MattyP1's blog

Europe sees “grave risks” from US spy law

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 2:53 PM UTC
Europe sees “grave risks” from US spy law
The renewed FISA allows for warrantless U.S. surveillance of foreign citizens with information in the cloud
By Natasha Lennard

Concerns about the newly-renewed Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Amendments Act (FISA) in this country have focused on how the government’s program of warrantless wiretapping affects Americans. But a new report [pdf] produced for the European Parliament illustrates that FISA has raised serious concerns about encroachment on Europeans’ privacy.

According to the report, FISA poses a “much graver risk to EU data sovereignty than other laws hitherto considered by EU policy-makers.” The report, produced by the Centre for the Study of Conflicts, Liberty and Security, sees the greatest threat in U.S. government surveillance of information stored in U.S.-owned public data clouds, like those of Facebook or Google.

Denying The Existence Of Islamophobia

Denying The Existence Of Islamophobia

By Matt Duss on Jan 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm

'm hesitant to wade into a discussion on a book I haven’t yet read, but Jonathan Schanzer’s review of Nathan Lean’s “The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims” in today’s Wall Street Journal makes some pretty big claims about the term “Islamophobia” itself, so I’ll confine my comments to those.

“In reality,” Schanzer writes, “Islamophobia is simply a pejorative neologism designed to warn people away from criticizing any aspect of Islam”:

Those who deploy it see no difference between Islamism — political Islam and its extremist offshoots — and the religion encompassing some 1.6 billion believers world-wide. Thanks to this feat of conflation, Islamophobia transforms religious doctrines and political ideologies into something akin to race; to be an “Islamophobe” is in some circles today tantamount to being a racist.

9/11 and the Zadroga Health and Compensation Act

The Second Anniversary
Posted by John Feal, 9/11 Survivor and Advocate | January 8, 2013

What an amazing, and often times horrendous, six year journey from 2005-2011 was for many 9/11 First Responders. As so many of us began to get ill we had hope in 2005 that our federal government would take care of us, provide medical treatment for us and not allow our heroic efforts be a distant memory as we struggled to survive. A bill, a lifesaving bill, had been introduced by our champions from the New York Congressional Delegation. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act would help ensure that we would not go bankrupt paying for medical treatment and supplies for our 9/11 related impairments. It would also compensate those injured or ill from their exposure to the World Trade Center Site, allowing those that could no longer work because of their efforts at Ground Zero to have some peace of mind, if only economic. Such a piece of legislation would fly through Congress we thought; how could our leaders not provide for those that risked it all for their fellow citizens.

Our priorities after 9/11 more Wars and less medical aid to WTC survivors

A physician’s perspective on the Zadroga Act
Posted by Jacqueline Moline, MD, MSc, Director, Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center of Excellence | January 4, 2013

As an occupational and environmental physician based in New York, I have had the privilege to have been a part of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program since its inception, which set out first to describe the medical conditions affecting first responders. We diagnosed many different physical and mental ailments – but had to fight for our responders against authorities who doubted any lasting health effects. At the start of the program, we were only abole to diagnose individuals with World Trade Center related health problems, but were unable to treat them under program funding. We then sought federal funding to cover medical costs for ailments arising out of the response to the World Trade Center disaster, which finally became available around the fifth anniversary in 2006.

The 4th Amendment or what's left of it after 9/11

PBC News & Comment: No more appeals in wiretap case, President can break the law

by Peter B. Collins on January 8, 2013

Further nullification of 4th Amendment rights, as lawyer Jon Eisenberg explains why further appeals would be too risky–big setback!As detailed in today’s in-depth interview, attorney Eisenberg returns for the last of many interviews about the al-Haramain wiretapping case, the only one to survive ferocious government opposition and win a verdict. Overturned by the allegedly-liberal 9th Circuit in San Francisco, the legal team has decided it’s too risky to appeal to the Supreme Court, which might lock in an even worse, national precedent.

–Marin County activist Jonathan Frieman challenges traffic ticket for driving solo in a carpool lane that required at least two persons in the car. His novel defense: he had corporation papers in the passenger seat, and since the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, the ticket should be dismissed

–Oil tanker scrapes tower of Bay Bridge, no oil spill reported

To Repeat -How you can tell the Two Party System is "One"...

Leaks! Torture! Drones! Obama’s CIA Pick Faces Skeptical Senators

By Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman
2:48 PM

The chances are high — astronomically high — that the Senate will confirm John Brennan’s nomination as the CIA director. But Brennan may face tougher-than-expected questions from the senators on everything from drones to torture to leaks that exposed one of America’s only undercover agents in al-Qaida.

As perhaps the President’s most important national security aide, Brennan has been a key general in the shadow wars that the U.S. has been fighting around the globe during the first Obama administration. He’s also been in a position to disclose secrets surrounding those espionage, sabotage and paramilitary operations. And many of those secrets have in recent months leaked out into the public.

The 2013 intel authorization bill and the only vote that matters


Before hurtling deeper into the maw of the new year, let’s note an important victory for the First Amendment from the end of 2012.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, cast the only dissenting vote when the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a version of the 2013 intelligence authorization bill that would have severely chilled news coverage of critical national security issues.

The bill included several misguided anti-leak provisions, including new limits on background briefings by intelligence officials, a constitutionally questionable prohibition on a broad range of former government employees providing paid analysis or commentary on intelligence matters, and the ability to strip intelligence officers of their pensions if they disclose classified information, even if the disclosure poses no harm to national security.

Shahid Buttar Right on Spying, Detention and Torture -but not right on 9/11

You are hereBlogs / davidswanson's blog / Talk Nation Radio: Shahid Buttar on Spying, Detention, Torture, and Zero Dark Thirty
Talk Nation Radio: Shahid Buttar on Spying, Detention, Torture, and Zero Dark Thirty

By davidswanson - Posted on 09 January 2013

Shahid Buttar is the executive director the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the People’s Campaign for the Constitution which works to defend civil liberties, constitutional rights, and rule of law principles threatened within the United States by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He is a constitutional lawyer, grassroots organizer, independent columnist, musician, and poet. He discusses President Obama's signing of two new pieces of legislation permitting warrantless spying and indefinite detention. He also discusses rendition, torture, and the new film "Zero Dark Thirty."

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Whistleblowing the NDAA and 9/11

Why Is Obama Bashing a Whistleblower Law He Already Signed?
In a signing statement, the president criticized—and perhaps undermined—a law intended to protect whistleblowers.

Remember that scene in Mean Girls where Regina George, the blonde queen bee, tells a classmate, "I love your skirt, where did you get it?" but then says, "That is the ugliest f-ing skirt I've ever seen," behind the other teen's back? President Barack Obama might have just pulled a similar stunt with the whistleblower community.

The State and Terrorism after 9/11's_network_of_informants_actually_created_most_of_the_terrorist_plots_"foiled"_in_the_us_since_9_11/?page=entire

October 9, 2011
Mother Jones

How the FBI's Network of Informants Actually Created Most of the Terrorist Plots 'Foiled' in the US Since 9/11
The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots - or leading them?
by Trevor Aaronson

JAMES CROMITIE WAS A MAN of bluster and bigotry. He made up wild stories about his supposed exploits, like the one about firing gas bombs into police precincts using a flare gun, and he ranted about Jews. "The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is better than 10 billion Yahudi," he once said.

Proof that the Two Party (Left and Right) paradigm are "One" after 9/11

John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination

Obama's top terrorism adviser goes from unconfirmable in 2008 to uncontroversial in 2013, reflecting the Obama legacy

Prior to President Obama's first inauguration in 2009, a controversy erupted over reports that he intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director. That controversy, in which I participated, centered around the fact that Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program. As a result, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration, issuing a bitter letter blaming "strong criticism in some quarters prompted by [his] previous service with the" CIA.

FBI Surveillance After OWS and 9/11

FBI Surveillance Of Occupy Wall Street Detailed

Posted: 01/05/2013 7:42 am EST | Updated: 01/05/2013 10:33 am EST

WASHINGTON -- Was Tim Franzen stockpiling weapons? What was Tim Franzen's philosophy? What was his political affiliation? Did Tim Franzen ever talk about violent revolution?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to know. In late 2011, an agent or agents -- Franzen still isn't quite sure -- began trying to find out. It was during this time that Franzen became a well-known and central presence in Occupy Atlanta. He helped start the Occupy Wall Street offshoot, and had been arrested when police razed their encampment in a downtown Atlanta park.

After the first police sweep of the park, Franzen told The Huffington Post that the FBI began interviewing his fellow Occupy Atlanta activists about whether Franzen might have a cache of weapons for a future violent revolution. He said the feds interviewed three different activists at their homes about his activities and beliefs.

"It definitely rattled my cage to have these kids getting knocks on their door," Franzen said.

The gift that keeps giving after 9/11

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Congress ended the suspense and re-enacted the FISA Amendments Act in late December, giving the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already heard argument on one aspect of the law, a living controversy to chew on.

Without congressional action, some key provisions of the law, known as the FAA in court documents, would have expired Tuesday. President Obama has signed the legislation into law.

Reaction to the five-year extension of the surveillance, which was never in any serious doubt, predictably has been mixed. Conservatives and others praise the extension as a bipartisan effort to protect the nation from terror. Liberals and civil libertarians tend to see it as a privacy disaster.

The Washington Times points out the FAA, having previously been approved by the U.S. House, passed the U.S. Senate with votes from both parties.

9/11 and Timing

The Magician’s Con: Renewing FISA and the NDAA Under Cover of the Fiscal Cliff Debates

By John W. Whitehead
January 07, 2013

“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.”—Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

What characterizes American government today is not so much dysfunctional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater. And what political theater it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times, full of sound and fury, yet in the end, signifying nothing.

9/11 and the creation of Guantanamo -it's enduring legacy


When victims of al-Qaida attacks want to talk to reporters at Guantánamo, retired Navy Capt. Karen Loftus squires the so-called “victim family members” to Camp Justice’s press shed and introduces herself as their escort.

When The New York Post put a spotlight on Loftus’ unique role as victim and witness advocate in the coming Sept. 11 death penalty trial, the native New Yorker willingly posed for a photo at the Brooklyn Bridge.

So it came as a puzzlement in December when the Pentagon blacked out her name on a military judge’s order compelling her to testify this month in a pre-trial hearing of a Guantánamo death penalty case. The job description in the order made it clear Loftus would be the witness — even with her name covered up.

So why the secrecy in postings on the Pentagon’s military commissions website, the portal for tribunal documents, whose motto is “Fairness, Transparency, Justice?”

“I’m following the office policy because I’m a witness,” said Loftus, who works from the Pentagon’s War Crimes prosecutor’s office in Washington, D.C.