Bill of Rights

Human Rights Watch lists Trump as threat to human rights (1/14/2017)

Amnesty International Report 2017/18: The state of the world's human rights (2/22/2018) A pdf. See the US entry.

"...the Second Amendment is not an important aspect of modern liberal democracy. It does not protect or defend the rights of citizens; to the contrary, it results in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year. One might even be tempted to conclude the opposite: that the Second Amendment presents a challenge to liberal democracy because it enables "lone wolf" terror, mobilizes counterterror agents, necessitates heavily armed police, and perpetrates a level of violence and murder not found in an other democracy ot the world" Democracy Betrayed : William W Keller
The Patriot Act inverts the constitutional requirement that people's lives be private and the work of government officials be public; it instead crafts a set of conditions in which our inner lives become transparent and the workings of the government become opaque. Either one of these outcomes would imperil democracy; together they not only injure the country but also cut off the avenues of repair. Elaine Scarry
“Any state that has the capacity to monitor all its citizenry, any state that has the ability to snuff out factual public debate through the control of information, any state that has the tools to instantly shut down all dissent, is totalitarian. The state may not use this power today. But it will use it if it feels threatened." Wages of Rebellion, the Moral Imperative of Revolt: Chris Hedges pg 54
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”  Benjamin Franklin
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." Frederick Douglass, American Abolitionist, Letter to an associate, 1849
"Despite the mystique that surrounds it, and the understandable impulse to treat it as aberrant behavior beyond politics, torture is not particularly complicated or mysterious. A tool of the crudest kind of coercion, it crops up with great predictability when ever a local despot or a foreign occupier lacks the consent needed to rule...Just as ecologists define ecosystems by the presence of certain “indicator species” of plants and birds, torture is an indicator species a regime that is engaged in a deeply anti-democratic project, even if that regime happens to have come to power through elections.  Naomi Klein from her book Shock Doctrine.
All it takes is the signature of a low ranking NCO to send someone right around the world and have them locked up indefinitely but it takes the signature of the secretary of defense to let them go." --Torin Nelson, Private Intelligence Contractor 
... prevailing dogma in this historic moment is escalating authoritarianism. This dogma is rooted in our understandable paranoia toward potential terrorists, our traditional fear of too many liberties, and our deep distrust of one another. The Patriot Act is but the peak of an iceberg that has widened the scope of the repression of our hard-earned rights and hard-fought liberties. The Supreme Court has helped lead the way with its support of the Patriot Act. There are, however, determined democrats on the Court who are deeply concerned, as expressed in a recent speech of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “On important issues,” she said, “like the balance between liberty and security, if the public doesn’t care, then the security side is going to overweigh the other.” The cowardly terrorist attacks of 9/11 have been cannon fodder for the tightening of surveillance. The loosening of legal protection and slow closing of meaningful access to the oversight of governmental activities—measures deemed necessary in the myopic view of many—are justified by the notion that safety trumps liberty and security dictates the perimeters of freedom. Cornel West: Democracy Matters
"The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live,” FDR Second Bill of Rights.
Virtually all constitutionally protected civil liberties have been undermined by the drug war. The Court has been busy in recent years approving mandatory drug testing of employees and students, upholding random searches and sweeps of public schools and students, permitting police to obtain search warrants based on an an anonymous informant's tip, expanding the government's wiretapping authority, legitimating the use of paid, unidentified informants by police and prosecutors, approving the use of helicopter surveillance of homes without a warrant, and allowing the forfeiture of cash, homes, and other property based on unproven allegations of illegal drug activity. Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow page 61.
'Homeland security is a "one-way ratchet." It is relatively easy for governments to decide to increase security, particularly in response to specific threat intelligence. It is much harder for them to decrease it.' from CFR

Donald Trump’s surveillance state: All the tools to suppress dissent and kill free speech are already in place (11/27/2016)

The Illusion of Freedom (12/27/2015)

Human Rights Watch 2015 Report on the US

How We Lost Our Freedom (12/20/2014)

UN Human Rights Commissioner Supports Snowden and Denounces US Surveillance Programs (7/17/2014)

Bill of Rights Rollback in the US Borderlands (7/15/2014)

The Crime of Peaceful Protest (4/27/2014)

‘Surveillance State Repeal Act’ Picks Up Support! (10/20/2013)

Noam Chomsky: 'The Foundations of Liberty Are Ripped to Shreds' (9/25/2013)

The Origins of Our Police State (9/16/2013)

Greenwald: Is U.S. Exaggerating Threat to Embassies to Silence Critics of NSA Domestic Surveillance? (video 8/5/2013)

The State Fears Its Own People: Noam Chomsky (7/29/2013)

The Horrors Unleashed by Police Militarization (7/10/2013)

All The Ways You're Being Watched (6/15/2013)

"You're Being Watched": Edward Snowden (6/10/2013)

The Homeland Security Apparatus: Fusion Centers, Data Mining and Private Sector Partners (5/22/2013)

How The Government Targeted Occupy (5/21/2013)

Symbols of Bush Era Lawlessness Flourish Under Obama (4/2/2013)

The Rise and Fall Of the Presumption of Innocence (3/19/2013)

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State (2/11/2013)

Warrentless Laptop Searches at the Border are A-OK (2/8/2013)

Geeks are the new guardians of our civil liberties (2/4/2013)

Will Obama the Constitutional Lawyer Please Stand Up ? (2/2013)

Signs of an Emerging Police State (10/10/2012)

The Great Charter, It's Fate and Ours (7/22/2012)

What Everyone Needs To Know About CISPA (4/29/2012)

You are all suspects now, what are you going to do about it ? (4/28/2012)

Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us (4/10/12)

Fifteen Things Neither Romney or Obama Is Brave Enough to Stand For (10/26/2012)

It's not in the news, but the Bill of Rights is shrinking fast. Privacy is a quaint notion. The "Patriot Act", Orwellian Republican term for their anti-democratic agenda, was just the beginning.  Now torture, assassinations, renditions, are routine procedures for the national security state.

Now that we know about the NSA's policy of universal surveillance, it is difficult to see how we can retain ANY of our civil liberties. As whistleblowers are vigorously prosecuted, journalists are closely tracked, public information becomes more limited, dissidents harassed, media useless, and democracy dies.

Americans are rapidly losing their civil liberties to their militarized state. Because of the outlandish size of the military budget, it was probably inevitable. (See Fascism.)

Police State Minus One Day And Counting. In late October Congress signed an anti-terrorism bill that undermined basic protections against police intrusion. It also attacks freedom of assembly. This article was originally published on Newsforge the day before the bill (S.1510) was passed. The only proposed provision that Congress rejected was that for indefinite detention of noncitizens without trial; Bush then proposed military trials as a way to get the same job done.

We should reconsider the Bill of Rights.

Some ideas ARE better than others. There are views which should not be tolerated, so the First Amendment should not be absolute. See Religion.

The Second Amendment needs reconsideration as well.

Connecticut librarians should be congratulated. In spite of a gag order (they could tell no one about it) they heroically challenged the Patriot Act.

The End of America: Naomi Wolf (Watch it on-line for free.)

The Raping of America: Mile Markers on the Road to Fascism (8/24/2015)

Sexual Humiliation, a tool to control the masses (4/6/2012)

America's Death Squads (3/2012)

The Man Who Shot Habeas Corpus (1/6/2012)

Set Your Doomsday Clock to 11:51 (12/16/2011)

The Liberties We've Lost in the "War on Terror" Are Only Lost Temporarily, Right ? (12/6/2011)

The Making of a Prison Society (11/29/2011)

Thought Crime In Washington (11/27/2011)

Stand Up Against TSA's Invasive Security Procedures (11/19/2010)

This is More About Money Than It is Security (11/17/2010)

About Fusion Centers... (11/2/2010)

American heroes stand up to the TSA

Beware the Computer Police State Policies (10/1/2010)

The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves (8/26/2010)

The New Normal

Congress Reauthorizes the Patriot Act, Sidesteps Privacy Concerns. (2/26/2010)

The U.S. is Now a Police State (2/10/2010)

The Emerging Police State (Chuck Baldwin)

Rights and Liberties

Reform the Patriot Act

Let's Kill Big Brother (9/27/2009)

Detention Camps are Real

Warrentless Wiretaps

Domestic Spying


'Repression' is just an American reality (8/4/2007)

Reform the Patriot Act

N.S.A.'s Pinwale Examines Large Volumes of US E-mail Messages Without Court Warrants (6/17/2009)

John Ashcroft, Keep Your Mouth Off My Wife! (5/4/2004)

NSA has revived the TIA program (1/2004)

Army deploys Troops for coming Civil Insurrection

It is inevitable that as the empire expands, so does the national security state, the military budget absorbs resources that might continue civilization, civil liberties continue to shrink, and we continue our race for the bottom. The ratchet up for the national security state only works one way. Tighter.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL: The War on Our Civil Liberties (Video 1:08) Watch it on line.

Russ Feingold on the Patriot Act (video)

Obama Administration Embraces Bush Position on Warrantless Wiretapping and Secrecy (4/6/2009)

Troops deployed on US streets for 'crowd control'

Scientists think Anthrax from Fort Detrick (5/29/08)

Is your Bank tracking Your Movements ? (01/25/2008)

FBI terrorist watch list hits 1 million entries (3/12/2009)

The End of the Internet ?

US plans to fight the net

The Invisible Battle over Posse Comitatus (10/23/2008)

FBI Seeks Sweeping New Powers (8/23/2008)

The Constitution doesn't poll very well. (8/20/2008)

A Warning about Patriot Act Lite: 11/28/2007

The FISA bill's real target is freedom of the press

As domestic spying increases, your Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizures are pretty much gone. Take a look at the Privacy page also.

The Supreme Court has rolled back the seventh amendment.

Chuck Baldwin is the Military Commissions Act: A Precursor To Tyranny?

It is not just that there are serious problems with US elections, that media is controlled by large conglomerates, that much of the economy has been militarized, or that secrecy pervades the discussion of public policy. No one has habeas corpus rights any longer..

Denver: Military commandos, SWAT train for terror in 'realistic urban environment' --'Routine' activity part of training for 'war on terror' 17 Jun 2008 Those mysterious black helicopters buzzing Denver last night weren't just your paranoid imagination. Several military choppers flew low around downtown and Coors Field during the Colorado Rockies game Monday night and the show isn't over. U.S. military Special Operations commandos will be conducting the airborne training with Denver police SWAT teams and firefighters from early afternoon until 11 p.m. through Friday night. It's the end of a two-week joint exercise between special ops troops and police and fire to prepare for a terrorism threat in a "realistic urban environment," said Lt. Steve Ruh, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

'It's like a SWAT raid over there.' Military, police choppers conduct security exercise 16 Jun 2008 A half dozen military and law enforcement helicopters buzzed above the Pepsi Center Monday night in a drill to train for the Democratic National Convention in August, Denver police said. Maneuvers over downtown were coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, but authorities would not release details of the training.


(2007) The US President has taken it upon himself to ignore the law with signing statements, to disappear people, to wiretap without oversight, to datamine internet search records, financial and commercial records, to torture, to override the Bill of Rights, the Congress has ceded its war making powers and its oversight responsibility. The disastrous policies of an unwise and dubiously elected President are going unexamined, unchallenged, and approved by a packed Supreme Court. Checks and balances no longer function and that is the end of the Constitution.

Militarized State

Bush moved toward martial law. We need to reaffirm the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878

Exposing the Global Surveillance System


900,000 names on US terrorists watch list

About democracy. Do ANY US institutions favor it ?

Habeas Corpus

Late September 2006, the president signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned, provided the president does not think it should apply to you and declares you an enemy combatant... Does that not basically mean that if Mr. Bush or Mr. Rumsfeld say so, anybody in this country, citizen or not, innocent or not, can end up being an unlawful enemy combatant? Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor: It certainly does. In fact, later on, it says that if you even give material support to an organization that the president deems connected to one of these groups, you too can be an enemy combatant. And the fact that he appoints this tribunal is meaningless. You know, standing behind him at the signing ceremony was his attorney general, who signed a memo that said that you could torture people, that you could do harm to them to the point of organ failure or death. So if he appoints someone like that to be attorney general, you can imagine who he’s going be putting on this board." (From 10/18/06 CLG news) Keith Olbermann:

Jimmy Carter writes in his book "Our Endangered Values" (starting around page 120).

"The International Committee of the Red Cross reported registering 107 detainees under eighteen, some as young as eight years old. The journalist Seymour Hersh, reported in May 2005 that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had received a report that there were "800-900 Pakistani boys 13-15 years of age in custody." The International Red Cross, Amnesty International, and the Pentagon have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children, confirmed by soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse." ...

"Physicians for Human Rights reported in April 2005 that "at least since 2002, the United States has been engaged in systematic psychological torture of Guantanamo detainees that has "led to devastating health consequences for the individuals subjected to" it. The prisoners' outlook on life was not improved when the Secretary of Defense declared that most of them would not be released even if they were someday tried and found to be innocent. "...

In spite of this activity, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act   that:

  • Let the President or even the Secretary of Defense declare anyone- even US citizens - an "unlawful enemy combatant".
  • Deny court review for prisoners who are not US citizens - an 800 year old right (habeas corpus) that is enshrined in the US Constitution.  
  • Strip the US courts of jurisdiction to hear or consider habeas corpus appeals  
  • Prohibit any person from invoking the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights in any US court
  • Gut the War Crimes Act, giving immunity to civilians who ordered or tolerated the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere since 9/11. Violations of the Geneva Conventions are no longer criminal offenses under US law.


Four prosecutors In the Guantanamo Bay case assert that the trials are rigged and that convictions are already assured despite the fact that there is scant evidence to link Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his cohorts with 9/11, proving that the official story is a fable and the real perpetrators are being protected.  

Dean Koh on Repairing America's Human Rights Reputation

PATRIOT Renewal Rubber Stamped, NSA Spying May Be Next

Despite the best efforts of EFF, other civil liberties organizations, and their supporters, Americans' privacy rights took some serious body-blows from Congress. For more on the PATRIOT Act: The USA PATRIOT Act was renewed without meaningful reform, and key Congressmen backed away from a full investigation of the NSA's domestic spying program, instead making a deal with the White House to legalize it.

Whether because of election year fears or White House pressures, Republican Senators who had been holding out for significant new checks on the PATRIOT Act dropped the fight when offered a few sham reforms. The renewal bill was then quickly approved by the Senate and, this week, approved by the House and signed by the President.

Why are the "compromise" bill's three reforms worthless? Let's take each in turn.

The bill provides a procedure for recipients of super-secret National Security Letters (NSLs) to challenge the never-ending gag orders that accompany these FBI-issued subpoenas. But the ACLU (with help from EFF) already demonstrated that these gag orders could be successfully challenged in court without a change to the law. This new "reform" actually makes things worse: under the new law, these gag orders can't be challenged at all within a year of being issued, and if the government simply tells the court that lifting the gag order will hurt national security, the government wins. We think this procedure is just as unconstitutional as the original law.

The bill didn't include a requirement that NSL recipients seeking legal advice disclose their lawyer's name to the FBI. But this "reform" simply removed something bad from one of the renewal bill's earlier versions; it didn't change the original PATRIOT Act at all.

Finally, the bill clarified that NSLs can't be served on libraries that don't provide electronic communication services. But NSLs already can't be served on libraries lacking those services.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Senate Republicans this week stated that they had reached a deal with the White House to legalize the NSA's domestic spying program. The agreement allows government investigators to conduct warrantless wiretaps for up to 45 days before having to go to a court, even in non-emergency situations. Currently, the law only allows such surveillance without a warrant for 72 hours in emergencies and for 15 days by the Executive when war is declared. Because of this deal, an in-depth Congressional investigation of the NSA program -- what it actually involves and whether it broke the law -- has been deflected for now.

Nevertheless, this week's events shouldn't be taken as final defeats. Members of Congress who were dissatisfied with the PATRIOT bill -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- are already proposing new non-sham reforms, while the plan to legalize the NSA Program still has opponents on both sides of the aisle. EFF believes that the spying program did in fact break the law and violate the Constitution, as we have alleged in our lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA with this massive fishing expedition into Americans' private communications. As always, EFF will stay on the front lines and fight hard to ensure that your civil liberties are protected.

Posted by Kevin Bankston at 01:58 PM | USA PATRIOT | Permalink | Technorati

National Security State



The Airport: A Freedom Free Zone.

Whistleblower: NSA Targeted Journalists, Snooped on All U.S. Communications (1/22/2009)

Fourth Amendment Destruction Device (03/2008)

Dodd fixing the Military Commissions Act (11/2006)

Right to Travel

Secrecy in government is the enemy of democracy. Consider the 'No Fly List' or flight screening procedures. "...the program is exempt from certain requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 that allow, for instance, people to access records to determine "if the system contains a record pertaining to a particular individual" and "for the purpose of contesting the content of the record." (from the Washington Post.)

U.S. Plans to Screen All Who Enter, Leave Country --Personal Data Will Be Cross-Checked With Terrorism Watch Lists; Risk Profiles to Be Stored for Years. 03 Nov 2006. The federal government disclosed details yesterday of a border-security program to screen all people who enter and leave the United States, create a terrorism risk profile of each individual and retain that information for up to 40 years. While long known to scrutinize air travelers, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking to apply new technology to perform similar checks on people who enter or leave the country "by automobile or on foot," the notice said... "They are assigning a suspicion level to millions of law-abiding citizens," said David Sobel, senior counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "This is about as Kafkaesque as you can get."

Letter to the CLG Editor: DHS Screening By James I. Monroe 06 Nov 2006 Trying to escape? Remember when we thought the Communists were oppressive when they kept people from escaping? Now the United States publishes that US citizens are going to have to show ID to leave the country while only a few newspapers, the ACLU and a few others seem to notice.

U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons --Court Is Asked to Bar Detainees From Talking About Interrogations 04 Nov 2006 The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" [torture] that their captors used to get them to talk... Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held.

U.S. seeks silence from CIA prisoners: W. Post 03 Nov 2006 The Bush administration is arguing that detainees held in secret CIA prisons shouldn't be allowed to describe in court how they were interrogated, the Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition. The government believes that interrogation methods used by the CIA are among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets, and that their release "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage," the Post said, citing recent court filings.

U.S. Seeks to Silence Terror Suspect --U.S.: Detainee Shouldn't Be Allowed to Tell Attorney About CIA's Interrogation Techniques 04 Nov 2006 A suspected terrorist who spent years in a secret CIA prison should not be allowed to speak to a civilian attorney, the Bush administration argues, because he could reveal the agency's closely guarded interrogation techniques. Human rights groups have questioned the CIA's methods for questioning suspects, especially following the passage of a bill last month that authorized the use of harsh but undefined interrogation tactics.

Seattle U honors Guantánamo case lawyer 04 Nov 2006 The Navy lawyer [Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift] who led a successful U.S. Supreme Court challenge of the Bush regime's military tribunals for Guantánamo detainees has received a Distinguished Alumnus award from Seattle University Law School.

Heinz Field arrests spur terror response 06 Nov 2006 (Pittsburgh) Two Carnegie Mellon University students caught trying to sneak into Heinz Field in the middle of the night -- purportedly to film a music video -- prompted an anti-terrorist response that included pumped-up security at yesterday's Steelers game against the Broncos. The two young men were being held last night in the Allegheny County Jail on $1 million straight bond each.

3 Calif. schools to fingerprint students 05 Nov 2006 A plan to fingerprint elementary school students when they buy lunch has some parents worrying that Big Brother has come to the cafeteria.

325,000 Names on Terrorism List

Registering animals.

911 "Wargames" Insider Placed in Charge of CIA


"General Hayden was at the heart of the play calling on September 11, 2001. Yeah - same guy that helped to refine Echelon (it has been in existence, in its earliest form, since 1948) to its current capabilities. This is what I get for being out of the loop for two years. This news is months old. Here, I point it out because it further illuminates the connections between Echelon, the NRO, and 9/11. Here, you will see that General Hayden is deemed the man responsible for the creation of Trailblazer. Also, it is said in this video that two billion dollars went into Trailblazer. Click here for information on an amazing 'coincidence' regarding this figure."


Strange Culture (video of film trailor)



real id


Supreme Court

FISA Court



Death Penalty

Pogo Was Right

About the Fourth Amendment



First Amendment Project

Shouting Fire (Liz Garbus)


Battlefield America: The War on the American People: John W. Whitehead (Author), Ron Paul (Foreword)

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World: Timothy Garton Ash

Tyranny of Silence, How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate On the Future of Free Speech: Flemming Rose

Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America: David K. Shipler

Human Rights in the United States,Beyond Exceptionalism: Shareen Hertel & Kathryn Libal, (Eds) University of Connecticut Editors.

The Fight For the Four Freedoms: Harvey Kaye

The United States of Fear: Tom Engelhardt

Subversives: Seth Rosenfeld

Dissent or Terror: How The Nations Counter terrorism Apparatus in Partnership with Corporate America, turned on Occupy Wall Street (pdf)

Taking Liberties The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy: Susan Herman:

One Nation, Under Surveillance: Simon Chesternam (pdf version free on-line)

The Power of Habeas Corpus: Anthony Gregory

Delusions of Power: Robert Higgs

The Second Bill Of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever: Cass R. Sunstein

Terrorism and the Constitution: David Cole and James X. Dempsey

Gag Rule: Lewis H. Lapham

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