- 5/20, The Associated Press, Fox News, AP president calls on Obama to ‘rein in’ DOJ probe into wire service’s records
- 5/19, Steve Holland, Reuters, Obama to discuss al Qaeda, drones, Guantanamo Bay in Thursday speech
- 5/19, Editorial Board, New York Times, Eavesdropping on Internet Communications
- 5/19, Dominic Rushe, Business Insider, AP: Sources Aren’t Talking To Us Out Of Fear The US Government Will Spy On Them
- 5/18, Miranda Green, Daily Beast, When Drones Come to America, What Happens Then?
- 5/17, Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times, The Forever War
Posts Tagged ‘drones’
- 5/16, David Kravets, Wired, Cops Should Get Warrants to Read Your E-Mail, Attorney General Says
- 5/15, Daniel Klaidman, The Daily Beast, How GITMO Imprisoned Obama
- 5/15, Glenn Greenwald, Guardian (UK), The major sea change in media discussions of Obama and civil liberties
- 5/15, Sahar Aziz, CNN, Muslims to Tea Party: Welcome to our world
- 5/15, Editorial Board, New York Times, After Attacking The A.P., a Peace Offering
- 5/15, Charlie Savage, New York Times, Criticized on Seizure of Records, White House Pushes News Media Shield Law
- 5/13, Gar Smith, Berkeley (CA) Daily Planet, Drones or No Drones? The Debate Drones On
- 5/13, David Kravets, Wired, Feds Won’t Say if NSA Surveilled New York Terror Suspects
- 5/13, Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, Under sweeping subpoenas, Justice Department obtained AP phone records in leak investigation
- 5/13, Matt Williams, Raw Story, Guantánamo hunger strikers subjected to harsh new method of force feeding
- 5/13, The Associated Press, New York Times, U.S. Secretly Obtains Two Months of A.P. Phone Records
- 5/13, Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic, So This Is How It Begins: Guy Refuses to Stop Drone-Spying on Seattle Woman
- 5/10, Kelley Vlahos, The American Conservative, VA Whistleblower Ignites Firestorm Over Vets’ Illnesses
As critical issues eluded corporate media over the past month, BORDC staff continued to open dialogue on developments concerning civil liberties. Recent themes include the Obama Administration’s inaction towards realizing rights-based campaign promises, and the erosion of law in a national security state.
On Wednesday, April 24, Communications Specialist Samantha Peetros appeared on Bread and Roses to discuss the local lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombings. Examining the friction between knowledge of one’s rights and genuine safety concerns, Samantha explains:
it was an overwhelming experience to see…the National Guard….. At the same time there is that sense of comfort, and it’s hard to deal with those conflicting thoughts. But I’m also very aware of what this could mean for civil liberties…”
Samantha also raised questions regarding possible outcomes if the public chose not to cooperate with state and federal agents during the Boston lockdown.
On Monday, May 6, Legal Fellow Michael Figura appeared on Connecticut’s Counterpoint Radio to discuss the ongoing hunger strike in the Guantánamo Bay. Michael explains the dire situation facing many unjustly and indefinitely detained men at the detention camp:
Over half of them have been cleared for release by the United States Government…yet they’re still held there. Many of these men have been held there 10-11 years now.
This austere, peaceful protest staged by over one-hundred men, which has prompted further human rights violations by our government, draws greater scrutiny to the globally infamous injustices inside Guantánamo Bay. However, while the Obama Administration chants its chorus of closure, an end to Guantánamo remains unseen.
Also on May 6, Executive Director Shahid Buttar appeared on the NextNewsNetwork to discuss the Obama Administration’s policies including extrajudicial assassination of US citizens and dragnet surveillance. Shahid follows this commentary with a compelling discussion of the consistent evasion of judicial review by presidents from both political parties, and Congress’ abdication of its constitutional responsibilities. He suggests (at 11:15) that the rule of law no longer exists in the United States, before observing a disturbing double standard between mass incarceration for minor crimes, and the continuing prestige — and public paychecks — for war criminals such as John Yoo and federal appellate judge Jay Bybee.
Stay with us for the latest BORDC press hits and coverage of issues that impact the liberties and lives of all Americans.
For a comprehensive view of BORDC’s latest news coverage, and to find out how to reach staff for comment, and more, view our online press resources.
- 5/12, Richard Parker, New York Times, Pilotless Planes, Pacific Tensions
- 5/10, Marjorie Cohn, Huffington Post, Death is Preferable to Life at Obama’s Guantanamo
- 5/10, Jack Cloonan, The Hill, It’s time for the truth on ‘enhanced interrogation’
- 5/10, David Kravetz, Wired, Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform
- 5/8, VOAvideo, Voice of America News, Guantanamo Prison Hunger Strike Grows
On May Day, the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission (PJC) and the Berkeley Police Review Commission (PRC) held a town hall on the issue of drones in Berkeley, which is part of Alameda County. County Sheriff Greg Ahern’s plans to purchase a drone, made public in fall of last year, spurred activists to push for a public hearing in February. The hearing was packed with residents of the county who were vocally opposed to the purchase. Without a clear policy, Sheriff Ahern would potentially be able to lend his drone to the Berkeley Police Department and other cities. He would also be able to fly his drone into Berkeley if he were in pursuit of a suspect.
In December of last year, the City Council started discussing a potential drone policy for the City of Berkeley. While the PJC recommended that Berkeley be a no-drone zone, some of the city council members were convinced that an all out ban was not ideal. They felt that drones could be used for “natural disasters, to locate missing persons or assist in crime investigations.” After voting down the PJC’s proposal, the council directed the PJC, along with the PRC and the Disaster and Fire Safety Commission to work together to make a recommendation.
The May 1st town hall featured overviews of the legal concerns drones raise from attorney Linda Lye of the ACLU of Northern California, who made it clear why drones are “qualitatively different” from other forms of aerial surveillance. Jennifer Urban, Professor and Co-Director at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley, explained that courts are much slower than technological change, meaning that Fourth Amendment jurisprudence can lag years behind the widespread implementation of technology like drones. The upshot of her analysis? Community action and legislative fixes are the necessary response.
Parker Higgins, privacy activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF) emphasized the technical aspects of drones and how they affect privacy, and Neil Satterlund of Alameda County Against Drones (ACAD) emphasized concerns around mission creep, meaning hat drones would inevitably be used for purposes far beyond what they were originally approved for.
One of the most powerful voices at the hearing was that of Andrea Pritchett of Berkeley Copwatch. She succintly explained why a no-drones zone was the best solution. Reflecting on Copwatch’s documentation of existing abuses of police power in Berkeley, Andrea stated that regulations on the use of drones such as those suggested by the ACLU would be:
wonderful in a climate with effective police accountability. In the absence of a way to control the police, even the best guidelines, restrictions, suggestions, are not really gonna have an impact.
The ramifications of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, will be felt in our city and throughout the country for years to come as seen with past acts of terror in the US. BORDC aims to educate people about the significance of our rights and to convert concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a commitment to civil liberties in the wake of tragedy.
The events of the Boston Bombing have the potential to make all of us less secure in our rights. The called-for increases in police profiling, the police’s expanding powers, and their further militarization all have ramifications that reach much further than securing a marathon or a plane. Boston—and the rest of the country—is confronted with one question to answer: what will the impact of the envisioned police powers be on members of all communities that call this city home?
At BORDC, we work with community organizations to identify and reach out to local allies in ways that build cross-issue, cross-community, and even cross-city movements to restore our civil rights. As part of this strategy, we aid groups in developing their organizing plan and offer model ordinances as a starting point, which groups can then adapt to local circumstances. This approach has seen remarkable success in over a dozen cities/counties including Alameda County, CA.
Last month, BORDC released ground-breaking model legislation prohibiting or curtailing the use of drones. In one of its versions, the ordinance would declare the local airspace above a town or city to be a drone-free zone in which drone use is completely illegal. In its other incarnation, it would provide for the organizers’ choice of a non-police use exception, a warrant exception, and a private use exception. As calls for increased aerial surveillance mount, such an ordinance will be critical in ensuring that we don’t cede our privacy to the skies.
5/8, Laurie Jo Reynolds and Stephen F. Eisenman , Creative Time Reports, TruthOut, Tamms Is Torture: The Campaign to Close an Illinois Supermax Prison
5/8, Scott Thistle, Bangor (ME) Daily News, Bill to allow police to use drones without search warrant heads to Maine Senate
5/7, Erin Durkin, Daily News (NY), On Muslim Surveillance, Bloomberg Questions Mayoral Candidates’ Intelligence
5/7, Charlie Savage, New York Times, U.S. Weighs Wide Overhaul of Wiretap Laws
5/7, Staff, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, After Boston, Little Change in Views of Islam and Violence
5/6, John Knefel, Rolling Stone Magazine, Everything You’ve Been Told About Radicalization Is Wrong
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened to the public this week, a great unveiling that has reignited the debate about the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques” (read: torture). One of the most controversial elements of the new museum is a video narrated by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. The video explains that President Bush asked two “very important” questions in his decision to use torture in the post-9/11 “War on Terror”: was it legal? And was it necessary? When allegedly answered “yes” to both of these questions, President Bush proceeded in making detention and torture an instrumental part of his administration’s work.
The real surprise of the video, though, is in Rice’s suggestion that the United States was spared further terrorist attacks because of Bush’s detention and torture policies. Rice argues that, “The fact that we have not had a successful attack on our territory traces directly to those difficult decisions in a new kind of war after September 11th.” This is a dangerous allegation to make, and it underscores the need for our government to reconsider the effectiveness of detention and torture, a fight of which Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has been at the forefront.
Udall correctly commented that the video in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum “could potentially leave thousands of visitors to the library with the false impression that this wrongheaded program prevented terrorist attacks here in the United States.” Udall seeks to correct the record on the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program and to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence more than 6,000 page report on that program.
Understanding the effectiveness of Bush’s detention and interrogation programs is particularly crucial as the U.S. now faces a new moral dilemma posed by the Obama administration’s drone programs and the new executive power to legally authorize the targeted killing of American citizens. To move forward without rectifying past misuses of executive power would likely make any hope of future executive accountability unattainable. In order to hold the Obama administration to a higher humanitarian standard and reject the executive power to assassinate American citizens, we must demand truth and accountability from past administrations as well. It is for this reason that Udall’s push to correct the record on the post-9/11 detention and interrogation programs and declassify the 6,000 plus page report is so crucial. You can support Senator Udall’s fight by signing BORDC’s petition to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.
- 5/6, Steve Coll, The New Yorker, Remote Control
- 5/1, Amy Davidson, The New Yorker, A Hundred Hungry Men at Guantánamo
- 5/1, CBS News Poll, New York Times, Americans on Terrorism Threats
- 5/1, Cornelius Chapman, Boston Herald, Double standard on Patriot Act
- 4/30, Jason Koebler, U.S. News and World Report, Domestic Drone Arrest Database Being Built by Defense Lawyers Group
- 4/30, Robert Beckhusen, Wired, No One Wants the Pentagon’s Gigantic Hydrogen-Powered Drone
- 4/30, Amitai Etzioni, The Atlantic, Everything Libertarians and Liberals Get Wrong About Drones