Losing our rights is not helping the war on terror

October 3, 2007 at 9:38 pm | Posted in civil liberties, terrorism | Leave a comment

The Bush administration has taken the position that it can lock up anyone anywhere in the world — including US citizens — without any hearing whatsoever, without any access to a lawyer, simply because the president considers him to be, in his words, “a bad guy.” We’ve sacrificed the principles of the First Amendment’s right of association in the name of punishing people for their association with quote/unquote terrorist groups — groups that have been labeled terrorist. We’ve seen sacrifices in commitments to due process because of the Bush administration’s notion that the government can coercively interrogate people to try to get information out of them.You argue that we’ve been made less safe by this.

The stated justification for these measures is indeed to keep up more safe, but our argument in this book — based on the six years of evidence we’ve had to assess how the administration has done — is that we are in fact less safe as a result of these measures. We show that many of these tactics have captured few if any terrorists; have disrupted few if any terrorist plots; and have had tremendous negative consequences, both in terms of immunizing people who are bad from being brought to justice (because the information on them was tainted because it was gotten by torturing somebody) and in terms of prompting a tremendous amount of resentment against the United States.


Federal Agent Indicted for using Government Computers to monitor ex-girlfriend

September 23, 2007 at 5:44 am | Posted in civil liberties | Leave a comment

A federal grand jury in San Jose has indicted a special agent with the U.S. Department of Commerce for allegedly using a restricted government computer to track a former girlfriend and her family.Oakland resident Benjamin Robinson, 40, was indicted Wednesday on two felony charges. He faces a possible sentence of five years in prison if convicted.According to the indictment, between May 2003 and March 2004 Robinson used the Treasury Enforcement Communications System database at least 163 times to track the movements of his former girlfriend and her family in and out of the country.


Federal Agent Indicted for Cyber-Stalking By Roy Mark

A Department of Commerce agent is accused of accessing a Homeland Security database to track his ex-girlfriend’s movements.

The indictment also claims that during and after the relationship, Robinson alternatively threatened to have the woman deported or to have her and her family killed.


Telephone companies seek retroactive immunity for assisting warrantless wiretapping

September 23, 2007 at 5:44 am | Posted in civil liberties, internet | Leave a comment

Sept. 20, 2007 – The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community’s warrantless surveillance programs.


U.S. gathers and saves for 15 years information on U.S. Citizens who travel abroad.

September 23, 2007 at 12:25 am | Posted in civil liberties, despotism | Leave a comment

Collecting of Details on Travelers Documented
U.S. Effort More Extensive Than Previously Known
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 22, 2007; A01
The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to assess the security threat posed by all travelers entering the country. Officials say the records, which are analyzed by the department’s Automated Targeting System, help border officials distinguish potential terrorists from innocent people entering the country.


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