Originally published at The New American
In a shameful display of disregard for the Constitution and for liberty, on Friday, the House of Representatives voted to perpetuate the president’s power to indefinitely detain American citizens.
By a vote of 238-182, members of Congress rejected the amendment offered by Representatives Adam Smith (D-Washington) and Justin Amash (R-Michigan) (left and right, respectively in photo montage at left) that would have repealed the indefinite detention provision passed overwhelmingly last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012.
The Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA retains the indefinite detention provisions, as well as the section permitting prisoners to be transferred from civilian jurisdiction to the custody of the military.
“The frightening thing here is that the government is claiming the power under the Afghanistan authorization for use of military force as a justification for entering American homes to grab people, indefinitely detain them and not give them a charge or trial,” Representative Amash said during House debate.
Debate on the Smith-Amash Amendment, as well as about 140 others began in the early, pre-dawn hours Friday morning.
In his impassioned speech supporting his amendment, Representative Smith reminded his colleagues that the NDAA granted to the president “extraordinary” powers and divested the American people of key civil liberties, as well as divesting civilian courts of their constitutional jurisdiction.
Smith pointed out that there was no need to transfer suspects into military custody as “hundreds” of terrorists have been tried in federal courts since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Continue Reading
This week the House of Representatives is debating CISPA, the dangerous ‘cybersecurity’ bill that threatens to decimate Internet users’ privacy in the name of security. EFF and a wide variety of other groups have been protesting the law’s provisions giving companies the power to read users’ emails and other communications and hand them to the government without any judicial oversight whatsoever—essentially a giant ‘cybersecurity’ exception to all existing privacy laws.
We’ve already shown how the bill’s definition of ‘cyber threat information’ can lead the companies and government to surveil citizens for a host of reasons beyond critical cybersecurity threats. But we want to focus on one vital portion of the bill that is not getting enough attention: what the government can do with your private information once companies hand it over.
Even though CISPA is styled as a ‘cybersecurity’ bill, it explicitly allows the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) to use your information for ‘national security’ purposes—expanding the bill far beyond its purported goal. Bill sponser Mike Rogers introduced a package of amendments yesterday, but did not remove “national security” as one of the purposes for which information can be used.
The Erosion of Civil Liberties
In the past decade, the amorphous phrase “national security” has invaded many arenas of government action, and has been used to justify much activity that did not involve legitimate terrorist threats. The most obvious (and odious) example is the unfortunately named USA-PATRIOT Act, a law that was sold to the American public as essential to combating terrorism, but which has overwhelmingly been applied to ordinary American citizens never even suspected of terrorism. Continue Reading
Just when you think Congress has gone about as far as it can go in terms of destroying civil liberties and Constitutional rights, eager and earnest Congressmen such as those “serving” on the House Judiciary Committee step up to the plate and show the American people that there is plenty more that can be done. Case in point: on October 6, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill (sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith) called the Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011 (H.R. 313), which will serve to continue the administrative beating of the corpse known as Free Speech in America.
H.R. 313 would make it a Federal crime for U.S. citizens/residents to plan or even discuss activities on foreign soil that would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) if they were carried out inside the United States. Under this bill, it is irrelevant if the activity is actually legal in the country where it is going to be conducted. With H.R. 313, the operative law is the CSA in the United States; the unconstitutional and oppressive law that prohibits drug use and marijuana possession as well as regulates the use and possession of prescription medication.
According to H.R. 313, anyone who discusses, plans, or advises anyone else to engage in an activity prohibited by the CSA, regardless of national boundaries, will be subject to prosecution under Federal law as well as charges of conspiracy. Apparently, conspiracies only exist when they are committed by the citizenry – never the government colluding with corporations or drug cartels.
The conspiracy issue aside, however, there are some disturbing implications for American free speech in this bill. As Jay Van Liere writes for Reality Sandwich: Continue Reading
By Ernie Suggs
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Big Brother is coming to Atlanta. Or is it a watchful eye that will make walking city streets safer?
On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved a measure to network and monitor thousands of public and privately owned security cameras throughout Atlanta.
The cameras and images will be part of a new multi-million dollar video integration center, designed to compile and analyze footage from the network..
To start, images from as many as 500 cameras — some city-owned and some private – are expected to flow into the center, providing images from Piedmont Park to Underground Atlanta. The center will use software that can identify “suspicious” behavior and allow monitors to quickly deploy public safety personnel. The software is also capable of pinpointing where gunshots originate from. Continue Reading
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
The case against a Rochester woman arrested while videotaping police has been dismissed.
Early Monday afternoon, demonstrators rallied outside the Hall of Justice in support of Emily Good, the city woman who was arrested while videotaping police officers during a traffic stop on May 12th in front of her 19th Ward home. (Click here to watch the video)
Good kept recording police officers while standing in her front yard even though an officer ordered her several times go inside. She was charged with obstructing of governmental administration. Since then, the video from that night has made it onto news shows across the country.
Good’s attorney, Stephanie Stare, had asked for the charges to be dismissed. In court Monday, the District Attorney’s office says based on a review of the evidence, there was no legal basis to go forward. The charge was withdrawn and the judge dismissed the case. Continue Reading
By Thomas Ferraro
(Reuters) – Congress, racing the clock and rejecting demands for additional safeguards of civil liberties, passed a bill Thursday to renew three expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.
With the provisions set to expire at midnight Thursday (0400 GMT on Friday), the Republican-led House of Representatives approved the measure, 250-153, just hours after it cleared the Democratic-led Senate, 72-23.
President Barack Obama is traveling in Europe. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said that he was prepared to use “the auto pen to sign” the bill quickly into law. Continue Reading