An excellent article titled “Civil liberties, civil rights more censored in 2007” written by Peter Phillips, a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Director of Project Censored for People’s Weekly World Newspaper on 12/27/07 is below. I’ve added links to the laws referenced by Professor Phillips:
Civil Liberties, Civil Rights Most Censored In 2007
The U.S. corporate media like to think of themselves as providing the official most accurate news reporting of the day. The New York Times motto of “all the news that’s fit to print” is a clear example of this perspective. However, with corporate media coverage that increasingly focuses on a narrow range of celebrity updates, news from “official” government sources and sensationalized crimes and disasters, the self-justification of being the most fit is no longer valid.
We need to broaden our understanding of censorship in this country. The dictionary definition of censorship as direct government control of news is no longer adequate. The private corporate media in the U.S. significantly under-covers and/or deliberately censors numerous important news stories every year.
The common theme of the most censored stories over the past year is the systemic erosion of human rights and civil liberties both in the U.S. and the world at large. The corporate media ignored the fact that habeas corpus can now be suspended for anyone by order of the president. With the approval of Congress, the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006, signed by Bush on Oct. 17, 2006, allows for the suspension of habeas corpus for U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike. While media, including a lead editorial in The New York Times on Oct. 19, 2006, have given false comfort that American citizens will not be the victims of the measures legalized by this Act, the law is quite clear that “any person” can be targeted. The text in the MCA allows for the institution of a military alternative to the constitutional justice system for “any person” regardless of American citizenship. The MCA effectively does away with habeas corpus rights for all people living in the U.S. deemed by the president to be enemy combatants.
Another shining example of corruption under the guise of Bush Administration style justice — being guilty until proven innocent — being reported shows how the federal government treats its citizens, using convoluted ‘laws’ full of loosely worded loopholes to allegedly ‘protect the citizens’ that wind up being twisted around and used against them as a license to steal.
Luther Ricks Sr. is a 63-year-old married man, retired from Ohio Steel Foundry who said he has always had a safe at home and never had a bank account. He and his wife, who both worked, saved money during their lifetime while living a modest life. The safe contained $402,767 — the result of their lifetime of saving.
On June 30 this summer Ricks and his son were being attacked by two robbers who broke into Ricks house. His son was stabbed. Ricks was able to break free, grab a gun fatally shoot one of the robbers.
FBI Confiscates Life Savings From Police
Lima police originally confiscated the money when they found a small amount of marijuana. Ricks smokes marijuana to help ease the pain of his arthritis, shingles and his hip replacement.
It’s becoming painfully evident that the main stream news media has a really bad habit of sitting on or covering up and ignoring news stories — sometimes twisting words around to distort the truth — raising questions as to why certain stories are ignored as well as questions about ethics, integrity and morals. Failing to mention pertinent news to the public, purposely reporting false information and keeping people in the dark has gone on entirely too long.
It’s disgraceful knowing that much of the corporate media is owned by the Republican Party and that ordinary unsuspecting citizens are purposely ill-informed to further the illicit agenda and incompetence of the “elected” leadership.
Instead of covering the more obvious crimes of the Bush Administration, they devote columns to the political race, citing phony poll numbers and predicting who will win, purposely failing to mention or downplaying contenders such as Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards to mention a few. When Paris Hilton or Jamie Spears is front page news there’s a BIG problem.
As noted by Dave Lindorff in The Baltimore Chronicle, everyone knows that this country is being run by a criminal syndicate that has rigged elections, hidden its knowledge of the 9-11 attacks, lied the country into war, plotted to out an important CIA undercover operative, obstructed a criminal investigation (repeatedly) into the treasonous act, subverted most of the articles of the Bill of Rights with convoluted signing statements / executive orders, emasculated the Congress and the Courts, betrayed veterans, surrendered a major American metropolis to devastation received from a hurricane, plotted to enable the declaration of martial law, tortured, kidnapped and killed millions of people in blatant violation of international law, obstructed efforts to deal with the crisis of global warming and more for the past unconscionable seven years. The list goes on and on.
It’s been a busy week in the political world. Our Congress has been busy recently, trying to screw under the American public they’re supposed to be the voice of by trying to pass laws that continue to be blatantly unconstitutional while our president continues to believe he can write his own laws, none of which apply to him.
For reasons unknown, most of the main stream media doesn’t cover a lot of the going ons. These attempts to stifle democracy as we know it are growing extremely irritating.
Links to some of the dysfunctional actions that are of importance to you privacy, human rights and illegal actions of the most corrupt political system in history can be found below:
A FISA Fix article written by New Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey article from The Los Angeles Times
There never was, or never should have been, any question as to where the new attorney general’s loyalties would lie — welcome to Alberto Gonzales part II — he will continue to let the president trample on the constitution and break all kinds of laws.
In another example of how low the military can go and how much they appreciate those serving what’s left of our democracy, thousands of wounded service personnel are reportedly being asked to repay part of their signing bonuses because they’re so badly wounded that they can’t complete their commitments. In some cases, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 to get people to sign up.
Now men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back. Jordan Fox is one of them.
Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle he was in. He was knocked unconscious, his back was injured and he lost all the vision in his right eye. A few months later Fox was sent home.
Military Demanding Nearly $3,000 Back
The injuries he received prevented him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back. “I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they’re telling me they want their money back,” he explained.
Below is the transcript from the special comment on the Neocon Job from the December 6, 2007 Countdown with Keith Olbermann Show on MSNBC. Video of his special comment is available from MSNBC, YouTube, and Crooks and Liars:
Finally, as promised, a Special Comment about the President’s cataclysmic deception about Iran.
There are few choices more terrifying than the one Mr.. Bush has left us with tonight.
We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.
It’s not enough that our military men and women are in the middle of two wars, one intentionally started under false pretenses and riddled with corruption, waged by the most corrupt, incompetent, never elected presidential administration this country has ever seen — some returning wounded veterans face another battle when returning home. In some cases, such as the one below, the military tries to force them out of the service and doesn’t get them the care and treatment they need. Nothing like being appreciated for a job well done.
An article from The Colorado Confidential reports the treatment of Sgt. Darren Mischke for example: a wounded warrior who served two tours in Iraq who, at the age of 27, suffers from nosebleeds, memory loss, mood swings, dizziness, blurred vision and severe headaches — all symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
On his first tour of Iraq, Mischke was knocked out in a wreck. On his second tour, he was riding on the turret of a military vehicle that got hit by a mortar.
The trauma from both tours experienced by Mischke was, according to his family, enough to turn him into a pain-riddled head case. An estimated 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return from the war with TBI. A recent report by USA Today estimates that 20,000 returning vets not classified as wounded actually suffer from undiagnosed TBI.
Tim Shorrock, in a very well written, detailed article for CorpWatch, is reporting on a new ‘intelligence institution’ soon to be inaugurated by the Bush administration that will allow government agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States. (The cartoon that goes along with the article sums it all up nicely, stating “We have found the enemy and he is us” as paranoia and delusion have become insecurity with this administration).
A proposal currently under review by Congress would establish a National Applications Office (NAO) to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites.
If the proposed plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world’s most closely monitored nations. Domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites has until now been limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.
The ‘intelligence-sharing’ system managed by the NAO would rely heavily on private contractors, including Boeing, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), to name a few, who already provide technology and personnel to U.S. agencies involved in foreign intelligence. The NAO would greatly expand their markets. These contractors lobbied intelligence officials to buy products specifically designed for domestic surveillance at an intelligence conference held in San Antonio, Texas last month.
Another double whammy involving the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) brought the agency under fire this week as USA Today reported that the TSA plans to gather more traveler data are being protested by major airlines and travel agencies and KOMO-TV reported the disgraceful treatment endured by some Fort Lewis soldiers who were escorting the remains of a fallen comrade home to Virginia.
Major airlines and travel agencies are protesting a governmental proposal to start collecting birth dates, full names and genders of people reserving airline flights saying it would be invasive, confusing and useless. The TSA wants passengers to give the additional personal information so it can do more precise background checks saying it will result in fewer of the 700 million travelers who fly commercially each year in the USA being mistaken for terrorists.
The airlines say passengers are going to resist providing more details and that it will be a time-consuming process. United Airlines wrote the TSA saying that asking for a passenger’s birth date and gender would create a new level of complications for completing air reservations and that seeking useless data carries an unacceptably high price tag.
The Air Transport Association, the American Society of Travel Agents, Continental and Virgin airlines have also written the TSA opposing asking travelers for their birth dates and genders. The opposition for soliciting full names is not as strong. Only a last name and first initial are currently provided by travelers.