Posse Comitatus and the Fourth Amendment

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 7:35 am

Back in pre-Constitution America, the British army would burst into the homes and businesses of American colonists.
The searches would often be destructive, and intended so. Some of the time the point was to seize incriminating “revolutionary” materials, many times the point was simply to harass and threaten people the Crown feared and wanted to send a message to. It was in direct response to such invasions of freedom that the Founders wrote in the Fourth Amendment “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

 

Obama’s Luntzian Language for Concealing Reality of War in Iraq & Syria

By: Thursday September 25, 2014 11:11 am

One of the bothersome aspects of the war escalation in Iraq and Syria has been the commitment of President Barack Obama’s administration to using language to conceal their war plans.

The White House has insisted this is not a war. The attacks on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are a part of a “counterterrorism strategy.” The US has not launched a war because it has previously been dropping Hellfire missiles on suspected terrorists in various countries. Those strikes, though they have killed hundreds of civilians and were questionable in their legality and success in bringing about “security,” were part of a “strategy.”

Obama Administration’s Game of Geopolitical Terrorist Whac-a-Mole Expands With Strikes in Syria

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 1:22 pm

US Central Command, in a press release which formed the basis for most US reporting on the air strikes, reported the US had “taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al-Qaeda veterans – sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group – who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations. These strikes were undertaken only by US assets.”

American Held in Incommunicado Detention in Yemen Calls Family, Says He’s Being Beaten & Gassed

By: Friday September 12, 2014 4:35 pm

An American citizen in Yemeni custody who his lawyers say has been disappeared for over 180 days has surfaced. One of his lawyers reports he was apparently allowed to make two calls to his wife and mother last night and a guard said he is being held in the Central Security Forces base in central Sanaa.

Sharif Mobley, a 30-year-old man from New Jersey who was living with his family in Yemen, was essentially kidnapped by Yemeni officials and shot in January 2010. He was taken to a police hospital then a general hospital. FBI agents interrogated him numerous times between January and April. Allegedly, he tried to escape from the general hospital and shot a guard, who later died. He was charged with murder and has been in custody of Yemen authorities awaiting trial.

US Can Claim This Isn’t War but ISIS Militants Killed by 500-Pound Laser-Guided Bombs Beg to Differ

By: Thursday September 11, 2014 3:47 pm

President Barack Obama’s administration has committed to an escalation of war in Iraq and Syria to “degrade” and “destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Yet, farcically, administration officials maintain the United States is not at war with ISIS.

Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that the strategy for going after ISIS involves “many different things that one doesn’t think of normally in context of war.”

Obama Administration Still Keeping Much Secret About Bush’s Warrantless Wiretapping Program

By: Saturday September 6, 2014 2:10 pm

The Justice Department released two memos on the authorization of warrantless wiretapping, as part of the top secret program, Stellar Wind. The memos were created during President George W. Bush’s administration and contain the “legal justification” for electronic surveillance without a warrant. However, one of the me was previously provided with significant redactions to the ACLU in March 2011. It remains heavily censored.

The memo was written by former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) head and lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, and is dated May 6, 2004.

As ACLU staff attorney Patrick Toomey told The Washington Post, “What these memos show is that nearly three years after President Bush authorized the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ emails and phone calls, government lawyers were still struggling to put the program on sound legal footing.”

Court: Releasing Images of Guantanamo Prisoner Would Incite Violence, Especially Since He Was Tortured

By: Wednesday September 3, 2014 4:15 pm

A federal appeals court has ruled that the United States government can keep video and photos of high-profile Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohammed al-Qahtani secret because it is well-known that he was tortured and abused and any future release of information depicting him could be used by terrorist groups to incite anti-American violence.

The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. At issue are at least 58 FBI videos “depicting Qahtani’s activities in his cell and his interactions” with Defense Department personnel. There are also two videos showing “forced cell extractions,” where Qahtani was likely removed from his cell in an abusive or aggressive manner, two videos showing “document intelligence debriefings” and “six mugshots” of Qahtani.

Judge: Government’s Justification for Keeping Detainee Abuse Photos Secret Is ‘Not Sufficient’

By: Thursday August 28, 2014 7:35 am

A federal district court judge has ruled that the government’s certification to prevent the disclosure of thousands of photos of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq—including inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison—is “not sufficient to prevent publication.”

The federal judge ordered the government to appear in court on September 8 and produce the photographs or submit additional evidence to support keeping the photos secret.

DoJ Memo Justifies Killing Anwar al-Awlaki by Citing US Law Enforcement’s Right to Use Deadly Force

By: Saturday August 16, 2014 7:51 am

As a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times, President Barack Obama’s administration has released the first memo authored by federal appeals court judge and former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer David Barron to justify the killing of US citizen and terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki.

Hundreds of Thousands of People Unaffiliated With Terrorist Group on US Government Watchlist

By: Tuesday August 5, 2014 5:00 pm

Two hundred and eighty thousand people or more than forty percent of the individuals on the government’s main watchlist are not affiliated with any “recognized terrorist group,” according to a report from The Intercept.

“The watchlist,” as described in the story from journalists Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, is typically the list with data from the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSDB is an “unclassified pool of information shared across the intelligence community and the military as well as local law enforcement, foreign government and private contractors.”

An unnamed intelligence source provided The Intercept with documents from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) that provide some of the most recent statistics on the government’s watchlisting of “known or suspected terrorists.” It is data the government insists is too sensitive to be voluntarily and regularly disclosed to the public.

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