Majia here: We are seeing the breakdown of liberal rights of personhood, the foundation for western democracy.
The most recent assault comes in the form of "administrative subpoenas" threatening 4th Amendment protections. This follows closely assaults by the National Defense Authorization Act infringements on due process, habeas corpus, free speech and freedom of association.
We Don’t Need No Stinking Warrant: The Disturbing, Unchecked Rise of the Administrative Subpoena in Wired by David Kravets http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/08/administrative-subpoenas/
[Excerpted] By law, utilities must hand over customer records — which include any billing and payment information, phone numbers and power consumption data — to the DEA without court warrants if drug agents believe the data is “relevant” to an investigation. So the utility eventually complied, after losing a legal fight earlier this month.
Meet the administrative subpoena (.pdf): With a federal official’s signature, banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers — virtually all businesses — are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation. Via a wide range of laws, Congress has authorized the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment — the constitutional guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that requires a probable-cause warrant signed by a judge.
In fact, there are roughly 335 federal statutes on the books (.pdf) passed by Congress giving dozens upon dozens of federal agencies the power of the administrative subpoena, according to interviews and government reports. (.pdf)
MAJIA HERE: NOW LET'S TURN TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT.
THIS ACT WAS FLAGGED IMMEDIATELY BY THE ACLU.
ACLU LETTER to Patrick Leahy Chairman of the Commission on the Judiciary Regarding Sections 1031, 1032, 1036 (A Must Read)
Here is a brief excerpt from the letter which explains what the sections enable:
(1) authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial civilians—including American citizens—apprehended both inside and outside the United States, including individuals who had no role in the 9/11 attacks or any actual hostilities (the bill would mark the first time since 1950 that Congress explicitly authorizes the indefinite detention without charge or trial of American citizens);
(2) mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilian suspects apprehended within the United States itself; and
(3) transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and....
MAJIA HERE: THERE GOES HABEAS CORUPS AND DUE PROCESS
MAY 2011 CHRIS HEDGES AND OTHER PLAINTIFFS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK THE ACT
May 17, 2012 Journalist, Plaintiff Chris Hedges Hails "Monumental" Ruling Blocking NDAA Indefinite Detention
[Excerpted] In a rare move, a federal judge has struck down part of a controversial law signed by President Obama that gave the government the power to indefinitely detain anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial — including U.S. citizens. Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York ruled the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens.
We speak with Chris Hedges, a journalist who filed the suit challenging the NDAA along with six others, and Bruce Afran, the group’s attorney. "This is another window into ... the steady assault against civil liberties," Hedges says. "What makes [the ruling] so monumental is that, finally, we have a federal judge who stands up for the rule of law."
EXPLANATION OF THE INJUNCTION
Nick Pinto NDAA Suit Argued In Federal Court Yesterday" Village Voice Aug 8 2012 http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/08/ndaa_suit_argue.php
[Excerpted] In his complaint, Hedges argued that the law violated First Amendment protections of speech and association, constitutional guarantees for citizens' access to a civil court system, and Fifth-Amendment due process guarantees.
Judge Katherine Forrest agreed. In a 68-page May ruling, Forrest granted a preliminary injunction blocking the challenged provisions of the act.
"There is a strong public interest in protecting rights guaranteed by the First Amendment," Forrest wrote in granting the temporary injunction. "There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention."
....Forrest closed the hearing with a promise that she had not yet made her mind up, Hedges and his lawyers said her earlier ruling on the temporary injunction and her close questioning of Torrance gave them cause for optimism.
Perhaps sensing which way the wind is blowing with Judge Forrest, the Obama administration has already filed an appeal in higher court. [end excerpt]
AUGUST 2012 OBAMA ADMINISTRATION APPEALS TEMPORARY INJUNCTION OF ACT
Chris Hedges Criminalizing Dissent: August 2012 http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/criminalizing_dissent_20120813/
[Excerpted] Barack Obama’s administration has appealed Judge Forrest’s temporary injunction and would certainly appeal a permanent injunction. It is a stunning admission by this president that he will do nothing to protect our constitutional rights. The administration’s added failure to restore habeas corpus, its use of the Espionage Act six times to silence government whistle-blowers, its support of the FISA Amendment Act—which permits warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping on U.S. citizens—and its ordering of the assassination of U.S. citizens under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, is a signal that for all his rhetoric, Obama, like his Republican rivals, is determined to remove every impediment to the unchecked power of the security and surveillance state. I and the six other plaintiffs, who include reporters, professors and activists, will most likely have to continue this fight in an appellate court and perhaps the Supreme Court.
MAJIA HERE: SEE A PATTERN? Our CIVIL LIBERTIES are being ERODED.
See my post "A Perfect Storm Brewing" for why I think this is happening http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/perfect-storm-brewing.html
Wikipedia is a good source of background on the act: