Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama Quietly Backs Renewing Patriot Act Surveillance Provisions

By Willam Fisher, IPS News. Posted November 24, 2009.

Three contentious provisions are scheduled to expire next month; opponents of these sections have been pushing to roll them back. But Obama seems ready to renew them.

NEW YORK, 23 Nov (IPS) - With the health care debate preoccupying the mainstream media, it has gone virtually unreported that the Barack Obama administration is quietly supporting renewal of provisions of the George W. Bush-era USA Patriot Act that civil libertarians say infringe on basic freedoms.

And it is reportedly doing so over the objections of some prominent Democrats.

When a panicky Congress passed the act 45 days after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, three contentious parts of the law were scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and opponents of these sections have been pushing Congress to substitute new provisions with substantially strengthened civil liberties protections.

But with the apparent approval of the Obama White House and a number of Republicans -- and over the objections of liberal Senate Democrats including Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Dick Durbin of Illinois -- the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to extend the three provisions with only minor changes.

Those provisions would leave unaltered the power of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seize records and to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail in the course of counterterrorism investigations.

The parts of the act due to expire on Dec. 31 deal with:

National Security Letters (NSLs)

The FBI uses NSLs to compel Internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to turn over sensitive information about their customers and patrons. Using this data, the government can compile vast dossiers about innocent people.

The 'Material Support' Statute

This provision criminalizes providing "material support" to terrorists, defined as providing any tangible or intangible good, service or advice to a terrorist or designated group. As amended by the Patriot Act and other laws since Sep. 11, this section criminalizes a wide array of activities, regardless of whether they actually or intentionally further terrorist goals or organizations.

FISA Amendments Act of 2008

This past summer, Congress passed a law that permits the government to conduct warrantless and suspicion-less dragnet collection of U.S. residents' international telephone calls and e-mails.

Asked by IPS why committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and other Democrats chose to make only minor changes, Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, referred to "the secret and hypocritical lobbying by the Obama administration against reforms -- while publicly stating receptiveness to them." White House pressure, he speculated, "was undoubtedly a huge if lamentable factor".

He added that some committee members were cautious because of the recent arrests of Najibullah Zazi and others.

Zazi , a citizen of Afghanistan and a legal U.S. resident, was arrested in September as part of a group accused of planning to carry out acts of terrorism against the U.S. Zazi is said by the FBI to have attended courses and received instruction on weapons and explosives at an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.

Leahy acknowledged that, in light of these incidents, "This is no time to weaken or undermine the tools that law enforcement relies on to protect America."

Pitts told IPS, "Short-term and political considerations driven by dramatic events once again dramatically affected the need for a more sensible long-term, reasoned, rule-of-law approach."

"In the eight years since passage of the original Patriot Act, it's become clear that the escalating political competition to appear tough on terror -- and avoid being accused of being "soft on terror" -- brings perceived electoral benefits with few costs, with vital but fragile civil liberties being easily sacrificed," he added.

In contrast to the Senate, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved a version of the legislation containing several significant reforms. In a 16-10 party-line vote, the committee's version curbs some of the government's controversial surveillance powers.

The Patriot Act, passed by a landslide after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies additional powers to thwart terrorist activities, was reauthorized in 2005.

The legislation has been criticized by many from across the ideological spectrum as a threat to civil liberties, privacy and democratic traditions. Sections of the original act have been ruled unconstitutional, with certain provisions violating protected rights.

Judiciary Chair John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said the goal of the new legislation was to "craft a law that preserves both our national security and our national values".

The proposed new legislation would permit the so-called "lone wolf" provision to sunset. This authority removed the requirement that an individual needed to be an agent of a foreign power to be placed under surveillance by intelligence officials and permitted surveillance of individuals with a much lower evidentiary threshold than allowed under criminal surveillance procedures.

It was intended to allow the surveillance of individuals believed to be doing the bidding of foreign governments or terrorist organizations, even when the evidence of that connection was lacking.

The Justice Department maintains that the "lone wolf" authority is necessary, even though there is no evidence that it has been used. Its opponents believe that existing authorities are sufficient to achieve the goals of the lone wolf provision while more effectively protecting the rights of innocent citizens.

The proposed new House legislation would also restrict the use of national security letters. According to a Congressional Research Service report, "National security letters (NSL) are roughly comparable to administrative subpoenas. Intelligence agencies issue them for intelligence gathering purposes to telephone companies, Internet service providers, consumer credit reporting agencies, banks, and other financial institutions, directing the recipients to turn over certain customer records and similar information."

Under current law, intelligence agencies have few restrictions on the use of NSLs, and in numerous cases, have abused the authority. An FBI inspector general report in 2007 "found that the FBI used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies". The reform provisions seek to create greater judicial scrutiny of NSL use.

The bill approved in the Senate contains much more modest reforms. It would retain the lone wolf provision, and is, in general, much more in line with the wishes of the administration. Should both bills pass and go into conference to be reconciled, it is unclear which approach would prevail.

House and Senate versions still need to be voted on by each body separately and then reconciled into a single bill to send to the president for signature.

Pitts told IPS, "President Obama's flip-flop on Patriot Act issues does as much damage as did his flip-flop on the FISA Amendments Act and telecom immunity last year. But it's imperative that we fight, while we still can, to comprehensively reinsert requirements for fact-based, individualized suspicion, checks and balances, and meaningful judicial review prior to government intrusions."

In a report on the Patriot Act, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, "More than seven years after its implementation there is little evidence that the Patriot Act has been effective in making America more secure from terrorists. However, there are many unfortunate examples that the government abused these authorities in ways that both violate the rights of innocent people and squander precious security resources."

Digg! Share on facebook submit to reddit Bookmark on Delicious Stumble This TweetThis

See more stories tagged with: patriot act, fbi, barack obama, surveillance, fisa, russ feingold, telecoms, dick durbin, national security letters, warrantless wiretappinh

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Liked this story? Get top stories in your inbox each week from Rights and Liberties! Sign up now »

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Censorship of Continuing Counter Reformation War

from Continuing Counter Reformation:

North & South:
Prussia to Trieste

Amber Path

From Continuing Counter Reformation- November 2008 & July 2009:

from Avles Beluskes Exposed:



From Adriatische Gegenreformation Krieg Heute

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cyber Persecution of Free Speech - episode I

We are all living in 'freedom'. So you can put which comment you want under the YouTube videos about the expulsion/emigration of the Italians from East Adriatic coasts, and of course under a YouTube video about the Fascist Irredentist persecutions against the Slovenians: “assassin Slav!”, “Fascist pig!”, and others attributes, even more offensive, are the most frequent comments you encounter there.

You can reach the level of the incitement of mass homicide when, for example, I read a comment inviting “to tie a barbed wire around the necks of the partisans in order to throw them into the holes”.

So YouTube is the reign of the Freedom. In appearance. You can put which comment you want, offending with the worst threatening words whoever you want, but….. don’t dare to name the Vatican and the Jesuits order as the true masterminds of the 1914 – 1945 Eurasian massacres!

"........The Counter Reformation war of Jesuit order and Vatican punished the Slovenians as Protestant born nation and erased the Italians from the coast as being liberal Catholics hence 'heretics and to have an alibi for future wars:".

What do you think about that my above comment? Offensive? Is it an inconceivable threat? When many of the same priests of Rome and liberal ('heretic') Roman Catholics secretly agreed with my statements, and were punished for this when discovered?

So don’t try to put such a “very dangerous, threatening, offensive” comment under videos as the ones treating the past tragedies. It will be never published, never sent, never posted. You must spare your tongue only to lick the asses of the Vatican and of the Jesuits order…. Ops! Pardon! Did I offend someone?

Here the videos. The first video is a conference of professor Pirjevec about his book. The title of the book is the same of that famous short movie, "Triest is ours!". Professor Pirjevec explains that "Triest is also ours!", as being also the Slovenians native of this area, they naturally feel a patriotic sentiment for the city strictly linked with their land, and are expressing it in their maternal language. So not a slogan of war. But a true war is raging on and is the one of the Cyberwar to Persecute the Freedom of Speech. In fact, after two comments the Romish axle cutted the wire to communicate with the page, and as you can see, since three days there it appears nothing:

( "Trst je naš!"

These ones are other videos, about the anti-fascist struggle of the Slovenian people and about the expulsions of the Italians. As you can see the username “avlesbeluskes” doesn’t appear, disappeared in the dark virtual holes/Foibe of the Cyber Counter Reformation persecution:

Istria Fiume e Dalmazia ESODO ISTRIANO

Trst je Naš

Day of Reformation, national holyday of Slovenia!

The Truth disturbs the minister Frattini

Free Speech Beneath US Homeland Security

(As I have no time, no resources, no money, no support at disposition, it is clear that what I wrote is affected by many errors and uncorrectness. I am not a prostitute lay journalist of this dirty Vatican 'tollerant' regime called 'democracy'. I have not the 51% of the Bank of America supporting my writings. I don't control the Casinò of Ostenda and neither Citroen and Peugeot as the General Superior did at least in 1958. So corrections and additions could appear in the future)