The U.S. Supreme Court has put an end to lawsuits against telecommunications companies for helping the Bush administration spy on American phone calls and emails.
During the height of Bush’s war-on-terror, the National Security Agency (NSA) gained access to the electronic systems of AT&T and other telecoms. The illegal surveillance outraged civil libertarians who filed more than 30 lawsuits, which prompted Congress in 2008 to grant retroactive immunity to companies aiding the NSA.
The lawsuits were eventually consolidated into a single case. But because of the immunity law, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to overturn the decision.
As a last resort, lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing the retroactive immunity was an “unprecedented violation of the separation of powers” because it shielded the executive branch from being held accountable in court.
In a single sentence, the high court rejected the request, ending the six-year legal battle. But critics of the government—who say its mass warrantless collection of emails, telephone calls and other records is unconstitutional and not protected by claims of state secrets—continue other court challenges.
EFF is pursuing a similar case against the government in federal court, Jewel v. NSA, that was filed when the suit against the telecoms hit its early roadbloacks. It is scheduled for a hearing in San Francisco next month.
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.