Today, the director of Farmageddon, Kristin Canty, stops by to give you the inside story on what really happened during the Rawesome Foods raid and why her documentary is so important for every American to see! Plus, is America becoming a dictatorship right before our eyes?
Congress’ Next Challenge: Forming The Debt “Super Committee”
Shift On Executive Power Lets Obama Bypass Rivals
Rise Of The Petty Dictator
Two-Party Dictatorship: US Choosing Lesser Evil?
Judge Allows American To Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture
Is Western Democracy Real Or A Facade?
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July 13th, 2011
By: J.D. Heyes
The U.S. Constitution is clear about the issue of privacy. In fact, the Fourth Amendment states, in part, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”
With that in mind, it’s safe to say it’s more than just a little disturbing to know that, in certain circumstances, police can search your cell phone and computer(s), even if you don’t want them to and even if they don’t yet have a warrant to do so.
The good news is, someone out there has recognized the problem and has taken steps to help you protect that vast amount of data you have stored on your smart phone or laptop.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, long defenders of electronic rights, has written a legal guide designed to help you better understand your rights and, more importantly, when police can – and cannot – legally confiscate and search your personal electronic devices.
“In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to remember what your rights are and how to exercise them,” says EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “Sometimes police can search your computer whether you like it or not, but sometimes they can’t. We wrote this guide to help you tell the difference and to empower you to assert your rights when the police come knocking.”
Adds EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury, “With smart phones, tablet computers, and laptops, we carry around with us an unprecedented amount of sensitive personal information.
“That smart phone in your pocket right now could contain email from your doctor or your kid’s teacher, not to mention detailed contact information for all of your friends and family members,” Fakhoury continued. “Your laptop probably holds even more data — your Internet browsing history, family photo albums, and maybe even things like an electronic copy of your taxes or your employment agreement. This is sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes.”
According to a summary of full EFF legal guide:
· Always say “no” when police ask if they can search your server, personal computer or cell phone because if you give them permission to search, they don’t need a warrant – even to enter your home;
· If police tell you they have a search warrant, ask to see it because you have a right to;
· Make sure police are only searching the areas outlined in the warrant;
· Be silent – you don’t have to help the police or answer their questions, and that means you don’t have to give them your encryption keys or passwords;
· If you do decide to talk, don’t lie because lying to the police is a crime;
· Finally, if you can consult with a lawyer before police conduct a search or even just talk to you, that’s ideal.
This guide is extremely helpful in this digital age when being secure in our “papers” and effects now includes our data-filled electronic devices. Know your rights; that is your best protection.
March 21st, 2011
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The U.S. government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in a massive program of illegal dragnet surveillance of domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001.
News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, plus a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of their telephone and other communications records. All of these surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the U.S. Constitution.
The evidence also shows that the government did not act alone. EFF has obtained whistleblower evidence [PDF] from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails, web browsing, and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers, and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed, “this isn’t a wiretap, it’s a country-tap.”
EFF is fighting these illegal activities on multiple fronts. In Hepting v. AT&T, EFF filed the first case against a telecom for violating its customers’ privacy. In addition, EFF is representing victims of the illegal surveillance program in Jewel v. NSA, a lawsuit filed in September 2008 against the government seeking to stop the warrantless wiretapping and hold the government officials behind the program accountable.
EFF is not alone in this fight. There are multiple cases challenging various parts of the illegal surveillance against both the telecoms and the government. This page collects information on EFF’s cases as well as cases brought by individuals, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and of Illinois, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and others.
December 6th, 2010
By: Lauren Frayer
The American company that provided WikiLeaks’ domain name pulled the plug overnight because of cyber-attacks that it said threatened the other half-million websites it hosts. But within hours, the whistle-blower website had popped back up with a new Swiss domain name.
The company, EveryDNS.net, issued a statement on its website saying that it provided WikiLeaks’ domain name until 10 p.m. EST Thursday, “when such services were terminated.”
“WikiLeaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service attacks. These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure,” the company said in another statement cited by The Associated Press. It said it alerted WikiLeaks to the shutoff 24 hours ahead of time.
The whistle-blower website has been the target of unknown hacker attacks after publishing three huge troves of classified U.S. documents from the military and diplomatic services, which has outraged Washington. Some American lawmakers have called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, to be prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act.
Authorities in Sweden are seeking Assange’s detention for questioning in a sexual assault investigation, and Interpol has issued a “Red Notice” for his arrest, though he’s not been formally charged. The reclusive 39-year-old has said he believes the sexual assault allegations are part of the same hacker campaign to attack WikiLeaks and discredit him.
After EveryDNS severed WikiLeaks’ domain name, the website wikileaks.org ceased to exist. But within hours, the website was available with a new suffix: wikileaks.ch. The content has also popped up on several other websites, including one called Cablegate. In the past, Assange has said his group has contingency plans in place if its Web infrastructure is disabled somehow. It’s unclear whether the Swiss domain name and Cablegate are part of those plans.
On Twitter, WikiLeaks acknowledged that its domain name had been “killed” and asked for donations to “KEEP US STRONG,” it said in all-caps. Later, it posted its new Swiss domain name with a message saying, “WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland.”
EveryDNS is following in the footsteps of the online megastore Amazon.com, which initially allowed WikiLeaks to temporarily use its servers to distribute its latest leak of U.S. diplomatic cables, after cyber-attacks on the website last weekend. But after pressure from Sen. Joe Lieberman and other U.S. lawmakers, Amazon decided to evict WikiLeaks from its servers Wednesday.
Anticipating potential cyber-attacks because of its controversial work, WikiLeaks has long hosted its content on several different servers around the world. The number is unknown, but one of them is the Swedish host Bahnhof, which continues to carry WikiLeaks content today, the AP reported. It’s unclear how many others exist.
Amazon denied succumbing to U.S. pressure to evict WikiLeaks and said it decided to do so because the whistle-blower group violated its policies by publishing material it didn’t own or control the rights to.
“When companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere,” the company said.
Afterward, WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter that if the online bookseller was “so uncomfortable with the First Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution], they should get out of the business of selling books,” MSNBC reported.
December 2nd, 2010
By: Jason Mick
As reported earlier this week, following its leak of 250,000 classified U.S. State Department diplomatic cables, Wikileaks was targeted by a distributed denial of service attack. The site, which had been hosted primarily on Swedish hosting service Bahnhof, went down for a while on Sunday following the leak.
By Monday it was back up again. According to details newly released from the site, its restoration came as it switched to Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing platform, a service that allows users to rent as many virtual servers as they want.
Wikileaks Gets Dumped
The bad news for Wikileaks is that Amazon apparently dumped it sometime yesterday.
Wikileaks posted on Twitter:
WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.
If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.
The quote represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the first amendment, which is perhaps understandable given that the Wikileaks folks by and large aren’t from the U.S. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the government from infringing on your free speech, but it’s perfectly legal in the U.S. for businesses to kick you out and deny you access to their property if they don’t like what your saying.
According to The Seattle Times, Amazon was contacted by a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee official who pressured the company to dump the site. Much as it might have agreed to ditch an Al Qaeda site, Amazon agreed to dump Wikileaks, a site whose primary focus over the last several years has been against the U.S. government.
Moved back to Bahnhof, Wikileaks appears to be up and responsive at the present.
Government Beefs up Security
U.S. President Barack Obama has set up a special panel to assess the fallout of the leaked cables and determine steps to secure confidential government data better in the future. The embarrassing deluge of private diplomatic observations of the government has convinced many that some sort of shake up is necessary.
The relative insecurity of classified government data is largely a result of post-9/11 efforts to share more information between various intelligence and defense agencies. That effort resulted in low level military analysts having access to a wealth of confidential information. One such analyst, a disgruntled soldier name Bradley Manning, was responsible for the recent leaks to Wikileaks, a move he made after he was demoted.
One problem, though, is that officials can’t seem to agree on how to enhance security. The National Counterintelligence Executive, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the most senior U.S. intelligence official was going to set up teams of inspectors to assess each agency’s security policies. However, the U.S. military apparently complained, fearful of interference from intelligence agents. As a result the idea has been scrapped.
What is clear is that the U.S. government needs to do something to secure its information from malicious governments like China or organizations like Wikileaks. What is less clear is how that should be accomplished exactly.
August 4, 2010
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.
“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.
With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”
About 30 Proposition C supporters whooped it up loudly at 9 p.m. when the returns flashed on the television showing the measure passing with more than 70 percent of the vote.
“It’s the vote heard ’round the world,” said Dwight Janson, 53, from Glendale, clad in an American flag-patterned shirt. Janson said he went to one of the first Tea Party gatherings last year and hopped on the Proposition C bandwagon because he wanted to make a difference.
“I was tired of sitting on the sidelines bouncing my gums,” he said.
Missouri was the first of four states to seek to opt out of the insurance purchase mandate portion of the health care law that had been pushed by Obama. And while many legal scholars question whether the vote will be binding, the overwhelming approval gives the national GOP momentum as Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma hold similar votes during midterm elections in November.
“It’s a big number,” state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, said of the vote. “I expected a victory, but not of this magnitude. This is going to propel the issue and several other issues about the proper role of the federal government.”
From almost the moment the Democratic-controlled Congress passed the health care law — which aims to increase the number of Americans with health insurance — Republicans have vowed to try to repeal it. Their primary argument is that they believe the federal government should not be involved in mandating health care decisions at the local level.
While repeal might seem an unlikely strategy, the effort to send a message state by state that voters don’t approve of being told they have to buy insurance could gain momentum.
That’s what Republicans are counting on at least, hoping that the Missouri vote will give the national movement momentum.
“It’s like a domino, and Missouri is the first one to fall,” Cunningham said. “Missouri’s vote will greatly influence the debate in the other states.”
Proposition C faced little organized opposition, although the Missouri Hospital Association mounted a mailer campaign opposing the ballot issue in the last couple of weeks. The hospital association, which spent more than $300,000 in the losing effort, said that without the new federal law, those who don’t have insurance will cause health care providers and other taxpayers to have higher costs.
“The only way to get to the cost problem in health care is to expand the insurance pool,” said hospital association spokesman Dave Dillon. He said the hospital association didn’t plan to sue over the law, but he expected it would be challenged.
“I think there is going to be no shortage of people who want to use the courts to resolve this issue,” he said.
Democrats also generally opposed Proposition C, though they didn’t spend much time or money talking about it.
In the closing days of the campaign, many politicians ‘sidled up” to Proposition C, Cunningham said, seeing the momentum the issue had gained.
Among them was U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. Late last week, Blunt announced his support of Proposition C.
On Monday, Blunt said he hoped Missouri voters would send a “ballot box message” to the Obama’s administration by overwhelmingly passing the measure.
The question now is whether the administration will respond by suing the state to block passage of the law, much as it did in Arizona recently over illegal immigration.
The issue in both is the same: When state laws conflict with federal laws, the courts have generally ruled in favor of the federal government, because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Richard Reuben, a law professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, said that if the federal government sues on the issue, it would likely win. Several other Missouri legal and political scholars agreed.
But Cunningham is undaunted. She’s got her own experts, and they’re ready to do battle in court.
“Constitutional experts disagree,” she said. “There is substantial legal status to this thing.”