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Obama Administration Abuses National Security, Secrecy Powers

10:29 am in Uncategorized by joe shikspack

Would the US Government executive branch abuse its state secrets privilege, abuse the classification of documents, and use its ability to prevent a foreign national’s entry to the US to bar her access to the court system? Would it spend millions of taxpayer dollars on lawyers improperly?

The answer is unequivocally yes.

Eric_Holder perjury

Would top Obama administration officials practice deceit repeatedly in support of efforts to avoid admission of a simple error?

Absolutely.

Here is proof that the Obama administration at the highest levels cannot be trusted to fairly, prudently and honestly wield the powers they have arrogated unto themselves in the name of national security. Not only are they a pack of liars, they are people that lack the honor and decency to admit when they have made a simple mistake and apologize for it.

How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error

After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called ‘state secrets privilege’ to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name.

Eric Holder declared to the court that the government would not claim national security privileges to conceal administrative errors or prevent embarrassment.

Holder should have been charged with perjury for his mendacity and the administration should be beyond embarrassed.

Due to the clerical error committed by the FBI agent, the plaintiff in this case, having recently had a hysterectomy and being wheelchair bound, was handcuffed, detained and denied her pain medications for hours. After she was released and returned to her home country, the administration barred her from returning to the US to attend her trial.

Most normal folks after discovering that they have by error caused someone pain, embarrassment and severe inconvenience would find apologizing for their error to be the right thing to do. Apparently the Obama administration is not peopled by normal folks.

The administration almost got away with it. The judge initially dismissed the case basis of the government’s claims. After a federal appeals court reinstated the suit, the judge learned what the government had been at pains to conceal. In a pretrial conference the judge said, “I feel that I have been had by the government.”

From the decision:

At long last, the government has conceded that plaintiff poses no threat to air safety or national security and should never have been placed on the no-fly list. She got there by human error within the FBI. This too is conceded. This was no minor human error but an error with palpable impact, leading to the humiliation, cuffing, and incarceration of an innocent and incapacitated air traveler. That it was human error may seem hard to accept — the FBI agent filled out the nomination form in a way exactly opposite from the instructions on the form, a bureaucratic analogy to a surgeon amputating the wrong digit — human error, yes, but of considerable consequence. Nonetheless, this order accepts the agent’s testimony.

The judge goes on in the ruling to describe some of the various abuses that the Obama administration engaged in to conceal the information from the public on realization that the petty error they had expended so much effort to conceal would be known to the court:

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Why President Obama’s drone assassination program must be made accountable

7:10 am in Uncategorized by joe shikspack

It’s 2020, and unless Mr. Obama has successfully declared himself President-for-life, somebody else is President. Perhaps this time the lesser evil has lost. Thanks to the groundwork laid by President Obama and the boys at DARPA, the new president has the sort of technology that dystopian fiction is based upon.

In 2020 the president has at his disposal the drone technology to surveil anyone, anywhere on earth. The technology has the visual resolution to see disturbed dirt from a mile high in the sky and track footprints, to identify individuals using biometric data, even to “see” through walls and ceilings. Drones will also be outfitted with the means to collect electronic communications, phone calls, texts, gps location data, etc., creating a tool that can track individuals in the physical realm as well as their “footprints” in cyberspace to deliver the information needed for lethal actions

In 2020 the Earth will be surrounded by a triple canopy of drones at various heights to surveil us and deliver sudden death and destruction from above, wherever on earth or space the president desires:

At the lowest tier of this emerging U.S. aerospace shield, within striking distance of Earth in the lower stratosphere, the Pentagon is building an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones equipped with high-resolution cameras capable of surveilling all terrain within a 100-mile radius, electronic sensors to intercept communications, efficient engines for continuous 24-hour flights, and eventually Triple Terminator missiles to destroy targets below.

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By late 2011, the Air Force and the CIA had already ringed the Eurasian land mass with a network of 60 bases for drones armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs, allowing air strikes against targets just about anywhere in Europe, Africa, or Asia. … If things go according to plan, in this same lower tier at altitudes up to 12 miles unmanned aircraft such as the “Vulture,” with solar panels covering its massive 400-foot wingspan, will be patrolling the globe ceaselessly for up to five years at a time with sensors for “unblinking” surveillance, and possibly missiles for lethal strikes. …

For the next tier above the Earth, in the upper stratosphere, DARPA and the Air Force are collaborating in the development of the Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle. Flying at an altitude of 20 miles, it is expected to “deliver 12,000 pounds of payload at a distance of 9,000 nautical miles from the continental United States in less than two hours.” …

At the outer level of this triple-tier aerospace canopy, the age of space warfare dawned in April 2010 when the Pentagon quietly launched the X-37B space drone, an unmanned craft just 29 feet long, into an orbit 250 miles above the Earth.

Test Vehicle

By the time its second prototype landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in June 2012 after a 15-month flight, this classified mission represented a successful test of “robotically controlled reusable spacecraft” and established the viability of unmanned space drones in the exosphere.

This drone technology, which is well on its way now, will vest in the president and his minions a great deal of very concentrated power to breach individual privacy and security. How this power is held will have great implications for its ability to corrupt, or perhaps as Lord Acton would have put it, to corrupt absolutely. Our machines are extensions of ourselves. They implement our will (at least when we write competent programming). The issue is inequality; the machines that belong to the already powerful are so much more effective than the machines of we regular slobs and the potential for expanding the inequality of power that exists between the regular folks and the privileged elites is daunting.

Are we governed by Angels?

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9th Circuit ruling favorable for Occupiers to hold police, gov’ts accountable for excessive force

6:51 am in Uncategorized by joe shikspack

A three judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals filed an unanimous ruling in Nelson v. City of Davis. The student plaintiff, Timothy Nelson was seriously and permanently injured by the excessive use of force by police in a 2004 incident at UC Davis. The Court found that the police actions violated a basic constitutional right, the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable seizure and invalidated qualified immunity for the police, meaning that police could be held liable for damages. This ruling should offer considerable support to Occupiers pressing suit against police and governments for their often brutal and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters. -=-=- The incident is described in the decision and some of the details are strikingly similar to reports of police attacks on Occupiers – emphasis in quoted portion is mine:

Riot police brandishing a nonlethal weapon.

Photo: Charles de Jesus / Flickr

Timothy Nelson, a former student of the University of California at Davis (“U.C. Davis”), suffered permanent injury when he was shot in the eye by a pepperball projectile fired from the weapon of a U.C. Davis officer when U.C. Davis and City of Davis police attempted to clear an apartment complex of partying students. Officers shot pepperball projectiles in the direction of Nelson and his friends as the students stood in the breezeway of the apartment complex, attempting to leave the party and awaiting instruction from the officers. The officers did not provide any audible warning prior to shooting towards the unarmed and compliant students, and never informed the young partygoers how to appropriately extricate themselves from the apartment complex in order to avoid becoming the target of police force.

The officers gathered in front of a breezeway in the apartment complex that was described as a “very narrow and confined space.” A group of fifteen to twenty persons had congregated in this breezeway on the ground floor, including Nelson and his friends. The students were attempting to leave the party but the police blocked their means of egress and did not provide any instructions for departing from the complex.

A pepperball launched from one of the officers’ guns struck Nelson in the eye. He immediately collapsed on the ground and fell into the bushes where he writhed in pain for ten to fifteen minutes. Although unable to see, Nelson heard the officers proceed past where he lay, but none of them provided assistance. Some time later, Nelson was removed from the scene and driven to the hospital. Later that evening, Lieutenant Pytel, the incident commander at the scene learned that an individual was injured during the dispersal of persons at the apartment complex and sent Wilson to the hospital to ascertain whether that individual was injured by the officers’ use of force and whether that individual had committed a chargeable offense. The officers were unable to find any crime with which to charge Nelson — thus no charge was ever filed against him.

The court ruled that the use of force against Nelson was excessive and that police officers may be held liable for injuries caused by non-lethal weapons used for crowd dispersal in cases of excessive use of force. The court stated that a reasonable officer would have known that the conduct engaged in and similar conduct would be unconstitutional (emphasis mine):

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