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      by Published on 11-18-2014 12:15 PM

      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/1...-you-need-know

      The USA Freedom Act, the leading contender for NSA reform, is set for a vote this week. The bill has some problems, but is a major step forward for surveillance reform. That's why we're asking you to call your Senator and urge them to support the USA Freedom Act. Here's a rundown of what's to come, what you need to know, and what may happen this week:

      What is the USA Freedom Act and How Did we Get Here?

      The USA Freedom Act is a bill that was first proposed last year by Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. The original version of the bill limited the NSA's call records collection program, introduced a special advocate into the secretive ...
      by Published on 11-10-2014 12:20 PM

      The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars.

      In one seminar, captured on video in September, Harry S. Connelly Jr., the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., called them “little goodies.” And then Mr. Connelly described how officers in his jurisdiction could not wait to seize one man’s “exotic vehicle” outside a local bar.

      “A guy drives up in a 2008 Mercedes, brand new,” he explained. “Just so beautiful, I mean, the cops were undercover and they were just like ‘Ahhhh.’ And he gets out and he’s just reeking of alcohol. And it’s like, ‘Oh, my goodness, we can hardly wait.’ ”

      Mr. Connelly was talking about a practice known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government, without ever securing a conviction or even filing a criminal charge, to seize property suspected of having ties to crime. The practice, expanded during the war on drugs in the 1980s, has become a staple of law enforcement agencies because it helps finance their work. It is difficult to tell how much has been seized by state and local law enforcement, but under a Justice Department program, the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from $407 million in 2001. Much of that money is shared with local police forces.

      Continued
      http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/10...html?referrer=
      by Published on 09-12-2014 10:30 AM

      A secret and scrappy court battle that Yahoo launched to resist the NSA’s PRISM spy program came to an end in 2008 because the Feds threatened the internet giant with a massive $250,000 a day fine if it didn’t comply.

      The detail of the threat became public today after 1,500 pages worth of documents were unsealed in the case, revealing new information about the aggressive battle the Feds fought to force the company to bow to its demands. The information was first reported by the Washington Post following a blog post published by Yahoo’s general counsel disclosing that the documents had been unsealed and revealing for the first time the government’s threat of a fine.

      Yahoo fought to unseal the case documents to provide better transparency about the government’s data collection programs and the FISA Court’s controversial history in approving nearly every data request the government makes.

      Continued http://www.wired.com/2014/09/feds-yahoo-fine-prism/
      by Published on 05-22-2014 09:25 AM

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with a bipartisan delegation of senators late Tuesday for secret talks focused on foreign policy, several sources with knowledge of the discussion told Yahoo News.

      Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to the meeting on Wednesday, as the panel held a hearing on whether and how to overhaul the signature law of the global war on terrorism.

      “I know we both attended sort of a discussion last night that I found to be one of the most bizarre I've attended on Foreign Relations on foreign policy in our country,” Corker said at one point, referring to himself and Sen. Bob Menendez (D.-New Jersey), the committee’s chairman.

      “I know several of us were involved in a very bizarre discussion last night. This continues a very bizarre discussion,” Corker said at another point.

      Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-ho...211842750.html
      by Published on 05-04-2014 10:41 AM

      National Security and Double Government: Analysis by Professor Glennon
      http://harvardnsj.org/volume5/

      National security policy in the United States has remained largely constant from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. This continuity can be explained by the “double government” theory of 19th-century scholar of the English Constitution Walter Bagehot. As applied to the United States, Bagehot’s theory suggests that U.S. national security policy is defined by the network of executive officials who manage the departments and agencies responsible for protecting U.S. national security and who, responding to structural incentives embedded in the U.S. political system, operate largely removed from public view and from constitutional constraints. The public believes that the constitutionally-established institutions control national security policy, but that view is mistaken. Judicial review is negligible; congressional oversight is dysfunctional; and presidential control is nominal. Absent a more informed and engaged electorate, little possibility exists for restoring accountability in the formulation and execution of national security policy.

      Few who follow world events can doubt that the Obama Administration’s approach to multiple national security issues has been essentially the same as that of the Bush Administration.2 The Obama Administration, like its predecessor, has sent terrorism suspects overseas for detention and interrogation;3 claimed the power to hold, without trial, American citizens who are accused of terrorism in military confinement;4 insisted that it is for the President to decide whether an accused terrorist will be tried by a civilian court or a military tribunal;5 kept the military prison at Guantánamo Bay open,6 argued that detainees cannot challenge the conditions of their confinement,7 and restricted detainees’ access to legal counsel;8 resisted efforts to extend the right of habeas corpus to other off-shore prisons;9 argued that detainees cannot invoke the Geneva Conventions in habeas proceedings;10 denied detainees access to the International Committee of the Red Cross for weeks at a time;11 engaged the United States in a military attack against Libya without congressional approval, in the face of no actual or imminent threat to the nation;12 and continued, and in some respects expanded, the Bush Administration’s ballistic missile defense program.13

      The Obama Administration, beyond ending torture, has changed “virtually none” of the Bush Administration’s Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) programs

      [continued at link]
      by Published on 09-14-2013 08:05 AM



      A higher percentage of troops, about 80 percent, say they do not believe getting involved in the two-year-old civil war is in the U.S. national interest.

      The results suggest that opposition inside the military may be more intense than among the U.S. population at large. About 64 percent of Americans oppose air strikes, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll published Monday.

      http://www.militarytimes.com/interac...-by-3-1-margin
      by Published on 09-09-2013 03:21 PM

      MOSCOW, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Syria welcomes a Russian proposal to place the nation's chemical weapons under international control, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday after talks in Moscow, praising the Kremlin for seeking to "prevent American aggression".

      Moualem, who spoke to reporters through an interpreter after Russia expressed hope the proposal could avert military strikes against Syria, stopped short of saying explicitly that President Bashar al-Assad's government accepted it.

      Full Story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3894302.html
      by Published on 12-13-2010 09:02 AM

      On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

      The men share a goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable -- and controversial -- fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

      Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk.

      In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of ...
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