Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fazaga v. FBI

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  • Case Information

    Full Name : Yassir Fazaga, Ali Uddin Malk, Yasser Abelrahim v. Federal Bureau of Investigation; Robert Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in his official capacity; Steven M. Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation's Los Angeles Division, in his official capacity; J. Stephen Tidwell; Barbara Walls; Pat Rose; Kevin Armstrong; Paul Allen
    Case Number : SACV1100301
    Court : United States District Court for the Central District of California
    Judge : Hon. Cormac J. Carney
    Co-Counsel : Council on American-Islamic Relations, California; Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick, LLP
    Fazaga v. FBI is a case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation for illegally spying on the Muslim community in Orange County, California.
    In June 2006, FBI agents sent an informant to one of the largest, most diverse mosques in Orange County, California, who posed as a convert to Islam.  After publicly converting before a crowd of hundreds, the informant spent the next fourteen months acting on the instructions of his FBI handlers — gathering names, telephone numbers, e-mails, backgrounds, political and religious views, travel plans, and other information on hundreds of individuals in the community.  The FBI directed the informant, Craig Monteilh, not to target any particular individuals they believed were involved in criminal activity, but to gather as much information as possible on members of the Muslim community, and to focus on people who were more devout in their religious practice. No terrorism charges were brought, and no criminal convictions obtained, as a result of the FBI’s operation.
    In February 2011, the ACLU of Southern California, the Council for American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles, and the law firm Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP filed a federal class action law suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigations for infiltrating mainstream mosques in Southern California and targeting Muslims Americans for surveillance because of their religion.  Among other claims, the lawsuit alleges that the FBI’s operation unlawfully targeted individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs and practices, in violation of the First Amendment; unlawfully collected information on religious practices in violation of the Privacy Act; and constituted unreasonable searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment.   The suit demands that the FBI destroy all information unlawfully collected through their operation and pay damages to the individuals who were targets of unlawful surveillance.

    Case Developments

    August 14, 2012

    The Court dismissed the lawsuit against the FBI but permitted the suit to go forward against the individual government agents under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Read more about the ruling.
    December 23, 2011
    The ACLU filed responses to the defendants’ motions to dismiss the case.  Read the ACLU’s opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss, the ACLU’s opposition to the FBI agents’ motions to dismiss, and the declaration of Craig Monteilh.
    September 13, 2011
    The ACLU filed an amended complaint. Read the complaint.
    Aug 1, 2011
    The government asserted the “state secrets” privilege, asserting that regardless of whether the complaint’s allegations are true, whether or not the government has discriminated against American citizens on the basis of their religion in violation of the First Amendment is a state secret.  This marked the first time in recent memory that the government has asserted the state secrets privilege to dismiss a lawsuit brought by United States citizens alleging that a domestic law enforcement operation was violating their constitutional rights.
    February 21, 2011
    The ACLU of Southern California filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigations for infiltrating mainstream mosques in Southern California and targeting Muslims Americans for surveillance because of their religion.


    Maryland Attorney Mike Slocumb Comments on Google Privacy Class Action Lawsuit and NSA Surveillance Case
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    Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) June 13, 2013

    Baltimore, Maryland personal injury lawyer Mike Slocumb today said his law firm is handling a class action lawsuit that has privacy issues similar to the ones being raised in the story involving the National Security Administration and its collection of online content.

    Slocumb said his client, Matthew C. Knowles of Maryland, was interviewed by CBS News on June 11, 2013. Knowles is named as a plaintiff in a Google privacy class action lawsuit (Knowles v. Google, Inc., case number 5:2013cv01601) filed April 9, 2013, in California Northern District Court. The lawsuit was originally filed in the District of Maryland.

    In the complaint, Knowles alleges that Google’s practice of intercepting emails sent to Maryland residents with Google Gmail accounts amounts to an invasion of privacy and is in violation of the Maryland Wiretap Act.

    Knowles alleges in the complaint that the search engine giant routinely intercepts messages sent by non-Gmail subscribers to Gmail accounts without their knowledge or consent. The lawsuit alleges that Google uses the information it gathers to create a targeted advertisement directed at the non-Gmail subscriber.

    “There are parallels between our client’s case and the case involving the government surveillance of private citizens,” said Slocumb, a personal injury lawyer with an office in Baltimore. “Search engine companies are monitoring private emails, and the National Security Agency is collecting domestic telephone data. The government’s actions came to light after a former employee of a government contractor blew the whistle. In the case we’re handling, our client is helping to shine a light on what these search engine companies are doing. It’s offensive and in some cases illegal when somebody intercepts communications that parties have a right to believe is sensitive, privileged and confidential.”

    Edward Snowden, a former employee of a government contractor who admitted leaking secret government documents about the controversial surveillance programs, may soon be facing charges, according report published on June 11, 2013, and titled “Feds prepping charges against Edward Snowden: Sources.”

    Slocumb said some other states have privacy laws similar to Maryland’s. He said other lawsuits have been filed against Google and Yahoo in California, alleging that the companies violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The 12 states with laws stating that both parties must consent to being wiretapped or recorded include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Illinois.

    Slocumb said people who live in any of the above-mentioned states may be entitled to be a part of a class action lawsuit. “As personal injury lawyers, we believe in protecting the rights of people who have suffered losses, whether it’s in an accident or it’s through the reckless action of a large corporation. In the case involving Google, we believe the search engine company is intercepting emails and using the content without the senders’ permission. We believe our class action lawsuit is not just about any one person. It’s about protecting the rights of everyone. It’s about sending a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

    About the Mike Slocumb Law Firm

    The Mike Slocumb Law Firm helps people who have been harmed through the negligent actions of other individuals or companies pursue compensation. The firm, which can be founded online at

    , handles class action lawsuits as well as car accident claims, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, nursing home negligence and more. With offices throughout the country, the law firm works for clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing if you don’t win. For more information about what joining the Google privacy class action lawsuit, call 1-800-HURTLINE or complete the online contact form.

    The Baltimore office for the Mike Slocumb Law Firm is located at 111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 2700, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202.

    Read the full story at

    Lawsuits mount against U.S. government

    The ACLU and the NYCLU filed the first major lawsuit against the U.S. government Wednesday since The Guardian revealed last week that the NSA has been collecting the phone data of all U.S. calls for the past seven years.
    Filed with the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, the lawsuit — ACLU v Clapper — calls for the end of the NSA’s broad domestic phone surveillance program, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution and exceeds the Patriot Act.
    Both the ACLU and NYCLU were customers of Verizon Business Network Services, which was revealed last week to have been served with a routinely renewed secret court order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that mandated Verizon hand over on an ‘ongoing, daily basis’ domestic phone records.
    “This dragnet program is surely one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director said in a statement.
    The details revealed are considered the most significant national security intelligence leak since The Pentagon Papers.
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a separate lawsuit against the U.S. government originally filed in 2008, has also called for the end to the government’s dragnet surveillance program.
    The Obama administration and top lawmakers overseeing the intelligence community have been reeling from the backlash, defending the legality and effectiveness of the programs in question.
    The information brought forth, however, has thrown the nation’s top spies and law enforcement officials, and the secret laws governing their powers, into the light, forcing a very public discussion over the abuses of power in the digital age.
    “The crux of the government’s justification for the program is the chilling logic that it can collect everyone’s data now and ask questions later,” said Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Security Project.
    A class action suit already in place against the U.S. government for the NSA’s routine collection is expected to be amended Wednesday to include the Internet companies alleged to have partnered with the NSA regarding a secret Internet surveillance program, reported U.S. News & World Report.
    The accused Internet companies — AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo! and YouTube — have all denied any knowledge or  the program.
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    Court considers allowing class-action lawsuit against Google

    Court considers allowing class-action lawsuit against Google over book digitization

    You may recall the backlash against Google over its book digitizing efforts, which many say is copyright infringement and it all eventually leading into a legal battle that has been ongoing for years. Back in 2011, for example, a District Court in NY rejected Google’s settlement with the ASA and Author’s Guild, and last summer Google moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. Now a court of appeals is considering whether a class-action lawsuit is warranted.
    Screenshot from 2013-05-08 21:17:33

    The matter at stake is whether the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are allowed to go through with a class-action lawsuit against Google, something that could result in billions of dollars in damages – over $3 billion, according to some estimates. As such, it isn’t surprising that Google appealed when one court ruled that a class-action lawsuit was permissible, and now the case has moved up to a higher court.
    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now handling the issue, and seems to be leaning away from a class-action lawsuit, which would leave those who feel their copyrights have been infringed upon to sue Google on their own. This would result in substantially less damages being paid out, especially considering that many of those who would go after Google are small-time authors not in a position to initiate a lawsuit.
    According to Reuters, one of the panel judges said the digitization efforts hold “enormous value for our culture.” Others have mentioned the notion of returning the case to the district court, having it give a ruling on Google’s claim of fair use. We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out, but presently the plaintiffs are seeking $750 in damages per book Google copied.

    i will not be bullied i will start a class action law suit


    FBI Domestic Intelligence Activities

    COINTELPRO Revisited - Spying & Disruption

                  IN BLACK AND WHITE:   THE F.B.I. PAPERS
    Following are transcripts of official FBI COINTELPRO documents obtained
    under the Freedom of Information Act.  The March 4, 1968 communique was
    sent out by J. Edgar Hoover himself just one month before the assassination
    of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It specifically identified Elijah Muhammed and 
    the Nation of Islam as primary targets of COINTELPRO, as well as Rev.
    King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Other released FBI
    documents show the Bureau had infiltrators within Macolm X's Muslim Mosque,
    Inc.  Still others prove the FBI had undercover in the very room when he 
    was assassinated; one such agent actually administered mouth-to-mouth to
    the dying man.
    Note:  in the originally released documents, most of the names of
    COINTELPRO targets are censored.  However, the names which are included
    here exactly fit the spaces marked out by the FBI.  It is also now known
    that all of these individuals were in fact targetted for "neutralization"
    by the FBI.
    [Some emphases added by the editor.]
    SAC, Albany                                               August 25, 1967
                                            PERSONAL ATTENTION TO ALL OFFICES
    [From] Director, FBI
     [...] The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to
    expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or OTHERWISE NEUTRALIZE [emphasis 
    added] the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and 
    groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and 
    to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder.  The activities 
    of all such groups of intelligence interest to the Bureau must be followed 
    on a continuous basis so we will be in a position to promptly take advantage 
    of all opportunities for counterintelligence and inspire action in instances
    where circumstances warrant.  The pernicious background of such groups,
    their duplicity, and devious maneuvers must be exposed to public scrutiny
    where such publicity will have a neautralizing effect.  Efforts of the
    various groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or youthful
    adherents must be frustrated.  NO OPPORTUNITY SHOULD BE MISSED TO 
    BLACK NATIONALIST ORGANIZATIONS.  [emphasis added]  When an opportunity is 
    apparent to disrupt or NEUTRALIZE [emphasis added] black nationalist, hate-
    type organizations through the cooperation of established local news media 
    contacts or through such contact with sources available to the Seat of 
    Government [Hoover's office]*, in every instance careful attention must be 
    given to the proposal to insure the targetted group is disrupted, ridiculed, 
    or discredited through the publicity and not merely publicized...
     You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such
    KNOWN OUTSIDE THE BUREAU [emphasis added] and appropriate within-office 
    security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered 
    under the program.
     No counterintelligence action under this program may be initiated
    by the field without specific prior Bureau authorization. [Emphasis in orig.]
    * [EDITOR'S NOTE:  "Seat of Government" (SOG) is an official designation 
     created by J. Edgar Hoover to refer to his own office.  Hoover was director
     of the FBI for some 40 years, even receiving a special exemption from
     compulsory retirement by President Ford.  The "SOG" appelation is
     indicative of his egotistical view of his power, which saw presidents come
     and go.]
       RACIAL INTELLIGENCE                                              3/4/68
     For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and
    to prevent wasted effort, long-range goals are being set.
     1.  Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups.  In
    unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its 
    triteness.  An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the
    first step toward a real "Mau Mau" [Black revolutionary army] in America, 
    the beginning of a true black revolution.
     2.  Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and
    electrify, the militant black nationalist movement.  Malcolm X might have
    been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the movement today.  Martin
    Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this
    position.  Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age.  King
    could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his
    supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) and embrace
    black nationalism.  Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real
    threat in this way.
     3.  Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of black nationalist groups.  This
    is of primary importance, and is, of course, a goal of our investigative
    activity; it should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to
    pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they 
    exercise their potential for violence.
     4.  Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from
    gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of
    the community.  The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled
    tactically in three ways.  You must discredit those groups and individuals
    to, first, the responsible Negro community.  Second, they must be
    discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to
    "liberals" who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist
    [sic] simply because they are Negroes.  Third, these groups must be 
    discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.  
    This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two.  
    Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances 
    black nationalists to the last group; it adds "respectability" in a different
     5.  A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of
    militant black organizations, especially among youth.  Specific tactics to
    prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed. [...]
     Primary targets of the Counterintelligence Program, Black
    Nationalist-Hate Groups, should be the most violent and radical groups and
    their leaders.  We should emphasize those leaders and organizations that
    are nationwide in scope and are most capable of disrupting this country.
    These targets, members, and followers of the:
       Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
       Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
       Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM)
       NATION OF ISLAM  (NOI)   [emphasis added]
     Offices handling these cases and those of Stokely Carmichael of
    SNCC, H. Rap Brown of SNCC, Martin Luther King of SCLC, Maxwell Stanford of
    RAM, and Elijah Muhammed of NOI, should be alert for counterintelligence
    suggestions.  [...]
     [SOURCE:  Brian Glick, _The_War_At_Home: _Covert_Action_Against_U.S._
     Activists_And_What_We_Can_Do_About_It_  (Boston: South End Press, 1989)
     ISBN: 0-89608-349-7.]

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