In 2013, Edward Snowden brought to light the extent of government surveillance in the United States, exposing everything from the collection, storage, and analysis of Americans' private emails, phone calls, and text messages by intelligence agencies nationwide. Outraged, the public called for the protection of their First and Fourth Amendment rights, which protect freedom of speech and prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. What was less explicit in this exposure, however, was the breach of Americans' Sixth Amendment rights - those that protect the right to a fair and speedy trial, and especially those that protect individuals' rights to confront their accuser, obtain witnesses, and retain legal counsel. It is this legal aspect of surveillance that the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) explores in a new report - the effects of government surveillance on the legal community and clients' legal rights.
In the Media
Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, says, “Massachusetts’ physicians often struggle between following Department of Health guidelines or following inconsistent internal policies relayed by correctional officers. Often times, pregnant women depend on their physicians to advocate on their behalf to demand that correctional officers remove their shackles.”
At first glance, the 150 people gathered just outside Northeastern University on March 18 seemed to be staging a typical rally criticizing Israeli policies—an increasingly common sight on left-leaning American campuses. But upon closer inspection, the mix of NEU students and local Boston activists were calling for another thing to be freed: their speech.
The City of Oakland has agreed to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement to Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran who was critically wounded by Oakland Police on the night of October 25, 2011 during a chaotic confrontation between law enforcement and Occupy Oakland demonstrators. Olsen's legal team included President of NLG-SF, Rachel Lederman, NLG attorney Jim Chanin, and NLG Legal Worker Jacob Crawford.
The City of Oakland has agreed to pay $4.5m to Scott Olsen, a marine corps veteran who was critically injured by city police during Occupy demonstrations, his attorneys announced on Friday. NLG-SF President Rachel Lederman and Guild member Jim Chanin represented Olsen.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Maryland and D.C. chapters of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Defending Dissent Foundation sent Maryland Senators and Delegates a letter on March 3, 2014 urging them to oppose pending legislation that would reduce state funding to colleges and universities that fund membership and activities in organizations supporting boycotts of certain countries, including Israel. According to the legislation’s supporters, Senate Bill 647 and House Bill 998 were drafted in response to the American Studies Association’s recent resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
Twenty-two organizations including Unitarian church groups, gun ownership advocates, and a broad coalition of membership and political advocacy organizations filed suit against the National Security Agency for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records. The coalition is represented by EFF.
The heart of the story is that the NSA is using electronic surveillance to decide whom to kill and not using human intelligence. And that electronic surveillance is unreliable. Unfortunately, it appears that often that information is not verified by human intelligence. So what they're doing is basing killing on SIM cards and phones.