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Archive for February 17th, 2011|Daily archive page

Senate Passes Extension of Patriot Act Provisions

In News, NWO on February 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM

LATimes:

Earlier this week, the House passed its own extension of provisions of the terrorist surveillance program set to expire at the end of the month.

The Senate late Tuesday passed a three-month extension of provisions of the USA Patriot Act as Congress works to avoid a lapse of elements of the terrorist surveillance program that expire at the end of the month.

Senate Democrats are hoping to avoid interjecting the national security issue into the 2012 presidential campaign by sending their bill to the Republican-led House, which earlier this week overcame opposition from conservative lawmakers to pass an extension through Dec. 8.

The Senate voted 86-12 to extend three expiring provisions of the act that became law after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Two Republicans, “tea-party”-backed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), joined Democrats in voting against the bill.

Extending the expiring provisions encountered a political setback last week in the House as conservative and tea-party-inspired lawmakers joined Democrats in the House to oppose the measure they see as an overreach of government authority.

Republican leaders have sought a permanent extension, which now appears politically difficult.

WLCentral:

On February 14, the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives had an opportunity to reject or approve an extension of governmental authority to use surveillance methods deemed permissible under the current Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act (pdf) and the USA Patriot Act, whose stated goal is “to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and other purposes,” including:

  • To strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism;
  • To subject to special scrutiny foreign jurisdictions, foreign financial institutions and classes of international transactions or types of accounts that are susceptible to criminal abuse;
  • To require all appropriate elements of the financial services industry to report potential money laundering;
  • To strengthen measures to prevent use of the U.S. financial system for personal gain by corrupt foreign officials and facilitate repatriation of stolen assets to the citizens of countries to whom such assets belong.

The nine-month renewal of three Patriot Act provisions cruised to approval today, with a vote of 275 to 144. There were 27 Republican no votes and 65 Democratic yes votes for the extension. The full voting breakdown can be seen here.

Here are the three renewed items from the original Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments, an html copy of which can be found here:

  • Section 6001(a) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act (IRTPA), also known as the “lone wolf” provision, which simplifies the evidentiary showing needed to obtain a FISA court order to target non-U.S. persons who engage in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor, specifically by authorizing such orders in the absence of a proven link between a targeted individual and a foreign power;
  • Section 206 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which permits multipoint, or “roving,” wiretaps—i.e., wiretaps which may follow a target even when he or she changes phones—by adding flexibility to the manner in which the subject of a FISA court order is specified; and
  • Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which broadens the types of records and other tangible things that can be made accessible to the government under FISA.

As Research fellow Julian Sanches points out in an excellent analysis of these provisions, the “lone wolf” authority allows for the monitoring of non- U.S. citizens in the U.S. “who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities … under the broad powers afforded by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), even if they are not connected to any overseas terror group or other ‘foreign power.'”

It was passed after FBI claimed the absence of “lone wolf” authority stymied efforts to monitor the infamous “20th 9/11 Hijacker”–but a bipartisan Senate report found that this failure was actually the result of a series of gross errors by the FBI, not any gap in government surveillance powers.

Lone Wolf also blurs the traditional distinction between foreign intelligence and investigations involving domestic national security.

The way the statute is written, Lone Wolf authority is only available in circumstances where investigators would already be able to obtain a criminal terrorism wiretap. Given of the sweeping nature of FISA surveillance, that more narrow criminal surveillance authority should be employed when the special needs imposed by the involvement of a “foreign power” are not present.

Roving wiretap authority, the second item, allows wiretapping court orders to apply to multiple phone lines, in the event that a suspect is using more than one. Traditional wiretap authority in criminal cases only applied to one phone line. This is significant because the traditional requirement for identifying uniquely named targets does not allow for “John Doe” wiretap warrants “that name neither a person nor a specific ‘place’ or facility–disturbingly similar to the ‘general warrants’ the Founders were concerned to prohibit when they crafted the Fourth Amendment.”

The third item, Section 215, is also troubling in that it grants the FISA court the power to order the production of both business records and any other “tangible thing” on the basis of “reasonable grounds” and a belief that the records are in some sense “relevant” to an investigation. As it stands, there is no “probable cause” requirement and there is no requirement of any connection to terrorism at all.

These concerns may explain why the extension for the provisions failed to pass last week, when it fell 7 votes short of approval after being brought to the floor under “fast-track rules” that require a two-thirds vote–a process usually reserved for less controversial proposals. As the Washington Post and others had predicted after the failed first attempt, however, the extension was very unlikely to be rejected under “normal rules” the second time around.

Congressman Justin Amash, who voted against the extension, posted the following objection on Facebook:

The U.S. House just debated and voted on H.R. 514, To Extend Expiring Provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. This renewal allows the government to obtain a broad production order to confiscate your business records without disclosing to you the purposes of the investigation while prohibiting you from discussing it with anyone. It failed 277-148 (needed 2/3 majority).

Congressman Amash also expressed his concerns in an e-mailed statement last week:

“Like many Republicans and Democrats concerned with protecting civil liberties, I have serious reservations about the USA PATRIOT Act provisions up for renewal. The business records provision allows the government to order the production of ‘any tangible things’ — e-mails, phone logs, and even library records. Worse still, the company turning over the records to the government is forbidden from telling the records’ owner of the order. Likewise, the Act’s roving wiretap provision goes far beyond a similar provision in criminal law. It may allow the government continuously to monitor pay phones or public computers, even when a suspect is not using the devices. The breadth of the provisions raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns in my mind, and I cannot support them as currently written.”

Further Possible Extensions and Revisions Coming in February

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked U.S. citizens to take action toward a reform of the Patriot Act–a reform that was promised by Congress itself. Interestingly, when Congress extended the Patriot Act in February 2010, the decision was defended with the justification that Congress needed more time “to fully consider a range of PATRIOT reform proposals.” However, the Patriot Act extension bill does not contain any reform aimed at promoting human rights.

Conversely, at the end of this month, Senate Democrats and Republicans will decide on an approach to extend the legal authority articulated in the Patriot Act. Three bills have been introduced to approach the issue.

  1. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Senator Patrick Leahy‘s Bill is the most modest of the three and proposes extending three surveillance authorities until the end of 2013; it also promises some overseeing of the U.S. government’s surveillance activities.
  2. New Judiciary ranking member Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has introduced a bill to extend the Patriot Act’s authorities permanently. Both Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that temporary extensions and Leahy’s promise of “oversight” would not be beneficial to U.S. intelligence: “The threat of terrorism isn’t going away so we must provide our agents with the tools they need to get the job done,” Grassley said.

    “Given that terrorist threats, including those from self-radicalized individuals, continue to evolve, we must ensure that our law enforcement agents are not burdened with new restrictions on existing authorities.”

  3. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California seeks to extend the bill through to 2013 without the oversights proposed by Grassley.

Barack Obama Ineligible To Be President – The Evidence

In News, NWO, Other Leaks on February 17, 2011 at 8:33 PM

It seems the evidence against Barack Obama aka Barry Soetoro keeps piling up. Here’s an overview:

PETITION THE HAWAII GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE OBAMA’S VITAL RECORDS

Recent Events:

Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie set-out to show the world that Obama was born in Hawaii by personally promising to find his birth certificate. Well, he has not able to, and has given up looking.

Thanks to recent FOIA requests, more new discoveries/descrepencies about Obama’s past have been revealed.

One FOIA request of Stanley Ann Dunham’s passport file documents reveal another new name listed for Obama/Soetoro, Soebarkah.

Recently, Attorney Orly Taitz filed a FOIA violation complaint regarding Obama’s social security number, which is reserved for Connecticut applicants. Obama has never resided in Connecticut, and the Social Security number shows to be 119 years old. Taitz has filed the FOIA violation complaint due to the Social Security Administrations stonewalling on numerous FOIA requests.

In other recent news, Donald Trump, who said he’s “serious” about a White House run next year, was interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America. He talked about the possibility of running for President, the, ongoing revolutions in the world, and criticized potential Republican contenders.

Probably the most interesting part of the interview though, was when the topic of Barack Obama’s birth was brought up. Trump surprisingly sided with “birthers” saying about Obama:

“Nobody knows who he is until later in his life. It’s very strange. The whole thing is very strange.”

Attorney Orly Taitz was kicked off MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Show for exposing Barack Obama’s Social Security Number reserved for Connecticut applicants.

THE OBAMA RECORDS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED INCLUDE:

Passport records, Obama kindergarten records, Punahou School records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago scholarly articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records/schedules(said to be lost), Medical records, Obama/Dunham marriage license, Obama/Dunham divorce documents, Soetoro/Dunham marriage license, Adoption records and of course the long-form Certificate of Live Birth.

It seems more and more the evidence points to Barack Obama not being born in America. It’s time Barack Obama stops playing the people for fools and releases his birth records, along with all the other records we usually would have access to for U.S. Presidents. He works for us, not the other way around.

If that doesn’t happen, then the U.S.A. must uphold the Constitution, and impeach Barack Obama!

AssociatedPress Investigates CIA Rendition & Torture

In News, NWO, WikiLeaks on February 17, 2011 at 4:53 PM

AP has published their findings of an investigation into the CIA’s Rendition program and the use of torture on prisoners, some who were mistakenly detained and innocent of their charges.


 

One man mistakenly targeted by the CIA, Khalid El-Masri, was kidnapped and tortured due to the similarity of his name with a suspected terrorist (Khalid al-Masri).

As I described in a recent article, WikiLeaks has also revealed some disturbing facts about the El-Masri Case. According to cable 07BERLIN242, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Berlin embassy had warned the German federal government to prevent international arrest warrants against CIA agents involved in the detention of El-Masri, saying their “intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German Government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.”

ACLU and Khalid El-Masri are currently suing the U.S. Government.

The Doha Debates: Is The World Better Off With WikiLeaks?

In WikiLeaks on February 17, 2011 at 12:20 AM

TheDohaDebates.com:

Six out of ten Arabs believe that the world is better off with WikiLeaks and nearly three quarters would like to see the whistleblowing website publish more on the Arab world.

Support for WikiLeaks and a demand for greater transparency emerged from a wide-ranging Doha Debate poll that surveyed the views of Arabs in 17 Gulf, North Africa and Levant countries, including Egypt and Tunisia. Fieldwork was conducted between the 1st and 6th of February 2011 and included over 1000 respondents.

The results closely mirror the results at a public forum in Qatar where 74 percent of the audience at the recent Doha Debate carried the motion ‘This House believes the world is better off with WikiLeaks’.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Ben Ali regime Tunisia, nearly 60 percent of respondents believe WikiLeaks played a part in the events in Tunisia and the demonstrations in other Arab countries.

More than 60 percent believe that WikiLeaks will change the way governments behave.

55 percent of Arabs revealed in the poll that they believe little to nothing of what their governments tell them. This figure is highest in North Africa where 65 percent of citizens believe little to nothing of government information.

Half of those surveyed want full access to information and transparency.

Despite the support for WikiLeaks, more than half of those interviewed believed the materials released are not 100 percent accurate and truthful. Additionally, an equal number were unsure of whether WikiLeaks has a political agenda or not.

Download the Polling Data Here (PDF)


Arab youth have overwhelmingly embraced the WikiLeaks phenomenon and told their governments to stop lying to them.

In the latest Doha Debate an audience of mostly Arab and Muslim students supported the motion: This House believes the world is better off with Wikileaks, by a margin of 74 to 26 percent.

The highly-charged debate was held weeks after the whistle-blowing website published confidential US diplomatic cables, exposing official corruption in several Middle East states and a yawning gap between the private and public positions of Arab rulers on Iran.

A student won instant applause when he said:  “I would rather live in a world where I am told the truth than in a world where I am told lies”. Another female student from Qatar asked: “Is it really that wrong to know the truth?”

Panelists clashed frequently over the rights and wrongs of leaking secret State Department cables.

“WikiLeaks is not the solution,” said former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore, who argued against the motion.

“Democracy is a messy house with a leaking roof. Julian Assange wants to blow up the house and ruin the diplomatic system.” He added that Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was a “foreign terrorist from the old school of anarchy”.

This sparked protest from a Jordanian member of the audience. “You have no right to call him a terrorist for giving out information that should not be hidden from the public [the way] other international news channels do.”

Carl W. Ford, a former intelligence chief at the State Department, also opposed the motion.

“WikiLeaks is forcing governments to tighten up systems and become less transparent, contrary to what Assange says he is out to achieve,” he said. “Soon there won’t be anything left for whistle-blowers to do.”

Mr. Ford added: “Instead of relying on Julian, we have courts, congressional hearings, journalism and whistle-blowers,” adding that existing mechanisms were sufficient to hold presidents accountable.

Speaking in favour of the motion were Sir Richard Dalton, former British Ambassador to Iran, and Carne Ross, who resigned from the British Foreign Office over Iraq.

“The world is better off with WikiLeaks because it has exposed many wrong-doings,” said Dalton, currently Associate fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London. “We want a government that does not abuse its power. Truth and accountability are important… We have to hold governments accountable for lies and deceit.”

Recalling his first-hand experience with the British government in the run-up to the Iraq conflict, Carne Ross added: “They exaggerated the arguments for war. Parliament and the media did not do their job.  If governments told the truth we wouldn’t need WikiLeaks.”

“We still don’t know the real reason why the US and the UK went to war in Iraq.”

WikiLeaks Vindicates Those Behind Unfolding Revolutions


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