CNN: ACLU files suit against TSA on behalf of Campaign For Liberty’s Bierfeldt

Posted on June 23rd, 2009 by beetlbumjl
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June 20th, 2009 8:00 am

Earlier this year the Campaign For Liberty’s Steve Bierfeldt was detained at the St. Louis airport for carrying cash. The story was reported first on Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch show and then other news outlets picked it up.

The ACLU has now brought a lawsuit against the TSA on behalf of Steve Bierfleldt and CNN ran a report on the story during Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” yesterday.

Check it out below.

EFF and ACLU warrantless surveillance lawsuit thrown out by federal court

Posted on June 4th, 2009 by bile
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Federal district judge Vaughn Walker has rejected lawsuits that aimed to hold telecommunications companies accountable for their role in a controversial warrantless surveillance program that was orchestrated in secret by the federal government. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union are preparing to appeal the dismissal.

The warrantless surveillance program is one the more contentious controversies that still lingers from Bush’s tenure in office. The Bush administration attempted to leverage the State Secrets privilege to block litigation that aimed to hold participants in the surveillance program accountable for violating privacy laws. When it became clear that the courts were going to allow the lawsuits to move forward, Congress intervened and passed a FISA amendment to grant the telecom companies explicit immunity. President Obama voted in favor of immunity, despite consistently promising to oppose it.

EFF and ACLU’s lawsuits against the telecoms are among the most significant pending lawsuits targeting the warrantless surveillance program, and they are viewed by privacy advocates as a means of bringing accountability and more robust judicial oversight to the surveillance mess. Judge Walker has thrown out the suits, citing the FISA telecom immunity amendment as the basis for dismissal. He affirmed that the evidence provided under seal by the government demonstrated that the conduct of the telecoms meets the criteria for immunity grants.

“While plaintiffs have made a valiant effort to challenge the sufficiency of certifications they are barred by statute from reviewing, their contentions under section 802 are not sufficiently substantial to persuade the court that the intent of Congress in enacting the statute should be frustrated in this proceeding in which the court is required to apply the statute,” Walker wrote in his decision. “The court has examined the Attorney General’s submissions and has determined that he has met his burden under section 802(a). The court is prohibited by section 802(c)(2) from opining further.”

The EFF and the ACLU are planning to launch an appeal, asserting that the FISA amendments which granted telecom immunity are unconstitutional.

“We’re deeply disappointed in Judge Walker’s ruling today,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn in a statement. “The retroactive immunity law unconstitutionally takes away Americans’ claims arising out of the First and Fourth Amendments, violates the federal government’s separation of powers as established in the Constitution, and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law.”

I suppose the next step is the United States court of appeals. I don’t have much faith in them ruling in the pro-freedom direction. Nor the Supreme Court should it make it there.

Agent provocateur found to be at Democratic convention in Denver by ACLU

Posted on November 8th, 2008 by bile
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The American Civil Liberties Union says undercover police officers posing as protesters staged a violent confrontation with another officer during the Democratic convention in Denver.

The ACLU said it obtained a police document showing the undercover officers pretended to struggle with a police commander so they could be removed from the crowd without blowing their cover.

The ACLU says another officer thought the commander was being attacked and pepper-sprayed the undercover officers.

It’s not clear how many officers were involved or how they were affected by the spray.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson told The Associated Press he was unaware of the report and couldn’t comment. The ACLU didn’t immediately return a message.

Wouldn’t be a surprise. This happens all the time. Happened at the 2004 RNC, WTO protests, etc.

Police state rising

Posted on November 6th, 2008 by bile
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As Ted Galen Carpenter has noted, the War on Drugs is active in Afghanistan. Below is a photo from the DEA website of Special Agents burning a bunker of hashish in Afghanistan. Repeat: These guys are DEA agents, not U.S. soldiers.

Looks like they are putting their domestic training of busting down people’s doors to good use.…

Northcom has announced that two more U.S. military units will be assigned for domestic homeland security missions, bringing the total number of combat ready service members operating inside the U.S. to around 4,700, as fears grow about the increasing militarization of law enforcement.

The announcement follows the controversy surrounding a September 8 Army Times report (revised on September 30), which revealed that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, fresh from combat duties in Iraq, would be operating inside America for tasks including “civil unrest and crowd control,” a detail that was later denied by Northcom despite the concession that forces would be armed with both non-lethal and lethal weapons as well as having access to tanks.

“In the next three years the military plans to activate and train an estimated 4,700 service members for specialized domestic operations, according to Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command, which was created in 2002 for homeland defense missions,” reports the Colorado Independent.

“It’s to help us manage the consequences of a large-scale event,” said Renuart. “We have one [unit] now trained and equipped and assigned to the Northern Command. We’ll grow a second one this calendar year of 2009 and a third one in the calendar year 2010 so we can provide the nation three sets of capabilities that could respond to an event of the size of 9/11 or larger.”

But as Mike German, national security counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington., D.C., points out, “This isn’t a military police brigade or a civil affairs brigade. This is actually a combat brigade being assigned a domestic mission.”

With these stories… combined with Biden and Powell saying shortly into the Obama presidency he will face a great test… well the conspiracy theorists sound less crazy. Lets hope they aren’t.

ACLU: two thirds of US population lives in “Constitution-free” zone

Posted on October 24th, 2008 by bile
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Longtime Ars readers know that I’ve had my own problems in the “Constitution-free zone” that exists in US airports, but an aggressive new ACLU campaign highlights a fact of which I was previously unaware: the Constitution-free zone that exists a US borders and airports actually extends 100 air miles inland and encompasses two-thirds of the country’s population. The US Border Patrol can set up checkpoints anywhere in this region and question citizens.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution contains a border-related exception to unreasonable search and seizure laws, permitting searches at border checkpoints that wouldn’t be permitted elsewhere. But federal statute 8 CFR 287.1 (a)(1-3) defines the border zone for enforcement purposes as encompassing an area within 100 miles of the actual border, with the possibility of extending it further under certain circumstances. This means that the US Border Patrol could conceivably set up random checkpoints asking travelers for a passport in places like Columbus, Ohio; Houston; or anywhere in the state of Florida. And, in fact, it appears that it has been doing exactly this.

In 2003, the Seattle Times reported on random “spot checks” of cars and luggage that border patrol agents were performing on US citizens who were taking the ferry between Washington State and the San Juan islands. Because most of the passengers on these ferries had not actually crossed an international border, the ACLU advised them at the time not to answer any questions asked of them by federal agents.

In the intervening years, the ACLU has been collecting other reports of such inland “border” checkpoints, and has built its new “Constitution-Free Zone” campaign around them. Unfortunately for the ACLU, few of the folks who have been subject to search at such checkpoints have actually come forward with complaints, but the ones who did speak up have compelling and troubling stories.

Take the story of Vince Peppard from San Diego, who crossed the border to buy tiles at a discount store in Mexico. Upon crossing back into the US, he was subject to the usual check at the border, but on driving further inland he was stopped a second checkpoint, where agents asked to search his car.

Peppard, a member of the ACLU, refused the search, at which point he was questioned repeatedly, and eventually escorted from his car while the agents searched it. Segments of Peppard’s account of the incident, which the ACLU has posted in video form on their site, would almost be funny if the issue weren’t so serious.

“He starts looking at the passport and the driver’s license,” says Peppard, “and he goes to my wife, ‘Where were you born?’ because she has an accent, but she’s a US citizen. And so she says, ‘I was born in Syria,’ and he goes, ‘Ah! A Syrian!’ like he’d hit the jackpot or something.”

Read More…

Oklahoma declares sovereignty

Posted on June 19th, 2008 by bile
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I don’t know how this slipped through the libertarian blogosphere but this is pretty hardcore. Looks like it was on 3/13/2008 and the blog is from 6/15/2008.…

2nd Session of the 51st Legislature (2008)
A Joint Resolution claiming sovereignty under the
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States over certain powers; serving notice to the
federal government to cease and desist certain
mandates; and directing distribution.
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States reads as follows:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and
WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and
WHEREAS, today, in 2008, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and
WHEREAS, many federal mandates are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and
WHEREAS, a number of proposals from previous administrations and some now pending from the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States.


THAT the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all
powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal
government by the Constitution of the United States.
THAT this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government,
as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates
that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated

THAT a copy of this resolution be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of each state’s
legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the
Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

And as other sovereignty issues arise like with Real ID hopefully the states can exert enough pressure to cripple the federal government. At least slow its march toward total national control.