FISA Court Twists PATRIOT Act To Pretend It's Okay To Spy On Americans Based On Their Constitutionally Protected Speech

from the that's-a-problem dept

We’ve written before about how it appears that the DOJ/FBI and NSA have conducted surveillance on Americans almost entirely based on First Amendment-protected activities. Whenever that issue comes up, the Intelligence Community and its defenders insist no way, that they take the prohibition on surveillance over First Amendment protected activities seriously. Section 215 of the Patriot Act is rather explicit:

the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.

Seems clear, right? But, of course, what seems clear in the statute and how the intelligence community and the rubber-stamping FISA Court will view things often seem to differ by a wide margin. The FISA court has now released yet another heavily redacted opinion, given by Judge John Bates, concerning just such a request. You may recall Judge John Bates from his recent letters in which he pretends to represent the entire judiciary, in fighting back against any attempt to limit the NSA and the FISA Court’s ability to spy on American people. Bates seems absolutely sure that doing so will let the terrorists win, which gives you a glimpse into his mindset.

Thus, while depressing, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find out that when a Section 215 request came to him concerning activity of a US person that was entirely protected by the First Amendment, Bates figured out a way to give the FBI the go ahead to spy on the person anyway. Because terrorism.

While heavily redacted, it seems clear that Judge Bates admits that the nameless person the FBI wishes to spy on didn’t do anything that went outside of First Amendment protected speech:

Okay then, so all of the activities of this US person are clearly protected under the First Amendment. The law is pretty clear that the FISA Court then cannot grant the power to collect that individual’s records. But… Judge Bates is deathly afraid of terrorism, so surely there must be a way to massage things to come up with a reason why it’s okay, despite what the law clearly says. So Bates comes up with a neat little trick. He says, sure, the person of interest may only be engaged in protected speech, but some other guy (a non-American, and thus not protected by the First Amendment) is engaged in non-protected speech, and because of the actions of that other guy, the FISA Court will grant the ability for the FBI to slurp up the American’s records and data.
Because of the redactions, this part is a little more difficult to parse, but it’s pretty clearly saying that even though the US person who is the subject of this surveillance request did nothing other than Constitutionally protected speech, because some other person who is not in the US and not directly associated with the party in question, has some evidence of terrorist activity, that makes it okay to spy on the US person.

As law professor Jennifer Granick notes in the link above, this is an extremely troubling interpretation of Section 215, basically allowing the FISA Court to ignore the prohibition on spying on people because of their Constitutionally protected speech, so long as it’s somehow a part of a larger terrorism investigation.

The statute prohibits the FBI from investigating law abiding Americans unless their own conduct fell outside of the First Amendment, regardless of the conduct of other people related to the investigation. I think most people, when they cite that statutory language, believe it means that Americans won?t be subjects of terrorism investigations for the First Amendment protected things they say or do.

They would be wrong. Judge Bates? alternate interpretation allows for Americans exercising only constitutional protected rights to nevertheless be investigated under section 215 so long as there?s an independent, constitutionally unprotected basis for the overarching terrorism investigation.

The takeaway is, Americans are being investigated for their First Amendment protected activity, so long as someone?s else?s related conduct is not protected, even where the relationship between the American and the other party is too attenuated to support suspicion of aiding and abetting or conspiracy.

That is an immensely troubling interpretation of the law, one that appears to run counter to the plain wording of the law, as well as the basic concept of both the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. No freaking wonder Judge Bates has been so adamant against having any sort of civil liberties advocate reviewing and challenging his decisions within the FISC.

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Comments on “FISA Court Twists PATRIOT Act To Pretend It's Okay To Spy On Americans Based On Their Constitutionally Protected Speech”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, no, no. You’re not being targeted at all. It’s completely incidental that we happen to be recording your every move and documenting every embarrassing fact about your life, because you once posted on a forum where another commenter also posted and he’s the third cousin twice removed from the friend of a guy who might have a name that is spelled similar to a person who once made eye contact with a man who had a thick beard and a foreign accent. So, you know, terrorism!

DogBreath says:

Re: Re:

You are now the primary target because you just admitted to self-censoring your comment. Who knows what you could be up to? I’ll tell you, the U.S. government will come up with something to suspect you of in the court of secret opinion, and it won’t be pretty.

I, on the other hand, have made myself 2nd (a.k.a. the new Number Two) in line by replying to you, the now primary suspect… I mean “person of interest”. That’s OK. I can live with being 2nd. Unless they want to know how I know that you are a primary target. Then I’ll just have to implicate “common sense” and watch as they waterboard the truth of of it.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your not a target only if you always publicly agree 100% with what the government does.

No, then you’re even more of a target, because you must be really hiding something nefarious that you don’t want the government to know about you or your activities.

I must now notify you the government knows you are now aware of the “Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t” list, which makes you de facto and (secret) de jure “enemy of the state”.

Obedience to anything does not guarantee life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

Anonymous Coward says:

What good are rights, especially those that allow you to be critical of your government, if they can be stripped away from you on a whim?
Not a US citizen? Rights don’t apply.
Within 100mi of the US Border? Rights don’t apply.
3 degrees of separation from someone who is a suspected terrorist? Rights don’t apply.
State of Emergency? Rights don’t apply.
Leak something that makes the government look bad? Rights don’t apply.
Cop on a bad day? Rights don’t apply.
Fasion a poptart in the shape of a weapon? Rights don’t apply.
Yell something that offends someone across a campus? Rights don’t apply.

Why even bother having rights if they’re such a joke.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Not a US citizen? Rights don’t apply.”

This one is nonsensical.

No sane nation would extend the same rights to people not here legitimately as they do their own citizens. They should only follow Nationally signed treaties and agreements. I would never support a non-citizens “Right to Keep and Bear arms!” Neither would I support a right for them to march on MY capital peaceably or NOT! Think for moment before you rattle that one off!

Completely agree with the rest of your statement though!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No it’s not.

Rights are intended to be Universal. They are not for the priliged, those that were born in the right place at the right time. They are not for those with the money to buy them. They are for EVERYONE.

If you as a nation believe that those rights should apply to all people of your nation, regardless of skin, gender, or social status. Why should they not be applied to the entire human race?

Don’t be so quick to elevate yourself above that of the other 6.7 Billion people on the planet. They out number you.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

barbarians are persons, my friend…

if i’m not mistaken, the legal texts make reference to ‘persons’ (ie ‘everyone’) as having these rights, not limited to only ‘citizens’…

of course -ha ha- this theoretical discussion of these things you call ‘laws’ and ‘rights’ are all fine in the abstract, but hardly practical…

(i am not a lawyer thank dog almighty)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: No animal shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE

Consider that the people who enshrined our rights into law are very different than those who are trying to limit them.

It is convenient for the latter group for you to believe you still have rights even when you don’t.

If they admitted “fuck you all, we’re taking over.” then even the common people might complain. But so long as your typical day-to-day workers can pretend they are safe and their rights are accessible, they have no need to actively work to change the system.

Annonimus says:

Re: Why bother having rights

Because any law passed not supported by the people is null and void from the start. They need secret interpretations of the laws that are passed because if those interpretations were public the laws would be removed. This is why they are so desperate to hide and misdirect from their interpretations of the laws: otherwise they will be held responsible by the people.

And the saddest part is that they are right now engaged in trying to buy of the politicians so that their secret interpretations can remain and they can avoid any consequences of their own actions, not understanding that the alternative to political reform and penal punishment is a rebellion and corporal punishment.

Cal (profile) says:

Re: "What good are rights, ..."

First, understanding our government will help you to understand the answer to those question.

The US Constitution is (basically) the main part of our government, the people who are elected, hired, temporary, contract, volunteers, interns, etc are there to carry out the duties assigned to the branch they are occupying. That is why they are “servants”, “serve”, etc; admittedly some are very high priced and have an inflated ego the size of Jupiter.

We are a Constitutional Republic, we have two governments that have different duties to carry out – the general (federal) is to deal with mostly foreign affairs and to see that the states trade fairly with each other.

Madison, the “Father of the Constitution”: “The States then being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.”

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it this way: “The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: “Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”

Alexander Hamilton: “… a treaty cannot be made which alters the Constitution or which infringes any express exceptions to the power of the Constitution of the United States.”

Alexander Hamilton: “The only constitutional exception to the power of making treaties is, that it shall not change the Constitution… On natural principles, a treaty, which should manifestly betray or sacrifice primary interests of the state, would be null.”

“The rule of law is not for the protection of the guilty, but for protection from government violations of individual rights.”

The opinion in Mack and Printz v. United States stated, “The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service–and at no cost to itself–the police officers of the 50 States…Federal control of state officers would also have an effect upon the separation and equilibration of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government itself.”

Natural Rights are ours from birth, and the US Constitution and each state’s Constitution PROTECTS them from those who serve within our governments.

The problem is that most Americans do not know what our government is, have been taught incorrectly concerning it, and that our RECENT ancestors gave up the Militia that we ALL are a part of.

The Militia, us – you, you, and you, and me – are constitutionally assigned the duties to be armed, trained, and always ready to defend our families, neighbors, counties, states and our nation from enemies both domestic and foreign. Each state’s Militia is made up of “We the People” protecting our own interests, homes, states, nation, and enforcing our governments. The Militia has as its constitutionally assigned duties to:

– Enforce the US Constitution and each state’s Constitution,
– Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which is constitutional laws ONLY),
– Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
– “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

The US Constitution guarantees to each state its own “Republican form of government”. It is every state’s Militia that is the ONLY Constitutionally assigned force to “counter Invasions” and “Domestic Violence” within our nation.

The US Constitution refused to let our governments create their own law enforcement, and limited the (standing) military to ONLY when the congress declares war, and when needed to defend our nation from attack – which is not acceptable to the Military Industrial complex since it limits their power.

Stalin, in 1933 said: ”The United States should get rid of its militias”. Those serving within our governments (not all of them) started doing just that.

Constitution of the United States of America, Second Amendment: “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.”

Key words are “of the United States of America, Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” which is “We the People” guarding our own freedom, enforcing our constitutions – federal and state, and defending our nation which stops most corruption of those who serve within our governments.

The US Constitution and all that is “in Pursuance thereof” it, as the supreme (highest) law of this land in the areas where it was given jurisdiction says that “We” (as the Militia of the several states) are personally responsible for maintaining and protecting the US Constitution, each state’s Constitution, and seeing to their enforcement against ALL foes – domestic and foreign. “We” are the ones responsible for enforcing the laws of this land, and are charged with it’s defense plus the defense of our homes, neighborhoods, cities, counties, states, and country.

It says it here within the Constitution of the United States of America:

US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 11: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

The congress has the duty to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal when they are needed to enforce the US Constitution, the laws, or defend the people and the nation. This is using private citizens in their own privately owned crafts to defend the USA and her people, this is using the Militia.

Clause 12 specifies that there shall be no military beyond that of two years. The Militia of each state is charged with our nations defense here within the USA until and unless the congress has declared war and a “standing” military is raised:

“To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”.

The money that the congress has illegally spent beyond the lawfully allowed time of two years for the support of a “standing military” was/and still is a misappropriation of funds (the intentional, illegal use of the property or funds of another person for one’s own use or other unauthorized purpose, particularly by a public official…). It is a felony, a crime against the American people.

“To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years” is really straightforward, and no “misunderstanding” of the words can be used as an excuse for disobeying that lawfully required duty. The members of congress can be, and should be, held personally responsible for that breach of trust. That is correct, they must pay back the funds used unlawfully out of their personal accounts.
There can lawfully be no (NO!) standing army except in times of war, and ONLY the congress can lawfully declare war under the contract they get their duties and powers from.

War must be declared by congress in order to be a lawful war that our US military are used to fight in, it must be in defense of our nation ONLY which is why so many lies were used as excuses to get us into wars. Since they were not, and are not, lawfully declared wars, ALL who died on all sides make that mass murder, etc that those who serve within our government had a hand in and MUST be fully prosecuted for.

War cannot lawfully be “declared” against a tactic such as the “war against terror” or the “war against drugs”; both are not wars and not even the congress can declare a war against a tactic.

*War defined: ‘Open and declared conflict between the armed forces of two or more states or nations’.

Clause 12 was put in as a lawfully assigned duty of congress because, as James Madison, the Father of the US Constitution warned: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare”.

Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, floor debate over the 2nd Amendment, I Annals of Congress: “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to PREVENT THE ESTABLISMENT OF A STANDING ARMY, the bane of liberty….”

Clause 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions.

This clause is very straightforward also. The militia of each state is taxed with the defense of the USA and her people, not just with the defense of their state; and they are to be armed with weapons that can repel any invasions bearing modern weapons of war. Congress is required to provide those military grade weapons for the militias in Clause 16. Yes, those weapons and vehicles the military have been giving to terrorists – many still fighting against our soldiers, foreign nations, and governmental professional law enforcement are being done illegally.

Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

“Within 100mi of the US Border?”

Wrong, that is a lie. The US Constitution, our government applies everywhere, even in the oceans that are under US jurisdiction. That is called terrorism: 28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

And it is also Treason against the USA and her people.

“3 degrees of separation from someone who is a suspected terrorist”

That is another lie, they are doing the exact same thing here in the USA that Hitler did in Constitutional Germany in the past.

Right do apply, but the people MUST know and understand our government, and it IS OUR government – but the servants within it are trying to take over.

There is a reason that George Washington said this:

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” George Washington

Not only were we the people to be armed and trained on every weapon used by those who might attack us, but we were to make sure we could create them ourselves so that those who serve in the governments of our nation could not “take over” – either for themselves or for a foreign entity or nation.

Americans were not as well-armed as Jefferson wished. The only book Jefferson ever wrote was Notes on the State of Virginia (1782), in which he explained the arms shortage that had developed during the Revolutionary War:
“The law requires every militia-man to provide himself with arms usual in the regular service. But this injunction was always indifferently complied with, and the arms they had have been so frequently called to arm the regulars, that in the lower parts of the country they are entirely disarmed.”

We let this happen, and it is going to cost us deary to repair the damage, but we will see to it that no one after us will ever TRUST those who are put into office.

Understand this, there is NO such thing as “emergency powers” or “marital law”. They are the exact opposite of what our government is and requires of those who serve within it.

The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.” The Supreme Court of the United States

“Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves, James Madison

“Legislators have their authority measured by the Constitution, they are chosen to do what it permits, and NOTHING MORE, and they take solemn oath to obey and support it. . . To pass an act when they are in doubt whether it does or does not violate the Constitution is to treat as of no force the most imperative obligations any person can assume.” Judge Thomas M. Cooley

Basically as Dr. Edwin Vieira says: “This has nothing to do with personalities or subjective ideas. It’s a matter of what the Constitution provides…

The government of the United States has never violated anyone’s constitutional rights…
The government of the United States will never violate anyone constitutional rights, because it cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The reason for that is: The government of the United States is that set of actions by public officials that are consistent with the Constitution. Outside of its constitutional powers, the government of the United States has no legitimacy. It has no authority; and, it really even has no existence. It is what lawyers call a legal fiction.

… the famous case Norton v. Shelby County… The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

And that applies to any (and all) governmental action outside of the Constitution…”
What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do. Look at the First Amendment… What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion. But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability. (end Dr. Vieira quote.)

Proof in the words of our founders and others of the time;

Thomas Jefferson, 1st inaugural, explained that: “a well-disciplined militia” is “our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them” and also a guarantee of “the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; [and] economy in the public expense.”

Richard Henry Lee: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”

George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and later a U.S. District Court Judge, wrote of the Second Amendment: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.” (The Supreme Court has cited Tucker in over forty cases, in the major cases of virtually every Supreme Court era.)

Samuel Adams: “Under every government the last resort of the people, is an appeal to the sword; whether to defend themselves against the open attacks of a foreign enemy, or to check the insidious encroachments of domestic foes.  Whenever a people … entrust the defence of their country to a regular, standing army, composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain under the direction of the most wealthy citizens.
And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions”.

Samuel Adams: “It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control … The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them.”

Patrick Henry: “If you have given up your militia, and Congress shall refuse to arm them, you have lost every thing. Your existence will be precarious, because you depend on others, whose interests are not affected by your infelicity.”

William Rawle, whose work was adopted as a constitutional law textbook at West Point and other institutions, and was United States Attorney for Pennsylvania, describes the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms:
“The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”

Justice Story, Associate Justice, Supreme Court wrote: “The next amendment is: “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.
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them”.

Tench Coxe: “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

Tench Coxe, ‘Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’, in the Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, on the Second Amendment where he asserts that it’s the people with arms, who serve as the ultimate check on government:
“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms”.

James Madison, Federalist 46 wrote: “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…”

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 28: “ there exists a right of self-defense against a tyrannical government, and it includes the people with their own arms”
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government… if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers… The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair… The people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate… If their rights are invaded… How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized! (being armed)“

Joel Barlow said of the US Constitution: “… not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm.”

Patrick Henry: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

Daniel Webster: “Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it?”

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” John Adams

Representative Jackson, first U.S. Congress, when it met and turned to defense measures in 1791: “The inhabitants of Switzerland emancipated themselves by the establishment of a Militia, which finally delivered them from the tyranny of their lords.”

Cockrum v. State: “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power”.

Andrews v. State explains, this “passage from Story, shows clearly that this right was intended, as we have maintained in this opinion, and was guaranteed to, and to be exercised and enjoyed by the citizen as such, and not by him as a soldier, or in defense solely of his political rights.”

Nunn vs. State:’The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right”.

Bliss v. Commonwealth: “Arms restrictions – even concealed weapons bans – are unconstitutional, since arms bearing is an individual right and the legislature may not restrict any aspect of such a right.”

Black’s Law Dictionary, 3rd Edition: The body of citizens in a state, enrolled for discipline as a military force, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies, as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army.

Thomas J. Jackson: “The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.”

Thomas Jefferson:“Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

Kentucky Revised Statutes: “The Governor is hereby authorized to enlist, organize, maintain, equip, discipline and pay when called into active field service a volunteer state defense force other than the National Guard…

James Madison: “An efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and required by the spirit and safety of free government.”

John Norton Pomeroy: The object of this clause [the right of the people to keep and bear arms] is to secure a well-armed militia…. But a militia would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons. To preserve this privilege, and to secure to the people the ability to oppose themselves in military force against the usurpations of government, as well as against enemies from without, that government is forbidden by any law or proceeding to invade or destroy the right to keep and bear arms.

Noah Webster: Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed…”

State Gazette (Charleston): “No free government was ever founded or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…. Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the  freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.”

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

How much more has to come out before they can stop trying to spin this?

The entire system has violated the basic foundation of this nation, and it has been helped along by those who were supposed to balance our rights, the fucking law, and the desires of power mad spies.

They have NOT stopped a single plot they did not put into motion.
They have funneled this illegally (fuck the secret courts & secret rulings because we are not a nation of secret laws) collected information to other branches.
We are not safer.
We have done things that are torture.
We are WORSE than any dictator we ever sought to overthrow.

You know how we’d go in and knock out a dictator and then put in a regime that was friendly to US business interests?
Look at DC and tell me we haven’t had our democratic process undermined to benefit business interests at the expense of everyone else.

Billions funneled into machines we don’t need, equipment no one wants, technology that doesn’t work… all to help the bottom lines of corporations. The public accepts this because oooh scary terrorists will win if we don’t do this and oooh look over here Obamacare fight over that.

Our rights were sacrificed to corporate profits, our legal system perverted, and we are prisoners of a country that has armed guards keeping us in line with military weapons including things BANNED for use in war.

And people care more about Kim Kardashians ass…

Protip: That whole when they came for the others thing… its happening. Perhaps you might want to take a look at the simple fact they are running out of darker shades to oppress and soon they will come for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Secret Courts

This is what you get when you allow secrets inside the government!

There is only 1 arm of government that should have any secrets. The Militarty for the obvious reasons.

No matter how you try to spin it but Law Enforcement and Neither Diplomacy has any room for Secrets because they ONLY EVER result in the wrong thing being done.

There has never been a single government ever that has not profusely abused the term “Secret”.

Tweak (profile) says:

There are songs about the Colonists fighting off the British Empire and declaring independence from the tyrannical crown. There are songs about fighting the British off again when they returned 30 years later. There are songs about the struggles of brother versus brother when the North fought the South. There are songs about The Bismarck, “because the world depends on us.”

What songs will they sing at the end of all of this?

Anonymous Coward says:

I think at this point, it’s no longer proper to call them “rights” – they’ve taken away the “right” part in favor of misguided paranoia.

If this is the way things are going to be because some chicken little keeps yelling “terrorism” then it’s time to be realistic and scrap that Constitution thing. It’s no longer representative as to the way things are. And further, it makes us look like the hypocrites that the rest of the world thinks we are.

Padpaw (profile) says:

Could the authors of this site stop beating around the bush about this already.

America has a criminally corrupt government. Why not just come out and say it, they ignore the laws when it suits them. They pretend Americans have no rights because the constitution is ignored.

Just tell people their freedoms and rights are in danger from their own out of control government. Every now and then you hint at it but rarely come out and say it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You are 100% right, but it takes finding the right way to say it to get the rest of the sleeping, ignorant masses to figure it out for the truth that it is. Not only to get them to reign in their own when they are breaking the law in ways they agree with! They broke the law when they used the IRS to go after Al Capone… who protected Capone or said anything about it? No one… they did the same for the KKK… who cried? You will find that the government has become an expert on getting you to agree with the police state and their laws… or YOUR ARE A PEDOPHILE! Yes I would like to see those like Capone and KKK being brought to justice for the laws they break, but never at the expense of my own liberty!

I am a conservative and it irks me to know end that my radio talking heads are literally supporting a police state, I do not consider them to be serious conservatives, I consider them bought and paid for actors by the Republican Party no matter how much they say otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of the People, by the People, for the People, my ass. Live free or die, and don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes. After all is said and done, I guess we now know who the real terrorists are. Too bad it took an extremist moron to open our eyes. These tyrannical dictators are making 09/11/01 look like breakfast in bed. Soon enough it will be our turn. There are still good people in the states who will not stand by and do nothing. Weird how quite a few of us have gone over to the other side as of late. Oh well, see you all in hell.

GEMont (profile) says:

Its all perfectly legal

Hey, when your the government working under the secretly initiated War Measures Act, you can interpret and re-interpret ANY law in ANY way, as often as you like, in order to make it conform to whatever you need to get the job done. After all, one cannot allow one’s own laws to interfere with the assault on the enemy, or in this case, the “adversary”.

So constitution shmonstition – we got a war to win.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That would be Corporate America.

Nobody can offer the kinds of graft that they do – even kings and shahs and potentates of every stripe fail to possess the kinds of endless wealth that Fascism is capable of.

Some years back, the Yakusa applied for Party-hood in Japan. It wanted to become a political party.

What would you get if the MAFIA became a political party in the USA?

The Neo-Conservative, Pseudo-Democratic Dichotomy.

Or to put it in simpler terms:
Exactly what you have today.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Another good example of were de-funding is likely to be more effective than ‘fixing’ the law. The law as written specifically blocks what they are doing here, but that doesn’t seem to provide much in the way of a problem to them.

If they don’t have the money required for the programs however, then it’s much harder to dodge around the law like this.

Of course the ideal solution would be to dissolve any and all secret courts, rendering their rulings null and void, but barring that, de-funding is probably the most effective method to deal with spy agencies gone amok.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, your only recourse just happens to be impossible.

You must remove the life blood from the beast that inhabits your highest offices. You have to cut off their cash.

Its the only way that you can even get their attention let alone stop them. Everything they do is for the sake of more money and more purchased power over others.

Americans must unanimously boycott their jobs, their taxes, their shopping habits and stop the flow of money from the bottom to the top, until the beast is starved and forced into the open.

Of course, in the most divided country on earth, such a thing is not ever conceivable, let alone doable.

Precisely as planned.

Gabrielle says:

If you aren't guilty, don't run

everyone is so geared to protecting their individual rights. but what about the right of the nation as a whole to protect itself. I believe in this surveillance and keeping an eye on the citizens. I have nothing to hide. so what if I am seen in the shower. as long as I am not doing anything illegal then what is that to me? defending your right to privacy makes me suspicious. why are you so adamant about keeping yourself private, what are you hiding.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: If you aren't guilty, don't run

I have nothing to hide. so what if I am seen in the shower. as long as I am not doing anything illegal then what is that to me?

Oh really? I seriously doubt that you have not done a single thing that is illegal since the average person commits on average three felonies a day. If the government decides to turn it’s eye upon you, something will be found to charge you with.

I also seriously doubt that you have nothing to hide either – everyone has stuff that they wish to remain private and I’m sure you are no different.

I’ll just leave you with a few quotes to think about:

“If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”
-Cardinal Richelieu

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”
-Benjamin Franklin

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