Is the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, in the opinion of U.S. officials, a valued ally or a murderous, tyrannical regime? It all depends on which day you ask.

 

Did you pay cash for that latte this morning at the Starbuck's drive-through? Well, that smiling lady who handed you your frothy espresso and your change may have been taking down your license plate as you drove off —  before jumping on the phone to report your "suspicious activity" to the FBI.

 

On February 18 at a mosque in Berlin, Connecticut, citizens from all walks of life and all political persuasions came together to organize themselves in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), particularly provisions of that recently enacted law that provide for the arrest and indefinite detention of American citizens by the military.

On February 15, the sentencing hearing was held in Michigan in the case of Umar Abdulmutallab, the young Nigerian man convicted of attempting to detonate a bomb on an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. At that hearing, a most compelling statement was read by Kurt Haskell, a passenger onboard Northwest Flight 253, the same flight chosen by Abdulmutallab to carry out his potentially catastrophic mission. Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.
 
 

Early yesterday this reporter was privileged to participate in a press conference of representatives of several organizations and several individuals fighting the battle against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the national, state, and local levels.
 
 

On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of two wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of two former inmates of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in Cuba.
 
 

On Thursday, the presiding judge in the military tribunal of Guantánamo Bay detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri denied the request made by al-Nashiri’s counsel to issue a subpoena to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The defendant argues that Saleh is a material witness in the case against him and should be compelled to testify.

The sovereign states are courageously asserting their constitutionally protected right to self-determination by standing up to the federal government and refusing to execute the most noxious provisions of the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

 

The Intolerable Acts was the name used by American colonists to describe a series of oppressive measures passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to the amount of self-government permissible in the American colonies. The acts sparked outrage and firm resistance to the tyrannical regime of King George III throughout the 13 colonies. These arbitrary violations of the rights of the colonists — rights enjoyed by all Englishmen — resulted in the convening of the First Continental Congress in order to organize a formal denouncement of the decrees and to unite the Americans in their resistance to the Crown. Despite various attempts by several delegates to reconcile with Britain, independence was declared within two years and the American War for Independence raged until liberty was achieved in 1783.
 
 
 
 

In a formal "request for information," the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked software companies for a digital tool that would systematically scan the entire social media realm to find potential terrorist-related threats and intelligence information. While hundreds of intelligence analysts are already probing overseas Facebook and Twitter posts, U.S. law enforcement officials claim digital software could sift through more data than humans ever could.

 

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