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News Links: Human Rights, Surveillance, International Law…

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  • Court: Improper for Judiciary to Decide Whether Killing US Citizens with Drones Violates Due Process Rights

    A federal judge was unable to find no remedy in United States law for a claim that United States citizen’s due process rights were violated when they were targeted and killed by a drone. The case was dismissed because the judge determined the citizen had been properly designated a terrorist, posed a threat to US interests, and the judiciary should not interfere in the areas of “warmaking, national security and foreign relations.”

  • Drone killings case thrown out in US

    A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government by the families of three American citizens killed by drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war.

  • Constitutional collateral damage: Lawsuit over American drone deaths tossed out by US judge
  • Lawsuit Over American Drone Strikes Dismissed
  • UN Wants Answers on Drones; Why Not The American People?
  • New bill would force President Obama to publish drone strike casualties

    A bipartisan Bill that would force President Obama to reveal casualties from covert US drone strikes has been put before the US Congress.

    If successful, the bill would require the White House to publish an annual report of casualties from covert US drone strikes.

    The reports would include the total number of combatants killed or injured, the total number of civilians killed or injured, and the total number of people killed or injured by drones who are not counted as combatants or civilians.

  • Who Are We Killing? It Seems a Good Question
  • Viewpoint: All Americans should oppose further use of drone technology

    Americans of conscience, of all political persuasions, are concerned over our use of unmanned armed drone aircraft as an instrument of foreign policy. Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW) urges our fellow citizens to seriously consider the issues raised by this remote-controlled death from the skies.

  • Berlin powerless to challenge US drone operations at Ramstein air base

    Statements made by Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot for the US Air Force, reveal that Germany plays a greater role in the US drone war than previously thought.

    “The entire drone war of the US military wouldn’t be possible without Germany,” Bryant told German media. During his time in the US Air Force, Bryant flew more than 1,000 operations from the US.

  • Organization formed in Yemen to stop drone attacks

    The National Organization for Drone Victims has been established by families of drone victims along with human rights activists in Yemen. The group is seeking to end the US drone program in Yemen.

  • UN Human Rights Committee Finds US in Violation on 25 Counts

    While President Obama told the country to “look forward, not backward” when it came to Bush’s torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.


  • CIA torture tactics to get public airing

    Thursday’s vote marked the end of a four-year Senate probe of the CIA’s past use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ a euphemism used to sugarcoat a number of brutal torture techniques, including hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding against detainees following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

  • CIA torture didn’t work

    The CIA is a rogue operation run by people who think they’re entitled to do whatever they want. For years they’ve gotten away with it. But if President Obama agrees to release a summary of a declassified report on the agency’s torture program, they won’t be able to cloak their abuses in secrecy any longer.

  • The CIA’s dark secrets

    The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” introduced after 9/11, were not just cruel, but rarely led to valuable intelligence, a report by the US Senate is likely to say. A summary is expected to be declassified.

  • Take CIA out of loop on torture report

    By law, the president has authority to declassify information, and he surely has the authority to decide the process for declassifying this landmark report.

    The CIA should never have had a torture program, never should have lied about what it was doing and never should have been given broad authority to review the Senate oversight report.

    Obama cannot now hand the agency a black-out pen to continue to hide the horrors it inflicted around the globe and the harm it caused to our American values. It’s time for someone other than the CIA to decide what all Americans can know about its wrongs.

    Fooled twice, yes. Let’s not be fooled again.

  • CIA Put In Charge Of Declassifying Senate’s Report That Condemns The CIA’s Torture Program

    In our post about the Senate Intelligence Committee agreeing to declassify the executive summary and major findings of the $40 million, 6,300 page “devastating” report on how the CIA tortured people for no good reason and then lied about it, we noted that there was still a battle over who would handle the declassification process. Senator Mark Udall directly noted that the White House had a choice

  • Leak the CIA report: it’s the only way to know the whole truth about torture

    Unless, of course, you think spies redacting 6,300 pages of their own sins is transparency. Look how much leaks told us this week

  • CIA official dies in apparent suicide

    CIA employees are known to work under stressful conditions and high stress is considered part of the job, the website adds. Employees are usually intelligence analysts and support personnel, technical services operators, or members of the clandestine services.

  • CIA Official Dies in Apparent Suicide
  • Crowdsourced Guesses Predict World Events Better Than The CIA
  • Senate decision welcomed by alleged CIA torture victim

    ITV News has obtained a statement from former Libyan opposition politician Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who claims he was tortured by the CIA and says British authorities were aware of it.

  • CIA torture victim calls for declassification of Senate report
  • Secret State Department Letter Warned: Don’t Release CIA Torture Report

    While Joe Biden publicly called for releasing the Senate report on CIA interrogation, the State Department warned that revealing foreign “black sites” could risk American lives.

  • CIA ‘torture,’ Microsoft’s stolen source code, and a cool espionage exhibit: Spy Games Update

    Sen. Ron Wyden declared that Americans would be dismayed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s classified 6,200-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which he called “torture.” You can read about it here:

    Sen. Wyden: Americans will be ‘profoundly disturbed’ by report on CIA’s terrorist interrogations

Cuba, Ukraine and Other Destabilisation at the Borders




  • Interactive Graphic: The NSA Spying Machine
  • Americans trust IRS and NSA more than Facebook: Shock poll

    Americans trust the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the National Security Agency with their personal data more than than they do Facebook and Google, reveals a shocking poll findings released Thursday morning.

    The question asked by the Reason-Rupe public opinion poll was “Which of the following (IRS, NSA, Facebook and Google) do you TRUST THE MOST with your personal information?”

  • Over 200 NSA documents collected and made searchable, from Snowden to Prism

    When Edward Snowden made a name for himself last June by leaking classified NSA information, he did so by working with The Guardian and a documentary filmmaker. As such, the public learned of much of the NSA’s surveillance measures through the medium of a single media outlet. In the ensuing months, much more has come to light, and today the American Civil Liberties Union is unveiling “NSA Documents Database,” a searchable, categorized database of just over 200 previously classified NSA documents.

  • How Coverage of the NSA Scandals Ignores the (Obedient) CIA

    Note the reference to 1947. It’s part of the public record that President Truman, who created the CIA when he signed the National Security Act of 1947, publicly regretted that the CIA had become a nexus of covert operations.

  • Half of Americans have changed browsing habits due to NSA spying

    A recent Harris poll asked over 2000 US adults aged 18 years and older whether they had actively changed their attitude towards online security as a consequence of the controversy surrounding the NSA’s actions. 47% of respondents said that they had changed their behaviour and now considered with much more care what they did and said online.

  • Pro-Pot, Pro-Gay, Anti-NSA… and Running for Senate

    Meet Shenna Bellows, Maine’s former ACLU chief who’s looking to unseat Susan Collins with a mix of left and right issues that might appeal to millennials.

  • Hiding in plain sight: evidence that NSA isn’t wrecking internet security

    The allegation that NSA weakened the dual elliptic curve random number generator has been floating around for some time, and it has already had some policy impact. The President’s Review Group was reacting to the story when it declared that the US Government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards [and] not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”

    A careful reading of the actual study, though, suggests that there’s been more than a little hype in the claim that NSA has somehow made us all less safe by breaking internet security standards. I recognize that this is a technical paper, and that I’m not a cryptographer. So I welcome technical commentary and corrections.

  • Box CEO Aaron Levie on How the NSA Could Be Bad for Business
  • Box’s Aaron Levie: We haven’t received any NSA requests

    With Box heading toward an IPO, the normally gregarious CEO can’t say much about anything. But when it comes to the topic of government surveillance and what that might mean for the future of the Internet, he offers a few tidbits.

  • Technology that can deliver ‘NSA proof’ smart phones

    As the internet and mobile companies constantly strive for spy-proof, secure technology for customers who use smart phones, laptops or tablets, a team of scientists have shown how a novel quantum cryptography technology can help them achieve an ‘NSA proof’ world.


‘Reform’ on Privacy

  • An NSA “Reform Bill” of the Intelligence Community, Written by the Intelligence Community, and for the Intelligence Community

    Representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, introduced HR 4291, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (.pdf), to end the collection of all Americans’ calling records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Both have vehemently defended the program since June, and it’s reassuring to see two of the strongest proponents of NSA’s actions agreeing with privacy advocates’ (and the larger public’s) demands to end the program. The bill only needs 17 lines to stop the calling records program, but it weighs in at more than 40 pages. Why? Because the “reform” bill tries to create an entirely new government “authority” to collect other electronic data.

  • Planned NSA reforms still leave journalists reason to worry

    Last week the Obama administration set forth a proposal to reform one part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program: the indiscriminate collection of American phone records. Under the president’s proposal, the government would no longer collect call data in bulk but would be allowed to ask for it from phone companies with court approval, and only for numbers linked to terrorism.

  • Obama’s promise to prevent NSA spying rings hollow

    Dream on. The significant thing about Obama’s announcement is the two things it left out: surveillance of the Internet (as distinct from the telephonic activity of American citizens); and of the rest of the world — that’s you and me. So even if Obama succeeds in getting his little policy swerve through Congress, the central capabilities of the national surveillance state will remain in place.

  • Telecoms could be forced to collect even more metadata under Obama’s NSA overhaul

    An effort from the White House to revamp the rules that govern how the National Security Agency goes about getting telephone data may actually force service providers to start logging more records that they do now, a new report suggests.

  • Barack Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data
  • Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data

    President Barack Obama’s plan for overhauling the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program could force carriers to collect and store customer data that they are not now legally obliged to keep, according to U.S. officials.

    One complication arises from the popularity of flat-rate or unlimited calling plans, which are used by the vast majority of Americans.

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