Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

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Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces conducted hearings entitled Oversight: The Law of Armed Conflict, the Use of Military Force, and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in which the Pentagon admitted that we are in an endless war against terrorism.

Senator Angus King tells the Pentagon officials that they have essentially rewritten the constitution.

Pentagon officials today claimed President Obama and future presidents have the power to send troops anywhere in the world to fight groups linked to al-Qaeda, based in part on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress days after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Speaking at the first Senate hearing on rewriting the AUMF, Pentagon officials specifically said troops could be sent to Syria, Yemen and the Congo without new congressional authorization. Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, predicted the war against al-Qaeda would last at least 10 to 20 more years. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) challenged the Pentagon’s interpretation of the Constitution and that the entire world is a battlefield. “This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today,” King said. “You guys have invented this term ‘associated forces’ that’s nowhere in this document. … It’s the justification for everything, and it renders the war powers of Congress null and void.”

Read more at Common Dreams and Democracy Now!

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There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.

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Private First Class Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and confidential military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, took the stand in a military court today to make his first public statements since his arrest in 2010.

Manning appeared confident and animated at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland as he described the mental breakdowns and extreme depression he suffered during his first year in detention, from cells in Iraq and Kuwait to the Marine base at Quantico in Virginia. Within weeks of his arrest, Manning said, he became convinced he was going to die in custody.

“I was just a mess. I was really starting to fall apart,” the 24-year-old former Army intelligence analyst said. Manning said he didn’t remember an incident while in Kuwait where he bashed his head into a wall or another where he fashioned a noose out of a bed sheet as his civilian attorney, David Coombs, said he had, but Manning did say he felt he was “going to die… [in] an animal cage.”*

Bradley Manning, the solider accused of ‘wikileaking’ classified documents finally spoke publicly about his treatment while being detained. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola (Host, TYT University), and Mark Thompson (TV Host) discuss the demeaning, maddening, and depressing treatment Manning says he received.

*Read more from Luis Martinez/ABC News.

You can read the details of Manning’s “crazy” behavior at The Guardian.

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