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Notes on Civil Liberties for August 23

Here’s the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. If you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email

Former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks has had his book short-listed for a taxpayer-funded literary prize in Australia. The short-listing has drawn criticism, but Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh defends the short-listing saying the nomination is a “profound reaffirmation of the values that distinguish us from those who want to terrorize others.”

Christian Dominionism poses a profound threat to society. However, reporting on the threat has been attacked. Adele M. Stan has details in a post at AlterNet.

Author of Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, Suelette Dreyfus, defended WikiLeaks onQ & A” show. She suggested WikiLeaks had shown regulators of democracy “failed” the people and that WikiLeaks and the media were the people’s last safeguard. “I would say that the US is at a crisis point because it has become a surveillance state and the [National Security Agency] is intercepting 1.7 billion emails and telephone calls,” Dreyfus added.

If you didn’t get enough on Round 2 of the OpBART protest yesterday evening, Mission Local has a nice collection of tweets, video, photos, etc. Highlights show police let journalists go, because they were able to show their websites to police. Tweets leading to the arrest of a Mission Local appear in the story.

More on the FBI vs., from Marcy Wheeler. She examines the FBI’s file on and draws a conclusion on why she thinks an agent in a Newark office began to investigate the website.

Torture in Bahrain is being made possible by Nokia Siemens. Al Khanjar, who was detained from August 2010 to February, says he was asked to explain his “communications.” If he didn’t explain them properly, he was subjected to more beatings.

A Truthout interview with Representative Jerrold Nadler addresses criticism’s Obama has faced on civil liberties. He mentions, in particular,  the war on whistleblowing and also state secrets.

Here is what Nadler says on WikiLeaks in the context of the Obama administration’s attempt to extend the Espionage Act:

…it’s certainly a crime for whoever gave WikiLeaks the information if it was classified. It’s not a crime, or it’s never been considered a crime, for WikiLeaks to publish the information or to give it to The New York Times. And we don’t want to extend that, because you’d really shut down freedom of the press to a large extent.

Digby’s got a take on Mother Jones investigation into the FBI’s use of informants. “All the articles illustrate exactly how creeping authoritarianism overtakes a free nation. All it takes is a boogeyman and government sanctions to build the institutions and create the processes that over time become the norm,” at Digby’s Hullaballoo.


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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."