II. On Civil and Political Rights

In the United States, an increasing number of restrictions have been imposed on civil rights.

According to a report on the Washington Post website on April 4, 2008, the deep-packet inspection, a brand new surveillance technology, which has been applied, is able to record every visited web page, every sent email and every online search. Statistics indicated that at least 100,000 U.S. internet users had been tracked and the service providers had conducted tests on as many as 10 percent of the U.S. netizens (The Washington Post, April 4, 2008). The FBI has been engaged in illegal surveillance launched by the U.S. government nationwide, obtaining thousands of people's phone records, bank accounts and other personal information by unwarranted means.

The Seattle Times reported on July 15, 2008 that President Bush signed a bill on July 10 that overhauls government eavesdropping and called it " landmark legislation that is vital to the security of our people. " The new law grants legal immunity to telecommunication companies that take part in wiretapping programs and authorizes the government to wiretap international communications betweens parties outside the U.S. for anti-terrorism purposes without court approval. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security disclosed in July 2008 that as part of border search policies, federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing (The Washington Post, August 1, 2008). The New York Times reported on December 8, 2008 that the National Security Agency illegally wiretapped a Muslim scholar named Ali al-Timimi in Northern Virginia and intentionally withheld materials gained through eavesdropping during a 2005 trial, in which the scholar was convicted on terrorism charges. These materials may provide evidence that the U.S. government's eavesdropping program has violated its citizens' civil rights.

Police abuse of force infringed on the civil rights of Americans. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune on June 25, 2008, Chicago witnessed eight shootings by police officers in two weeks in June, causing five with fatalities. Shapell Terrell, a 39-year-old sanitation worker, was fatally shot by police officers on June 22 at the entrance of a two-story building, where all four apartments were filled with family members (The Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2008). Luis Colon, an 18-year-old man in Chicago, was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer on June 24, when he was walking with his girlfriend to meet friends and eat at a restaurant (The Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2008). Daryl Battle, 20, was shot dead in his Brooklyn apartment in New York City on the morning of August 2, 2008. Michael Mineo was sodomized by a police officer's baton on October 15, on a busy Brooklyn subway platform (The New York Times, December 10, 2008). Gilberto Blanco was shot and killed when he was swinging a folding chair in front of a policewoman named Dawn Ortiz in a parking lot near the Coney Island church (The New York Times, December 1, 2008).

The proportion of U.S. prisoners to its population has hit a new high. The Washington Post reported on July 11, 2008 that the United States has 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation in the world. A report issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on December 11, 2008 said that over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or on parole at the end of 2007, equivalent to 3.2 percent of all U.S. adult residents or one in every 31 adults. (United Press International, December 11, 2008). For black men aged between 20-34, one in nine was in jail. (The Guardian, March 1, 2008). The rate of prisoners, higher than any period in the U.S. history, was almost six times the world average (125 in every 100,000 people). According to statistics, the recidivism rate stayed high in the United States. Half the people of previous convictions were sentenced to prison again within three years.

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