Apr 10

Profiling Rules Said to Give F.B.I. Tactical Leeway - -

Will Obama’s legacy turn out to be drafting the paperwork that makes GW Bush’s Emergency State legally sustainable? - David C. Unger

"Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s long-awaited revisions to the Justice Department’s racial profiling rules would allow the F.B.I. to continue many, if not all, of the tactics opposed by civil rights groups, such as mapping ethnic populations and using that data to recruit informants and open investigations."

Apr 09

Keeping an Eye on Algeria - -

Democracy would be nice. But all Washington really cares about is security - David C. Unger

“Algeria, however, has the 20th-largest defense budget in the world, spending more on defense than either Pakistan or Iran, and it has a well-equipped and well-trained military to show for it. With the exception of the tragic attack on the In Amenas gas facility in January 2013, Algeria has withstood the emergence of terrorist groups throughout North Africa and the Sahara that followed the Arab Spring.

But were Algerian voters to refuse to re-elect a president that they have only rarely seen in the last year, or were they to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of his re-election, or were he to be elected and die in office, Algeria could cease to be a big, reliable bulwark of stability. Wide swaths of territory could potentially open up to terrorist groups, affording them more territory to train, more targets to attack, and more sources of revenue to exploit. A belt of instability could stretch from the Sinai Peninsula across the southern coast of the Mediterranean to the border with Morocco.”

European Court Rejects Data Retention Rules, Citing Privacy - -

"…the law “exceeded the limits” of proportionality, according to the European Court of Justice, whose headquarters are in Luxembourg.

Privacy advocates in Ireland and Austria had pressed their home governments to pursue the case, which gained urgency in light of disclosures in the last year of widespread electronic surveillance in Europe by the United States’ National Security Agency.”

Apr 07

Toledo Blade Sues Over Detention of Journalists at Tank Plant - -

"“It is hard for me to believe that anyone in a public position is not aware that the Constitution admits anyone, including the media, to take photographs of buildings, scenes or situations that are readily observable from public spots,” Mr. Byers said in a telephone interview on Sunday. "

Apr 06

Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection, and More from CRS - Secrecy News -

"Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities and Recent Developments, April 1, 2014

Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: A Brief Overview, March 31, 2014

The Debate Over Selected Presidential Assistants and Advisors: Appointment, Accountability, and Congressional Oversight, March 31, 2014”

Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War - -

This is not just a case of the White House overreaching constitutional limits - though that too is part of the mix. In this case, the policy announced by Obama and DCI John Brennan to leave drone strikes to the Pentagon and get CIA back into the intelligence game, where it has been dangerously weak, has been thwarted by turf wars waged by the Congressional intelligence committees and the CIA counter-terrorism bureaucracy and foreign governments who insist on the right to lie to their own people and the world about what they permit US drones to do in their countries. - David C. Unger 

"Influential lawmakers from both parties have fought to protect the C.I.A.’s role in the drone wars and prevent the proposed shift of the bulk of drone operations to the Pentagon."

Apr 05

Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging U.S. Drone Killings of Three Americans | Center for Constitutional Rights -

“Judge Collyer effectively convicted Anwar Al-Aulaqi posthumously based on the government’s own say-so, and found that the constitutional rights of 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan weren’t violated because the government didn’t target them. It seems there’s no remedy if the government intended to kill you, and no remedy if it didn’t. This decision is a true travesty of justice for our constitutional democracy, and for all victims of the U.S. government’s unlawful killings.”

Judge Loath to Permit TV Testimony on Islamist - -

"Judge Forrest pointed out to Mr. Badat that when he entered a cooperation agreement in 2009 with British authorities in return for a reduced prison sentence there, he promised to give testimony at several terrorism trials in the United States, even though he faced possible arrest on the shoe-bombing indictment in Massachusetts.

As Mr. Badat sat meekly in a conference room an ocean away, Judge Forrest lectured him on the United States Constitution, saying it gave defendants a right to confront witnesses against them in court.”

Judge Dismisses Suit Against Administration Officials Over Drone Strikes - -

When did the United States declare war on Yemen? - David C. Unger

"A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against top Obama administration officials that was filed by the parents of three United States citizens whom the government killed without trial in drone strikes, including Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric.

In a 41-page opinion, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that courts should hesitate before deciding to hold a government official personally responsible for violating a citizen’s constitutional rights in the context of a wartime action.

“The persons holding the jobs of the named defendants must be trusted and expected to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution when they intentionally target a U.S. citizen abroad at the direction of the president and with the concurrence of Congress,” Judge Collyer wrote. “They cannot be held personally responsible in monetary damages for conducting war.”

Ruling Spurs Rush for Cash in Both Parties - -

The real electoral college? - David C. Unger

"The founding fathers, Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday morning, had fought for “a government of the many, not a government of the money.” Democrats, she said, will not “unilaterally disarm.”"