Government Secrecy At All-Time High

The Sunlight is Fading … and America Is Falling Into Darkness

US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

But there’s no longer much sunlight to disinfect the corruption of the government or the powers-that-be.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

As just one example, government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And it’s about to get a lot worse.

American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held.   And see this, this and this.

The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.

Today, Glenn Greenwald adds yet another twist to the trend towards secrecy:

A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

At the center of it is an anti-Iranian group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI), which is very likely a front for some combination of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence services. When launched, NBC described its mission as waging “economic and psychological warfare” against Iran. The group was founded and is run and guided by a roster of U.S., Israeli and British neocon extremists such as Joe Lieberman, former Bush Homeland Security adviser (and current CNN “analyst”) Fran Townsend, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and former Mossad Director Meir Dagan. One of its key advisers is Olli Heinonen, who just co-authored Washington Post Op-Ed with former Bush CIA/NSA Director Michael Hayden arguing that Washington is being too soft on Tehran.

This group of neocon extremists was literally just immunized by a federal court from the rule of law. That was based on the claim — advocated by the Obama DOJ and accepted by Judge Ramos — that subjecting them to litigation for their actions would risk disclosure of vital “state secrets.” The court’s ruling was based on assertions made through completely secret proceedings between the court and the U.S. government, with everyone else — including the lawyers for the parties — kept in the dark.

In May 2013, UANI launched a “name and shame” campaign designed to publicly identify — and malign — any individuals or entities enabling trade with Iran. One of the accused was the shipping company of Greek billionaire Victor Restis, who vehemently denies the accusation. He hired an American law firm and sued UANI for defamation in a New York federal court, claiming the “name and shame” campaign destroyed his reputation.

Up until that point, there was nothing unusual about any of this: just a garden-variety defamation case brought in court by someone who claims that public statements made about him are damaging and false. That happens every day. But then something quite extraordinary happened: In September of last year, the U.S. government, which was not a party, formally intervened in the lawsuit, and demanded that the court refuse to hear Restis’s claims and instead dismiss the lawsuit against UANI before it could even start, on the ground that allowing the case to proceed would damage national security.

When the DOJ intervened in this case and asserted the “state secrets privilege,” it confounded almost everyone. The New York Times’s Matt Apuzzo noted at the time that “the group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so­-called state­ secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.” He quoted the ACLU’s Ben Wizner as saying: “I have never seen anything like this.” Reuters’s Allison Frankel labeled the DOJ’s involvement a “mystery” and said “the government’s brief is maddeningly opaque about its interest in a private libel case.”

Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” it is because they are a party to the lawsuit, being sued for their own allegedly illegal acts (such as torture or warrantless surveillance), and they claim that national security would be harmed if they are forced to defend themselves. In rare cases, they do intervene and assert the privilege in lawsuits between private parties, but only where the subject of the litigation is a government program and one of the parties is a government contractor involved in that program — such as when torture victims sued a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen, for its role in providing airplanes for the rendition program and the Obama DOJ insisted (successfully) that the case not go forward, and the victim of U.S. torture was thus told that he could not even have a day in court.

But in this case, there is no apparent U.S. government conduct at issue in the lawsuit. At least based on what they claim about themselves, UANI is just “a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group” that seeks to “educate” the public about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program. Why would such a group like this even possess “state secrets”? It would be illegal to give them such material. Or could it be that the CIA or some other U.S. government agency has created and controls the group, which would be a form of government-disseminated propaganda, which happens to be illegal?

What else could explain the basis for the U.S. government’s argument that allowing UANI to be sued would risk the disclosure of vital “state secrets” besides a desire to cover up something quite untoward if not illegal? What “state secrets” could possibly be disclosed by suing a nice, little “not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group”?

We don’t know the answers to those questions, nor do the lawyers for the plaintiffs whose lawsuit the DOJ wants dismissed. That’s because, beyond the bizarre DOJ intervention itself, the extreme secrecy that shaped the judicial proceedings is hard to overstate. Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” at least some information is made public about what they are claiming: which official or department is invoking the privilege, the general nature of the secrets allegedly at risk, the reasons why allowing the claims to be adjudicated would risk disclosure, etc. Some redacted version of the affidavit from the government official making the secrecy claim is made part of the case.

Here, virtually everything has been hidden, even from the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Not only did the U.S. government provide no clue as to what the supposedly endangered “state secrets” are, but they concealed even the identity of the agency making the claim: was it the CIA, the Treasury Department, the State Department, some combination? Nothing is known about any of this, not even who is making the secrecy claim.

Instead, the DOJ’s arguments about why “secrecy” compels dismissal of the entire lawsuit were made in a brief that only Judge Ramos (and not even the parties) gets to read, but even more amazingly, were elaborated on in secret meetings by DOJ lawyers in the judge’s chambers with nobody else present. Were recordings or transcripts of these meetings made? Is there any record of what the U.S. government whispered in the ear of the judge to scare him into believing that National Security Would Be Harmed™ if he allowed the case to proceed? Nobody knows. The whole process is veiled in total secrecy, labeled a “judicial proceeding” but containing none of the transparency, safeguards or adversarial process that characterizes minimally fair courts.

This sham worked. This week, Judge Ramos issued his ruling dismissing the entire lawsuit (see below). As a result of the DOJ’s protection, UANI cannot be sued. Among other things, it means this group of neocon extremists now has a license to defame anyone they want. They can destroy your reputation with false accusations in a highly public campaign, and when you sue them for it, the DOJ will come in and whisper in the judge’s ear that national security will be damaged if — like everyone else in the world — UANI must answer in a court of law for their conduct. And subservient judicial officials like Judge Ramos will obey the U.S. government’s dictates and dismiss your lawsuit before it begins, without your having any idea why that even happened.

Worse, in his written ruling, the judge expressly acknowledges that dismissal of the entire lawsuit at the start on secrecy grounds is what he calls a “harsh sanction,” and also acknowledges that “it is particularly so in this case because Plaintiffs not only do not get their day in court, but cannot be told why” (emphasis added). But he does it anyway, in a perfunctory 18-page opinion that does little other than re-state some basic legal principles, and then just concludes that everything the government whispered in his ear should be accepted. Just read for yourself what Judge Ramos said in defending his dismissal to see how wildly disparate it is from everything we’re propagandized to believe about the U.S. justice system:

What kind of “justice system” allows a neocon “advocacy” group to be immunized from the law, because the U.S. government waltzed into court, met privately with the judge, and whispered in secret that he had better dismiss all claims against that group lest he harm national security? To describe what happened here is to illustrate what a perverse travesty it is. Restis’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement this week:

We are disappointed that some secret relationship between UANI and the government allows UANI to hide from disclosing that association or to defend what has now been proven to be its false and defamatory allegations directed at Mr. Restis and his company. We are mystified that the U.S. government has such a stake in this case that it would take such extraordinary steps to prevent full disclosure of the secret interest it has with UANI or others. And, we are concerned that, in our court system, such a result could occur on the basis of sealed, one-sided filings and meetings in which we were not allowed to participate.

Indeed, the government is going to incredible lengths to keep secrets, including:

  • Treating reporters like terrorists. And see this
  • Prosecuting and demanding draconian jail sentences for whistleblowers
  • Framing whistleblowers with false evidence

Sadly, the sunlight is fading … and America is falling into darkness.

Postscript: On “Freedom of Information Day” – in the middle of “Sunshine Week” – the Obama administration announced that White House emails are not subject to freedom of information requests, and urged that a whole new category of information be kept secret from the American people.

Orwell would be proud.

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  • hidflect

    Just keeps getting worse and worse. Wait till either Madame AIPAC or her Republican twin-mirror gets in.

  • Dr Smileyface

    It’s worth spending a few minutes examining the personnel making up this UANI group. What an evil bunch! There are enough pantomime villains here to stage shows for centuries. It’s clear that such high-ranking baddies wouldn’t come together for anything less than serious malevolent business, so things do not augur well for peace in Iran.

    Does this not further reveal that “Israel” is but a front for Anglo-American (held together with Nazi ‘paperclips’) hegemonic activities? All these folk claiming Israel rules America are either hoodwinked or part of the scam. It suited these powers to create Israel where it is – just like so-called Saudi Arabia – both essential for the ongoing control of resources and geostrategic domination of the globe.

    Israel and Saudi are arms-length operations. UANI is part of this huge deception.

  • Axel

    Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants;

    Prosecuting and demanding draconian jail sentences for whistleblowers

    Framing whistleblowers with false evidence

    Possibly omitted from Article (Deferred Prosecutions= a seemingly green light for continued wrongful and worse activity).

    Good morning Washingtonsblog, 3/27/2015

    I awoke early this morning, 4:00AM and I found this Article of which I only and too briefly and partially read. As I have only this week found the Washingtonsblog and I submitted a few blog reply comment replies. Thank you Washingtonsblog and supporters.

    I probably should not blog comment reply further (see the Zen Caroline, MSPB Sabersky Whistleblower Article that I found last year) as it appears that truth to power have only resulted in the power (which is overwhelming) only gets the Whistleblower overwhelmingly and with continued betrayals, Lies, hatred, disparaged, Ignored, overwhelmingly retaliated upon, etcetera. The patriot aspect leads to the same abuse upon the Whistleblower and with continued fraud(s), waste and abuses, Robberies and with seemingly life threatening consequences and upon the Whistleblower and Veteran and their Families and Friends.

    I write this as I have made these allegations and for about 15 years directly to GAP, Tom Devine, NWC Stephen M. Kohn, POGO, President Obama, US AG Eric Holder, VA Chiefs Sheneski, VA Chiefs McDonald and Sloan Gibson, (seemingly and deferred prosecution VA Chief Prinicipie and their entire Staff and within my 2006, 2009 and 2012 and other letters to the above and that they have received.
    Aside from the above disinfectant saying, POGO also has a saying something to the effect, ‘In our search for the enemy, we looked in a mirror and found the enemy, he is us’.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    Axel
    Axel V. Sabersky

    • Axel

      To the attention of Washingtonsblog, 3/27/2015

      I have not yet acquired the expertise to post a link, therefore I copied and paste this June 2, 2014 Zen Caroline Article that referenced my name.

      I thought that this material is necessary, relevant and/or imperative and within my blog comment reply. Also, it appears as a presumptuous and/or expected protocol.

      Thank you Zen Caroline and Washingtonsblog for your and your Contributors, as and/or if applicable for your time and consideration.
      Sincerely,
      Axel
      Axel V. Sabersky
      the only thing unchanged is Change

      This Blog
      Linked From Here
      This Blog
      Linked From Here
      Monday, June 02, 2014

      MSPB’s adverse action appellate jurisdiction

      Not every individual employed by the Federal Government will meet the definition of employee for purposes of adverse action appeal rights. For example, a temporary employee who is fired for whistleblowing may file an IRA appeal, but under most circumstances, this same individual cannot be heard by the MSPB on an adverse action appeal. See Lopez v. Department of Housing
      and Urban Development, 98 F.3d 1358 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (Table). For a statutory definition of those individuals with adverse action appeal rights, see 5 U.S.C. § 7511(a). For a more detailed explanation regarding which individuals may have adverse action appeal rights, see Navigating the Probationary Period After Van Wersch and McCormick, available at http://www.mspb.gov/studies.

      5 C.F.R. § 1201.56(a)(2)(iii). Preponderance of the evidence means “[t]he degree of relevant evidence that a reasonable person, considering the record as a whole, would accept as sufficient to find that a contested fact is more likely to be true than untrue.” 5 C.F.R. § 1201.56(c)(2).

      5 U.S.C. §§ 7512, 7513. While suspensions of 14 days or less are considered adverse actions, these actions cannot be appealed to the MSPB in the absence of another jurisdictional authority.

      Sabersky v. Department of Justice, 91 M.S.P.R. 210, ¶¶ 6-8 (2002), aff ’d, 61 Fed.Appx. 676 (Fed. Cir. 2003); Massimino v. Department of Veterans Affairs, 58 M.S.P.R. 318, 324 (1993). “Generally, the Board has held that an individual who appeals his removal directly to the
      Board is barred by res judicata from bringing, after exhausting the OSC process, a second whistleblower appeal challenging the same removal action.” Calvetti v. Department of the Air Force, 107 M.S.P.R. 480, ¶ 9 n. 2 (2007). If an appellant who is eligible for a traditional appeal first seeks corrective action from OSC, and then files a traditional appeal, the time limit for filing the traditional appeal is the same as it would be for an IRA appeal. Massimino v. Department of Veterans Affairs, 58 M.S.P.R. 318, 323 (1993). See also 5 C.F.R. § 1209.5(b).

      Posted by being at 11:34 PM

      3 comments:

      Anonymous said… I am old in years of age, a documented Whistleblower and within the 11/2003 National Whistleblower Center, Mr. Stephen M. Kohn, Mr. Tom Devine US Senate Ethics and Good Government Committee Testimony and in MSPB, US Federal Judge’s Handbook, Elections on a case I was never heard on within the Original matter, the Stated matter and the Whistleblower matter, and I take a daily pill to survive the day and I have been substantively ignored and therefore retaliated upon by GAP, NWC, POGO et all.,<=OSC!! and again<=OSC!!

      Thank you,
      Axel V. Sabersky
      6/25/2014 1:24 PM

      Anonymous said… Unbearably, sadly and unfortunately and as a follow-up to my above comment reply, had the FLETC, DOJ, INS, MSPB, OSC, AFGE Union properly heard and adjudicated my Appeal, my view(s)is that it may have prevented the horrific horrible tragic events of 9/11 and/or avenues, thereof. Also had Stephen Kohn of NWC and Tom Devine of GAP more properly and readily assisted, communicated and formally Represented me, it may have prevented many of the ongoing and alleged wrongdoings to this point in time. Hopefully the more formal and expected Representation of GAP, Mr. Tom Devine and NWC, Mr. Stephen Kohn, and(POGO) is forthcoming and preferably sooner than later.

      Thank you,
      Axel
      7/8/2014 9:36 AM

      Anonymous said… Dear POGO, 7/22,24,25/2014
      Dear Gap, 7/22/2014
      Dear Mr. Tom Devine,

      Sadly and Unfortunately the evidence and facts may and in fact would overwhelmingly support the more truthful realization that Mr. Tom Devine of the GAP and Mr. Stephen M. Kohn of the NWC have actually suppressed, ignored and retaliated against forthright Whistleblowers and all for their own pleasures and personal support of the on goings and actually and knowingly suppressed the past and foundational wrongdoings towards God, man and Country and all. GAP and NWC have turned an intentional blind eye to Human Rights, Civil Rights, Terrorism and all similar wrongdoings and many and all truth tellers, Whistleblowers and as myself. GAP and NWC are well below any forthright, expected, honest and expected forthright standards and of endeavors towards the true and expected support to, of and towards foundational truth tellers and Whistleblowers from all forthright expected Human and Legal standards and of and within all forthright God, Man and Country,
      Democracy, Religion and Law and expected and actual proper Law.(s) and that may easily be heard and supported in and within any proper court of Law.

      Lets hope the change they advocate for becomes a reality, sooner than later, or if ever and within any aspects remaining within our USA great Country and many people.

      Thank you for your time and consideration.

      Sincerely,
      Axel
      Axel V. Sabersky
      DOJ/INS Whistleblower 1/2000
      Fed Cir Dockets #00-3446 and #02-3254
      Drafted Veteran 1965-1967, Vietnam

      7:55 AM

      • Axel

        Dear billylove and Cuppagreen, 3/27/2015

        Please allow me to mention that I am aware of your blog comment replies.

        Please allow me to proudly, humbly and obviously mention my appreciation and gratitude and especially the recent reply from Cuppagreen and the referenced Honorable Professor Immanuel Kant reference and his life work and highly successful accomplishments are easily found on a Google search and wikiquote.

        Again my humble acknowledgement, appreciation and gratitude for your kind and gracious, superb and excellent, time and consideration within your blog comment replies and within the hopes, aspirations, efforts and endeavors for better days ahead.

        Thank you for your time and consideration.

        With many thanks and hopes for all the best,
        Sincerely,
        Axel
        Axel V. Sabersky

    • Axel

      Aside from the above disinfectant saying, POGO also has a saying something to the effect, ‘In our search for the enemy, we looked in a mirror and found the enemy, (necessary correction, and from my recollection) The enemy is us’. (Not he is us). Thank you.

  • billylove

    Should be “fallen” into darkness, not “falling.” The darkness is here. All that is left is to see how dark it becomes.

  • Cuppagreen

    “Any legal claim must be capable of publicity… one can site the
    following proposition as the transcendental formula of public right:
    All actions that affect the rights of other human beings, the maxims of
    which are incompatible with publicity, are unjust.”
    —Immanuel Kant (Toward Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch)

    • Defiant

      ALL actions affect the rights of other human beings…SOME need to be kept secret. Or we’d lose EVERY conflict.

      • Axel

        I have briefly read many of the Article headlines and many of the blog comment replies and many appear as excellent. I am and continue to be appreciative. I am appreciative of your concerns and (and/or frustrations and/or along with, my concerns and frustrations) within your blog comment reply here and below.

        From a humble, layman we the people and legal efforts to comprehension and lets say any remaining proper and compliance efforts and endeavors………….

        Too briefly and/or ambiguously here and now, I suggest there are avenues, considerations, deference’s, etcetera that require sensitivity and especially in consideration of aspects that may disrupt the physical or other aspects of Individual(s), Families and/or other Market(s), Commodities and that in my view the proper and forthright Interpretation(s), applications of Law and legal procedures may, have and/or could well provide.
        From my and let me say and presume our view and/or view(s) that GAP, NWC and POGO have been the leading Advocates and Authorities ………with any remaining , lets say and suggest, voice and/or voices that are heard…………………

        Thank you and Washingtonsblog for allowing me opportunity to blog comment reply and to let all know that I continue to be appreciative and to inform that and even though I have not commented further and many other of the continuing Wasingtonblog Articles, I will, as available, continue to monitor this Washingtonblog Article.

  • John Francis

    The many photos of Obama’s levity and frivolousness while the country is coming apart at the seams speaks volumes. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child.”

  • Never fear the elites are about to go into overdrive or maybe just put everything on Cruz! Pun intended!

    Timeline Of The Progress Toward A North American UnionPosted on Wednesday, August 30 at 16:39
    Timeline of the Progress Toward a North American Union

    Canadian, U.S., and Mexican elites, including CEOS and politicians, have a plan to create common North American policies and further integrate our economies. This plan goes by various names and euphemisms, such as “deep integration”, “NAFTA-plus”, “harmonization”, the “Big Idea”, the “Grand Bargain”, and the “North American Security and Prosperity Initiative”. Regardless of which name your prefer, the end goal of all of these plans is to create a new political and economic entity named the North American Union (NAU) that would supercede the existing countries. Theoretically, it would be similar to and competetive with the European Union (EU). The individual currencies of each country would be replaced by a common currency called the “Amero” and everything from environmental regulations to security would be brought in line with a common standard.

    Vive le Canada ca offers the following timeline as a resource to educate the general public about the progress of the three countries toward a new North American Union (NAU).

    http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/163939368-timeline-of-the-progress-toward-a-north-american-union

    http://www.vivelecanada.ca/search.php?q=North+American+Union

    • Axel

      The below reply and 2 links that are hopefully will correctly link are expectantly relevant to be also posted within this Article and again in my efforts, acknowledgement(s) and appreciation for the efforts of MOLEN LABE. These links are also posted on the recent Washingtonsblog.com 3/26/2015 Article, entitled ‘Why Banksters Hate Peace’ and within my efforts, appreciation and acknowledgement(s) for MOLEN LABE efforts, time and consideration(s).

      Axel Axel • 12 minutes ago

      Dear Washingtonsblog and Contributors, 3/30/2015

      Below are just 2 Articles I had booked marked, opened and briefly read yesterday. They are from Articles I probably initially found on Yahoo, Google or from GlobalResearch.ca. I have not previously copied and posted ‘links’, although I am making an exception here and from your efforts. There are probably additional Articles as from my recollection, there possibly may be is at least one person suffering in a California Incarceration Facility, possibly for a decade or longer. There appear to be efforts for his assistance and Representation, although from the attached Observer Article the obstacles seemingly appear and/or to seemingly imply overwhelming for the Attorneys and seemingly to and upon those trying to provide assistance.

      It appears well known how difficult it is for the other millions of matters and concerns and including and/or the additional Truth Teller(s) and Whistleblower(s) Matters and concerns and upon our and/or any remaining Law Firms, Lawyers, Educational Institutions and many other forthright Entities and within there remaining proper and forthright efforts and endeavors, etcetera……..

      Thank you,
      Axel

      http://observer.com/2015/01/loretta-lynch-and-other-prosecutors-stand-accused-of-allowing-criminals-to-operate/

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/lawyer-who-shielded-hsbc-for-the-largest-drug-and-terrorism-money-laundering-case-as-next-us-attorney-general/5430921

  • August 2, 2011 NSA is looking for a few good hackers

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nsa-is-looking-for-a-few-good-hackers/2011/08/02/gIQAXZAbqI_story.html

    “The NSA Is Lying”: U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails Says NSA Whistleblower

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfS2Op9l3nk

    What is Metadata?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXAstVP3-y0

  • Kevin G.

    The World began in darkness, but YHWH ALMIGHTY GOD Said” Let there Be Light” We are now at the end and the beginning! Seems Psalm 91 is now not only practical but essential!

    • Guest

      I guess…but aside from being a fitting platitude to the story…how does it actually help? Essential?

  • Defiant

    Secrecy at an “all time high” is an understatement! It’s like the dealing with the Ministry of Truth!