Archive for December, 2010

Today is BILL OF RIGHTS Day

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The Constitution of the United States and it’s Amendments are neither left nor right, liberal or conservative. It’s Bill of Rights Day today, December 15th.

As I write this our government’s Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms (Salon.com).

As two of the most recent comments on Glenn Greenwald’s Dec. 14th article pointed out, the Supreme Court ruled in Lovell v. City of Griffin, GA, 303 U.S. 444 1938 that “The press in it’s connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion”. The Court quoted from the First and Fourteenth Amendments in it’s decision. Quoth another commenter: “The use of the word “prosecution” should be changed in ALL these matters to PERSECUTION.”

As I said previously, the Bill of rights is not a politically partisan document, and it’s not voluminous. In fact there are several sources, including the Cato Institute, where Pocket sized booklets with the entire Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States with the Bill of Rights can be purchased inexpensively.

Here is a version with some extra explanation added in parenthesis (most versions don’t add the explanatory notes).

ARTICLES in addition to, and amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the legislatures of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the legislatures of the several States pursuant to the original Constitution.

The BILL OF RIGHTS

ARTICLE I

(First Amendment - religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitioning the government)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

ARTICLE II

(Second Amendment - Right to Keep and Bear Arms,)

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

ARTICLE III

(Third Amendment - Protection from the Quartering of Troops in one’s home)

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

ARTICLE IV

(Fourth Amendment - Individual Sovereignty, Security and Privacy, Warrants required for presentation and later return, all but particularly described items and persons to be excluded and accountability by sworn oath that the cause is probable )

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

ARTICLE V

(Fifth Amendment - Right of the accused to not be questioned about themselves, no double jeopardy, liberty, property)

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

ARTICLE VI

(Sixth Amendment - Due and Proper Process, right to a speedy trial, to subpoena witnesses and evidence for the defense, to know what the the charges and evidence are, to have the assistance of a lawyer and an impartial jury, )

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of council for his defense.

ARTICLE VII

(Seventh Amendment - Rights in Civil Trials)

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

ARTICLE VIII

(Eighth Amendment - Bail, Fines and Punishment)

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

ARTICLE IX

(Ninth Amendment - The rights of individuals are not limited to those listed here.)

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

ARTICLE X

(Tenth Amendment - Federal Government’s Power Limited)

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.

___________________________________________________

ARTICLE XIV
AND
EDITORIAL NOTES:

(Fourteenth Amendment - EQUAL RIGHTS and PRIVILEGES under the law, and the bill of rights made binding upon all levels of government and throughout the nation as an absolute minimum amount of individual liberty which must be “preserved, protected and defended” as embodied in the required oath for every public office throughout the land)

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United State, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within it’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

If you wish to help support and defend the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or learning more please contact the

American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY, 10004
(212) 549-2500
or visit their website at http://www.aclu.org/.

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What Is The Government Hiding By Blocking Wikileaks?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Back on July 30th, 2010 F.A.I.R. (Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting posted an article titled: “Wikileaks and the U. S. Press Media resistance to exposure of government secrets“. Unfortunately what we should have learned about the bad actors and bad activities that created a need for Daniel Ellsberg’s release of “The Pentagon Papers” seem to have been lost. We ignored history so it’s repeating itself.

How ironic that at the same time The Center for Public Integrity is reporting that there is a “Whistleblower Bill Close to Winning Senate Approval“, there are some Senators and Congressmen clamoring for prosecution of the persons who leaked or even those who publish the information from Wikileaks that should never have been marked “classified” in thre first place. The bill does not provide protection for disclosure of classified information, but the First Amendment and precedent do. What these documents reveal is that the documents were classified to prevent the public from finding out any information about wrongdoing or that was embarrassing, and that their being marked “classified” was generally not for reasons of security at all. Rather, it was “national security” being used as a cover to hide bad acts.

Succumbing to pressure from right wing political hacks like Joe Lieberman (see Dec. 2nd Salon article by Glenn Greenwald titled: “Joe Lieberman emulates Chinese dictators“), the U.S. internet hosting provider for Wikileaks website appears to have taken Wikileaks offline at least temporarily utilizing what Julian Assange was quoted in The guardian.co.uk as calling the “privatisation of state censorship”. According to the article there is, temporarily at least, a “new Germany-based Wikileaks domain - wikileaks.dd19.de -

In a followup to an article titled “Wikileaks - News and Background | American Civil Liberties Union“, the ACLU notes that “Prosecuting Wikileaks For Publishing Documents Would Raise Serious Constitutional Concerns“.

The Nation reports in an article titled Wikileaks vs. Empire” that “leading US human rights lawyers Leonard Weinglass and Michael Ratner have joined the defense team for Julian Assange and Wikileaks.”

Some of Democracy Now’s headlines on December 3rd, 2010 included the following: “State Department. Bars Staffers from Wikileaks, Warns Students“, “Attorney: Assange Accused for Not Wearing Condom During Consensual Intercourse“, “CIA Engineered Spying on U.N. Diplomats“,and “Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct “Real=Time Spying Without Court Orders“. Earlier headlines included articles like “Wikileaks Cables Reveal U.S. Tried to Thwart Probes of Gitmo Torture and CIA Rendition“, and the Nov 30th article “We Have Not Seen Anything Yet”: Guardian Editor Says Most Startling Wikileaks Cables Still to be Released“.

Unfortunately, here in the U.S., even some supposedly “liberal” publications such as Mother Jones in articles like the one written by Kevin Drum titled “The Wikileaks Charade” miss the point that the exposure of officially sanctioned wrongdoing in the furtherance of war and torture needs to be exposed and not covered up utilizing the feigned rubric of “national security”.

The Nation posted a video of the Democracy Now! round-table discussion with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and The Nation’s Greg Mitchell on the Wikileaks Document Dump. The article quotes Daniel Ellsberg reminding viewers that “not one single soldier or informant has been in danger from any of the Wikileaks releases…. That risk has been largely overblown.”

UPDATE:

There are, unfortunately, just not enough journalists like Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald (writing about the subjects of “The media’s authoritarianism and Wikileaks) and Naomi Wolf, (blogging about the “Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States“) to be a good counterweight to the authoritarian bias of the mainstream media. Naomi has been warning of the direction we are headed for some time, having written the article “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps” in The Guardian back on April 24, 2007. The problem is that not enough people are hearing the message and we are sliding in that Fascist direction fast.

I strongly suspect that the recent slanderous attacks against Naomi Wolf recently have been made in an attempt to silence her and others writing about the direction our government had been/is headed in and to divert our attention from the way our liberty is being stripped away from us.

Quoting from the Wikipedia pages on Naomi Wolf’s book


The End of America


In The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf takes a historical look at the rise of Fascism, outlining the 10 steps necessary for a Fascistic gruop (or government) to destroy the democratic character of a nation-state and subvert the social/political liberty previously excercised by its citizens:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens’ groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
10. Suspend the rule of law. [27]

The book details how this pattern was implemented in Nazi Germany,
Fascist Italy, and elsewhere, and analyzes its emergence and application in American political affairs since the September 11 attacks. [28] [29]

Watch this YouTube video: Talk - Naomi Wolf - the End of America - Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot (47:47 on the subject of how, historically, democracies have been turned into oppressive dictatorships).


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