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Forum Post: Living in a Constitution-Free Zone: Drones, Surveillance Towers, and Malls of the Spy State

Posted 1 year ago on Feb. 7, 2013, 6:39 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5847)
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Muslim US Air Force Veteran Barred from Flight

By DAN HOLTMEYER | Associated Press – 6 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.com/muslim-us-air-force-veteran-barred-flight-151958070.html

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Muslim U.S. Air Force veteran, who had trouble entering the country last year to visit his ailing mother, was barred Wednesday from boarding a flight in Oklahoma City to return to his home in Qatar.

Saadiq Long, an American citizen, told The Associated Press he attempted to board a Delta flight at Will Rogers World Airport but was denied a boarding pass.

"I think about three police officers arrived after that," Long said. "It was very, very strange, by the way, and very intimidating." Lt. Jay Barnett, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department reached after business hours, couldn't confirm that police were sent to the scene, but said officers assigned to the airport would be summoned for a security concern.

After the police encounter, a U.S. Transportation Security Administration agent told Long he couldn't board a plane but did not give him a specific reason, Long said.

Adam Soltani, director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who had joined Long for his departure, said they asked, "Well, who do we contact?" They then were referred to the FBI, Soltani said.

Long said his lawyer has attempted to reach the FBI, which maintains a no-fly list.

FBI spokesman Rick Rains in Oklahoma City declined comment when reached by the AP. And Delta Air Lines did not return a call for comment.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter said: "It's my understanding this individual was denied a boarding pass by the airline because he was on a no-fly list. The TSA does not confirm whether someone is or is not on the no-fly list, as that list is maintained by the FBI."

Long said he had been visiting his mother, who suffers from congestive heart failure, for several months. He was attempting to return to Qatar, where he lives with his wife and children and teaches English. He intended to travel via Amsterdam.

Long said last year he also had difficulty entering the country and that the FBI harassed him and his sister after his arrival. The harassment stopped after Long requested a Department of Justice inquiry, Soltani said.

Long's lawyer, Gadeir Abbas, sent a letter to the FBI in January informing an agent of Long's plans to return home.

"Mr. Long requests that he be accorded the same right given to millions of American citizen travelers every day: the right to board a plane," Abbas wrote. "It is Mr. Long's sincere hope that, by informing the FBI in advance of his departure from the U.S., he will avoid the travel difficulties that have caused his family so much hardship already."

Long said he plans to stay in Oklahoma City until the FBI instructs him on what he can do to fly. He said he needs to get back soon to support his family.

"Two months and they still can't tell me why I can't fly," he said. "Of course, I'm willing to go through whatever it takes."

.

Living in a Constitution-Free Zone: Drones, Surveillance Towers, and Malls of the Spy State

Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:00 By Todd Miller, TomDispatch | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14422-living-in-a-constitution-free-zone-drones-surveillance-towers-and-malls-of-the-spy-state

Before September 11, 2001, more than half the border crossings between the United States and Canada were left unguarded at night, with only rubber cones separating the two countries. Since then, that 4,000 mile “point of pride,” as Toronto’s Globe and Mail once dubbed it, has increasingly been replaced by a U.S. homeland security lockdown, although it’s possible that, like Egyptian-American Abdallah Matthews, you haven’t noticed.

The first time he experiences this newly hardened U.S.-Canada border, it takes him by surprise. It’s a freezing late December day and Matthews, a lawyer (who asked me to change his name), is on the passenger side of a car as he and three friends cross the Blue Water Bridge from Sarnia, Ontario, to the old industrial town of Port Huron, Michigan. They are returning from the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto, chatting and happy to be almost home when the car pulls up to the booth, where a blue-uniformed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent stands. The 60,000-strong CBP is the border enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security and includes both customs and U.S. Border Patrol agents. What is about to happen is the furthest thing from Matthews’s mind. He’s from Port Huron and has crossed this border “a million times before.”

After scanning their passports and looking at a computer screen in the booth, the agent says to the driver, as Matthews tells the story: “Sir, turn off the vehicle, hand me the key, and step out of the car.” He hears the snap of handcuffs going around his friend’s wrists. Disoriented, he turns around and sees uniformed men kneeling behind their car, firearms drawn.

“To my disbelief, situated behind us are agents, pointing their guns.” The CBP officer asks Matthews and the remaining passengers to get out of the car and escorts them to a waiting room. Thirty minutes later, he, too, is handcuffed and in a cell. Forty-five minutes after that another homeland security agent brings him into a room with no chairs. The agent tells him that he can sit down, but all he sees is a countertop. “Can I just stand?” he asks.

And he does so for what seems like an eternity with the door wide open, attempting to smile at the agents who pass by. “I’m trying to be nice,” is how he put it.

Finally, in a third room, the interrogation begins. Although they question Matthews about his religious beliefs and various Islamic issues, the two agents are “nice.” They ask him: Where’d you go? What kind of law do you practice? He tells them that a former law professor was presenting a paper at the annual conference, whose purpose is to revive “Islamic traditions of education, tolerance, and introspection.” They ask if he’s received military training abroad. This, he tells me, “stood out as one of their more bizarre questions.” When the CBP lets him and his friends go, he still thinks it was a mistake.

However, Lena Masri of the Council of American Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI) reports that Matthews’s experience is becoming “chillingly” commonplace for Michigan’s Arab and Muslim community at border crossings. In 2012, CAIR-MI was receiving five to seven complaints about similar stops per week. The detainees are all Arab, all male, all questioned at length. They are asked about religion, if they spend time at the mosque, and who their Imam is. According to CAIR-MI accounts, CBP agents repeatedly handcuff these border-crossers, often brandish weapons, conduct invasive, often sexually humiliating body searches, and detain people for from two to 12 hours. Because of this, some of the detainees have lost job opportunities or jobs, or given up on educational opportunities in Canada. Many are now afraid to cross the border to see their families who live in Canada. (CAIR-MI has filed alawsuit against the CBP and other governmental agencies.)

Months later, thinking there is no way this can happen again, Matthews travels to Canada and crosses the border, this time alone, on the Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron. Matthews still hadn’t grasped the seismic changes in Washington’s attitude toward our northern border since 9/11. Port Huron, his small hometown, where a protest group, Students for a Democratic Society, first famously declared themselves against racism and alienation in 1962, is now part of the “frontline” in defense of the “homeland.” As a result, Matthews finds himself a casualty of a new war, one that its architects and proponents see as a permanent bulwark not only against non-citizens generally, but also people like Matthews from “undesirable” ethno-religious groups or communities in the United States.

While a militarized enforcement regime has long existed in the U.S-Mexico borderlands, its far more intense post-9/11 version is also proving geographically expansive. Now, the entire U.S. perimeter has become part of a Fortress USA mentality and a lockdown reality. Unlike on our southern border, there is still no wall to our north on what was once dubbed the “longest undefended border in the world.” But don’t let that fool you. The U.S.-Canadian border is increasingly a national security hotspot watched over by drones, surveillance towers, and agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

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[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5847) 1 year ago

Techtivist Report: UK Warned - CIA Will Access All Government Data

Friday, 08 February 2013 11:07 By Conrad Jaeger, Occupy.com | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14436-techtivist-report-uk-warned-cia-will-access-all-government-data

Britain’s ambitious plans to store all government data on the so-called G-Cloud have led to warnings from the European Union that security will be compromised now that U.S. intelligence agencies have the legal right to survey all data held on U.S. owned Cloud services.

At least four U.S. companies are involved in the U.K. government’s G-Cloud project which Whitehall hopes will slash costs and “deliver fundamental changes in the way the public sector procures and operates.”

Eventually, it is hoped the G-Cloud will hold the bulk of State data in addition to that of schools, charities, the BBC and police, even the Bank of England.

While the recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) have received scant attention in the British Press, there are a few Members of Parliament so concerned that they want Britain to think about ending all intelligence cooperation with the U.S.

“The Americans have got to remember who their allies are and who their enemies are,” Conservative MP David Davis told The Independent, warning of “a whole cascade of constitutional and privacy concerns for ordinary British people”.

Cloud storage is increasingly popular in the U.K. where around 35 per cent of businesses and an unknown number of private users employ some form of remote storage from U.S. based companies like Apple, Amazon and Google. The government wants to see even greater use of Cloud storage across all sectors in what it describes as a robust “public cloud first policy.”

The FISA amendments now give the CIA and NSA the right to access all this data not just in Britain or Europe, but anywhere in the world. U.S. citizens are excused this intrusion by the Fourth Amendment, but everybody else is included.

In the case of Britain, by putting all government data online – including health and criminal records – every facet of peoples’ lives will be open to scrutiny by intelligence analysts across the Atlantic. Many warn that this will also lead to activists, journalists, politicians, Muslims and others being specifically targeted without the need to justify national security.

“In other words, it is lawful in the U.S. to conduct purely political surveillance on foreigners’ data accessible in U.S. Clouds,” warns the report for the European Parliament, Fighting Cyber Crime and Protecting Privacy in the Cloud by the Centre for the Study of Conflicts, Liberty and Security.

While most of the attention has been focused on Cloud storage and the effect FISA will have on Europe, the actual wording of the amendment speaks of “remote computing services” which could literally mean anything stored on a computer other than your own. As it is, every financial transaction passes through U.S. intelligence channels. With the new extension, no stone need remain unturned. Every time you comment on a book, join a club, or do absolutely anything that passes through a computer owned by a U.S. company, you are open to scrutiny.

The Cloud, however, comes with other concerns. There is debate as to who legally owns what if it is stored or edited in the Cloud, and you can’t even bequest your online music collection to a loved one when you die.

NSA aside, hackers can easier access data en-route to the Cloud than they can on a local area network, and the Cloud administrators might one day be compromised. The companies themselves may go bust or be taken over. They might suffer some catastrophic event or decide to amended their terms and conditions.

The European Union is being urged to add a warning to all U.S. based Cloud services, with clear wording that anything stored in the Cloud will be under direct scrutiny by Federal authorities. The report also wants to see E.U. citizens given the same rights as Americans in U.S. courts.

“A lot of people wouldn’t realize where data is stored, and hence wouldn’t expect to be subject to U.S. law,” cautions another Member of Britain’s Parliament, Julian Huppert of the Liberal Democrats. He wants to know if the government has received any guarantee from Washington that sensitive data will not be scrutinized as foreign intelligence fodder.

“If the U.S. will not give a clear assurance about government data,” he says. “Then we will have to stop using the Cloud, as we cannot allow that to happen.”

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5847) 1 year ago

Autopsy: US Border Patrol agents shot Mexican teen 7 times from behind

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/08/16895379-autopsy-us-border-patrol-agents-shot-mexican-teen-7-times-from-behind?lite

By Tim Gaynor, Reuters

A Mexican teenager killed when the U.S. Border Patrol opened fire on a group of rock throwers in Mexico last year was shot at least seven times from behind, an autopsy by Mexican authorities showed. Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, was shot as agents fired into Nogales, Mexico, after responding to reports of drug trafficking on Oct 10.

An attorney for the Elena Rodriguez family, Luis F. Parra, released a copy of the Mexican medical examiner's report on Thursday.

The autopsy was conducted several hours after the shooting. It found that the teen had been struck in the head, neck and body by at least seven bullets fired from behind him. It described several other bullet injuries, some of which may have been exit wounds.

Following the shooting, Mexican authorities condemned the U.S. Border Patrol's use of lethal force and called for a timely and transparent investigation.

In a written statement, the Border Patrol said the incident began shortly before midnight on October 10 when agents responded to reports of two suspected smugglers, who they watched drop drugs on the Arizona side of the border.

The smugglers then fled back across the border into Mexico and "began assaulting the agents with rocks." An unnamed agent opened fire after the suspects refused orders to stop, the patrol said. News pictures taken shortly after the October shooting showed Elena Rodriguez' apparently lifeless body face down on the sidewalk a few yards south of the border fence, which consists of parallel steel barriers.

The FBI has been leading the investigation into the shooting. A spokesman for the agency's Phoenix division declined on Thursday to comment on the autopsy or the continuing investigation.

Parra did not immediately respond to a request on Thursday for comment on the autopsy's findings.

Elena Rodriguez was the second Mexican teenager killed in a clash with the Border Patrol in the Mexican border city in less than two years. In January 2011, an agent fired into Mexico, killing 17-year-old Ramses Barron of Nogales.

The Elena Rodriguez shooting came more than a week after a Border Patrol agent was shot dead near the border in an apparent friendly fire incident.

Arizona is on a major route for Mexican smuggling networks hauling drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States, and running guns and cash profits back south to Mexico.

[-] 0 points by DeathsHead1 (-111) 1 year ago

The Constitution only means anything when it supports someone political agenda.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

other times, just a statistic ?