Judge Rebukes Bush-Era Spying Program

The efforts of the Barack Obama administration to maintain the secrecy of the counterterrorism policies of its predecessor, the administration of former President George W. Bush, hit a major speed bump last week. On March 31, a federal judge ruled that the National Security Agency violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic … Continue reading “Judge Rebukes Bush-Era Spying Program”

On Guantánamo, Symbolism Trumps Substance

President Obama has been so chastened by his failure to meet the pledge of closing Guantánamo prison within a year that Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, is trying to negotiate with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to gain Republican support for doing so. In exchange, Graham wants Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged 9/11 attackers … Continue reading “On Guantánamo, Symbolism Trumps Substance”

ACLU Ad Challenges Military Commissions

Civil libertarians hit back hard Sunday at reports indicating that the Barack Obama administration is about to cave in to pressure from Congress and local groups in New York City and is not only considering transferring the cases of suspected terrorists to another federal court, but even moving them to the military commission system. The … Continue reading “ACLU Ad Challenges Military Commissions”

The Road to Dictatorship

That 56 percent of all Americans "think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens" isn’t really all that surprising. After all, ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government’s "right" to read our e-mails, seize our property, hold us as … Continue reading “The Road to Dictatorship”

It Is Now Official: The US Is a Police State

Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties. The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in … Continue reading “It Is Now Official: The US Is a Police State”

World’s Most Controversial Prison Enters Ninth Year

As the world marked the beginning of the ninth year of detention at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Monday, a leading legal advocacy group filed suit against the Library of Congress for firing Guantanamo’s former chief prosecutor for writing articles criticizing the use of military commissions to try suspected terrorists. Col. … Continue reading “World’s Most Controversial Prison Enters Ninth Year”

Afghan Prisoners Challenge Indefinite Detention

While the unsuccessful attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day captured the headlines and put major political roadblocks in the path of prisoner release from Guantanamo Bay, the courts – far more quietly – continued to play a major role in influencing the detention issue. That influence was demonstrated by two cases … Continue reading “Afghan Prisoners Challenge Indefinite Detention”

Obama Undeserving of Civil Liberties Accolades

At the end of each year I typically award the "Freeby" to the person who has done the most in the service of civil liberties. As dusk fell on 2008 and the reign-of-error Bush administration was packing up its jackhammers, I felt then that I could have written ahead to December 2009, giving the Freeby … Continue reading “Obama Undeserving of Civil Liberties Accolades”

US: Guantanamo Prisoners Not ‘Persons’

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former Guantanamo prisoners against former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the detainees’ lawyers charged Tuesday that the country’s highest court evidently believes that "torture and religious humiliation are permissible tools for a government … Continue reading “US: Guantanamo Prisoners Not ‘Persons’”

Obama Quietly Backs PATRIOT Act Provisions

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 … Continue reading “Obama Quietly Backs PATRIOT Act Provisions”