Tag Archive: Civil Liberties


Iowa Forfeiture: A ‘System Of Legal Thievery’?

 

 

 

 

 

The plan: Hitch a ride with a family friend to California, visit relatives and check out community colleges there.

  Sanchez-Ratliff, then 20, did something that in hindsight wasn’t the best idea, but isn’t illegal. He took with him his entire life savings, including about $14,000 provided by his grandmother and an additional $5,000 he had saved from working.”

 

 

 

” The much-anticipated trip took an unexpected turn about eight hours in, as flashing lights appeared in the rear-view mirror. A Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputy stopped the vehicle for traveling 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.

  An hour later, the deputy seized Sanchez-Ratliff’s cash. Despite a clean criminal record and a search that turned up no sign of drugs or other illegal activity, the deputy concluded the money must somehow be linked to a crime.

  Sanchez-Ratliff is hardly alone.”

 

 

The Register continues …

 

 

” A Des Moines Register investigation into the use of state and federal civil forfeiture laws in Iowa reveals that thousands of people have surrendered their cash or property since 2009. The system is stacked against property owners while raising millions of dollars annually for law enforcement agencies across the state, something critics contend encourages policing for profit over promoting public safety.

  The bulk of forfeitures reviewed by the Register resulted from traffic stops, often for minor violations and involving vehicles with out-of-state plates. But cash or property also was seized after police were called or sent to homes or businesses. In a few cases, police seized cash carried by johns caught up in prostitution stings.

  Among the Register’s findings:

• Law enforcement agencies in all but seven of Iowa’s 99 counties have used the state’s civil forfeiture law since 2009. They have seized cash or other property 5,265 times. At least 542 more cases have used federal forfeiture laws.

• Many of those property owners — including Sanchez-Ratliff — are sent on their way after surrendering their cash or other property. A sampling of about 600 forfeiture cases from the Iowa counties that seized the most property over the past six years revealed dozens of instances with no record of an arrest or criminal charges.

• Iowa police departments and other law enforcement agencies have seized nearly $43 million over the past six years — money divided among agencies involved in each forfeiture case. Under law, the money is supposed to be used to “enhance” their crime-fighting capabilities.

• Most of the money is used to buy equipment, train officers and fund multiagency task forces. But it also has been spent on tropical fish, scented candles, mulch and other items that appear to have little or no direct link to law enforcement activities.

  Local law enforcement agencies generally keep 90 percent of forfeited cash, split among the agencies that seized the property. The rest goes to the state, for use by the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the state’s public safety departments.”

 

 

    The Des Moines Register offers a serious investigation into the blatantly unconstitutional process of stripping law abiding citizens of their money and possessions without due process , otherwise known as “civil” asset forfeiture . Read the whole thing and remember this is not an issue limited to Iowa , your state is doing it too .

Civil asset forfeiture reform now . Every “war” results in a loss of freedoms but none so much as the “war on drugs” .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Police Revenue Streams Are More Outrageous Than Others

 

 

 

 

 

” There has been a lot of news out of Ferguson lately.

  You had the release of the Justice Department report that, while clearing officer Wilson and debunking “Hands up don’t shoot,” hit the police department for racial practices which led to protests, resignations, the shooting of two police officers and, last  weekend, the arrest of Jeffrey Williams, the shooter.

  But in all the news coverage, protests, and resulting spin, there is one aspect of this story that, for several reasons, is worthy of a lot more attention before it’s forgotten:  the outrageous use of policing as a city revenue stream.

 

   From the report:

  The City’s emphasis on revenue generation has a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement.  Patrol assignment an schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation.

 

  This practice sets up a perverse reward system if you are a cop, the report explained:

  Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity” meaning the number of citations issued.

 

  And the courts aren’t helping either:

  The municipal court does not act as a neutral arbiter of the law or a check on unlawful police conduct.  Instead the court primarily uses its judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the City’s financial interests.

 

  This is not a new issue to some. Rand Paul,for example, has talked about it for a while, most recently at Bowe state university in Maryland: “

 

Read more from DaTechGuy at Watchdog.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly 100 People Killed By Police In First Month Of 2015- Zero Officers Killed By Suspects

 

dangerous jobs

As this chart shows , policing isn’t even in the top ten of most dangerous jobs .

 

 

 

” The Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks the deaths of police officers, is reporting zero officer deaths from gunfire in 2015.

Line of Duty Deaths: 13

Automobile accident: 5
Heart attack: 3
Struck by vehicle: 2
9/11 related illness: 1
Gunfire (Accidental): 1
Vehicle pursuit: 1

  In contrast, Killed By Police has logged at least 91 people killed by police in the month of January alone.  At least 1,106 people were killed in 2014, a number which calls into question the integrity of the FBI’s previous estimate of around 400 per year.

  Unlike the independent logging done by Killed By Police, the FBI collects their statistics only from reports voluntarily given to them by law enforcement agencies.  Only around 750 agencies, or 4 percent, out of 17,000 law enforcement entities across the United States offered this data to the FBI.

  Those who prefer to turn a blind eye to police abuse often refer to police as heroes who “deserve to make it home to their families” or speak of the difficulties of a job where your life is perpetually at risk.”

 

 

   The Free Thought Project has much more and be sure to view the death toll at Killed By Police which , as of February 5th , numbers 109 citizens dead of police gun fire .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Police Are Maiming, Killing With ‘Grenades’

 

 

 

 

” Following a drug tip, nearly 20 cops stormed a small apartment outside Atlanta in 2010. Invading officers found only a little weed, but managed to seriously injure resident Treneshia Dukes with a flashbang grenade—a police device that’s drawing increasing attention and controversy, Pro Publica reports. Cops often toss the flash-and-bang devices to disorient suspects during drug raids, but critics note that the grenades’ flash is more hot than lava.At least 50 Americans, including children and cops, have been killed, maimed, or injured by flashbangs that landed near them or went off too soon. Even Bill Nixon, an Arkansas man who used to make flashbangs for police (before an officer lost a hand demonstrating one to Boy Scouts) doesn’t get why cops use them regularly. “It boggles my mind,” he says.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Police in Little Rock, Ark., used them on 84% of raids from 2011 to 2013, although the raids usually just turned up minor drug paraphernalia. But a police rep defends flashbang use, saying that “what we see is a large service of warrants without gunfire.” Still, horror stories include a 19-month-old Georgia baby who suffered severe facial injuries during a drug raid when a flashbang landed in her crib, WOKV reports. A grand jury didn’t indict the officers involved but suggested two ideas that are going around: better police training (there are no national flashbang training standards) and fewer “no-knock” warrants that permit police raids. Meanwhile, Dukes—who suffered second-degree burns over her body—has filed a civil suit alleging excessive police force. “My skin is ugly, and I feel like I’m ugly,” she says. “When I talk about it, I just get angry.” “

 

Thanks to Newser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando Pays $15,000 To Man Who Was Jailed For Video-Recording Cops

 

 

 

Alberto Troche

 Click pic to go to video

 

” The city of Orlando has agreed to pay $15,000 to a man who was jailed and had a cell phone pulled from his hand by a police officer because he video-recorded officers arresting another man who was calling for help.

  Alberto Troche, 26, of Orlando, sued the city and Officer Peter Delio in March in Orlando federal court, accusing them of violating his civil rights.

  Troche and the city agreed to a $15,000 settlement several weeks ago, according to federal court records.

  Now, his lawyers have asked a U.S. magistrate to make the city pay another $44,000 for the hours they worked on the case.

  The Orlando Police Department has also changed its policies on how to handle people who video-record them in action, said Troche’s attorney, J Marc Jones.

  Officers may not order members of the public to stop video-recording them or arrest or try to stop them, so long as they are in a public place, have not crossed a police line and are not interfering, according to a policy directive signed by Police Chief John Mina two months after Troche filed suit. 

  Officers also may not demand that a person recording them identify themselves, may not demand to know why they are making the recording and may not intentionally block or obstruct their camera, according to the directive.

” A bystander has the right under the First Amendment to observe and record … (police officers) in public discharge their duties,” the directive says.”

 

Orlando Sentinel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Cops Have Better Things To Do?

 

 

 

Published on Dec 15, 2014

” Yes most violent crime in America goes unsolved, but what’s a cop to do when there are so many unlicensed strippers, unbuckled motorists, and unticketed drivers brazenly flaunting their fuzzy dice?

  In 2014, cops could have spent a helluva lot more time busting murders and rapists, but they decided to do stuff like this instead.

  Check out The Best of The Worst of 2014: Don’t cops have better things to do?

  2 minutes, 6 seconds.

  Follow the show on Twitter (@DontCops), and submit your nominees for next month.

” Don’t Cops Have Better Things to Do?” is written and directed by Ted Balaker (@tedbalaker). Produced and edited by Matt Edwards (@MattChrisEd). Music by audionautix.com and “The Contessa” is by Maurice and the Beejays (Magnatune Records).

  Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2014/12/11…
for links, downloadable versions, and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

  To watch previous episodes, go here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employee Fired After Posting Pictures Of DHS Vehicles Parked In Hotel Parking Lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

” What happens in public isn’t afforded an expectation of privacy — unless you’re the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is all about shutting down people taking photos in, around or of public structures. According to the many piles of useless paperwork compiled by the many useless Fusion Centers, the most effective terrorist weapon is any device that captures still images or video.

  The nation is loaded with phone-wielding terrorists. But thanks to the swift corrective action applied by a former Secret Service agent and the multi-billion dollar agency, guests at the Drury Park Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield, Missouri, are safe from the terrorist activity of 28-year-old US Navy veteran (and now, former hotel Houseman) Mark Paffrath.

  Mark says that on Thursday after work he snapped 2 photographs and a short video of several dozen Homeland Security vehicles in the parking garage. He then uploaded them to his Facebook page. In his post he writes “why are all the cop cars here…I wonder if it has anything to do with Ferguson”, he also included the hashtags #Ferguson #NoJusticeNoPeace.

Hooray for the First Amendment! … oh, wait.

  On Friday, shortly after arriving to work at the Drury Plaza Hotel, Mark stated that he was called to the office of Jeff Baker, the General Manager. Upon arriving Mr. Baker advised Mark that he needed to remove the photos and video from Facebook. Mark immediately complied and removed the post. Mark then continued and finished his shift.

  A private company decides to insert itself into a situation where no one — not even the DHS — needed to step in. Having achieved its goal of suppression, one would think the story ends here. But it doesn’t.”

 

TechDirt has the scoop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rap Sheets, Watchlists And Spy Networks Now Available With Single Click

 

 

 

” Law enforcement officials nationwide now have the ability to search multiple sensitive databases, including spy agency intranets and homeland security suspicious activity reporting – with a single login. 

  The breakthrough in interconnectivity is expected to close information gaps that, among other things, have contributed to the rise in homegrown terrorism and school shootings. 

” Let’s say you have a lone-wolf incident or an active-shooter incident, where you need to be able to securely share information in a timely way. With a single sign-on capability, there is no wrong door,” Kshemendra Paul, program manager for the Information Sharing Environment at the Office of Director of National Intelligence, said during an interview. “If you have an account, you can get to the virtual command center that the fusion center may be using – in a very direct way.” “

 

Read it all at NextGov.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil Liberties Groups Appeal Ruling Over Automatic License Plate Reader Data

 

 

 

 

” The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California are taking the fight over automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data to the next level by asking the California Court of Appeal to rule that the public has a right to know how Los Angeles cops are tracking their locations.

  ALPRs are cameras mounted to patrol cars and fixed locations, such as light poles, that are able to capture, process, and store the license plates of every vehicle that passes nearby. The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department together collect close to 3 million license plates each week; these data points could give police an intimate picture of the comings and goings of the entire population over several years. By our estimates, these agencies currently have an average of 61 plate scans for each vehicle registered in Los Angeles County.”

 

EFF has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York’s Registry Of Mentally Ill People Barred From Having Firearms Draws Heavy Criticism

 

 

 

 

 

 

” A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

  The database, established in the aftermath of the mass shooting in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and maintained by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, is the result of the Safe Act. It is an expansive package of gun control measures pushed through by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The law, better known for its ban on assault weapons, compels licensed mental health professionals in New York to report to the authorities any patient “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.

  But the number of entries in the database highlights the difficulty of America’s complicated balancing act between public safety and the right to bear arms when it comes to people with mental health issues.

“ That seems extraordinarily high to me,” said Sam Tsemberis, a former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, now the chief executive of Pathways to Housing, which provides housing to the mentally ill. “Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness.” “

 

Post Gazette

 

Police Chief Accuses Secret Service Of Misconduct

 

 

 

 

 

” Nashville’s police chief is raising stunning new allegations regarding the U.S. Secret Service, saying local agents once asked his officers to fake a warrant.

 Even more disturbing, Chief Steve Anderson said he complained to top Secret Service officials in Washington, and they did not seem to care.

  The allegations regarding the January 2013 incident are contained in a letter that Anderson sent last week to several members of the House Committee on Oversight. That’s the congressional committee that has spearheaded the on-going investigation into the Secret Service. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was recently forced to resign as a result of that scandal.

” There’s already a lot of fodder to attack the Secret Service with, and this will be more,” said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, who was among the committee members who received the letter.

  The legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Thomas Castelli, called the incident an “absolutely appalling” violation of basic constitutional principles.

” If this is something that not all law enforcement — and I’m talking about from the cop patrolling the streets in our smallest town in Tennessee all the way up to the Secret Service and the FBI — if this is not something that they’re taught, then that’s a big problem,” Castelli said. “

 

NewsChannel 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSA Spy Program One Step Closer To Extinction

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The House of Representatives is moving ahead to curtail how the National Security Agency collects and retains telephone data on Americans, the National Journal reported.

  The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-0 Wednesday to amend the USA Freedom Act, the National Journal said. The House Intelligence Committee will vote on its version of the legislation on Thursday. The intelligence committee version doesn’t include a blanket prohibition on bulk collection.

  House members will need to reconcile conflicts between the two versions. The final bill is expected to be in line with President Barack Obama’s announced NSA reforms. A vote by the full House could take place by the end of May, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  Amending the USA Freedom Act is aimed at minimizing how much private information the government retains and to proscribe how such data can be obtained, the Journal reported.”

 

 

 

    While we applaud any efforts at reining in government spying , we remain exceedingly skeptical that much will be accomplished in reestablishing our citizenry’s privacy as long as we have the Patriot Act and the FISA courts which really amount to a “Star Chamber” . Read more at Newsmax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Europe Is Set To Mandate “Remote Stopping Device” In All Cars For Police Use

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Well this sounds like one of the worst ideas I have heard of in a long time. Naturally, it would emerge from the EU, the sorriest excuse for a fake government the world has ever seen.

  While I have reported previously on regulatory efforts to put all sorts of invasive mandatory devices in U.S. automobiles (from October of last year Big Brother is Coming to Your Car), this idea from the EU take things to a whole other level of insanity.

From the BBC:

 

  A device that would enable police to stop vehicles remotely is being considered by an EU-wide official working group, it has emerged. 

  The feasibility of such technology is being examined by members of the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (Enlets).

The technology could impact on both road safety and civil liberties.

Civil liberties? What are those?”

 

Zero Hedge has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Army’s Elite Special Forces Train With Local Cops In A Secretive Joint Exercise

 

” Unwarranted NSA surveillance, the passage of NDAA, stop and frisk programs, and the rise of warrior cops, have essentially turned America into a centralized police state.

  Blurring the lines between the U.S. military and local sheriff departments sets a dangerous precedent that erodes freedom and civil liberties.

  Those lines are being blurred right now in South Carolina.

  According to The State, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department will participate in secretive joint exercise Monday and Tuesday with unnamed units from Ft. Bragg.

“ Citizens may see military and departmental vehicles traveling in and around rural and metropolitan areas and may hear ordnance being set off or fired which will be simulated/ blanks and controlled by trained personnel,” a sheriff’s department press release said.

  The secretive exercises are off limits to the media, reports The Activist Post.

  The implications are serious.”

9 Things You Need To Know About Terrorism Before Agreeing To More Violations Of Your Individual Rights

 

 

 

1. Terrorist Attacks and Fatalities are Down Since 1970s

 

 

terrorist-attacks-since-1970

 

” There is a broad consensus in the U.S.’ two major political parties that in order to save Americans’ lives, individuals should sacrifice their civil liberties: such as their reasonable expectation of privacy, and their right to be secure in their personal belongings.

  This appears like an unassailable premise. And if it followed that violating people’s rights actually protected all Americans from terrorism, then perhaps a reasonable expectation of sacrifice could be argued without pointed counter-argument.

  As with many things dealing with government, there are questions of trade-offs and if the U.S. government is being extreme in assuming that it has a blank-check to fight the “war on terror.” “

 

 

Read the whole thing 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former MTV Host Kennedy Joins FBN To Host The Independents

 

 

 

 

” Fox Business Network has announced that former MTV VJ Kennedy (full name Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) will host a new primetime show beginning next Monday, Dec. 9th.

  The show, called The Independents, will air Monday through Wednesday and Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET, featuring a roundtable discussion on news-of-the-day with an emphasis on economic and civil liberties, in keeping with the host’s libertarian beliefs. 

  Kennedy will be joined by two co-hosts: Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch and America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster. The show will also feature a rotating panel of experts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman Leaves Room Speechless: “I’m Just A Mom!” – One Of The Most Powerful Speeches Ever Made

 

Published on Nov 26, 2013

” On Tuesday Nov 5th, 2013 after making her wait 8 hours, the Clark County Commission in Las Vegas decided to hear Daphne Lee speak against the NDAA. What followed was one of the most powerful public comments in history.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Signs Of A False Flag

 

 

” Throughout history, versions of the false flag attack have been used successfully by governments in order to direct the force of the people toward whatever end the ruling class may be seeking. At times, that end may be war, or it may be the curtailing of domestic civil liberties and basic human rights. In others, it is an economic agenda.

Indeed, false flags are themselves capable of taking on a wide variety of forms – domestic or foreign, small or large, economic or political, and many other designations that can often blur into one another. Each may serve a specific purpose and each may be adjusted and tailored for that specific purpose as societal conditions require.

For instance, the chemical weapons attack which took place inside Syria in August, 2013 serve as an example of a foreign false flag designed to whip up American fervor for war, on the platform of Responsibility to Protect similar to the Gulf of Tonkin.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The anti-gun crowd doesn’t want “compromise.” They want confiscation and control.

” In April, the Senate rejected the Toomey-Manchin gun control proposal. In the wake of its defeat many asked why gun owners and their organizations resisted so limited a measure. Granted, it would have had little but symbolic benefit. Its core was to require background checks at gun shows (which Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded involved a whole 0.8 percent of crime guns) and on Internet gun sales (a miniscule proportion, most of which probably go through licensed dealers anyway). But why not accept something so modest, in light of the draconian ideas then being floated as alternatives?

  Understanding the rejection requires understanding gun owners’ shared experiences. Compromise requires that both parties relinquish something. If your counterpart’s position is “give me this now, and I’ll take the rest later,” there is no real compromise to be had. Over decades, that has been precisely the experience of American gun owners.

  Back in 1976, Pete Shields, chairman of what is today the Brady Campaign, candidly laid out the blueprint for The New Yorker:

” We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.”

Don’t Look Now But Washington DC May Actually Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture

” Washington D.C. city council members are considering a bill that would give D.C. residents the strongest protections against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture in the country. Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) seizes millions of dollars of property from thousands of people each year—and keeps 100 percent of the profits.

Unlike with criminal forfeiture, where the government seizes assets after convicting someone of a crime, with civil forfeiture there is no legal requirement to prove a crime was committed or even to file criminal charges. Instead, once police confiscate property, the burden is on the owner to prove innocence. Property owners who can’t afford a legal battle or whose property is worth less than court costs often simply relinquish their property by default.”

ACLU Sues Over NSA Phone Surveillance

 

 

” The #ACLU filed suit Tuesday against the National Security Agency, over revelations about an apparently extensive telephone surveillance program.

The 11-page suit filed in the Southern District of New York asks a federal judge to declare the so-called ‘mass call tracking” program a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments; the civil liberties group wants the program stopped, and its records destroyed.

The lawsuit states:

The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where. It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama To Meet Privacy Oversight Board To Try To Reassure Public On Spying

 

 

” President Barack Obama will meet on Friday with members of a privacy oversight watchdog board to try to reassure Americans rattled by revelations of the U.S. government’s vast monitoring of phone and Internet data.

Obama is scrambling to show he has credibility on the issue after coming under fire for the scope of surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency, which was revealed in a series of disclosures by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

The president will hold talks with members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a five-person independent agency that has been largely dormant since 2008 and held its first full-fledged meeting on Wednesday after the Senate confirmed David Medine as its chairman last month.”

 

    This strikes us too little too late coming from a president who has exhausted all credibility as regards his alleged respect for our precious constitutional rights . More smoke and mirrors from an administration with a demonstrably horrid record on transparency and open government .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama_Civil_Liberties_Hypocrisy

 

 

 

“A timeline compiled by Buzzfeed compares Obama’s dishonest stance on civil liberties before and after the election.

Also interesting to note is how this Kenyan fraud has a different accent for different audiences — he can sound educated when addressing whites, so they think he is on their level, and he can sound stupid when addressing blacks, so they think he’s on their level.”

 

 

 

HT/IJR

 

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Government Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret

 

 

 

” In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion finding government surveillance to be unconstitutional.  Significantly, the activities at issue were carried out under the controversial legal authority that underlies the National Security Agency’s recently-revealed PRISM program.

EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling.  Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702  “circumvented the spirit of the law” and violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.”