Excerpts from the noteworthy news coverage, at the JIP, Washington, updated by the scholarly American journalist, attorney and author Andrew Kreig. Andrew is Director of the Washington-based Justice Integrity Project and a guest contributor in the Professors blogg. He is also a guest contributor in the Huffington Post and a sample of his important work related to the Swedish case against Julian Assange, is listed in the Resource section of the Justice For Assange site. His latest article in these columns was the must read piece WikiLeaks Claims Secret U.S. Charges Against Assange.
A news coverage
presented by Andrew Kreig
Guardian (United Kingdom), Julian Assange's lawyer 'prevented from boarding flight at Heathrow,' April 19, 2012. A lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has said she was stopped at Heathrow airport and told she was on a watch list requiring official approval before she could return to her native Australia. Jennifer Robinson, right, said a member of airport security told her she "must have done something controversial" and that they would have to contact the Australian high commission in London before letting her on her flight. The Australian human rights lawyer was later allowed on to a plane bound for Sydney, where she is due to speak at the Commonwealth Law Conference on Friday.
Human Right Lawer Jennifer Robinson, also guest contributor in the Professors blogg
Wayne Madsen Report, NSA spying operation targeting journalists focused but massive, April 20, 2012. (Subscription required.) National Security Agency (NSA) sources have reported the following to WMR: The NSA has conducted a targeted but massive surveillance operation against certain journalists who have routinely exposed NSA's illegal domestic communication surveillance program, code-named STELLAR WIND.
AlterNet / OpEd News, How Obama Became a Civil Libertarian's Nightmare, Steven Rosenfeld, April 18, 2012. Obama has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration's worst policies. When Barack Obama took office, he was the civil liberties communities’ great hope. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, pledged to shutter the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and run a transparent and open government. But he has become a civil libertarian’s nightmare: a supposedly liberal president who instead has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration’s worst policies, lending bipartisan support for a more intrusive and authoritarian federal government.
President Obama now has power that Bush never had. Foremost is he can (and has) order the killing of U.S. citizens abroad who are deemed terrorists. Like Bush, he has asked the Justice Department to draft secret memos authorizing his actions without going before a federal court or disclosing them....Meanwhile, more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, Washington’s wartime posture has trickled down into many areas of domestic activity—even as some foreign policy experts say the world is a much safer place than it was 20 years ago, as measured by the growth in free-market economies and democratic governments. Domestic law enforcement has been militarized—as most visibly seen by the tactics used against the Occupy protests and also against suspected illegal immigrants, who are treated with brute force and have limited access to judicial review before being deported.
One of Bush’s biggest civil liberties breaches, spying on virtually all Americans via their telecommunications starting in 2003, also has been expanded. Congress authorized the effort in 2006. Two years later, it granted legal immunity to the telecom firms helping Bush—a bill Obama voted for. The National Security Agency is now building its largest data processing center ever, which Wired.com’s [James Bamford] reports will go beyond the public Internet to grab data but also reach password-protected networks. The federal government continues to require that computer makers and big Web sites provide access for domestic surveillance purposes. More crucially, the NSA is increasingly relying on private firms to mine data, because, unlike the government, it does not need a search warrant. The Constitution only limits the government searches and seizures.
The government’s endless wartime footing is also seen in its war on whistleblowers. Obama has continued cases brought by Bush, such as going after the "leaker" in the warrantless wiretapping story broken by the New York Times in 2005, as well as the WikiLeaks case, prosecution of Bradley Manning, and others for allegedly mishandling classified materials related to the war on terrorism. Its suppression of war-related information given to journalists extends overseas, where the State Department this month has blocked a visa for a Pakistani critic from speaking in the U.S. The White House also recently pressured Yemen’s leader to jail the reporter who exposed U.S. drone strikes. Meanwhile, the administration has stonewalled Freedom of Information Act requests, particularly the Justice Department, which has issued the secret wartime memos.
How bad is it? Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director, exclaimed in June 2010 that Obama “disgusted” him. Meanwhile, the most hawkish Bush administration officials have defended and praised Obama. Last summer, liberal lawyer-journalist Glenn Greenwald tallied a list of Bush warrior endorsements. Jack Goldsmith, the former DOJ officials who approved the torture and domestic spying efforts, wrote in The New Republic in May 2009 that Obama actually was waging a more effective war on terror than Bush. “The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expended some of it, and has narrowed only a bit,” Goldsmith wrote. “Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol and rhetoric.”
Bush’s final CIA director, General Michael Hayden—whose confirmation Obama opposed as a senator—told CNN there was a “powerful continuity between the 43rd and 44th presidents.” And in early 2011 Vice-President Dick Cheney told NBC News, “He’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate.” “We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national security state,” Jack Balkin, a liberal Yale University Law School professor, told the New Yorker in a 2011 feature about a prominent NSA whistleblower. “The question is not whether we will have a surveillance state in the years to come, but what sort of state we will have,” he wrote in a prescient law review article published early in Obama’s presidency. The larger dangers, Balkin said, was that the government is creating a “parallel track of preventative law enforcement that bypasses traditional protections in the Bill of Rights.” Moreover, he worries “traditional law enforcement and social services will increasingly resemble the parallel track.” And because the Constitution only restricts government actions, not “private parties, government has increasing incentives to rely on private enterprise to collect and generate information for it.”
FireDogLake, The Ever-Expanding Surveillance State That Has Grown Under Obama, Kevin Gosztola Friday April 20, 2012. The surveillance state in the United States has only grown in America since the September 11th attacks. It has increasingly been used to spy and intrude on the lives of journalists and activists. And, during a Democracy Now! special, a full hour was spent delving into the National Security Agency’s evolution into an entity that illegally collects and sifts through private emails, cell phone calls and possibly Internet searches and other personal data of Americans.
Jacob Appelbaum, Computer Science Researcher, University of Washington
The special also looked closely at the stories of two individuals that have been targeted by the Homeland Security Department—journalist Laura Poitras, who has directed documentaries on the Iraq War and Yemen, and computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, who once served as a stand-in for Julian Assange at a hackers conference. NSA whistleblower William Binney, in his first television interview since he resigned from the NSA, explains that the fact a telecommunications company, AT&T, was now providing approximately 320 million records—long distance data from citizens’ billing records—to the government led him to leave the agency.
This was a violation of the Constitution, the pen register law, the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Privacy Act, the Intelligence Acts of 1947 & 1978 and other federal laws governing telecommunications. Binney talks about going to the Intelligence Committee to raise concern before he resigned. Porter Goss, who was chairman of the committee at the time, essentially shrugged off an effort to look into what the NSA was doing. He thought any questions should be taken to Michael Hayden, then-head of the NSA. It was the Intelligence Committee’s job to “do the oversight on all this domestic spying.” The Committee was setup to provide “oversight over the intelligence community to make sure they didn’t monitor US citizens.” It was setup in the “fallout of the Church Committee back in the 70s.” But, nothing was really being done about the illegal operations of the NSA. And then, on July 26, 2007, about twelve FBI agents raided his home with their guns drawn. Binney was in the shower. His son answered the door. They pushed past him and, when they found him in the bathroom, pointed a gun at his head to make sure he was “duly intimidated.”
Democracy Now! Whistleblower: The NSA is Lying–U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails, Amy Goodman, April 2012. (Video interview.) National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander’s assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens.
This interview is part of a 4-part special. Click here to see segment 1, 2, and 4. [Transcript to come. Check back soon.] William Binney, served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could "create an Orwellian state."