OMNI BILL OF RIGHTS DAY DECEMBER 15, 2013 NEWSLETTER #5, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice. (#1 Dec. 15, 2008; #2 Dec. 15, 2009; #3 Dec. 15, 2011; #4 Dec. 15, 2012)
These newsletters provide facts and opinions regarding the many subjects of world peace, social and economic justice, human rights, and democracy for the benefit of all who know a well-informed citizenry is essential to a democracy.
Chase Madar alerts us to the great danger of the Manning trial to our democracy. “. . . the government now has even greater incentive to prosecute as a spy any confidential source who passes classified information to the press, criminalizing what has long been a vital. . .conduit of essential public information. Such collateral damage to the Fourth Estate will not be mourned by a government that has become aggressively intolerant of leaks, whistleblowers and, it often seems, a well-informed citizenry.” The Nation (Aug. 19/26, 2013). See the article below.
OMNI NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL DAYS PROJECT
My blog: War Department/Peace Department
See: Constitution Day Newsletters, Human Rights Day December 10 Newsletters, and newsletters on Civil Liberties, Detainees, FBI, Homeland Security, National Security State, NSA, Security, Surveillance, Torture, War on Terror, and others.
“The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people. The Bill of Rights was added to keep the precincts of belief and expression, of the press, or political and social activities free from surveillance.” Justice William O. Douglas’s dissenting opinion in Laird v. Tatum (1972).
Contents of #1 and #2 at end
Contents #3 Dec. 15, 2011
Assaults on Bill of Rights
2011 Patriot Act
If Homeland Battlefield: End of Bill of Rights
Fascist Police State?
Defending the Bill of Rights
Jefferson and Madison
4th Amendment Victory
FDR: Economic Bill of Rights
Contents of #4 Dec. 15, 2012
Bill of Rights Day 2012
FISA, NDAA, and Other Anti-Democratic Regressions
BORDC vs. Decline of Liberties
ACLU vs. SB1867
PRA vs. Right Wing
Contents #5 Dec. 15, 2013
Google Search: Attacks on Bill of Rights
Boghosian, Spying on Democracy
National Lawyers Guild
Solomon, Justice Dept. vs. Free Press
Madar, Prosecution of Manning Endangers US Journalism and Democracy
Potter, Green is the New Red
Pretzel, Defying Hitler
Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:
Presidential Proclamation -- Bill of Rights Day, 2013
BILL OF RIGHTS DAY, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
America's Founders declared our independence,
they set forth an idea that became our Nation's defining creed: "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
and the pursuit of Happiness." They understood that while these truths
have always been self-evident, they have never been self-executing. After 15
years of democratic experimentation and national debate, the Bill of Rights
came into force, touching off a long journey to carve Liberty 's
highest ideals into enduring, enforceable law. America
The Bill of Rights is the foundation of American liberty, securing our most fundamental rights -- from the freedom to speak, assemble, and practice our faith as we please to the protections that ensure justice under the law. For almost two and a quarter centuries, these 10 Constitutional Amendments have served as a basis from which civil society could grow and flourish. They have encouraged innovation and defended Americans who questioned, challenged, and dared our Nation to be greater.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and constitutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind." Our liberties opened heated debate over the questions of citizenship and human rights, driving progress in the American mind. We learned that our Nation, built on the principles of freedom and equality, could not survive half-slave and half-free. We resolved that our daughters must have the same rights, the same chances, and the same freedom to pursue their dreams as our sons, and that if we are truly created equal, then the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Americans with disabilities tore down legal and social barriers; disenfranchised farmworkers united to claim their rights to dignity, fairness, and a living wage; civil rights activists marched, bled, and gave their lives to bring the era of segregation to an end. As we celebrate the anniversary of the Bill of Rights, let us reach for a day when we all may enjoy the basic truths of liberty and equality.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and the laws of the , do hereby proclaim
December 15, 2013, as Bill of Rights Day. I call upon the people of the United States
to mark this observance with appropriate ceremonies and activities. United States
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the
of the United States of
the two hundred and thirty-eighth. America
BILL OF RIGHTS DAY
December 15, 2013
AT THE CENTER
Who Wants to Be a “Bill”-ionaire?
Learn about our first 10 amendments during this fast-paced, interactive game show.
Special Signers’ Hall Tour
Take a special tour of Signers’ Hall to learn about the history of the Bill of Rights and why it was left out of the original Constitution.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Constitution Hall Pass
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution guarantee so many of our rights and freedoms that we use every single day. Join us as we learn the story of the Bill of Rights, from the time of the Founders right up to today! You’ll see how James Madison originally proposed the Bill of Rights, and how it was up to Congress and the states to decide which amendments made the cut. We’ll show you which rights are actually protected by the Bill of Rights, and you’ll even learn about how students just like you have used those amendments to stand up for their principles—even if it meant taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court! Come along and get to know your rights as we take a look at the Bill of Rights!
GOOGLE Search Results, Attacks on Bill of Rights, first page, Dec. 14, 2013
[I give these searches now and then to help us assess the quality of Google Searches. –Dick]
Nov 27, 2013 - The Bill of Rights Under Attack. Source: Thinkstock. Below is the Bill of Rights, complete with the recent examples of how it is being curtailed.
May 8, 2013 - Brandon Smith Alt Market May 8, 2013. In the war for the continued existence of our Nation's Constitutional principles, I had long wondered ...
Let's take a look at the Bill of Rights and see which aspects are being pushed on or threatened. The point here is not the degree of each attack or its rightness or ...
The Bill of Rights - Under Attack By small increments, the Bill of Rights is being subverted. John Gaver January 3, 2006. John Gaver The Constitution and Bill of ...
What is the fundamental character of
Why have so many millions of people wanted to live in America ? For
nearly 400 years our prosperity and liberty ... America
Aug 4, 2013 - When the first colonists came to
in 1607, their lifestyle and tools were the same processes and tools that had
been used for at least ... America
Bill of Rights Under Attack: A Timeline. Wednesday, December 05 2007 @ 11:41 AM EST Contributed by: BMcDonald. Views: 19,546. Many people will think ...
Oct 30, 2012 - Bill of Rights "assault" poster Let's get foundational, shall we? I know there's a certain frentic craziness to election season. There are promises ...
... deep attacks on the Constitution, generally and the Bill of Rights specifically. ...direct attack on the Constitution's separation of powers, as is his appointment of ...
www.washingtonsblog.com › Politics / World News
Feb 21, 2013 - This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the ...“A belief that one's personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack”.
Spying on Democracy: Author details rise in surveillance
In the last few months, Americans’ expectations about government interference in their lives has been turned completely upside down. Edward Snowden’s leaks have shown that the National Security Agency has paid millions to Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as telephone companies, for data about its customers. The government has information on hundreds of millions of its law-abiding citizens.
Heidi Boghosian’s new book, which details the myriad ways governments and corporations are spying on us — and not necessarily to the benefit of the nation — couldn’t be more timely.
Boghosian, the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, details the increase in surveillance of ordinary citizens and the dangers she believes it poses to our privacy and to democracy. Boghosian will be talking about at Berkeley Arts and Letters . Investigative journalist Robert Scheer will interview her. In advance of the discussion, Berkeleyside caught up with Boghosian:
Surveillance is highly profitable business, and control of information is attractive to those in power. By sustaining a number of perpetual “wars,” from the war on drugs to the war on terror, business lobbyists and government justify the need for more increasingly sophisticated monitoring systems. The infrastructure — both physical and attitudinal — for accelerated surveillance was erected well before 9/11. The U.S. Army has monitored the political activities of Americans since World War I. Aided by early computers during the Johnson administration, Army officials collected data and coded it to reflect a number of arbitrary categories about a person’s beliefs. As AT&T grew to become the largest repository of mass records, detailed dossiers of individuals were also amassed and stored by corporations. At the same time, military spending was in decline after the Cold War, so many businesses began developing surveillance equipment to sell to the government and boost profits. Going forward, it should be easy to justify surveillance with each ensuing national security crisis.
The government can piece together disparate bits of information collected by corporate data aggregators to create personal profiles of Americans. Virtually any kind of sensitive information about an individual is readily available from data brokers, from religious practices, ethnic and racial information, interactions with other individuals, health issues, financial holdings, to reading habits. It’s difficult to know the scope of this information (although we know that Acxiom holds information on approximately 500 million consumers around the globe) as the field of data mining and reselling has been largely unregulated. But glimpses into different ways the government partners with businesses, and the reach of the data it accesses, emerge often by accident. The covert Project Hemisphere, for example, pays AT&T employees to work with the Drug Enforcement Agency in accessing stored telephone records dating back 26 years.
: Few users of Facebook and other social media sites read the user policies or understand what they mean if they do read them. The government seems reluctant to improve policymaking that protects users, and may even benefit from improved and sophisticated social media marketing devices (the next presidential candidate may be marketed to voters based on what we put on Facebook). People should be concerned about the loss of control over personal information for several reasons. First, technology has both beneficial and detrimental uses. Despite the conveniences of affordable and personal telecommunications devices, the accumulation and storage of personal data risks being misused. Individuals who criticize corporate policies, for example, may be targeted, stigmatized and even labeled as criminally suspect merely for their political views. Second, vast quantities of stored data contain high levels of inaccuracy with no way for us to know what is in our electronic files and no way to correct them.
: Routine and widespread data collection undermines
abroad. We’re already seeing how it impairs relations with allied nations.
Also, there is a tendency for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to
focus on domestic dissenters at times of heightened concern about national
security. As a result, excessive resources are often devoted to individuals or
groups holding particular ideologies, such as animal rights and environmental
activists. That detracts from pursuing other investigative leads. U.S.
Another concern is that knowing that every communication is being monitored has the effect of making individuals conform to the status quo and watch what they say. President Obama’s “Insider Threat” program calls on government employees to monitor colleagues and report those who seem at risk of leaking information. Such subjective monitoring by peers stifles creative thought, especially where we most need it, since it may deter staff from sharing innovative ideas or from thinking expansively about ways to solve security challenges. Finally, the more we rely on private surveillance and information retrieval systems the more room there is for error. The transmission of erroneous records and false information—or having that information fall into hostile hands—can have devastating consequences for national security.
: It takes a lot of courage these days to speak out publicly and to resist the enormous power of corporate
Technology has crept into our lives so slowly that many are not aware of how
reliant we have become on it and how complacent many are about trading personal
information for expediency. If you walk down the street, it’s virtually
impossible to find a public pay phone. Who waits in line any more to take money
out from the bank? Having the latest gadget is not only a status symbol for
many, it’s a practical reality that to keep abreast of the information overload
we need to equip ourselves with heavily-advertised electronic merchandise. It’s
quite difficult to escape pervasive advertising and the lure of ever-changing
high tech contraptions. The role that corporations play in daily society has
grown along with the technology creep. Hopefully, the more people think about
and digest the negative impact of surveillance on a democratic society, the
more will be emboldened to take action. America
: The most important step is to become aware of the extent to which corporations build in mechanisms to get you to hand over personal information. Once you start seeing how quickly ads pop up for similar products after your order something online, or when you read questionnaires that ask you personal questions, you begin to realize that you have choices. While it’s difficult to extract ourselves from the technological connective tissue, we can all be smarter about guarding personal data. Don’t give out your social security number. Don’t give out your address, email address or fill out forms asking for the number of members of your household.
Let your elected officials know that you need them to step up and enact legislation calling for more transparency in government, and for more regulation of corporations that collect and share our data. Support any of the many organizations doing work to curtail the hold that an overreaching government and multinational corporations have on our democracy. The executive branch tends to exert too much power in times of uncertainty; we need the people to remind the legislative and judicial branches that they must hold the executive in check.
Executive Director, National Office
Heidi Boghosian is the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the co-host of the weekly civil liberties radio show Law and Disorder on
and over 40 national affiliates. She received her JD from New York where she was the editor-in-chief
of the Temple Political &
Civil Rights Law Review. She also holds an MS from Temple Law School Boston
University and a BA from . Brown University
· JOIN NLG
Ph. (212) 679-5100
Fax (212) 6
Obama’s Justice Department: Trumpeting a New Victory in War on Freedom of the Press
There’s something profoundly despicable about a Justice Department that would brazenly violate the First and Fourth Amendments while spying on journalists, then claim to be reassessing such policies after an avalanche of criticism—and then proceed, as it did this week, to gloat that those policies made possible a long prison sentence for a journalistic source.
Welcome to the Obama Justice Department.
While mouthing platitudes about respecting press freedom, the president has overseen methodical actions to undermine it. We should retire understated phrases like “chilling effect.” With the announcement from Obama’s Justice Department on Monday, the thermometer has dropped below freezing.
You could almost hear the slushy flow of public information turning to ice in the triumphant words of the U.S. attorney who led the investigation after being handpicked by Attorney General Eric Holder: “This prosecution demonstrates our deep resolve to hold accountable anyone who would violate their solemn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and to prevent future, potentially devastating leaks by those who would wantonly ignore their obligations to safeguard classified information.”
Audibly on the chopping block are provisions in the Bill of Rights such as “freedom … of the press” and “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The Obama administration’s pernicious goal is to normalize circumstances where journalists can’t credibly promise confidentiality, and potential leakers don’t believe they can have it. The broader purpose is to destroy independent journalism—which is to say, actual journalism -- which is to say, freedom of the press.
Impacts are crystal clear to just about any journalist who has done reporting that’s much more than stenographic services for official government and corporate sources. When unofficial sources are choked off, not much is left other than the Official Story.
The Official Story is routinely somewhere between very selective and mendacious. A case in point, ironically enough, is the Justice Department’s righteous announcement that the prison term for the leaker of information to The Associated Press reflected the Department’s “deep resolve to hold accountable anyone who would violate their solemn duty to protect our nation’s secrets.”
(Laugh, scream or cry; take your pick.)
Like others before it, the Obama administration has made a frequent practice of leaking classified “secrets” to media outlets—when its calculus is that revealing those secrets will make the administration look good. Of course in those cases the Justice Department doesn’t bother to track down the leakers.
Such extreme hypocrisy in high places has become so normalized that major media outlets often seem completely inured to it.
Hours after the Justice Department’s announcement on Monday that its surveillance of AP phone records had resulted in a lengthy prison sentence, the PBS “NewsHour” did not devote a word to it. Perhaps the program could not find a few seconds to shave off the lengthy beach-ball interview that Judy Woodruff conducted with former President Clinton.
To the top echelons of quasi-journalistic enterprises that are bankrolled by corporate advertisers and underwriters, the disappearance of confidentiality—along with routine violations of the First and Fourth Amendments—might hardly matter. Official sources flood the media zone.
But the should have given attentive readers indigestion over breakfast Tuesday: “A former F.B.I. agent has agreed to plead guilty to leaking classified information to The Associated Press about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen last year … Federal investigators said they were able to identify the man, Donald Sachtleben, a former bomb technician, as a suspect in the leak case only after secretly , a move that set off an uproar among journalists and members of Congress of both parties when it was disclosed in May.”
The added: “Sachtleben … has agreed to serve 43 months in prison for the leak, the Justice Department said. His case is the eighth leak-related prosecution under the Obama administration. Only three such cases were prosecuted under all previous presidents.”
How did the Justice Department catch Sachtleben in the first place? By on more than 20 phone lines used by Associated Press reporters over a two-month period.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
“The Trials of Bradley Manning
His conviction on Espionage Act charges poses grave dangers for American journalism.”
July 31, 2013 | This article appeared in the August 19-26, 2013 edition of The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/article/175512/trials-bradley-manning#axzz2blwtgXTu
[The subtitle in the no. of The Nation that I received is: “He’s a Convenient Scapegoat for a Decade of Foreign Policy Disasters, and He Has Been Treated Accordingly.” I strongly recommend the article, for it explains why the treatment of Manning has been reprehensible and why the case is so important to the future of
Chief prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein in closing arguments. Seated behind him are defense attorney David Coombs, left, and Bradley Manning. Illustration: Clark Stoeckley, from his book The United States vs. PFC Bradley Manning.
[Madar criticizes the ACLU and other rights organizations for their feeble support of Manning. Here’s the passage:
“Although Manning does have some high-profile defenders—Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Code Pink—the field is not crowded. The reflexive willingness of most of the American right to bay for Manning’s scalp has been less remarkable than the silence of progressives. The ACLU once raised money for Daniel Ellsberg’s legal defense, and one might have expected its former president, liberal lion Norman Dorsen, to roar in support of Manning. But even as he condemned Manning’s prison treatment, Dorsen said, “We’ve got to be tough on the people in the government who are like Manning… how are you going to run the government if people are free to leak things to the world using their individual judgment?” In fact, the human rights industry, though it railed against Manning’s confinement, has had little to say about the charges. (The ACLU and Amnesty International mainly limited themselves to condemning the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.)”
Is the criticism justified? --Dick]
Raimund Pretzel, Defying Hitler: a Memoir. 2002.
[Perhaps helps us identify the causes and measure the extent to which the
has become a tyranny . –Dick] US
Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sebastian Haffner’s [Pretzel’s pseud.] memoir of the rise of Nazism in
a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars.
Covering 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account provides a portrait of a country
in constant flux: from the rise of the First Corps, the right-wing voluntary
military force set up in 1918 to suppress Communism and precursor to the Nazi
storm troopers, to the Hitler Youth movement; from the apocalyptic year of 1923
when inflation crippled the country to Hitler’s rise to power. This fascinating
personal history elucidates how the average German grappled with a rapidly
changing society, while chronicling day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs,
politics, and prejudices. Germany
Contents #1 Dec. 15, 2008
Celebrate December 15
Patriot Act vs. Civil Liberties
Bill of Rights Day 2008 and ACLU
Related Protections of
Posse Comitatus vs. Militarism
Contents #2 Dec. 15, 2009
ACLU and Civil Liberties
Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Several links on Bill of Rights and the Patriot Act
END BILL OF RIGHTS DAY DEC. 15, 2013 NEWSLETTER