Greenwald explains how America’s new ‘War on Terror’ targets own citizens |

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke to RT’s Chris Hedges about the eerie similarities between the US government’s legally excessive actions after the 9/11 terror attacks and the Capitol riot earlier this year.

Those who “questioned” measures taken in the name of combating terrorism were treated as terrorist sympathizers in the months following the 9/11, Greenwald told Hedges during an appearance on RT’s ‘On Contact’, and the same argument is being made now by the media and Congress against anyone questioning the government’s response to January 6. 

“Exactly the same thing is happening now,” the investigative journalist said, noting that the Justice Department’s targeting of “mostly poor and impoverished and lawyerless people” is similar to what was experienced by many Muslims who faced accusations or ended up in Guantanamo Bay, with few legal options. 

Those accused of terrorism struggled to find representation, as numerous accused Capitol rioters have, with Congress and the media essentially making them “radioactive.” READ MORE‘QAnon Shaman’ should get jail time to set example – prosecutors

“What they’re doing here is essentially running a parallel investigation to the Justice Department because they’re angry that the Justice Department hasn’t indicted anybody on these grandiose claims,” Greenwald said of the House committee investigating the riot, calling the actual investigation a “spectacle” to feed a “hungry liberal mob.” A federal grand jury released an indictment for former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon for failing to answer a subpoena to testify in front of the committee earlier this week. 

Congress’ involvement helps to “vilify” those accused as a “supplement” to the Justice Department’s already questionable treatment, Greenwald argued. Greenwald has referred to this as the “second war on terror” due to the similarities in government action. Numerous Capitol rioters taken into custody have been denied bail and reportedly faced harsh conditions in prison, similar to the treatment of those accused of terrorism in the months following 9/11. 

People being investigated in connection with January 6 are often not even aware, Greenwald added, thanks to third-party subpoenas provided to phone companies, email servers, etc. that request the person in question not be informed. The lack of oversight and safeguards makes it “almost knowingly and deliberately illegal,” the journalist, who is famous for publishing materials on mass US government surveillance exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, said. 

Another striking similarity, Greenwald told Hedges, is reports of the FBI’s involvement with the acts in question. Many domestic terror plots foiled by officials in the months following 9/11 involved numerous FBI agents and informants, Greenwald recalled, and the same could be true for January 6, as reports have indicated FBI informants were in contact with some at the protest.

“To what extent did the FBI have advanced knowledge?” Greenwald asked, noting many of the “ringleaders” encouraging violence on January 6 have not been charged, while numerous nonviolent offenders have. 


Reexamining the Political Culture | Liberty International

By Johnny Liberty

The sovereignty and freedom movement at the turn of the millennium was leading the political culture to reexamine fundamental assumptions and the rightful role of government at every level in our daily affairs.

  1. Should the federal government have a limited or unlimited capacity to legislate or be restricted within the original intent of the U.S. Constitution? Is the separation of powers doctrine still in effect or have all three branches of government collapsed into one?
  2. Should the sovereign rights of the State Citizen within the State Republics be legislated or regulated away without constitutional authority? Does the federal government have the right to take our rightful citizenship away?
  3. Should the monied powers and central banks (e.g., Federal Reserve Bank), including their collection agencies (e.g., IRS), be allowed to dominate and control the political and legal landscape and take advantage of the system for their private or public corporate benefit?
  4. Should the tax laws and other laws be obeyed without question even if they lack constitutional or legislative authority? As in early revolutionary days (e.g., Boston Tea Party) do We the People not have the right to withhold our taxes as a form of protest against the unlawful or unjust activities of government?
  5. Do We the People have the sovereign right to petition for redress of grievances and the government has an obligation to respond to said petitions? Is this not a right inherent in all free countries under the Law of Nations?

Twentieth Anniversary of IRS Raids
Today is the 20th year anniversary of the IRS raids executed against Johnny Liberty’s home and business on February 28th, 2001 at 7PM HST – six months before 9/11 and two months after Bush was allegedly elected as President of the United States. This was part of the largest IRS operation in history against 36 locations on the same day/same time simultaneously in three countries.

At that time about two-dozen leaders, including Mr. Liberty, was at the forefront of the largest political movement gaining momentum at the turn of the millennium – the freedom, sovereignty and tax-honesty movement with over 63 million non-filers (by the IRS’s own estimates) refusing to pay taxes as a form of political protest against the rising power of the New World Order.

Sovereignty & Freedom Movement
Because of the educational materials we developed and marketing worldwide, thousands of books and best-selling audio courses, millions of people were being educated along the lines of individual sovereignty and strategically withdrawing from U.S. jurisdiction and taking their money with them.

This caught the attention of the U.S. Congress in subcommittee when they declared war upon us. Within months discrediting stories were circulated in the mainstream media and investigations were launched resulting in the execution of the search warrants via the IRS criminal investigation unit on this historic day.

Historic in that it changed everyone’s personal and professional life forever, but also signaled the beginning of the end of America as a free country with any rights whatsoever.

The powers-that-be decreed on that day that only the U.S. corporation had any rights as the seat of government of the democracy. We the People had no right to petition, no right to protest or dissent, no right to challenge centralized authority through lawful means.

The Republic had effectively been annihilated and with it any vestige of personal sovereignty of We the People or their respective States of the Union. Then little more than six months later a coup d’tat occurred post-911 where every branch of the federal government was militarized and deputized with police powers the U.S. Constitution never granted them.

Now, ten years later we live in another country, in another world determined not by the rule of law, but the rule of the elite few who would write and pass laws while exempting themselves from their effects. All branches of government have collapsed into one, an oligarchy of the government, by the corporation and for the global elite (not of, by and for the people anymore).

Who was Johnny Liberty?
In his time circa (1990 – 2010) he was a great, unsung American hero, a brave rainbow warrior who stood up to the powers-that-be and declared for all the world to hear – advocating sovereignty and freedom for all the people.

Through the power of the pen and the spoken world he inspired millions to open their eyes to the world around them and challenge not only authority by the reality being projected around us through media propaganda and social conditioning.

As the primary researcher and contributor to the “Global One Audio Course” published by GPG/IGP and author of the “Global Sovereign’s Handbook” published by ICR with detailed compilations of history, law and economics, he took the politically incorrect stand against the rise of socialist welfare states and suggested that we the people are sovereign and have the lawful right to govern our own affairs independent of the federal government.

This revolutionary stand eventually cost him five years of his life as a political prisoner. He spent two years in federal prison and three years on a short leash on probation. Seven international businesses were destroyed along with a vision for the new millennium which failed to come to pass as a result of the IRS raids and resulting indictment, prosecution and conviction. See press releases…
Rarely has their walked this earth such a man willing to risk it all for the sake of the whole of humanity. His story began over twenty years ago and took him on a road few have travelled before or since. Like Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota tribe he considered himself to be the last free American State Citizen of the Republic who took his individual sovereignty and the restoration of the Republic seriously. He went where others feared to tread.

Millions followed his lead, more or less, and rose up to challenge authority peacefully and non-violently at every level of government usurped by the monied powers internationally and their respective lobby groups in Washington D.C.

Through acts of civil disobedience and filing legal paperwork, giving notice to various agencies of government of their unlawful and corrupt activities, this notion of individual sovereignty grew to huge proportions within a few years towards the millennia shift which was on everybody’s mind.

The government felt threatened and had to do something to turn the tide backwards.

The sovereignty movement peaked, splintered and subsided after the IRS raids in 2001. Resulting prosecutions over the next five years left no less than 40 of it’s leaders behind bars and/or bankrupt including Mr. Johnny Liberty (aka John David Van Hove).

Since then the notion of reclaiming all seven aspects of sovereignty (e.g., physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, economic, legal and political), an ancient seed planted once again over twenty years ago, has taken root in the hearts and minds of many young people and over the Internet during these closing days of American empire. This is a reminder to honor our unsung heroes, the founders, our ancestors and all indigenous people who came before us.

As Jefferson advised, “God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.”

As Franklin said, “We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.”

Johnny Liberty would say,“By casting off the chains of mental and economic slavery and living all seven aspects of sovereignty – the next quantum leap of consciousness for all humanity shall arise.”

John David Van Hove, (aka Johnny Liberty), is an author, educator, researcher, community organizer and networker, entrepreneur, musician and performing artist and public speaker extraordinaire in many topic areas including individual sovereignty, freedom and liberty, history, law, economics, money and the nature of global power structures.

He authored the best–selling “Global Sovereign’s Handbook,””Allodial Titles & Land Patents” and other books, produced two audio courses including the “Global One Audio Course,””Success Education Course” and a film entitled “The Taboo of Sovereignty, Money, Love & Power.

As a consequence of the controversial political notion that all the people are born sovereign and free in America, Johnny spent two years in federal prison and understands  the legal system from the inside out. He authored a “Federal Criminal Defendant’s Handbook” while incarcerated.

He’s back on the lecture circuit with the topic “Vision for a New America & the World.”

Resources & Archival Education Materials:

13th (Film) | YouTube

Johnny Liberty, Editor’s Note: This is a great documentary on “institutionalized racism” which has been embedded in the American prison system since the “slaves” were freed by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.

Bipartisan Criminal Justice Bill Closer To Becoming Law After Congressional Approval | NPR

By Ayesha Rascoe

A bipartisan bill aimed at overhauling federal prisons and reducing recidivism has been overwhelmingly approved by Congress.

The legislation is now on the verge of becoming law, with the House’s approval on Thursday, the Senate’s passage on Tuesday and the backing of President Trump.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan previously voiced support for the legislative package, pledging that the House was “ready to get it done.” They later passed the measure by a 358-36 margin.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 87-12 in favor of the bill, known as the First Step Act. The passage of the bill by the chamber is a significant victory for advocates on the left and the right, who have pressed for Congress to take action to lower the prison population.

It’s also a big win for the White House and for Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, in particular. Kushner has made overhauling the criminal justice system one of his top projects in the White House.

Trump called Congress’ action a “great bi-partisan achievement” and “a wonderful thing for the U.S.A.!!” in a tweet on Thursday afternoon.

For months, the fate of the legislation seemed to be in a precarious position. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who helms the Senate Judiciary Committee, stressed that he wanted to include sentencing provisions, which had been left out of the version of the bill passed by the House in May.

For a while, it was unclear whether Trump would back measures to cut down on lengthy sentences. His first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was staunchly opposed to the move.

But, with Sessions pushed out of the administration in November, Trump came out in favor of the more expansive Senate package.

Some Republicans, like Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, still oppose the legislation, which they argue will free dangerous criminals.

Facing pressure from advocates and the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to bring the bill up for a vote during the lame-duck session after its sponsors agreed to certain changes.

Here are some highlights from the legislation:

Measures focused on changing U.S. prisons

-Provides more access to rehabilitation and training programs that are aimed at helping prepare prisoners for life after their release. Certain prisoners would be eligible for incentives if they participate, including credits that would allow them to spend up to a year of their sentences in facilities like halfway houses or at home under supervision.

Republican critics of these incentives argue that prisoners could commit crimes while on supervised release. But, the bill’s sponsors say only offenders considered low or minimum risk would be eligible and the legislation excludes certain prisoners, including sex offenders and fentanyl traffickers.

-Makes it against the law to use restraints on pregnant inmates, unless they are an immediate threat to themselves or others or a flight risk.

-Requires that prisoners be incarcerated no more than 500 miles from their primary residence.

Measures focused on sentencing

-Ends automatic life sentences under the three-strike penalty for drug felonies. Instead of life, a third strike would now be a mandatory 25-year sentence. The mandatory sentence for a second offense would be reduced to 15 years compared to 20 years now.

This change would not be retroactive, so it would not help people already in prison serving life sentences under the three-strike rule. Some opponents of the bill have argued it does not go far enough to help people already affected by these laws.

-Expands the “safety valve” that allows judges to avoid imposing mandatory minimum sentences in certain cases.

-Addresses prisoners who were sentenced before laws were changed in 2010 to lessen disparities between the penalties for crack cocaine and powder cocaine. It would allow these prisoners to petition the courts to review their cases in light of the updated law.

Source: NPR

Why Last Night Was Not Just Huge For Pot, But The Entire Criminal Justice System | Think Progress


Last night wasn’t a good night for Democrats. But when asked instead to vote on issues that many Democrats care about, voters backed progressive ballot initiatives around the country. This is particularly true in the area of criminal justice, which has become a rare point of bipartisanship among some Democrats and Republicans. In a spate of ballot initiatives around the country, voters sent a signal that they are ready to reform a system that has sent more people in the United States to jail than in any other country in the world.

Each of these initiatives embraces a notion known as “Smart on Crime.” The phrase is a replacement for the old adage of “tough-on-crime” and means that, rather than threatening heavy punishments for a long list of so-called crimes, jurisdictions focus instead on doing what actually, empirically, makes communities safer. In reducing or eliminating penalties for some actions that would be better addressed through public health or rehabilitative policies, jurisdictions can focus more resources on serious, violent crimes. Or, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder put it last year, “Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason.”


Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. put pot legalization on the ballot, and all three passed it. As of last night, there are now more than double the number of jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, even as it remains federally prohibited. In Washington, D.C., where African Americans make up almost half the population, the margin of victory was staggering, with voters supporting the measure by a ratio of 7 to 3.

Alaska and Oregon were not as certain to pass the initiatives. But both passed by margins of several points ballot initiatives that don’t just legalize possession and growth of pot, but also its sale and taxation. (Washington, D.C. is not permitted to tax and regulate by ballot initiative, and lawmakers plan to follow up with a bill to achieve this).

In each of these jurisdictions, different messages dominated. In libertarian-heavy Alaska, where pot policy was already liberalized, the focus of the campaign was that marijuana is no less safe than alcohol, and those who use it shouldn’t be penalized differently. In Washington, D.C., by contrast, a significant population of very liberal gentrifiers mixed with longtime African American residents who are sick and tired of criminal justice policies that arrest African Americans for pot at eight times the rate of whites.

Majorities also voted in favor of medical marijuana. In Guam, a measure to pass medical marijuana passed early in the day. And in Florida, a medical marijuana ballot initiative that became heavily politicized with a well-funded opposition movement failed, but only because it required a 60 percent vote to amend the Constitution. Despite the initiative’s failure, a solid majority — 58 percent — voted in favor of the measure. The initiative’s loss is still a bit of a surprise, because polls have shown that support among Florida residents for the idea of medical marijuana is as high as 90 percent. In fact, lawmakers passed a much narrower medical marijuana provision last year that, remarkably, had the support of almost every state lawmaker. If their goal in passing it was to pick off support for the more expansive measure on the ballot, they succeeded.

Rounding off the evening, two cities in New Mexico — Santa Fe and Bernalillo — voted to decriminalize pot.

The statewide initiatives won’t go into effect today. There will be months of policy-making, political wrangling, and pushback from Congress. But majorities in every jurisdiction where the question was posed voted to reduce the penalties for marijuana.

Proportional Penalties

In California, voters passed an initiative that embraces that Smart on Crime notion in a more comprehensive way. Proposition 47 reduces the penalties for low-level nonviolent offenses including many drug and property crimes, on the notion that locking people up who haven’t done anything dangerous doesn’t do anybody any good. The initiative changes a number of offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, meaning the sentence for conviction is much lower, and that the impact on an individual’s criminal record won’t be as significant. Many job and voting restrictions, for example, only apply to felonies. Offenses that will be affected by the measure include drug possession offenses, as well as shoplifting, credit card fraud, and forgery.

The initiative also means that some 10,000 individuals already behind bars will be eligible for re-sentencing. This is particularly relevant for California, which has been struggling to reduce its prison population since the U.S. Supreme Court declared its prisons so overcrowded that they violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

With a passage rate of 58 percent, the initiative may serve as a model for other states. The state already decriminalized marijuana possession several years ago, and has seen arrests go down without significant adverse consequences.

Bail Reform

In New Jersey, Democrats and Republicans have joined forces over the past year to pass a package of measures that ensure those behind bars are those who pose a greater danger to society, not the ones who can’t afford to pay bail. Lawmakers took up the issue after a study found that some 40 percent of those who are jailed after they are arrested but before their trial or conviction are there simply because they were poor.

The idea behind bail is that individuals who are charged with a crime put up a bond of significant value to increase the likelihood that they will return for future court dates. But the system creates a class divide. Many are charged with bail under $2,500 — a sum that many wealthier individuals can pay, but is completely out of reach for low-income defendants. Those who end up stuck behind bars pending their trial do not have the same capacity to defend their case. They are more likely to eventually plead guilty, and many have called pretrial detention “ransom” intended to extract such guilty pleas.

Two companion bills were passed by the New Jersey legislature to make the bail system less about how much money defendants have, and more about whether they pose a danger to the public. One bill passed by the legislature took income out of the equation for less dangerous offenders by conducting risk assessments of defendants, and allow those not deemed dangerous to participate in a monitoring program until their trail, rather than to sit in jail. A second bill put Tuesday’s ballot initiative before the voters. That ballot initiative asked voters to give judges power to hold the most dangerous offenders behind bars before their trial — even if they could afford bail. By passing this measure Tuesday, the bail reform package is now fully in effect.

Gun Violence

The idea of “Smart on Crime” initiatives is to eliminate the counterproductive criminal policies and re-allocate resources toward those policies that actually reduce violent crime. To that end, some might also consider it a win that in Washington State (where pot is already legal), voters both approved a measure to close a loophole in firearms background checks, and rejected a competing ballot initiative that would have narrowed the state’s gun laws. The measure means that gun sellers and buyers can’t get around limitations on who can own a guy by selling them in private online sales or at gun shows.

Source:  Think Progress

Shocking Facts About America’s For-Profit Prison Industry | Truthout

By Beth Buczynski

As long as their have been human societies, there have been criminals. Despite the best efforts of lawmakers and religions, humans can’t be trusted to do the right thing, even when we’re aware of the consequences. The prison system used to be a last resort, a place you sent people when other forms of punishment were ineffective. Now it’s grown into something much darker, and even less rehabilitative.

Unbeknownst to many, the prison system has become a for-profit business in which inmates are the product–a system that has shocking similarities to another human-based business from America’s past: slavery.

In late 2013, a new report from In the Public Interest (ITPI) revealed that private prison companies are striking deals with states that contain clauses guaranteeing high prison occupancy rates–sometimes 100 percent. This means that states agree to supply prison corporations with a steady flow of residents–whether or not that level of criminal activity exists. Some experts believe this relationship between government and private prison corporations encourages law enforcement agencies to use underhanded tactics–often targeting minority and underserved groups–to fill cells.

“The report, ‘Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and ‘Low-Crime Taxes’ Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations,’ documents the contracts exchanged between private prison companies and state and local governments that either guarantee prison occupancy rates (essentially creating inmate lockup quotas) or force taxpayers to pay for empty beds if the prison population decreases due to lower crime rates or other factors (essentially creating low-crime taxes),” reports Salon.

As a result, there are now over 2 million people living behind bars in the United States. That’s half a million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Many are incarcerated for non-violent crimes, like the use or possession of marijuana, and other problems that would be far better served through a rehabilitation or education program.

The worst part is that once captured by the prison industry, inmates are forced to work for pennies an hour, providing cheap labor for some of the most profitable enterprises in the world, including the U.S. Military.

According to the Left Business Observer, “the federal prison industry produces 100 percent of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98 percent of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93 percent of paints and paintbrushes; 92 percent of stove assembly; 46 percent of body armor; 36 percent of home appliances; 30 percent of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21 percent of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”

When you can get that kind of labor for less than a dollar a day, it’s hard to see the government’s motivation for incarcerating fewer people. And it’s all done at the taxpayer’s expense.

Scroll through the following infographic below for more shocking facts about America‘s prison industry, and how much it‘s costing taxpayers like you.


Source: Truthout

Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and “Low-Crime Taxes” Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations | In the Public Interest

This report discusses the use of prison bed occupancy guarantee clauses in prison privatization contracts and explores how bed occupancy guarantees undermine criminal justice policy and democratic, accountable government. The report sheds light on the for-profit private prison industry’s reliance on high prison populations, and how these occupancy guarantee provisions directly benefit its bottom line. Also discussed are the prevalence of bed guarantee clauses, drawing on set of contracts that ITPI obtained through state open records requests.

We also address how occupancy guarantees have harmed states, focusing on the experiences of Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio — three states that have agreed to these provisions to detrimental consequences. Lastly, the report discusses our recommendation that governments can and should reject prison occupancy guarantees.

Download the full report:
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Source: In the Public Interest

Islamic charity founder Pete Seda ‘vindicated’ by ruling saying feds tried to turn tax fraud into terrorism | The Oregonian

By Bryon Denson

A federal appeals court Friday overturned the 2010 criminal conviction of Pete Seda, a key figure in an Ashland charity accused of supporting terrorism by smuggling money 10 years earlier to Chechen guerrillas at war with the Russian Federation.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion accuses federal prosecutors of improperly influencing the outcome of Seda’s trial by concealing that they had paid a witness. The government also exceeded the scope of a search warrant and omitted facts that might have helped the defense, the court ruled.

“This is a tax fraud case that was transformed into a trial on terrorism,” Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in the panel’s 2-1 opinion.

The Iranian-born Seda, whose formal name is Pirouz Sedaghaty, was charged with falsifying a 2000 tax form filed on behalf of the U.S. wing of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc., a Saudi Arabian charity. The U.S. government accused the charity of sending $150,000 through Saudi Arabia to fund terrorist activities and support the Chechen mujahideen “under the guise of humanitarian aid,” McKeown wrote.

Seda’s defense team, headed by Federal Public Defender Steven T. Wax, argued that Seda’s accountant caused the discrepancy in his client’s 2001 tax form and that Seda had a long, fruitful history as a man peacefully advancing the word of Islam.

A jury in Eugene’s U.S. District Court found Seda guilty of defrauding the U.S. government by making false statements on the tax return. He was later sentenced to 33 months in prison.

Wax told The Oregonian that he and Seda had waited nervously for the 9th Circuit opinion since arguing the case before the panel last December. When he got the news, Wax phoned Seda at a Portland halfway house — where he was serving the final day of his sentence since leaving prison in May.

“Pete was quite pleased to finally have some vindication of his position,” Wax said. “He has denied his guilt from the outset of these proceedings and is quite happy that the circuit has recognized that the trial was not a fair one.”

Amanda Marshall, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, said her office is reviewing the opinion and considering its options. Those range from dismissing the case to holding a new trial to filing appeals that might take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Any decision about whether we will seek further review will have to be made in consultation with the (U.S. Department of Justice) Criminal Division and Solicitor General’s Office,” Marshall said in a prepared statement.

Government prosecutors withheld “significant impeachment evidence” by not telling the trial court that one of its key witnesses had been paid by the FBI, the appeals court found.

The panel also concluded that FBI agents, who obtained a search warrant from a U.S. magistrate for Seda’s home and the charity’s office, “went well beyond” the limitations imposed by the order when they searched Seda’s computer hard drives.

“The appeal illustrates the fine line between the government’s use of relevant evidence to document motive for a cover-up and its use of inflammatory, unrelated evidence about Osama Bin-Laden and terrorist activity that prejudices the jury,” McKeown wrote.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan did not properly follow the Classified Information Procedures Act as he tried the Seda case, the appellate panel found.

The law, known as CIPA, is intended to protect government secrets from disclosure at trial while ensuring that defendants are given substitute documents — typically written summaries — of classified materials. The appeals court found that the substitution approved by Hogan did not provide Seda “with substantially the same ability to make his defense as would disclosure of the specified classified information.”

Government prosecutors in Oregon have used CIPA to protect U.S. secrets in a number of national security cases. Those include the 2002 Portland Seven terrorism case, the 2009 spy case against former CIA officer Jim Nicholson and the trial of Mohamed Mohamud, the man found guilty in January of attempting to set off a bomb at Portland’s 2010 holiday tree-lighting ceremony.

The appellate ruling on CIPA won’t change the law, but it’s likely to give judges who find themselves trying national-security cases some pause, said Tung Yin, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School who has followed the Seda case.

The ruling, he said, will serve as “a reminder to pay a little more attention to the substitutions and make sure they are crafted neutrally.”

Source: The Oregonian

Crime is plunging in the rich world. To keep it down, governments should focus on prevention, not punishment | The Economist

IN THE 1990s John DiIulio, a conservative American academic, argued that a new breed of “superpredators”, “kids that have absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future”, would terrorise Americans almost indefinitely. He was not alone. Experts were convinced that crime would keep rising. Law-abiding citizens would retreat to gated communities, patrolled by security guards. Politicians and police chiefs could do little except bluster and try to fiddle the statistics.

Mr DiIulio later recanted and it is clear that the pessimists were wrong. Even as he wrote, America’s crime wave was breaking. Its cities have become vastly safer, and the rest of the developed world has followed. From Japan to Estonia, property and people are now safer than at almost any time since the 1970s (see article). Confounding expectations, the recession has not interrupted the downward trend. Even as America furiously debates the shooting of Trayvon Martin (see article), new data show that the homicide rate for young Americans is at a 30-year low.

Some crimes have all but died out. Last year there were just 69 armed robberies of banks, building societies and post offices in England and Wales, compared with 500 a year in the 1990s. In 1990 some 147,000 cars were stolen in New York. Last year fewer than 10,000 were. In the Netherlands and Switzerland street dealers and hustlers have been driven out of city centers; addicts there are now elderly men, often alcoholics, living in state hostels. In countries such as Lithuania and Poland the gangsters who trafficked people and drugs in the 1990s have moved into less violent activities such as fraud.

The receding tide

Cherished social theories have been discarded. Conservatives who insisted that the decline of the traditional nuclear family and growing ethnic diversity would unleash an unstoppable crime wave have been proved wrong. Young people are increasingly likely to have been brought up by one parent and to have played a lot of computer games. Yet they are far better behaved than previous generations. Left-wingers who argued that crime could never be curbed unless inequality was reduced look just as silly.

There is no single cause of the decline; rather, several have coincided. Western societies are growing older, and most crimes are committed by young men. Policing has improved greatly in recent decades, especially in big cities such as New York and London, with forces using computers to analyse the incidence of crime; in some parts of Manhattan this helped to reduce the robbery rate by over 95%. The epidemics of crack cocaine and heroin appear to have burnt out.

The biggest factor may be simply that security measures have improved. Car immobilisers have killed joyriding; bulletproof screens, security guards and marked money have all but done for bank robbery. Alarms and DNA databases have increased the chance a burglar will be caught. At the same time, the rewards for burglary have fallen because electronic gizmos are so cheap. Even small shops now invest in CCTV cameras and security tags. Some crimes now look very risky—and that matters because, as every survey of criminals shows, the main deterrent to crime is the fear of being caught.

Loosen the cuffs

Many conservatives will think this list omits the main reason crime has declined: the far harsher prison sentences introduced on both sides of the Atlantic over the past two decades. One in every hundred American adults is now in prison. This has obviously had some effect—a young man in prison cannot steal your car—but if tough prison sentences were the cause, crime would not be falling in the Netherlands and Germany, which have reduced their prison populations. New York’s prison population has fallen by a quarter since 1999, yet its crime rate has dropped faster than that of many other cities.

Harsh punishments, and in particular long mandatory sentences for certain crimes, increasingly look counterproductive. American prisons are full of old men, many of whom are well past their criminal years, and non-violent drug users, who would be better off in treatment. In California, the pioneer of mandatory sentencing, more than a fifth of prisoners are over 50. To keep each one inside costs taxpayers $47,000 a year (about the same as a place at Stanford University). And because prison stresses punishment rather than rehabilitation, most of what remains of the crime problem is really a recidivism issue. In England and Wales, for example, the number of first-time offenders has fallen by 44% since 2007. The number with more than 15 convictions has risen.

Politicians seem to have grasped this. In America the number of new mandatory sentences enacted by Congress has fallen. Even in the Republican South, governors such as Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal have adopted policies favoring treatment over imprisonment for drug users. Britain has stopped adding to its prison population. But more could be done to support people when they come out of prison (at the moment, in Britain, they get £46) and to help addicts. In the Netherlands and Switzerland hard-drug addiction is being reduced by treatment rather than by punishment. American addicts, by contrast, often get little more than counseling.

Policing can be sharpened, too—and, in an era of austerity, will have to be. Now that officers are not rushed off their feet responding to car thefts and burglaries, they can focus on prevention. Predictive policing, which employs data to try to anticipate crime, is particularly promising. More countries could use civilian “community support officers” of the sort employed in Britain and the Netherlands, who patrol the streets, freeing up better-paid police officers to solve crimes.

Better-trained police officers could focus on new crimes. Traditional measures tend not to include financial crimes such as credit-card fraud or tax evasion. Since these are seldom properly recorded, they have not contributed to the great fall in crime. Unlike rapes and murders, they do not excite public fear. But as policing adapts to the technological age, it is as well to remember that criminals are doing so, too.

Source: The Economist

A desperate protest by prisoners at Guantánamo has shamed Barack Obama

GuantanamoHungerStrike“YOU have to hand it to some of these IRA boys,” Margaret Thatcher once remarked of the republican hunger-strikers who embarrassed her in 1981. “What a terrible waste of human life!” she said of the ten who died. Since some of the hunger-strikers at Guantánamo Bay are being force-fed through nasal tubes, Barack Obama may be spared Mrs Thatcher’s grief. But he has been shamed by their desperate gambit all the same. The protest is a reminder of one of his most glaring failures in office.

Officials count 100 hunger-strikers; lawyers for the detainees say there are 130; on any reckoning, a majority of the 166 remaining inmates are starving themselves. Through their lawyers, detainees complain of a rougher regime since the army took over guard duties from the navy last autumn. In particular they allege that their Korans were mistreated during an inspection in February, when the hunger-strike began (prison authorities vigorously deny that). A cell-block raid by guards on April 13th (provoked by the covering up of security cameras), during which some prisoners were shot with rubber pellets, hardened rather than broke the strikers.

But the underlying cause is simpler, and more personal. “The reason they’re willing to die”, says Carlos Warner, a federal defender who represents 11 of the detainees, “is President Obama.”

Mr Obama said this week that Guantánamo “hurts us in terms of our international standing.” That echoed the view he espoused when, on his second day in office in January 2009, he ordered the prison to be closed within a year. Its existence since 2002, he said, had “likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained”—an opinion eventually shared by assorted veterans of George W. Bush’s administration. And yet the only Guantánamo-related closure so far has been the shutting, in January this year, of the diplomatic office charged with resettling the inmates.

Mr Obama blames Congress—with some justification. It thwarted his original plan to transfer the detainees to a facility in Illinois. Then, either out of concern for national security, a yen to embarrass the president, or both, in clauses inserted into successive defence-spending bills Congress made it difficult for officials to transfer anyone anywhere. Difficult, but not impossible: Mr Obama can authorise transfers using a presidential waiver. He has chosen not to. (After a bomb plot with links to Yemen at the end of 2009, he also chose to halt transfers there—and most of the remaining prisoners are Yemeni.) He evidently calculated that, given the battles he is already waging with Congress, Guantánamo was one he could do without.

That stalemate has been an especial let-down for the 86 residual prisoners who, in 2010, were slated for transfer out of Guantánamo by a presidential review; some had already been designated for transfer under the previous administration. Many of these men claim to have committed no offence except being in the wrong place—Afghanistan—at the wrong time, or to have been sold to American forces for the bounties they offered. One such, and one of the hunger-strikers, is Shaker Aamer, a British resident picked up in Jalalabad in 2001 and allegedly tortured. His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, points out that the British government is well-equipped to monitor Mr Aamer should he be repatriated.

According to the review, many of these men were low-level fighters rather than total innocents. But none has been charged with a crime—and most have been at Guantánamo for over a decade. In fact, only seven of the 779 prisoners who have passed through the camp have been convicted by its military tribunals (and two of those verdicts have been challenged). Of those still there, only three have been convicted and only six currently face trial, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks. Subject to multiple legal challenges, beset by scandals over hidden microphones and leaked defence documents, the tribunals are now regarded as a failure even by those untroubled by their dubious legal status. As Mr Obama pointed out, federal courts have proved a much more effective forum for prosecuting terrorists.

The result, at the camp, is near-total stasis. No new prisoner has arrived since 2008; none has left for over a year. Parole-style hearings planned for the group not designated for either trial or transfer have yet to begin. Prisoners have lawyers, but there is little the lawyers can do for them. This bleak situation, says Mr Stafford Smith, is worse than being on death row.

Last chance?

Beyond the feeling of personal betrayal by Mr Obama, the detainees also sense—correctly—that the attention of the foreign leaders, human-rights watchdogs and United Nations officials who once energetically protested at their predicament has wandered. The outrage that the manacled, blindfolded, jumpsuited figures first provoked has dimmed. Drone warfare has become a much bigger human-rights preoccupation. And yet, unpropitious as it might seem, the prisoners also fear that this may be their last chance to get out.

Mr Warner says that if, with the president’s views and legal background, Mr Obama “can’t get this done, I don’t know who could.” It is hard to see a future presidential candidate matching his troublesome pledge to shut the prison. And for Mr Obama as well, time is running out. Even if he chose to use his waiver powers, and leant on other governments to accept detainees, the diplomacy, including gathering the necessary assurances on security and humane treatment, would take time.

Meanwhile the Guantánamo authorities are seeking an extra $200m for refurbishments, on top of annual running costs that wildly exceed those for ordinary prisons. They are planning new medical facilities to care for elderly detainees.

This week Mr Obama vowed to re-engage with Congress. “I’m going to go back at this,” he promised. He should hurry. Once Guantánamo was a byword for an overmighty executive and the excesses of Mr Bush’s “war on terror”. Under Mr Obama it has become a victim and a symbol of the paralysing divisiveness of American politics. “It’s going to get worse,” he said this week. “It’s going to fester.”

Source: The Economist