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Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

John Byrne
Raw Story
September 24, 2009

President Barack Obama has quietly decided to bypass Congress and allow the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without charges.

The move, which was controversial when the idea was first floated in The Washington Post in May, has sparked serious concern among civil liberties advocates. Such a decision allows the president to unilaterally hold “combatants” without habeas corpus — a legal term literally meaning “you shall have the body” — which forces prosecutors to charge a suspect with a crime to justify the suspect’s detention.

Obama’s decision was buried on page A 23 of The New York Times’ New York edition on Thursday. It didn’t appear on that page in the national edition. (Meanwhile, the front page was graced with the story, “Richest Russian’s Newest Toy: An N.B.A. Team.”)

Rather than seek approval from Congress to hold some 50 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely, the administration has decided that it has the authority to hold the prisoners under broad-ranging legislation passed in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. Former President George W. Bush frequently invoked this legislation as the justification for controversial legal actions — including the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

“The administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” the Times‘ Peter Baker writes. “In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.”

Constitutional scholar and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald discussed the policy in a column in May. He warned that the ability for a president to “preventively” detain suspects could mushroom into broader, potentially abusive activity.

“It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding,” Greenwald wrote. “That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, ‘preventive detention’ allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally ‘dangerous’ by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they ‘expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden’ or ‘otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans’). That’s what ‘preventive’ means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be ‘combatants.’”

“Once known, the details of the proposal could — and likely will — make this even more extreme by extending the ‘preventive detention’ power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a ‘combatant,’” Greenwald continues. “After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based — namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain “dangerous” people even when they can’t prove they violated any laws — there’s no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly ‘dangerous’ combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.”

The Obama Administration appears to have embraced “preventive detention” in part because of problems with how Guantanamo prisoners’ cases — and incarceration — were handled under President Bush. Military prosecutors have said that numerous cases could not be brought successfully in civilian courts because evidence was obtained in ways that wouldn’t be admissible on US soil. The Bush Administration originally sought to try numerous detainees in military tribunals, but the Supreme Court ruled that at least some have the rights to challenge their detention in US courts.

Baker notes that Obama’s decision to hold suspects without charges doesn’t propose as broad an executive authority claimed by President Bush.

“Obama’s advisers are not embracing the more disputed Bush contention that the president has inherent power under the Constitution to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely regardless of Congress,” Baker writes.

In a statement to Baker, the Justice Department said, “The administration would rely on authority already provided by Congress [and] is not currently seeking additional authorization.”

“The position conveyed by the Justice Department in the meeting last week broke no new ground and was entirely consistent with information previously provided by the Justice Department to the Senate Armed Services Committee,” the statement added.

Roughly 50 detainees of the more than 200 still held at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are thought to be affected by the decision.

Marine who established prison camps: U.S. lost moral high ground

Obama Supports Renewing The PATRIOT ACT

Obama orders to leave torture, indefinite detention intact

 



Obama Supports Renewing The PATRIOT ACT

Obama Pushes For Renewal of Warrantless Spying

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
September 16, 2009

President Barack Obama has once again betrayed his promise to restore liberties eviscerated by the Bush regime by pushing Congress to renew Patriot Act provisions that allow for warrantless spying on American citizens, even in cases where there is no link to terrorism whatsoever.

According to a Wired News report, the “Obama administration has told Congress it supports renewing three provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire at year’s end, measures making it easier for the government to spy within the United States.”

Obama’s support for the provisions should come as little surprise because he first voted for warrantless wiretapping of Americans in 2008 when he was an Illinois Senator, while also lending support for immunizing the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits charging them with being complicit in the Bush administration’s wiretapping program.

One of the provisions Obama is pushing to renew is the so-called “lone wolf” provision, enacted in 2004, which allows for the electronic monitoring of an individual without the government having to prove that the case has any relation whatsoever to terrorism or a foreign power. This is in effect a carte blanche for the government to use every method at their disposal to spy on any American citizen they choose.

The “lone wolf” provision is opposed by the ACLU, whose legislative counsel Michelle Richardson told Wired, “The justification for FISA and these lower standards and letting it operate in secret was all about terrorist groups and foreign governments, that they posed a unique threat other than the normal criminal element. This lone wolf provision undercuts that justification.”

Another Patriot Act provision Obama wants Congress to renew gives the government access to business, library and medical records, with the authorities generally having to prove that the investigation is terrorism related. However, since according to Homeland Security guidelines the new breed of terrorist is classified as someone who supports a third party, puts a political bumper sticker on their car, is part of the alternative media, or merely someone who disagrees with the authorities’ official version of events on any given issue, the scope for the government to use this power against their political adversaries is wide open.

The third provision Obama is pushing to renew allows a FISA court to grant “roving wiretaps” without the government having to even identify their target. This is another carte blanche power that gives the state the power to monitor telephone calls, e mails and any other form of electronic communication.

Barack Obama swept into office on a mandate of “change” and a commitment to restore liberties that were eviscerated under the Bush regime. Despite promising to do so, he has failed completely to overturn Bush signing statements and executive orders that, according to Obama, “trampled on liberties.” Indeed, despite promising to end the use of signing statements, he has continued to use them.

Obama has failed to close Guantanamo Bay or any other CIA torture “black site” as he promised to do.

Obama has failed in his promise to “reject the Military Commissions Act” and instead has supported the use of military commissions.

Obama has continued to allow the rendition and torture of detainees, while protecting Bush administration officials who ordered torture from prosecution and blocking the release of evidence related to torture.

Obama has gone even further than the Bush administration in introducing “preventative detention” of detainees, ensuring people will never get a trial.

In restating his support for warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Obama has once again proven that his promise of “change” was nothing more than a hollow and deceptive political platitude to ensure his election. Since he took office, Obama has betrayed almost every promise he made and effectively become nothing more than the third term of the Bush administration.

 



Army Caught Spying on Anti-War Activists

Army Caught Spying on Anti-War Activists

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyBa0lek48o

Obama’s Military Is Spying on U.S. Activists

 



Instigated Uprising Leading To Martial Law

Instigated Uprising Leading To Martial Law

 



Obama’s Military Is Spying on U.S. Activists

Obama’s Military Is Spying on U.S. Activists

Amy Goodman
Common Dreams
July 29. 2009

Anti-war activists in Olympia, Wash., have exposed Army spying and infiltration of their groups, as well as intelligence gathering by the Air Force, the federal Capitol Police and the Coast Guard.

The infiltration appears to be in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act preventing U.S. military deployment for domestic law enforcement and may strengthen congressional demands for a full-scale investigation of U.S. intelligence activities, like the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s.

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn asked the city of Olympia for documents or e-mails about communications between the Olympia police and the military relating to anarchists, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) or the Industrial Workers of the World (Dunn’s union). Dunn received hundreds of documents. One e-mail contained reference to a “John J. Towery II,” who activists discovered was the same person as their fellow activist “John Jacob.”

Dunn told me: “John Jacob was actually a close friend of mine, so this week has been pretty difficult for me. He said he was an anarchist. He was really interested in SDS. He got involved with Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), with Iraq Vets Against the War. He was a kind person. He was a generous person. So it was really just a shock for me.”

“Jacob” told the activists he was a civilian employed at Fort Lewis Army Base and would share information about base activities that could help the PMR organize rallies and protests against public ports being used for troop and Stryker military vehicle deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2006, PMR activists have occasionally engaged in civil disobedience, blocking access to the port.

Larry Hildes, an attorney representing Washington activists, says the U.S. attorney prosecuting the cases against them, Brian Kipnis, specifically instructed the Army not to hand over any information about its intelligence-gathering activities, despite a court order to do so.

Which is why Dunn’s request to Olympia and the documents he obtained are so important.

The military is supposed to be barred from deploying on U.S. soil, or from spying on citizens. Christopher Pyle, now a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, was a military intelligence officer. He recalled: “In the 1960s, Army intelligence had 1,500 plainclothes agents [and some would watch] every demonstration of 20 people or more. They had a giant warehouse in Baltimore full of information on the law-abiding activities of American citizens, mainly protest politics.” Pyle later investigated the spying for two congressional committees: “As a result of those investigations, the entire U.S. Army Intelligence Command was abolished, and all of its files were burned. Then the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to stop the warrantless surveillance of electronic communications.”

Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Rush Holt, D-N.J., and others are pushing for a new, comprehensive investigation of all U.S. intelligence activities, of the scale of the Church Committee hearings, which exposed widespread spying on and disruption of legal domestic groups, attempts at assassination of foreign heads of state, and more.

Demands mount for information on and accountability for Vice President Dick Cheney’s alleged secret assassination squad, President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, and the CIA’s alleged misleading of Congress. But the spying in Olympia occurred well into the Obama administration (and may continue today). President Barack Obama supports retroactive immunity for telecom companies involved in the wiretapping, and has maintained Bush-era reliance on the state secrets privilege. Lee and Holt should take the information uncovered by Brendan Dunn and the Olympia activists and get the investigations started now.

 



Fein: Obama Has Gone Beyond Bush/Cheney

Fein: Obama Has Gone Beyond Bush/Cheney

 



’Einstein’ Program: The All-seeing eye of internet activity

’Einstein’ Program: The All-seeing eye of internet activity

Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
September 19, 2008

WMR has learned from government sources that the Bush administration has authorized massive surveillance of the Internet using as cover a cyber-security multi-billion dollar project called the “Einstein” program.

Billed as a cyber-security intrusion detection system for federal computer systems and networks, WMR has been told that the actual intent of Einstein is to initially monitor the email and web surfing activities of federal employees and contractors and not in protecting government computer systems from intrusion by outsiders.

In February 2008, President Bush signed a directive that designated the National Security Agency (NSA) as the central administrator for the federal government’s computer and network security.

Although Einstein is primarily a program under the aegis of the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) of the National Cyber Security Division of the Homeland Security Department, WMR has learned that it has the personal support of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell, a former NSA director. Einstein is advertised as merely conducting traffic analysis within the dot (.) gov and dot (.) mil domains, including data packet lengths, protocols, source and destination IP addresses, source and destination ports, time stamp information, and autonomous system numbers. However, WMR has learned that Einstein will also bore down into the text of email and analyze message content. In fact, most of the classified budget allotted to Einstein is being used for collecting information from the text of messages and not the header data.

In fact, WMR has learned that most of the classified technology being used for Einstein was developed for the NSA in conducting signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations on email networks in Russia. Code-named PINWHEEL, the NSA email surveillance system targets Russian government, military, diplomatic, and commercial email traffic and burrows into the text portions of the email to search for particular words and phrases of interest to NSA eavesdroppers. According to NSA documents obtained by WMR, there is an NSA system code-named ”PINWALE.”

The DNI and NSA also plan to move Einstein into the private sector by claiming the nation’s critical infrastructure, by nature, overlaps into the commercial sector. There are classified plans, already budgeted in so-called “black” projects, to extend Einstein surveillance into the dot (.) com, dot (.) edu, dot (.) int, and dot (.) org, as well as other Internet domains. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has budgeted $5.4 billion for Einstein in his department’s FY2009 information technology budget. However, this amount does not take into account the “black” budgets for Einstein proliferation throughout the U.S. telecommunications network contained in the budgets for NSA and DNI.

In anticipation of the regulatory problems inherent in domestic email surveillance by the NSA, the Bush administration has ensured that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and industry associations have been stacked with pro-surveillance loyalists to ensure that Einstein is widely accepted and implemented.