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Obama's Civil Liberties Record

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  • scotpeden@cruzio.com
    Seems to me, DEMANDING change, from someone that stated we d get change we can believe in, isn t working. Not much of a surprise when the only Candidates the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2012
      Seems to me, DEMANDING change, from someone that stated we'd get change we
      can believe in, isn't working.

      Not much of a surprise when the only Candidates the Corporate Media will
      tell you about are the ones the Corporates get their representation from.

      So... doing the same thing over and over again produce the same results?
      Time to do something different.


      Obama's Civil Liberties Record

      The Death of Civil Liberty

      Obama’s First-Term Track Record on Civil Liberties

      By John W. Whitehead
      November 12, 2012

      “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current
      president I actually respect the Constitution.”—Barack Obama (March

      Four years after Barack Obama was elected on a platform of “change you can
      believe in,” he’s now promising America that the “best is yet to come.”
      However, on almost every front—fiscally, militarily, politically,
      socially—the country is in a state of disarray.

      Most troubling, however, is the state of our freedoms. Indeed, during
      Obama’s first term, our civil liberties were utterly and completely
      disemboweled. The great irony, of course, is that this happened with a
      self-proclaimed constitutional law professor at the helm—a man who was
      supposed to understand and respect the rule of law as laid out in the U.S.

      Not only did Obama continue many of the most outrageous abuses of the
      George W. Bush administration (which were bad enough), including
      indefinite detention and warrantless surveillance of American citizens,
      but he also succeeded in expanding the power of the “imperial president,”
      including the ability to assassinate American citizens abroad and
      unilaterally authorize drone strikes resulting in the deaths of countless
      innocent civilians, including women and children.

      Obama has a lot to account for over the course of his first four years in
      office, particularly in terms of the erosion of our civil liberties. Just
      consider some of the assaults on our freedoms that took place under
      Obama’s watch, either as a result of his continuing Bush’s policies,
      enacting his own misguided policies or simply because he did nothing to
      counter them.

      In March 2009, only two months after being elected, Obama defended Bush’s
      unconstitutional National Security Agency spying program in court. Obama
      went so far as to insist that actions authorized by the President,
      including illegally spying on American citizens, should be free from any
      judicial scrutiny whatsoever.

      In April 2009, the Department of Homeland Security launched a program,
      Operation Vigilant Eagle, which calls for surveillance of military
      veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as
      extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be
      “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of
      war.” Coupled with the DHS’ report on “Rightwing Extremism,” which broadly
      defines rightwing extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly
      antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local
      authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics bode
      ill for anyone seen as opposing the government—whether it be an Occupier,
      Tea Party supporter or a free speech protester.

      In July 2009, Obama threatened to veto an oversight bill that would have
      required the president to inform lawmakers about covert CIA activities.

      In December 2009, Obama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, announced his
      intention to ramp up the military industrial complex’s war in Afghanistan
      and subsequently followed through on his plan.

      In February 2010, the Department of Defense issued a U.S. Army field
      manual detailing the prospective internment and resettlement of American
      citizens in the event of another terrorist attack or natural disaster on
      U.S. soil. The leaked document confirmed the fears of many government
      critics, “from the Patriot movement on the right to Occupy on the left to
      Anonymous, anarchists, organized racists, survivalists, and plain old
      conspiracy theorists in between.”

      In March 2010, the Department of Homeland Security began rolling out
      controversial full-body scanners to American airports. Despite an initial
      outcry about the invasive nature of the scanners and the enhanced patdowns
      of American citizens, government officials continued to tout the machines
      as safe and effective. A year later, an investigative report by
      ProPublica/PBS NewsHour, revealed that six to 100 U.S. airline passengers
      each year could get cancer from the machines, which were purchased with
      Obama’s stimulus funds.

      In July 2010, the Obama administration arrested 23-year-old Army soldier
      Bradley Manning on charges that he leaked classified military and
      diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website, Wikileaks. Held in
      maximum solitary confinement for close to a year, treatment normally
      reserved for the most violent or dangerous of criminals, Manning has yet
      to be put on trial. His treatment was intended to send a clear warning to
      all those who would challenge the military empire—“DON’T EVEN CONSIDER

      In May 2011, Obama expanded the war effort, with bombings in Libya,
      Somalia, and Yemen. Later that month, Obama signed a four-year extension
      of three controversial provisions in the USA Patriot Act that authorize
      the government to use aggressive surveillance tactics—even against
      American citizens—in the so-called war against terror. That same month,
      the U.S. Supreme Court in an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King effectively
      decimated the Fourth Amendment by giving SWAT teams more leeway to break
      into homes or apartments in search of illegal drugs when they suspect the
      evidence might be destroyed. The Court, at the urging of the Obama
      administration, sanctioned warrantless raids, saying that police had acted
      lawfully and that was all that mattered.

      In June 2011, a Department of Education “SWAT team” forced their way into
      the home of a California man, handcuffed him, and placed his three
      children in a squad car while they conducted a search of his home,
      allegedly over falsified student loans. Raids of this type are becoming
      increasingly common—more than 50,000 such raids occur every year in
      America—with federal agencies such as the State Dept., Dept. of Energy,
      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service laying claim
      to their own SWAT teams. Also in June 2011, the FBI granted its 14,000
      agents expansive additional powers, allowing them to investigate
      individuals using highly intrusive monitoring techniques, including
      infiltrating suspect organizations with confidential informants and
      photographing and tailing suspect American citizens, without having any
      factual basis for suspecting them of wrongdoing.

      In September 2011, two American citizens were killed during a drone attack
      in Yemen as part of a government “kill list” operation in which Obama
      personally directs who should be targeted for death by military drones.
      Drone strikes, a signature policy of the Obama administration, have
      tripled since Obama took office.

      In December 2011, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act
      of 2012, which mandates that anyone suspected of terrorism against the
      United States be held in military custody indefinitely. This provision
      extends to American citizens on American territory. It was quietly signed
      into law by Obama on New Year's Eve.

      In February 2012, Obama signed the FAA Reauthorization Act, which opens up
      American skies for the domestic use of armed surveillance drones, a $30
      billion per year industry. Incredibly, no civil liberties protections for
      Americans were included in the legislation. By 2020, it is estimated that
      at least 30,000 drones will be crisscrossing the nation’s skies equipped
      with anti-personnel weapons and surveillance devices.

      In March 2012, Congress overwhelmingly passed and Obama signed the
      anti-protest “Trespass Bill”—legislation that makes it a federal crime to
      protest or assemble in the vicinity of protected government officials. The
      bill’s language is so overly broad as to put an end to free speech,
      political protest and the right to peaceably assemble in all areas where
      government officials happen to be present. That same month, Obama issued
      an executive order stating that in the case of a war or national
      emergency, the federal government has the authority to take over almost
      every aspect of American society.

      In April 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court—again at the urging of the Obama
      administration—declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a
      jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they
      can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be
      subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable
      suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.

      In July 2012, the Obama administration began allowing the National
      Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to store and “critically assess”
      information on innocent Americans for up to five years. Data recorded by
      the NCTC includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health
      information, employment history, travel and student records,” among other

      In September 2012 and in the months preceding it, in major cities across
      the country, including Boston, Miami, Little Rock, and Los Angeles, the
      U.S. military carried out training exercises involving Black Hawk
      helicopters and uniformed soldiers. The exercises occurred in the middle
      of the night, with the full cooperation of the local police forces and
      generally without forewarning the public.

      In October 2012, it was revealed that the Obama administration has been
      “secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a
      next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix.’” The
      matrix goes beyond the president’s kill list to detail suspects beyond the
      reach of American drones. This disposition matrix is also overseen by the

      So what does the future hold? Unless President Obama changes course—and
      drastically so—freedom as we have known it will become extinct.

      WC: 1471
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