Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Trump DOJ Obtained Data on Schiff and Swalwell, Two Long-Time Champions of Domestic Spying, by Glenn Greenwald

Most of official Washington believe in all-encompassing surveillance on everybody but themselves. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The two California Democrats join the long list of politicians who enable spying on ordinary citizens, then angrily object when they themselves are targeted.

: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) (L) and committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) return to a closed-door hearing at the U.S. Capitol March 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Trump Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 issued subpoenas to Apple to obtain the communications records of at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). According to The New York Times, DOJ prosecutors attempting to determine who leaked classified information to the media about Russiagate suspected the two House Democrats were the culprits, and to prove that, they obtained their communications records as well as those of family members, including minor children.

A DOJ leak investigation aimed at sitting members of Congress is highly unusual. Both the Obama and Trump administrations, in a hunt for leakers, created controversy by obtaining the communications records of journalists, including — in the case of the Obama DOJ — the family members of those journalists. But investigating members of the House Intelligence Committee for leaking crimes — as opposed to corruption or other standard criminal charges — can present different dangers. Neither Congressman was charged with any crimes and the investigation reportedly bore no fruit.

The two House Democrats, among the most fanatical disseminators of baseless Russiagate conspiracies and long known to serve as anonymous sources of leaks to liberal media outlets, reacted with predictable outrage. “This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice,” Schiff intoned on Thursday night. As difficult as it is, Swalwell, as he often does, found a way to be even more melodramatic than Schiff: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

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The Lie That A Kinder, Gentler US Empire Is Possible, from Caitlin Johnstone

A soft, cuddly empire would be an historical first. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has once again been the center of an artificial controversy launched in bad faith, this time over a tweet where she mentioned the United States and Israel in the same breath as Hamas and the Taliban as perpetrators of “unthinkable atrocities”.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” Omar said while sharing a video of her wildly unsuccessful effort to get a straight answer from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on accountability for US and Israeli war crimes.

This provoked a bunch of ridiculous garment-rending histrionics from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, not because it is absurd to compare murderous warmongering regimes like the US and Israel with vastly less destructive regional forces like Hamas and the Taliban, but because it is considered unacceptable in mainstream politics to suggest that the US and Israel are anything other that beneficent powers who at worst make the occasional innocent oopsie.

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Professor: Historians Will Look Back On Lockdowns As ‘Most Catastrophic Event Of All Human History’, by Steve Watson

For the high and the mighty, because much of the damage has been to the poor and powerless, it doesn’t count. From Steve Watson at summit.news:

Every single poor person on the face of the earth has faced some harm, sometimes catastrophic harm, from this lockdown policy.”

Stanford University professor of medicine Jay Bhattacharya says that in years to come lockdowns will be looked back upon as the most catastrophically harmful policy in “all of history”.

Speaking on The London Telegraph podcast ‘Planet Normal’, Bhattacharya noted that government scientific advisors “remain attached” to the policy of lockdown in spite of the total “failure of this strategy”.

“I do think that future historians will look back on this and say this was the single biggest public health mistake, possibly of all history, in terms of the scope of the harm that it’s caused,” said Bhattacharya.

The epidemiologist added “Every single poor person on the face of the earth has faced some harm, sometimes catastrophic harm, from this lockdown policy.”

“Almost from the very beginning, lockdown was going to have enormous collateral consequences, things that are sometimes hard to see but are nevertheless real,” Bhattacharya added.

He further noted that serious mental and physical illnesses have been basically ignored and “we closed our eyes to them because we were so scared about the virus and so enamoured with this idea that the lockdown could stop the virus.”

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Struggle Session, by James Howard Kunstler

Only governments, politicians, and bureaucrats could screw up the Covid response as badly as its been screwed up. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Syllogism: Dr. Tony Fauci says he is The Science… Dr. Tony Fauci lied to the nation early and often about his relationship with the Wuhan lab and his role in the development of the Covid-19 virus… therefore, The Science is a liar! Say what…?  Yet another revered institution bites the dust! At this rate, will America ever be able to get its mind right?

Let’s face it: the government has done everything wrong around the Covid-19 episode from the start, and continues to this day. For a whole year since the outbreak, The Science (Dr. Fauci) managed to evade and bury the fact that he helped fund the gain-of-function (GOF) research of a bio-weapon for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The Science (Dr. Fauci) hid the fact that Dr. Fauci knew as early as 2012 that an Asian bat virus was in GOF development. In October, 2014, the Obama regime declared an official pause on funding for GOF research on influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses (though the Pentagon secretly kept funneling money into it). The Science (Dr. Fauci) got the official pause lifted on January 7, 2017, eleven days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, unbeknownst to Mr. Trump. Development of the enhanced SARS Covid-19 variant disease continued.

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Global Pushback Against Tyranny Has Begun, by Joseph Mercola

People are finally waking up to the reality that Covid was never about health, it was and is about power and control. Pushback is increasing, but will it be enough? From Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

March 20, 2021, on the 1-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdown, people in more than 40 countries took to the streets to peacefully demonstrate against COVID-19 lies and tyrannical measures.

The documentary above, “The Pushback,” details the day the world stood together against government overreach and the destruction of human rights — and why we must unite, every day, and push back.

Chances are, you didn’t hear about this global rallying cry for freedom, as the mainstream media have near-universally censored any news of it. The few that did report it either understated the global nature of the event and its attendance, or misrepresented the intent of this “Worldwide Freedom Day.”

Freedom From Fear

So, just what was the intent behind this global demonstration? In short, to tell our elected officials and unelected global leaders that we withdraw our consent to these unconstitutional overreaches and attempts to strip us of our rights and freedoms, and that we will no longer submit to and cower in fear. As noted in the film, fear and hysteria were carefully nurtured using a false narrative that said:

  • A deadly novel virus is sweeping across the planet
  • No one is immune and there’s no cure
  • Asymptomatic people are major disease vectors, and therefore:
  • We have to shut everything down, isolate everyone and wear masks until the whole world has been vaccinated

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Voting Rights: It’s ‘Racist’ Not to Let Democrats Cheat, by Ann Coulter

The Democrats are trying to cement themselves in power perpetually. The Republicans are responding with the trademark lack of fortitude, lest someone calls them racist. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

Voting Rights: It's 'Racist' Not to Let Democrats Cheat

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Why aren’t Republicans screaming from the rooftops about the Democrats’ plans to change voting rules to give themselves an advantage?Their sleazy election bills, HR 1, the “For the People Act,” and HR 4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” are intended to help Democrats win majorities in both houses of Congress, at which point they will ignore Republicans entirely, end the filibuster, and pass everything in AOC’s Dream Journal — amnesty, gun control, a wealth tax, and a rainbows and unicorns energy bill.

So it’s kind of important for Republicans to kill these bills in the crib. It shouldn’t be hard. All they have to do is tell people what’s in them.

Are Republicans counting on Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to save them? The GOP defeated Hillary Care in the 1990s far more decisively … then it came roaring back a few years later as Obamacare.

Currently, Manchin opposes the For the People bill, but supports the even more execrable John Lewis bill. Both will completely rewrite state election laws to favor Democrats, but at least For the People will be done by Congress. The John Lewis bill will give unelected bureaucrats at the Justice Department vast power to impose voting rules on the states. Based on previous such exercises of unaccountable power, 10-year-olds will soon have the right to vote. (See Title IX.)

Guatemala: The Human Rights Nightmare That Is the US Drug War, by James Bovard

The wars on drugs, poverty, and terrorism have all been spectacular failures, which in Washington means they’ve developed a constituency both inside and outside the government that presses for their perpetuation and funding. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala earlier this week to bestow millions of dollars in new foreign aid on that government. The Biden administration is pretending that giving more US tax dollars to Central American governments will miraculously reduce the surge of illegal immigrants that Biden’s appointees are welcoming in Arizona, Texas, and elsewhere. The purpose of Harris’s trip and the new handouts is not to solve that problem but simply to make the Biden administration appear to give a damn about the issue.

In her official statements during the visit, Harris included no admission of how the US drug war has been a pox on Guatemala. Her silence was no surprise considering Joe Biden’s nearly half century of fanaticism for that pointless crusade.

I learned about the wreckage of US drug policies when I visited Guatemala in 1992. I had been writing articles bashing drug prohibition for almost a decade at that point. But before that trip, I had only vague notions of the ravages being inflicted on hapless foreigners.

I went to Guatemala to give a couple speeches on the follies of protectionist trade policy, spurred by the publication the previous year of my book The Fair Trade Fraud (St. Martin’s Press). I was hosted by the president of Francisco Marroquín University, Manuel Ayau, a genial yet fearless fighter for free markets. I didn’t realize until I arrived that Ayau had recently been the presidential candidate of the “party of organized violence” and was on several left-wing “death lists.” Guatemala had shortages of almost everything except political assassinations. Ayau, a compact dynamo, was hepped up because he’d just gotten a laser sighting attachment for his Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry caliber .44 Magnum. As his chauffeur-bodyguard drove us around the capital city, Ayau trained that red dot on all sorts of targets. I was happy I was sitting behind him.

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China’s White Collar Workers Face Invasive Surveillance By ‘Big Tech’ Overlords, by Tyler Durden

This is a preview of coming attractions in the US, China’s the beta test. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

For a Communist nation, the People’s Republic has notoriously weak labor protections. While gig economy workers face tremendous pressure to put in long hours with few breaks, as it turns out, their white-collar cousins are facing similar pressures to put in long hours as well.

Nikkei’s story starts out with testimony from Andy Wang, an IT professional in Hong Kong, whose company has been ratcheting up efforts to monitor its workforce. They call it DiSanZhiYan, or “Third Eye.” The software, installed on the laptop of every employee, monitors all their communications and movements, as well as their browsing activity and software and app usage.

The invasive software would automatically file complaints and every once in a while an employee would be fired. Finally, things like 20-hours work days began to seem impossibly daunting.

Working from their floor in a downtown high-rise, the startup’s hundreds of employees were constantly, uncomfortably aware of being under Third Eye’s intent gaze.

The software would also automatically flag “suspicious behavior” such as visiting job-search sites or video streaming platforms. “Efficiency” reports would be generated weekly, summarizing their time spent by website and application.

“Bosses would check the reports regularly,” Wang said. Farther down the line, that could skew workers’ prospects for promotions and pay rises. They could also be used as evidence when the company looked to fire certain people, he added.

Even Wang himself was not exempt. High-definition surveillance cameras were installed around the floor, including in his office, and a receptionist would check the footage every day to monitor how long each employee spent on their lunch break, he said.

Nikkei’s latest story about these types of abuses at Chinese white collar firms just so happens to follow increased scrutiny of China’s human rights record in the wake of the Biden Administration’s condemnation of Beijing’s “genocidal” treatment of the Uyghers.

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The War Over Genetic Privacy Is Just Beginning, by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

How legally safeguarded and private should your genetic code be? From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

When you upload your DNA, you’re potentially becoming a genetic informant on the rest of your family.”— Law professor Elizabeth Joh

“Guilt by association” has taken on new connotations in the technological age.

All of those fascinating, genealogical searches that allow you to trace your family tree by way of a DNA sample can now be used against you and those you love.

As of 2019, more than 26 million people had added their DNA to ancestry databases. It’s estimated those databases could top 100 million profiles within the year, thanks to the aggressive marketing of companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe.

It’s a tempting proposition: provide some mega-corporation with a spit sample or a cheek swab, and in return, you get to learn everything about who you are, where you came from, and who is part of your extended your family.

The possibilities are endless.

You could be the fourth cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Or the illegitimate grandchild of an oil tycoon. Or the sibling of a serial killer.

Without even realizing it, by submitting your DNA to an ancestry database, you’re giving the police access to the genetic makeup, relationships and health profiles of every relative—past, present and future—in your family, whether or not they ever agreed to be part of such a database.

After all, a DNA print reveals everything about “who we are, where we come from, and who we will be.”

It’s what police like to refer to a “modern fingerprint.”

Whereas fingerprint technology created a watershed moment for police in their ability to “crack” a case, DNA technology is now being hailed by law enforcement agencies as the magic bullet in crime solving.

Indeed, police have begun using ancestry databases to solve cold cases that have remained unsolved for decades.

For instance, in 2018, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo was flagged as the notorious “Golden State Killer” through the use of genetic genealogy, which allows police to match up an unknown suspect’s crime scene DNA with that of any family members in a genealogy database. Police were able to identify DeAngelo using the DNA of a distant cousin found in a public DNA database. Once police narrowed the suspect list to DeAngelo, they tracked him—snatched up a tissue he had tossed in a trash can—and used his DNA on the tissue to connect him to a rash of rapes and murders from the 1970s and ‘80s.

Although DeAngelo was the first public arrest made using forensic genealogy, police have identified more than 150 suspects since then. Most recently, police relied on genetic genealogy to nab the killer of a 15-year-old girl who was stabbed to death nearly 50 years ago.

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Torture Enters the Courtroom, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Evidence obtained by tortured confession should be inadmissible in a US court of law, but it no longer is. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

For the first time in American history, a federal judge last week authorized the government to admit as evidence in a criminal case in a public courtroom words uttered by the defendant that were obtained under torture.

The fruits of torture — which is any cruel or degrading or intentionally painful or disorienting behavior visited upon a person in captivity to induce compliance or to gratify the torturer — are not permitted in any court in the United States, and their inducement is criminal.

Here is the backstory.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a low-level former member of the Taliban, is accused with others of plotting the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. He has been in U.S. custody since 2002 and at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2004. When he was first captured, he was turned over to the CIA for interrogation, not the Department of Justice for prosecution.

The practice of the federal government immediately following 9/11, when it captured anyone overseas from whom it believed it could extract national security information, was to hand the person over to the CIA for torture — the feds call it “enhanced interrogation” — at a “dark site” in a foreign country with which the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty.

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