Constitution in Crisis :: BORDC’s January Newsletter

Constitution in Crisis

January 2013, Vol. 12 No. 01

View this newsletter as a webpage: http://www.bordc.org/newsletter/2013/01

Washington greets the New Year by assaulting your rights

Congress and White House extend domestic military detention powers in NDAA

On January 2nd of this year, President Obama signed the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) of 2013 into law, without any provisions to restore due process in the face of surviving sections of the 2012 NDAA that continue to threaten indefinite domestic military detention.  While President Obama strongly criticized the bill that reached his desk, his criticism focused on congressional restrictions on the military’s authority to transfer Guantanamo detainees who had been cleared for release.  As with prior laws that assault the Constitution, however, he ultimately signed the bill into law.

Congress and White House extend pervasive domestic surveillance powers in FISA

On December 30th, President Obama signed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FAA), extending the National Security Agency's (NSA) program of unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping for another five years.  FISA is essentially a codification of the illegal domestic spying program begun in secret under the Bush administration.

BORDC News

BORDC in the news

In the last month, BORDC and coalitions we support across the nation have appeared in various press outlets to promote concerns about constitutional rights and the powers of police and intelligence agencies that abuse them.

Raise your voice to demand the truth about US torture

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve a 6,000 page report on torture based on a three year investigation that reviewed over 6 million pages of documents from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. While the bipartisan Senate report is sharply critical of torture, however, it remains secret.

Legal Fellow Nadia Kayalli speaks in Seattle, WA

On January 19th, BORDC Legal Fellow Nadia Kayyali will be the keynote speaker  at a forum on racial profiling focusing on the Secure Communities Initiative (S-Comm).

Read the latest news & analysis from the People’s Blog for the Constitution

Have you read BORDC’s blog lately? The People’s Blog for the Constitution has attracted a growing audience that has tripled over the past year. Featuring news & analysis beyond the headlines on a daily basis, it offers a great way to stay up to date and informed.

Highlights from the past month include:

Grassroots News

Patriot Award: Andrew Bashi

Every month, BORDC honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in his or her community to the movement to restore civil liberties and the rule of law. This month, the Patriot Award goes to Andrew Bashi from Chicago, IL for his extraordinary and committed activism and organizing.

Mourn an Internet hero and take action in his honor

On January 11, our country lost a luminary in the suicide of Aaron Swartz, a brilliant young man who, according to BORDC's Shahid Buttar, "did more for the world in his 26 years than most people do in a lifetime." In the wake of Aaron's tragic death, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched an online petition to fix the draconian computer crime law that exposed Aaron to 13 felony counts of hacking and wire fraud for a victimless crime actually committed in the public interest.

Grassroots updates

To get involved in any of these efforts, please email the BORDC Organizing Team at organizing@bordc.org. We’re eager to hear from you and help support your activism!

  • Alameda County, CA: Coalitions mobilize to challenge local surveillance drones, immigration enforcement
  • Los Angeles, CA: Broad protests on 11th anniversary of Guantanamo challenge torture and detention under NDAA, while Stop LAPD Spying Coalition continues to mobilize
  • Dallas, TX: Advocates host press conference and demonstration to creatively challenge detention, torture, NDAA
  • Fayetteville, AR: Communities come together to address anti-immigrant profiling
  • Chicago, IL: Coalition rallies first to challenge mass incarceration, and again to confront detention under NDAA and torture
  • Washington, DC: Activists mobilize against torture at release of Zero Dark Thirty
  • New York, NY: Coalition presses towards victory on racial profiling as federal judge blocks NYPD profiling in the Bronx
  • New Britain, CT: Coalitions address anti-immigrant profiling, military detention without trial

Law and Policy

The FBI vs. Occupy

It’s no secret that the FBI and local law enforcement have targeted the Occupy movement since its inception in fall 2011, sometimes to the degree of planting informants and manufacturing criminal charges.  However, recently released documents reveal that monitoring by federal law enforcement was even more extensive than imagined.

Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow and the Senate keep us in the dark about torture

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's Zero Dark Thirty opens with a title that declares "The following motion picture is based on first-hand accounts of actual events." With this title and relentless publicity, Biegwlow has suggested “What we were attempting is almost a journalistic approach to film.’’ Zero Dark Thirty not only misrepresents the facts surrounding the role of torture in Osama Bin Laden's capture, it also uses film technique to align the audience with the torturers.

Programs under development to further erode privacy through cybersecurity, domestic drone aircraft

In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported on the initial phases of a NSA program now known to be called “Perfect Citizen.” Despite its brazenly Orwellian title, the NSA allegedly designed Perfect Citizen to prevent cyberattacks on federal agencies and computer systems that control critical infrastructure.  FOIA documents procured by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) confirm the concern with protecting power grids and other vulnerable systems.

New Resources and Opportunities

Want to spy on your neighbor? The surveillance state comes to a store near you

The next time your family celebrates a birthday, consider a gift for the whole family: a functional aerial surveillance drone. Verizon Wireless has you covered—you can purchase your very own quadro-copter, along with two HD cameras, online.

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