Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Civil liberties advocates and government whistleblowers call for immediate resignation of CIA Director John Brennan

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm by

Civil liberties advocates, prominent government whistleblowers and human rights activists have joined with Senator Mark Udall’s (D-CO) call for the immediate resignation of CIA Director John Brennan in light of CIA spying on Senate Intelligence Committee computers.

A few months ago, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) rocked Washington by challenging the CIA for illegally spying on Congress and stealing documents, in a speech described by Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as the most significant he had seen among thousands in his 40 year career in the Senate.

CIA Director John Brennan vehemently denied those allegations at the time, but this week’s news makes clear that the CIA did in fact obstruct justice in its ongoing effort to evade accountability for its torture crimes. While President Obama has reiterated his support for Brennan despite the CIA’s continuing crimes under his leadership, members of Congress including Senator Udall (D-CO) have appropriately called for his removal.

According to Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee,

“It’s bad enough that the CIA got away with torture undermining US national security, as well as its destruction of videotape evidence, without ever facing the mandatory prosecution required by law. Spying on the Senate committee investigating the Agency’s torture crimes adds insult to injury, mocks the separation of powers, and represents yet another example of the CIA’s obstruction of justice. Brennan should either resign or be forcibly removed by Congress. The Agency has undermined US national security for long enough, and should not be allowed to violate the law yet again with impunity. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.”

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Secrecy, government watchlists, and due process: why you should care

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am by

The Intercept recently obtained the “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, which, among other things, reveals that American citizens can be placed on the government’s main terrorism database, as well as the no-fly list and selectee list, based on “reasonable suspicion.” The report was developed by 19 government agencies, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI, and offers a mere glimpse inside the overly broad and unnecessary surveillance practices of the American government.

FISA

In early July, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act enabled the monitoring of over 7,000 email addresses, many of whom belonging to American citizens that have led highly publicized, exemplary lives and have never before been suspected of terrorist activity. Because the FISC operates in complete secrecy—only the Justice Department and the FBI are permitted to attend its proceedings on domestic surveillance—it is impossible to assess how the court applies the standard of ‘probable cause’ in cases of suspected terrorism or espionage. But its rulings are notoriously one-sided: In its 35-year history, the court has approved 35,434 government requests for surveillance, while rejecting only 12.

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Restore the Fourth works to strengthen the USA FREEDOM Act

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 9:00 am by

Restore the Fourth’s Chicago chapter rang in July in a lively fashion. After the House of Representatives watering down the proposed USA FREEDOM Act to resemble “little more than a Trojan horse” languishing in congressional purgatory, privacy advocates reached out to US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to invite him to strengthen the bill’s incarnation in the Senate.

In an email correspondence, organizer John Bumstead said his organization has engaged both Durbin’s office and the media. The group’s efforts focus on eliminating from the proposed legislation its measure extending for an additional two years beyond its present 2015 expiration date the sunset for Section 215 powers  under the Patriot Act.

Restore_the_Fourth_Logo

RT4 Chicago is planning a weekly flyering/postcard campaign in support of a Patriot Act Section 215 sunset pledge, which would formally usher the controversial law out of existence by adhering to the 2015 expiration date. Bumstead says the campaign’s rationale lies in the relative ease of convincing legislators to not vote for something to continue as opposed to sticking their necks out in support of something. He adds the campaign may also switch gears as necessary to focus on other topics, such as killing the USA FREEDOM Act if his group is dissatisfied with the resulting bill.

Chicago residents moved by RT4’s work attended a public meeting on July 3 at Chicago’s CivicLab and are organizing an RT4-wide event in honor of Orwell Day on August 4.

California Senate challenges NSA spying

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:39 am by

On Monday, May 19 the California Senate took a decisive 29-to-1 vote in favor of SB 828, the Fourth Amendment Protection Act.

If signed into law as written, the Act will prevent the State of California from co-operating with federal agencies engaged in warrantless bulk data collection. SB 828 is the product of the OffNow coalition effort led by BORDC and the Tenth Amendment Center, in partnership with Media Alliance and several other California-based and national grassroots groups.

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Privacy rights in the judiciary’s court

Monday, May 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm by

iphone-unlock-cellphone-privacySince revelations of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance broke, there has been much speculation as to what privacy protections mean in this new digital age. Thus far, the United States Supreme Court has been able to avoid this controversial issue, but a series of conflicting lower court decisions have forced their hand. As of May 2014, the Court is reviewing two cases that both question the application of the Fourth Amendment to a digital device Americans hold near and dear to their hearts: their cell phones.

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Will Obama protect the CIA, as he has the NSA? (Part I)

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm by
(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to seek the declassification of less than 10% of its 6,000 page report documenting CIA torture crimes vastly beyond those previously acknowledged. The vote could be the most significant accountability moment for our nation’s intelligence agencies in the last 40 years.

But don’t hold your breath. The decision over declassification now goes to the White House, where despite his rhetorical support for transparency, the President has repeatedly aligned himself with the intelligence agencies despite documented crimes and bipartisan congressional opposition.
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Snowden calls on tech community to join the fight against mass surveillance

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm by

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.02.43 PM

Edward Snowden, the man who initiated the debate on mass surveillance and the National Security Agency (NSA), further added to this critical dialogue on March 10 at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival. Through a video conference, Snowden spoke with two technology experts from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the role that the technology community has in the fight against the NSA.

Held in Austin, Texas, the Festival brought together the digital-oriented and Snowden, joined by Christopher Sogholan and Ben Wizner, argued that this tech community might be the most effective protection we have from mass surveillance.

“SXSW and the technology community are the folks who can really fix our rights, even if Congress hasn’t yet gotten to technical legislation,” said Snowden. “The NSA is setting fire to the future of the Internet and the people in this room now, you’re the fire fighters. We need you to fix this.”
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BORDC Legal Fellow Matthew Kellegrew appeared on RT America to talk NSA reform

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 8:03 am by

BORDC Legal Fellow Matthew Kellegrew made an appearance on RT America following the President’s speech on the need to reform the National Security Agency (NSA). Among the many topics discussed, Matthew commented on the absence of meaningful change offered in the President’s address:
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Washington State next in line to take on unconstitutional federal surveillance

Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm by

Washington-state

Yesterday, January 15th, a bi-partisan group of elected officials in Washington State introduced legislation that would restrict the state from providing material support to federal agencies engaging in warrantless, bulk meta-data collection. House Bill 2272 is based on model legislation put forward by the OffNow coalition led by BORDC and the Tenth Amendment Center.

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California bill to make life hard for the NSA

Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 11:14 am by

On Wednesday January 9 BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar was featured on RT news.

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