures across the country are trying to address the growing sources of civil liberties abuses by presenting bills that ensure some semblance of protection from arbitrary surveillance. Texas Representative Lance Gooden has done just that.
- 6/16, Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, State photo-ID databases become troves for police
- 6/16, The Associated Press, New York Times, Obama Chooses Lawyer as Guantanamo Closure Envoy
- 6/15, Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times, Edward Snowden’s not the first to make claims about NSA
- 6/15, Carrie Johnson, NPR, Source: Obama Considering Releasing NSA Court Order
- 6/15, Paige Lavender, Huffington Post, Senators Skip NSA Briefing: Only 47 Meet With Top Officials On Surveillance
- 6/14, Glenn Greenwald, Guardian (UK), Edward Snowden’s worst fear has not been realised – thankfully
- 6/14, Timothy R. Homan, Business Week, U.S. House Passes Defense Bill Authorizing $638 Billion Spending
- 6/14, Adam Serwer, MSNBC, Patriot Act architect cries foul on NSA program, but skipped briefings
- 6/14, Glenn Greenwald, Guardian (UK), On Prism, partisanship and propaganda
Our intrepid colleagues at the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a fantastic timeline depicting the history of NSA spying on Americans. Study this infographic for more detail about the NSA’s history, as well as the history of legal challenges to the warrantless domestic surveillance that continues to make a mockery of our Constitution and the Fourth Amendment.
Alongside legal challenges, grassroots resistance to secret NSA spying is also growing. Below is video from a grassroots press conference & rally on Capitol Hill last Friday, June 14, featuring BORDC’s Shahid Buttar (at 1:17).
Groups co-sponsoring the rally included BORDC, the Defending Dissent Foundation, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, Washington Peace Center, Electronic Privacy Information Center, ACLU-National Capital Region, Jericho Movement, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) MD, Institute for Policy Studies, CodePink, Demand Progress, School of the Americas Watch, and Restore the Fourth. Video from the rest of the rally is also posted online, courtesy of the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition.
And we’ll be back again on July 4, with a grassroots action in Lafayette Park initiated by Restore the Fourth. Stay tuned for details….
In the meantime, be sure to explore BORDC’s resources for local grassroots coalitions, including the Civil Rights Restoration Campaign (which includes measures to restrict spying by local police departments through Suspicious Activity Reports, fusion centers, and Joint Terrorism Task Forces) and our more recently developed model legislation to restrict the use of domestic surveillance drones. You need not wait for Congress — take these issues to your local Council!
This past week, CNN featured an article written by Mieke Eoyang (director of the National Security Program at Third Way) and Christopher Preble (vice president for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute), considering President Obama’s recent speech on counter-terrorism issues at the National Defense University.
Among other things, President Obama’s speech examined whether the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) should be left intact, or whether instead our national security would benefit from scaling it back. Obama argued that the US must tailor its method of fighting terrorism to better fit “the nature of today’s threats.”
He continued by saying, “Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.” Obama did not specifically mention a clean repeal of the AUMF, but that is the strategy that Eoyang & Preble advocate as being the most effective. Repealing the AUMF would help to scale back the very broad executive power that has characterized the office of the presidency since 2001.
This guest blog post was written by Joshua Wilson.
It’s a good thing that the president, Congress, and our broader society have disregarded the legacy of the Anti-Federalists and created a system that perfectly abides the interests of tyrants.
Ed Snowden’s exposure of the PRISM program has started a series of questions that has already challenged the current legacy of government lies and complicity in them. Yet, rather than do their jobs, American media outlets seem content to join the Fourth Amendment’s death throws by calling into question the character of NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden, while avoiding the real issue of NSA crimes such as the PRISM program and further dragnet surveillance under the PATRIOT and FISA Acts.
I know Ed Snowden personally. We met at my Kung Fu school, which presents all who join us as members of an extended family. Ed was my Si Hing, or older brother. He was responsible to help me learn martial arts, but he truly lived up to his role as an older brother.
- 6/13, David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers, Congress grills NSA chief Keith Alexander about spying
- 6/12, Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Rand Paul might not understand his own policies
- 6/12, Dina Temple-Raston, NPR, After Obama’s Speech, Guantanamo Shows Few Signs Of Closing
- 6/12, Elias Groll, Foreign Policy, Arrest Glenn Greenwald — and 5 other crazy things Peter King says
- 6/12, Brian Fung, National Journal, All the National Security Letters Ever Approved Since the Patriot Act
- 6/12, Elspeth Reeve, The Atlantic, The NSA’s PR Offensive Is Not Going Well
- 6/12, Eyder Peralta, NPR, Three Exchanges You Should Listen To About NSA Surveillance
This Tuesday, BORDC Legal Fellow Nadia Kayyali joined renowned whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdottír on a panel in the Bay Area moderated by lawyer Bob Jaffe, who is representing the plaintiffs in the Hedges v Obama litigation challenging the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. The discussion drew hundreds of attendees, as well as prominent media outlets.
Jónsdottír, who is affiliated with Wikileaks and serves in Iceland’s Parliament, praised NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is reportedly seeking asylum from the latest investigation extending the Obama administration’s crackdown on the press. She promised to help Snowden, but also encouraged him to consider countries other than Iceland, which she said is less receptive to asylees than some other countries.
Despite her presence speaking among luminaries, Ars Technica credited:
Kayyali [with] the most salient point of the night, noting that local activists are the best positioned to lobby for changes to local policies and statutes. She said that thanks to the efforts of “five to six people,” the city of Berkeley has become unique in changing how it shares information with so-called “fusion centers”—federally run nexuses of law enforcement data that receive information from local and state agencies….
“The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley got the Berkeley Police Department to change the policy [of sharing such information with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center] to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. This is the only community in the country that has that standard.”
BORDC’s Local Civil Rights Restoration Campaign can offer your community an opportunity to shift the debate. If you’d like help, guidance, training, materials, or a small grant to enable your efforts, contact us at organizing[at]bordc[dot]org.
- 6/13, Steven Rosenfeld, Salon, 10 ways we wildly underestimate our surveillance state
- 6/12, Aaron Sankin, Huffington Post, Daniel Ellsberg On NSA Spying: ‘We’re A Turnkey Away From A Police State’
- 6/12, Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times, Are We Still at War?
- 6/12, Matt Sledge, Huffington Post, FISC Will Not Block Release Of Secret Ruling On Unconstitutional Surveillance
- 6/12, Jane Sutton, Reuters, Military doctors urged to refuse force-feeding at Guantanamo
- 6/11, Editor, ABC 7 (CA), Daniel Ellsberg praises Edward Snowden
In a court ruling on May 20, in San Francisco, CA, Google was ordered to comply with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) requests for private user information through the use of National Security Letters, a counter-terrorism measure implemented after the passing of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Judge Susan Illston, who ultimately decided against Google’s contention that the FBI’s probing was unconstitutional, ruled against the letters in a case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in March–citing the letters as unconstitutional.
The new ruling comes at the heels of Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, releasing a manifesto titled The New Digital Age. Schmidt & Cohen touch on the importance technology has, and will have, on future developments in trading and politics, suggesting that the deterioration of privacy will help “open” democratic governments understand their constituents while arguing that “companies responsible for storing this data have a responsibility to ensure its security, and that will not change.”
They also reflect their views on the “importance of a guiding hand in the new digital age.” Cohen and Schmidt go on to say: