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Civil Rights / Liberties


In Obamaland, ‘Rule of Law’ is for the Other Suckers: US (and French) Courts Have Ruled Head-of-State Immunity is Absolute

By Dave Lindorff


It is clear that the entrapment and forced landing in Austria of the official airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was the work of the US, which was obviously behind the decision by France and Portugal to deny air rights to the flight, and which also was obviously behind the Austrian government’s demand to be allowed to search the jet after it landed. After all, those countries have no interest themselves in capturing US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is only Obama’s and the NSA’s quarry. 


The Fourth of July

On this, the anniversary of the  U.S.’s independence from Great Britain, some observations:

A Noir America: Killers and Roller-Coaster Rides

By John Grant


We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."

Germans Remember Das Leben des Anderen

Gauging Sympathy for Snowden

July 3, 2013

Editor Note: As the U.S. media turns on NSA leaker Edward Snowden – and as many Americans say they’re happy to trade some privacy for more security – samples of public opinion abroad are more sympathetic. An online poll by a major German daily reflects that sentiment, writes ex-Danish intelligence analyst Frank S. Grevil.

By Frank S. Grevil, Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Servile Euro Leaders Cave Under US Pressure: Bolivia's Morales Dissed and Pissed as Diplomatic Immunity Ignored

By Dave Lindorff


Those of us who have been saying that the US has become a weak, or at least more ordinary power among many in the world because of its military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and because of its economic decline, will have to recalibrate our analysis after watching the pathetic behavior of the leaders of Russia, Germany and France under pressure from the Obama administration not to allow Edward Snowden to gain asylum in those countries or even to escape his purgatory in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

We let them do it and we can still stop them! The Snowden Controversy and our Legacy of Choices

By Alfredo Lopez


In one of the most innovative uses of the bizarre rules of international travel, whistle-blower Edward Snowden sits in an airport transit lounge outside the customs barrier that is Russian enough to not invade but not Russian enough to claim the Russians are hiding him. He has now reportedly applied for asylum in Russia.

Biden/Obama full-court press on Snowden is a bad joke: The Real Traitors to America are in Washington and New York

By Dave Lindorff


It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry as the US goes all out to get its hands on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

TSA’s 50 Most Dangerous Officers: The Criminals Keeping Us “Safe”, by Amy Alkon

Check out the list of the worst criminals, uh, respected TSA workers supposedly keeping us safe at the airport, compiled by Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office.

Read the rest at TSA News.

When the official default is to lie: In Us We Have to Trust

By Dan DeWalt


“If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here.”   


Washington has no sense of shame: Empty Lectures about the Sanctity of the ‘Rule of Law’

By Dave Lindorff


The spectacle of the US threatening Hong Kong, China, Russia and now little Ecuador with all manner of reprisals if they don’t respect the “rule of law” and hand over whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US, is delicious to watch.


Brazilians Demand Social Justice

 

Brazilians Demand Social Justice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Justifiable public anger holds back only so long. On June 11, protests began. On June 17, they erupted across Brazil. Hundreds of thousands turned out. Estimates ranged up to 1.5 million. 

 

At issue is scandalous misspending on sports. It's at a time of stalling economic growth, layoffs, rising inflation, and few opportunities for youths. 

 

20 pages of objections to the TSA's body scanners submitted, by Sommer Gentry

Apologies for the length of this post, but there are so many good reasons to oppose the TSA’s nude body scanner program, and we here at TSA News would not want to neglect outlining any of them! Here’s a preview:

Read the rest at TSA News -- and today is the last day to submit your comments about the TSA to the Public Docket. Just do it!

Snowden’s escape: China, Hong Kong and Russia Foil US Attempt to Silence NSA Whistleblower

By Dave Lindorff


Now that Edward Snowden is safely away out of the clutches of the US police state, at least for now, let’s take a moment to contemplate how this one brave man’s principled confrontation with the Orwellian US government has damaged our national security state.


June 24th is D-Day: last day to submit public comments about TSA

Monday, June 24, 2013, is the final day to submit your public comments about the TSA. Links all over this blog . . . 

If you don’t exercise your rights and speak up when they’re violated, don’t be surprised when they’re taken away. As of this writing, only 4,000 people have submitted comments about the TSA to the public docket. That’s out of a country of 300 million (yes, I know not everyone flies). What does that tell you about whether people give a toss about their rights?

Who knew? The government snoops have been keeping us safe?: Cranking Up the Washington Lie Machine

By Dave Lindorff


Just for the sake of argument, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend (I know it's a stretch) that the Obama administration and the apologists for the nation's spy apparatus in Congress, Democratic and Republican, are telling us the gods' honest truth.

What the Government Doesn't Want You to Realize Lessons of the Snowden Revelations: You are the Target!

By Alfredo Lopez


If Edward Snowden's goal in blowing his whistle was to spark a public debate about privacy and surveillance, he has marvelously succeeded.

The Stunning Illogic of The Times: Spy on Us All so We Won’t Lose Our Freedom

By Dave Lindorff


So New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and former Times executive editor Bill Keller are both saying that the massive NSA spying program on all Americans’ communications is a needed thing because if they don’t do it, then maybe there could be another major terrorist strike on the US, and democracy would be erased in the US.


TSA screener slut-shames 15-year-old girl, by Sommer Gentry

Mark Fraunfelder’s 15-year-old daughter was at LAX yesterday, trying to board a flight with a group of other students on a trip to visit some colleges. Unfortunately, the U.S. government had decided ahead of time to hire tens of thousands of strangers to intimidate and abuse her (and others) as they blocked the girl’s safe passage to her airplane.

Read the rest at TSA News.

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

by Erin Niemela

 

Earlier this week I wrote an editorial proposing a 28th constitutional amendment to abolish war.  The NSA scandal, I argue, is tied to the more pervasive problem of violent foreign (and domestic) policy, and we’ll continue to see government abuses so long as war and inter-state military violence are the acceptable choices for conflict management.  David Swanson, author of the brilliant history, “When the World Outlawed War,” thoughtfully responded to my plea by urging us to recall and reignite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, an existing international pact renouncing war signed and ratified by the US president and Senate.

 

 I agree with Mr. Swanson that any efforts to end war should point to existing law, and we agree that abolishing war is possible and necessary.  However, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is not without its limitations, and a fresh, people-driven constitutional amendment could both address those limitations and offer current, culturally relevant and legally dispositive reinforcement.

 

Snowden’s Gambit: Expose NSA Domestic Spying Operation, Hold Global Spying Program in Reserve

By Dave Lindorff


It’s a pretty sad spectacle watching the US Congress toading up to the National Security Agency. With the exception of a few stalwarts like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and to a lesser extent Ron Wyden (D-OR), most of the talk in the halls of Congress is about how to keep the army of Washington private contractors from accessing too many of the government’s secrets (which need to be protected by government employees!), and about whether to try NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden for treason. 

The Right Reverend Honorable General Keith B. Alexander

 

Secrecy’s Tangled Web of Deceit

June 13, 2013

Editor Note: U.S. government officials insist that their secret surveillance techniques are so valuable in fighting “terrorism” that they must be kept completely in the dark – along with the American people. This alleged imperative has justified even lying to Congress.

By Ray McGovern

The name card at the Senate hearing read, “Hon. General Keith B. Alexander,” but layering on the extra honorific title was not enough to change the sad reality that the National Security Agency’s director – a proven prevaricator – was not “honorable.”

You might have thought that some impish congressional staffer was trying to inject a touch of irony into the proceedings by prefacing “General” with “Hon.” – like Mark Antony mocking Julius Caesar’s murderers as “honorable men” in Shakespeare’s play. But that didn’t seem to be the case.

NSA and TSA: a match made in heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view)

 

Jeffrey Goldberg, who writes for The Atlantic and Bloomberg News, has a new column wherein he relates the recently revealed mass surveillance of the NSA to the ongoing abuses of the TSA.

He’s right. They are related. All of the practices of the National Security State are related, as some of us have been saying for years.

He was 29

 

Many years later they found him in a monastery in China.

He agreed to be interviewed.

He looked happy in the eyes.

He said,

“One question.”

So I said,

“Hong Kong, June 2013. 

You were 29.

You said your greatest fear was

That nothing would change,

That the government would continue to grant itself

Unilateral powers.

Every time there is a new leader,

‘They’ll flip the switch’, you said...

A whistleblower holding all the cards: Why did Edward Snowden go to Hong Kong?

By Dave Lindorff

A lot of people in the US media are asking why America's most famous whistleblower, 29-year old Edward Snowden, hied himself off to the city state of Hong Kong, a wholly owned subsidiary of the People's Republic of China, to seek at least temporary refuge.

Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, they say. And as for China, which controls the international affairs of its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while granting it local autonomy to govern its domestic affairs, its leaders "may not want to irritate the US" at a time when the Chinese economy is stumbling.

These people don't have much understanding of either Hong Kong or of China.

TSA agent pulls woman’s breast prosthesis out of her bra

I get tired of writing these posts. These abuses are so common (no, they’re not “outliers”) and the reaction of the public so apathetic, it just becomes wearying.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Privacy Died, and People Didn’t Even Know It

  The KGB alumni portion of the following, which sounds realistic, is actually fiction;  the NSA portion, which sounds like science fiction, is actual news from the real world.

 

It’s June again, and around the globe, in the northern hemisphere, alumni groups are gathering.  In Russia, the KGBAA (KGB Alumni Association)--former officials of the Soviet Union’s “Committee for State Security”--held their annual reunion this week at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, nearly 22 years after the agency’s dissolution in 1991.  

 

Blue Steals Green: Police Corruption’s the Dark Underside of the Drug War’s Iceberg

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Drug-related corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department – once again – is the target of federal authorities.

This latest action by federal authorities involves two patrolmen charged with trafficking drugs and robbing suspected drug dealers while on-duty and in full uniform.

Another day, another abusive TSA experience


Another day, another abusive TSA experience. And why not? The government thinks it owns our thoughts, as the Big Brotheresque surveillance proves; why shouldn't it also own our bodies? These issues are all related. Yet the millions of willfully clueless out there refuse to acknoweldge it.


Obama, Clapper and most of Congress are full of s**t: Where’s the Bullshit Repellent When We Need It?

By Dave Lindorff

Many years ago, back in 1975 when Gerald Ford was the nation’s default president, I spent a summer living in the home of two friends, both important anti-war academics, who had two young children. One of their kids, Jacob, who was about seven at the time and smart as a whip, had been given the gift of a can of compressed air which carried a label claiming it contained a miracle product called “Bullshit Repellent.”  Whenever someone in the house -- family member, me, or some other guest -- would say something ridiculous, stupid or false, someone would inevitably yell out, “Jacob, get the Bullshit Repellent!”  Jacob would come running in enthusiastically with the can and would spray it proudly at whoever was uttering the BS.

I sure wish I had Jacob and his spray can right now. I simply cannot believe the BS being spouted by President Obama, National Security Agency Director James Clapper, or the members of Congress who should be demanding their heads for the unprecedented surveillance and spying on all Americans that has just been exposed.  


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