History Commons Groups

February 16, 2013

What We’re Reading: Three by Robert Parry


Derek, our executive director, sent me three books from the Consortium News’s Robert Parry, the site’s founder and lead investigative journalist. The books are: Lost History, Neck Deep, and Secrecy and Privilege. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see material from those books finding their way into the Civil Liberties, Iraq, Iran-Contra, Domestic Propaganda, and other projects.

Have you read any of these? Let us know what you think.

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August 4, 2012

Musings on the New Campaign Finance Material

Filed under: Civil Liberties,US Elections — Max @ 10:51 pm

There are two categories under US Civil Liberties that are about to get a huge influx of new material: Voting Rights/Campaign Finance and Election, Voting Laws and Issues. There is, as one would imagine, a lot of overlap between the two.

I’m doing much of the work on them, and I have to say, in an entirely nonpartisan, observational kind of way: there is a Godawful amount of corruption and untoward influence being wielded on American politics because of the post-Citizens United changes. History Commons does something better (I believe) than most other information outlets does: by providing the information in a chronological context, and “mashing up” information from literally hundreds of disparate and sometimes contradictory stories, a much broader and deeper perception of a larger issue can be created. It is definitely happening here.

Look for a strong influx of entries in the coming weeks.

July 23, 2012

Lots of New Material Being Posted…


on the Day of 9/11, the Obama administration’s indefinite detention policies, campaign finance, and domestic terrorism (rhetorical) from Westboro Baptist Church. More on all of these topics, and more besides, is in the works and will make their appearance in upcoming days.

We were not chosen for the Knight grant, and even if we had been, any awarded funding would have not come through for months or even longer. We need your help to raise sufficient funds to keep the information flowing, and expand our coverage. We need your financial support to keep moving forward, and your time, expertise, and energy to continue (and expand!) our content.

For those of you who have already contributed in either or both ways, thank you so much.

We have so many great ideas to make HC even better than it is. We need your help to put these ideas into action!

October 28, 2009

‘The single database that contains terrorist-related intelligence and law enforcement information in a single repository’

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 3:21 pm

According to a 9/11 Commission document, the US has a “single database that contains terrorist-related intelligence and law enforcement information in a single repository, enabling detailed link, pattern, and trend analysis.”

The commission document is a draft briefing request for the Pentagon, apparently written by commission Counsel Daniel Marcus sometime in August 2003. It requests an “orientation/briefing” from the Joint Intelligence Task Force-Combating Terrorism on five issues, the fourth of which is the database. The request can be found on page 55 of the pdf file.

The request was found in the 9/11 Commission’s files at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd.

I thought the mention of the database was interesting, and just wanted to pass it on. I’m sure somebody else can make better sense of it than I.

October 15, 2009

New PROMIS Timeline Established

Filed under: Civil Liberties — kevinfenton @ 12:39 pm
Tags:

As those familiar with the Loss of US Civil Liberties will know, one of the focuses over the last few months has been the very complicated PROMIS dispute between the Justice Department and the private company Inslaw.

Originally, the PROMIS material was organised in a separate category that was part of the Civil Liberties Timeline. However, it is now being moved to its own timeline, which can be accessed from the Civil Liberties homepage.

Initially, the material was lumped in with the loss of civil liberties because there were only a few entries and the alleged use of PROMIS legacy code is linked to later NSA surveillance. However, as more and more entries were added to the timeline they focused on the origin of the dispute in the early 1980s, and we figure that a person interested in the loss of civil liberites (primarily after 9/11) is really not that interested in DoJ memos about its computer system from twenty years before. So I came to the opinion that the PROMIS material was getting in the way of the material that was more directly focused on civil liberties.

In addition, as those familiar with the ins and outs of the PROMIS dispute will know, there are multiple aspects of the dispute. The fact that PROMIS is now in its own independent timeline means that it can easily be split into categories. So, if you want to read the whole timeline click here. Alternatively, the individual categories cover the origin of the dispute, the various legal proceedings that followed Inslaw’s declaration of bankruptcy, congressional oversight, the (alleged) use of PROMIS outside the Justice Department (i.e. by other US agencies and other countries), and other events.

As you can see, there is still a tremendous amount of material to be added to the timeline, but I figure if a little is done every month, then progress will be slow but steady. The entries currently in the system (which will hopefully soon be published) cover the origin of the dispute up to the signing of Modification 12, plus a couple of side issues.

July 21, 2009

History Commons Newsletter, July 21, 2009


Fundraising Efforts Continue

The History Commons is beginning to work towards making some dramatic upgrades in the website, including revamping the web application, and adding much more content and information. These changes will, we trust, make the History Commons a much more effective resource for you and your fellow users. (This spiffy new e-mail format is the first of those changes.) While you may not see the results of these changes for some time, they will, when finished, completely transform the site to make it far more usable and comprehensive. To help move this process forward, we need your financial support like never before. We accept donations through PayPal, credit cards, and personal checks. We sincerely appreciate all you do to make the History Commons a viable resource for information and citizen activism.
Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

You can help steer the transformation of the History Commons by making your comments and observations on the History Commons blog. Over the next few weeks, we will begin polling our users to determine what they want to see in the new and improved “History Commons 2.0.” You are a valuable part of the History Commons, and we want to know what you think. You can start posting in this thread. Thanks again.

(more…)

July 14, 2009

History Commons Newsletter, July 14, 2009


The Push Towards “History Commons 2.0”

Over the next few months, the History Commons will begin working towards making some dramatic upgrades in the website, including revamping the web application, and adding much more content and information. These changes will, we trust, make the History Commons a much more effective resource for you and your fellow users. While you may not see the results of these changes for some time, they will, when finished, completely transform the site to make it far more usable and comprehensive. To help move this process forward, we need your financial support like never before. We accept donations through PayPal, credit cards, and personal checks. We sincerely appreciate all you do to make the History Commons a viable resource for information and citizen activism. Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

(more…)

July 7, 2009

History Commons Newsletter, July 7, 2009


History Commons Newsletter, July 7, 2009

Raising Funds for History Commons 2.0

Over the next few months, the History Commons will begin working towards making some dramatic upgrades in the website, including revamping the web application, and adding much more content and information. These changes will, we trust, make the History Commons a much more effective resource for you and your fellow users. While you may not see the results of these changes for some time, they will, when finished, completely transform the site to make it far more usable and comprehensive. To help move this process forward, we need your financial support like never before. We accept donations through PayPal, credit cards, and personal checks. We sincerely appreciate all you do to make the History Commons a viable resource for information and citizen activism. Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

(more…)

June 26, 2009

History Commons Projects, Update for June 25, 2009


Over the next few months, the History Commons will begin working towards making some dramatic upgrades in the website, including revamping the web application, and adding much more content and information. These changes will, we trust, make the History Commons a much more effective resource for you and your fellow users. While you may not see the results of these changes for some time, they will, when finished, completely transform the site to make it far more usable and comprehensive. To help move this process forward, we need your financial support like never before. We accept donations through PayPal, credit cards, and personal checks.

Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

We sincerely appreciate all you do to make the History Commons a viable resource for information and citizen activism.

You can help steer the transformation of the History Commons by making your comments and observations on this blog. Over the next few weeks, we will begin polling our users to determine what they want to see in the new and improved “History Commons 2.0.” You are a valuable part of the History Commons, and we want to know what you think. Look for posts soliciting your thoughts and opinions very soon — hopefully by the time you read this.


About a dozen timelines have been updated in the past week, and one of the most active was the Economic Crisis project. One contributor points out that unemployment is already at 21 million peole in the European Union, whereas globally it could reach 51 million, according to the International Labor Organization. Another highlights the fictitious “light switch tax,” as well as much-needed tax cuts for millionaires.
Read more.

In the US Health Care Timeline, a contributor has started to cover the recent murder of late-term abortion provider George Tiller.
Read more.

In the Neoliberalism and Globalization Timeline, a contributor has started to document the cultural diversity movement, beginning with a group of entries about a UNESCO agreement on cultural diversity.
Read more.

A contributor to the Global Warming Timeline has added entries about recent comments by Republican Congressmen on global warming.
Read more.

Similarly, in the Domestic Propaganda Timeline a contributor has input more material about criticism of President Obama, and more about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.
Read more.

Finally, in the Loss of Civil Liberties Timeline, a contributor highlights a recent statement by former Defense official Douglas Feith, who said he had nothing to do with the Bush administration’s torture policy.
Read more.

June 7, 2009

Mark Klein Corrects Entry


On November 7, 2007, former AT&T engineer and whistleblower Mark Klein joins the audience during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Many in the press thought Klein was there to testify, but he was not on the schedule and did not appear before the assembled lawmakers. Klein did speak to reporters after the hearing. I wrote an entry about the hearing that continued the assumption that Klein indeed testified. A few days ago, Klein edited the Commons entry to correct the assumption. He also left a comment on the entry, which he has given me permission to reprint below.

I, Mark Klein, was never invited to testify by any Congressional committee, although I did appear in the audience at the Nov. 7, 2007 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing mentioned in the press, which mistakenly assumed I was scheduled to testify. With some notable individual exceptions (e.g., Senator Dodd), Congress as a body ran away from me, refused to allow me to testify before committee, and in the end passed an immunity bill for for the telecoms. See my comments to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, July 7, 2008, where I pointed out that I was never invited to testify.

I appreciate Mr. Klein’s correction. I used the Democracy Now! article to source his corrections, and have reposted the corrected entry. If we’re fortunate, Mr. Klein will share some more of his knowledge with us in the future.

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