Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Brennan, Rice, Power — Lock Them Up! by David Stockman

David Stockman argues that the biggest problem with the surveillance apparatus behind the effort to depose Donald Trump is the surveillance apparatus itself. If you shred the constitution and throw civil liberties out the window, bad things, including palace coups, happen. From Stockman at lewrockwell.com:

We frequently hear people say they have nothing to hide—-so surrendering privacy and constitutional rights to the Surveillance State may not be such a big deal if it helps catch a terrorist or two. But with each passing day in the RussiaGate drama we are learning that this superficial exoneration is dangerously beside the point.

We are referring here to the unrelenting witch hunt that has been unleashed by Imperial Washington against the legitimately elected President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This campaign of lies, leaks and Russophobia is the handiwork of Obama’s top national security advisors, who blatantly misused Washington’s surveillance apparatus to discredit Trump and to effectively nullify America’s democratic process.

That is, constitutional protections and liberties were systematically breached, but not simply to intimidate, hush or lock up citizens one by one as per the standard totalitarian modus operandi. Instead, what has happened is that the entire public debate has been hijacked by the shadowy forces of the Deep State and their partisan and media collaborators.

The enabling culprits are Obama’s last CIA director, John Brennan, his national security advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power. There is now mounting evidence that it was they who illegally “unmasked” NSA intercepts from Trump Tower; they who confected the Russian meddling narrative from behind the protective moat of classified intelligence; and they who orchestrated a systematic campaign of leaks and phony intelligence reports during the presidential transition—-all designed to delegitimize Trump before he even took the oath of office.

To continue reading: Brennan, Rice, Power — Lock Them Up!

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Storage Cubby “Criminals”, by Eric Peters

Hidden compartments in cars may soon be illegal, even if they’re not hiding anything illegal, or anything at all. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

You may be aware that cops can simply steal – yes, that’s exactly the correct word – cash found on your person or in your vehicle, in the course of a traffic stop, say – solely on account of it being an “excessive” amount.

“Excessive” being entirely up to them to define.

It could be $10,000 – or $1,000. There is no specific amount of cash defined by statute that crosses a legal threshold. Thus, one cannot know ahead of time not to carry, say, $5,000 – but $500 is ok.

It is enough that a government worker with a gun considers whatevercash you are found to have in your possession “excessive.”

And these armed government workers can legally stealit from you on the basis of the cash being the presumptive – but not proved – fruits of some illegal activity, usually imputed to be the selling or buying of arbitrarily illegal drugs.

This bears repeating – it need not be proved in a court of law that the money found was obtained illegally.

It is not even necessary to formally charge a person to legally steal their money – provided the thief is an armed government worker stealing it on behalf of the government.

Interestingly, these armed government workers prefer to be called law enforcement, even when they aren’t enforcing any known laws and are in fact abusing the law  – it being legal to possess cash and transport cash. This of course matters not at all when armed government workers decide they want your cash. Then, they just take it.

That is, steal it.

How else to describe it?

And you are powerless – legally – to do a thingabout it.

Perhaps, later – at your expense, both of time and money – you will be able to prove your innocence of drug trafficking to the satisfaction of a judge and he may return your money. But it is no longer necessary for a court to establish your guilt.

This is not new – or news.

To continue reading: Storage Cubby “Criminals”

Jeff Sessions Moves to Make it Easier for Government to Steal Property of Innocent American Citizens, by Michael Krieger

Civil asset forfeiture is an appalling practice that takes people’s property without anything approaching due process. Attorney General Jeff Session undoubtedly lowers himself a few more rungs in hell by proposing to expand the practice. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Civil asset forfeiture has been a key topic here at Liberty Blitzkrieg over the years for one very obvious reason. The practice has absolutely no place in any halfway humane and decent civilization. The fact that this barbaric, authoritarian practice somehow has legal protection in these United States says so much about the state of the nation and the level of thuggishness we’re willing to put up with as a people.

For new readers who aren’t familiar with the subject, here’s a quick refresher:

Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Additionally, many states allow law enforcement agencies to keep cash that they seize, creating what critics characterize as a profit motive. The practice is widespread: In 2014, federal law enforcement officers took more property from citizens than burglars did. State and local authorities seized untold millions more.

Since 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration alone has taken more than $3 billion in cash from people not charged with any crime, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The practice is ripe for abuse. In one case in 2016, Oklahoma police seized $53,000 owned by a Christian band, an orphanage and a church after stopping a man on a highway for a broken taillight. A few years earlier, a Michigan drug task force raided the home of a self-described “soccer mom,”suspecting she was not in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana law. They proceeded to take “every belonging” from the family, including tools, a bicycle and her daughter’s birthday money.

To continue reading: Jeff Sessions Moves to Make it Easier for Government to Steal Property of Innocent American Citizens

Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump” by Tyler Durden

You can’t create one-time exceptions in the law for people you don’t like. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Over the past 9 months, as the media has launched an all out offensive on the Trump administration for crimes that have yet to be even identified with any level of specificity much less proven, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has tried to be a voice of reason by appearing on numerous talk shows to discuss facts and legal precedents as opposed to innuendo and baseless accusations.

Just last week Dershowitz blasted the New York Times for suggesting that Trump Jr.’s meeting with the now infamous Russian lawyer was an “act of treason” saying that while such actions may be “reprehensible” they’re not technically illegal. Meanwhile, Dershowitz has argued all along that “not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.”  Per an opinion piece from Dershowitz published by The Hill:

My critics have argued for an extraordinarily broad definition of corruption capable of being expanded to fit nearly everything Trump has done — from firing FBI Director James Comey, to asking him to consider dropping the investigation of General Michael Flynn, to his son’s meeting with Russian surrogates.

This is the way the New York Times put it in its story about the court’s narrowing the meaning of corruption in the context of federal criminal law: “There was a time when political corruption might have been described — as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography — as something you knew when you saw it.” In other words, it was in the eye of the beholder rather than in a precise statutory definition.

That dangerous time — dangerous because it substituted the rule of individual prosecutors for the rule of law — came to a gradual end over the past several years as the Supreme Court repeatedly cabined the definition of corruption under federal statutes. It ruled that not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.

To continue reading: Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump”

 

How “Nothing to Hide” Leads to “Nowhere to Hide” – Why Privacy Matters in an Age of Tech Totalitarianism, from the Daily Bell

Your life may be on of pristine purity and goodness, but though you may think you have nothing to hide, you may still not want to give up your privacy. From the Daily Bell at dailybell.com:

Editor’s note: The following comes from a longtime journalist who specializes in writing for major media outlets and private companies about robots, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Would you allow a government official into your bedroom on your honeymoon? Or let your mother-in-law hear and record every conversation that takes place in your home or car – especially disagreements with your husband or wife? Would you let a stranger sit in on your children’s playdates so that he could better understand how to entice them with candy or a doll?

Guess what? If you bring your phone with you everywhere, or engage with a whole-house robo helper such as Alexa or Echo or Siri or Google, you’re opening up every aspect of your life to government officials, snooping (possibly criminal) hackers, and advertisers targeting you, your spouse and your children.

The following is not a screed against technology. But it is a plea to consider what we’re giving up when we hand over privacy, wholesale, to people whom we can neither see nor hear… people whose motives we cannot fathom.

The widened lanes of communication, and the conveniences that Smart Phones, wireless communities, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have fomented are indeed helpful to some extent. They allow, for example, for remote working, which allows people to spend more time with their families and less time commuting. In areas such as the energy business, the field of predictive analytics, born of Big Data and the Industrial Internet, helps mitigate the danger of sending humans to oil rigs at sea. 

And on a personal level, of course, the conveniences are innumerable: Grandparentsliving far away can “see” their grandchildren more often than they could in years past, thanks to technology such as FaceTime and Skype.

To continue reading: How “Nothing to Hide” Leads to “Nowhere to Hide” – Why Privacy Matters in an Age of Tech Totalitarianism

 

Infowars, Breitbart, Drudge Could Soon Face An FEC ‘Inquisition’ Over Russian “Collusion”, by Alexander Paul

If you’re looking for foreign influence in the last election, the first place to look isn’t Moscow, but rather into how many immigrants from foreign lands illegally voted. From Alexander Paul at planetfreewill.com:

Conservative news outlets like Infowars, Breitbart and the Drudge Report could soon be facing an inquisition from the FEC for coordinating with the Russians to blitz the realm of social media with deceptive anti-Clinton stories that effectively could have influenced the 2016 presidential election.

This could happen if top Federal Election Commission Democrat, Ellen Weintraub, is able to get her way during this Thursday’s FEC meeting.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The plan, set for discussion at Thursday’s FEC meeting, could open the door to political subpoenas targeting the websites, their editorial news decisions, and their owners, maybe even Matt Drudge and Alex Jones, according to an expert analysis.

In her effort targeting foreign influence in federal and state elections, Commissioner Ellen Weintraub would probe spending by overseas sources and even partially-foreign-owned U.S. firms on campaigns, including their media buys. Foreign influence is illegal in elections.

She said that tackling foreign influence in elections could be the FEC’s finest hour, adding, “I believe that this Commission can indeed rise to the challenge of understanding what happened in the 2016 election and plugging any legal or procedural holes that could allow foreign actors to interfere with our future elections.”

Politico recently reported that “Weintraub’s interest was piqued by an article published last week by Time magazine that revealed intelligence officials had evidence that Russian agents bought Facebook ads to disseminate election-themed stories. It also indicated that congressional investigators were examining whether Russian efforts to spread such content were boosted by two U.S. companies with deep ties to Trump — Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica.”

The Time Magazine article which influenced Weintraub also pointed to Russian ties to conservative ownership and funding as a potential target of investigators. The report reads, citing McClatchy“FBI counterintelligence investigators were probing whether far-right sites like Breitbart News and Infowars had coordinated with Russian botnets to blitz social media with anti-Clinton stories, mixing fact and fiction when Trump was doing poorly in the campaign.”

To continue reading: Infowars, Breitbart, Drudge Could Soon Face An FEC ‘Inquisition’ Over Russian “Collusion”

 

Tear Gas, Guns and Riot Squads: The Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force, by John W. Whitehead

“They want us silent, servile and compliant.” That, in a nutshell, is what the ever-quickening erosion of free speech rights is all about. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”—Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting, Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104 (1972)

Forget everything you’ve ever been taught about free speech in America.

It’s all a lie.

There can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.

What is this language of force?

Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.

This is not the language of freedom.

This is not even the language of law and order.

This is the language of force.

Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo.

This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence.

A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history.

Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.

 

To continue reading: Tear Gas, Guns and Riot Squads: The Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force