Permalink Congress Passed Legislation Ramping Up Mass Surveillance to Super-Steroid Levels

Fascist Power Grab Wipes out 4th Amendment. Remember how Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to mass surveillance, and how the government promised to rein in spying on Americans? Instead, Congress snuck a provision into the Intelligence Authorization Act which will ramp up spying on us normal, average, innocent Americans.

Permalink $3mn awarded in lawsuit to family of prisoner who died as guards watched laughing

The Colorado Department of Corrections will pay $3 million to the family of a mentally ill inmate who died after guards and nurses at the facility for several hours watched his fatal seizures without helping him. Christopher Lopez, 35, who had bipolar schizoaffective disorder, died at San Carlos correctional facility in Pueblo in March 2013. The last six hours of Lopez’s life were caught on camera by the staff of the facility, who were laughing and joking while watching the inmate shaking from seizures which turned out fatal. Lopez died of severe hyponatremia (low sodium-blood levels), which is treatable if medical help comes early enough.


Permalink Ukraine forms 'ministry of truth' to "regulate" the media

Ukraine has a new government ministry. This month, the parliament voted to create a ministry of information policy that will be led by Yuriy Stets, the head of the information security department of the national guard. According to the new minister, the information war against Russia cannot be won without it. But in resorting to such measures, does Ukraine not risk losing its battle for democracy?


Permalink George Stinney Jr. Exonerated of Murder 70 Years After Execution at 14

Photo: George Stinney Jr appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Attorneys in South Carolina say they have found fresh evidence that warrants a new trial in the case of a 14-year-old black teenager put to death nearly 70 years ago for the murders of two white girls. George Stinney Jr. was the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the last century, and attorneys say the request for another trial so long after a defendant's death is the first of its kind in South Carolina.

George Stinney Jr. was only 14 when he was sentenced to death and executed for allegedly assaulting two white girls; on Wednesday, he was exonerated for the crime and his brothers and sisters relieved. "They took my brother away and I never saw my mother laugh again," Amie Ruffner, Stinney's sister, previously said. "I would love his name to be cleared." That wish was granted on Wednesday, after South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullins reviewed the case and decided to overturn the ruling due to the fact that Stinney was not adequately represented by his own attorney. Mullins also stated that the boy's confession was likely coerced by authorities and there were not enough witnesses or physical evidence to convict the 14-year-old. Stinney, 14, was charged with the murders of 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames. He was arrested after people in the town of Acolu said he had been picking flowers with the young girls. Stinney confessed to the crime but not until he was separated by his parents and put through an interrogation by police. Ultimately, he was found guilty of the murder after jurors deliberated for only 10 minutes.

UPI: George Stinney Jr., executed at 14, cleared of murder 70 years later
WTOC: George Stinney, 14-year-old convicted of '44 murder, exonerated

Permalink What Obama’s Ukrainian Stooges Did

Eric Zuesse Here are highlights from a one-hour-and-thirty-seven-minute video documenting the ethnic cleansing or attempted genocide against the residents in southeast Ukraine, the Ukrainian area that had voted overwhelmingly for the man whom Obama overthrew on February 22nd. If the voters in that region were to stay in the then-existing territory of Ukraine, no nationwide Ukrainian vote (such as for Ukraine’s President) would favor the pro-U.S, anti-Russian, Government, that Obama had installed in February of this year. Even if new leaders would be elected, the government would then go back to being predominantly pro-Russian, as it had been under Yanukovych. That’s why Obama wanted the residents there slaughtered until enough escaped to Russia so as to eliminate enough of them from the voter-rolls in Ukraine so as to enable Obama’s Ukrainian coup d’etat to succeed (i.e., be stable) on a long-term basis. So, that’s what was tried; and one chooses for carrying out such a purpose racist fascists — or nazis — whose particular hatred is focussed against ethnic Russians: against the people who lived in the pro-Yanukovych region of Ukraine, Ukraine’s southeast.


Permalink Sydney siege ends in violent police assault

Mike Head A 16-hour police siege of an inner Sydney café culminated in a full-scale assault by para-military commandos just after 2 a.m., leaving two hostages dead, as well as the lone hostage-taker. The bloody outcome also left many unanswered questions about the entire incident, including the fatal decision to storm the building. Police and security officials kept reporters far away from the scene throughout the siege, making it impossible to view what happened, but long-distance footage showed heavily-armed units storming the building, firing stun grenades and semi-automatic weapons. Just minutes earlier, at least 5 of the 17 hostages fled the building, as did 5 last night. Soon after the siege was ended, Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued a statement commending the “courage and professionalism” of the police and other emergency services involved. Yet the official justifications offered for sending in commandos, resulting in three deaths, were full of contradictions.

Peter Symonds Without providing any justification, the Australian government yesterday seized on an isolated incident involving a deeply disturbed individual in the Sydney CBD to activate the entire “counter-terrorism” apparatus and impose a state of siege in the centre of the country’s largest city—with tragic consequences. What would ordinarily have been dealt with as a serious, but relatively straightforward, police matter—an armed gunman taking hostages in a city café—was escalated into a major national crisis by the intervention of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with the full support of the opposition Labor Party and the Greens, state governments and the entire media. [...] No rational reason has been offered for this massive police operation. Police determined relatively quickly that the hostage-taker was Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee well-known to police. He had no connection to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Qaeda or any other Islamic extremist organisation. He was a troubled individual, with a history of erratic actions, on bail for alleged involvement in the murder of his ex-wife. Likewise, no coherent explanation has been given for the decision to storm the café in the early hours of this morning. The NSW police commissioner initially declared that officers charged into the building in response to shots heard inside, then declined to repeat his statement. The outcome is that the hostage-taker is dead, along with two innocent people—the café manager and a mother of three—and four others are injured.


Permalink Texas police officer investigated for tasing driver, 76 - Video

A Victoria police officer is under investigation after a 76-year-old man accused him of using excessive force during a traffic stop. The officer, Nathanial Robinson, 23, was placed on administrative duty Friday pending the outcome of an internal investigation into whether he violated the use of force policy when he tased Victoria resident Pete Vasquez, said Chief J.J. Craig. The officer was hired after graduating from the police academy two years ago. The incident happened Thursday after Robinson saw an expired inspection sticker on the car Vasquez was driving back to Adam's Auto Mart, 2801 N. Laurent St., where he helps with mechanical work.


Permalink NYC, Washington Brace for Largest Protests Yet Over Police Brutality

Washington and New York City are getting ready for what is expected to become the largest protests over police brutality towards black Americans in series of rallies that recently hit the US. Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Washington on Saturday in protest of the killings of unarmed black Americans by the US police. In New York City, a well-known anarchist group Anonymous is staging a so-called "Day of Anger", calling for the "Millions March" to hit the streets in the city center. "A million would be nice, at the moment we have 45,000 people RSVP’d on the Facebook page. One million would be amazing, but optimistic. One of the schools in Massachusetts is sending three buses down so we’re hoping the numbers are bigger," co-organizer Umaara Elliott told Sputnik.

PressTV: Massive rallies against police killings of black men expected in US
RT.com: Baltimore cops taser woman who filmed them beating man in custody


Permalink Police State: Congress quietly expands NSA powers for spying on Americans

The campaign to rein in the surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) has become even more difficult. Instead, Congress has used a set of provisions to expand the agency’s data-gathering power. By way of two pieces of legislation, Congress maintained and expanded the NSA’s surveillance powers. In a bill now headed for President Barack Obama’s desk, Congress gave the agency what civil liberties advocates argue is an unprecedented authority to collect and store data belonging to American citizens. Additionally, the omnibus spending bill passed by the House on Thursday – intended to keep the government running through most of next year – was stripped of the amendment banning the NSA from conducting ‘backdoor’ surveillance on Americans and insisting that tech companies redesign their products to make them more surveillance-friendly. That amendment had previously passed the House easily in June. The Intelligence Authorization Act 2015, which will fund intelligence agencies for the next year, passed in a 325–100 vote, with 50 Democrats and 45 Republicans opposing. Through Section 309 of the act, Congress gave unparalleled legal authority to the government’s warrantless surveillance powers to allow for “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of US phone and internet data.

Stephen Lendman Congress Authorizes Unlimited Spying on US Citizens

Permalink Police State: Spain Sets Stiff Fines for "Unauthorized Protests"

Spain's lower house of parliament approved legislation Thursday that allows for the summary expulsion of migrants entering the country's North African enclaves illegally and hefty fines for protests outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. The Public Security Law was approved in a 181-141 vote after being heavily criticized by opposition parties and rights groups as an attempt by the conservative government to muzzle protests over its handling of the economic crisis. The measures, which update a 1992 law, also include fines of up to 30,000 euros ($37,000) for disseminating photographs of police officers that endanger them or police operations. Spanish cities have been the scene of weekly protests, which are mostly peaceful, since the onset of the crisis in 2008. The bill was passed easily because the conservative Popular Party has an absolute majority. Opposition parties have pledged to scrap it if elected to office.

PressTV: Spain parliament passes bill restricting protests
DWN: Fotografieren von Polizisten ist ab sofort per Strafe verboten
El Diario: Plataformas ciudadanas, ONG, activistas: las voces que se rebelan contra "la mordaza"
El País: El PP aprueba su ‘ley mordaza’ en solitario y entre protestas

Permalink Police Killing of Unarmed Native American Continues To Receive Little Media Attention

The tragic case of Corey Kanosh, 35, has received very little media attention, in spite of the growing outrage over police shootings of unarmed, innocent citizens. In Corey’s case, we are not dealing with an African American man shot by white cops, but an unarmed Native American man who was suspected of crimes that he was later proven innocent of, who was given only seconds before police opened fire on him. Corey was a member of the Paiute Tribe of Utah. In spite of the historical injustices committed by the State against Native Americans, his story has received virtually no national attention. Now, his friends and family have been pushing to move the legal process forward, but so far they have only raised a tiny amount of money. Corey was shot by a Millard County sheriff’s deputy after he was wrongly suspected of car theft. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lindsay Mitchell explained that a 911 call was made about the theft of a car from the Kanosh Paiute Indian Reservation. But Corey had nothing to do with that. Police claim that Corey tried to fight off the deputy who attempted to handcuff him for crimes that he never committed. This raises the question of when self-defense is acceptable against police who attack us without probable cause. Was Corey justified in trying to defend himself? Do you believe the official story?


Permalink Police Discloses Name of Officer Who Killed Unarmed Black Man in Phoenix

30-year old Mark Rine was identified as the police officer who shot and killed Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed black man, in Arizona. Police in Phoenix, Arizona, have disclosed the name of the white police officer who shot and killed Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed 34-year-old black man, several news outlets reported. The officer was identified as 30-year-old Mark Rine, a member of the police force for seven years when he fatally shot Brisbon on December 2 during a struggle. "It has been seven days since the incident, and we didn't want to hold off on releasing the name any longer. He's now had time to mitigate any threats he might receive," NBC News quoted Sgt. Trent Crump, a spokesman for the Phoenix police department, as saying. Crump added that Rine "remains on desk duty while the shooting is investigated." The incident ignited protests in Phoenix, demanding justice and disclosure of the officer's name.



Permalink Obama administration seeks to contain anger over whitewash of police killings

Patrick Martin The official reaction to popular anger over the whitewash of Eric Garner’s murder differs superficially from the militarized response to the November 24 decision of a grand jury in Missouri to bring no charges against the cop who shot to death Michael Brown. In the Garner case, where the cellphone video provided incontrovertible proof of the police killing of an unarmed man, the government and media response has been more cautious, expressing sympathy for the Garner family and calling for empty “reforms.” Above all, the Obama administration has sought to divert popular anger over the police killings into the blind alley of racial politics, by depicting the problem as limited to racial prejudice among individual policemen, to be overcome by better training and recruitment of more African-American cops.

Nick Barrickman “Community-oriented policing”: A cover for the militarization of police in the US
Andre Damon Obama’s paramilitary police: The “war on terror” comes home


Permalink Report on Cleveland exposes national epidemic of police killings and abuse

Thomas Gaist Amidst growing anger over the reign of police violence and killings throughout the United States, a new report extensively documents the routine criminal activity of one police department in northern Ohio. The report, stemming from a joint investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, finds that the Cleveland Department of Police (CDP) regularly employs unnecessary and lethal force against suspects and innocent civilians. The investigation into the CDP was released only days after the decision not to indict the police officer who choked Staten Island resident Eric Garner to death in July, and days after a similar decision involving the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. On Thursday night, and again on Friday, protesters gathered in many US cities to denounce these actions. The report also comes only two weeks after a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun at the time.

John W. Whitehead America’s Children: The Trials of Growing Up in a Police State

Permalink Two-phone standoff after cop stops man for 'walking with hands in pockets'

In Michigan, a police officer stops a man who apparently was doing nothing wrong. They both pull out their mobile phones and film each other. We once thought that, in the future, we'd all be filming each other. That future is now. And sometimes we're doing it to prove that what happened to us really happened. In the latest cell phone footage of an encounter between a police officer and a citizen, both parties decide to pull out their phones and record for posterity. What will the future make of it? The footage shows a police officer in Pontiac, Mich., stopping a man for apparently suspicious behavior. What was the man doing? Walking with his hands in his pockets. The man instantly pulls out his phone and starts recording the encounter. Uploaded originally to the Facebook page of Brandon McKean on Thanksgiving Day, it's yet another bracing reminder of what sometimes goes on between authority figures and those they deem suspicious. African-American men, for example. There is no evidence that McKean did anything wrong. However, the officer explains: "You're making people nervous." When McKean wonders what he's done, the officer replies: "Yeah, they said you had your hands in your pockets."


Permalink Israel Just Jailed An 11-Month-Old Child

11-month-old Balqis Ghawadra just became the youngest prisoner in the world, when Israeli authorities jailed her after visiting her father in Eshel Israeli prison in occupied Beer Sheva. Balqis was arrested alongside her sister and mother on November 26, 2014, as they arrived for a long awaited visit with the children’s father. Local and international human rights agencies are now scrambling to support the family and push for their release.

Permalink Protesters overwhelm NYC in second day of Eric Garner protests - VIDEO

For the second night in a row, thousands of protesters overran the streets of New York, shutting down several major arteries of the city as they expressed outrage over a grand jury decision not to indict an officer for the death of an unarmed black man. At least 28 arrests have been reported in Manhattan, though with protests in Brooklyn and elsewhere extending into the night the number is sure to climb. Despite a heavy police presence at most areas, demonstrations were largely peaceful and nonviolent. The night of civil disobedience began after up to 10,000 people rallied in Foley Square to blast the grand jury decision in the case of Eric Garner – a Staten Island man who was killed via chokehold as several New York Police Department officers helped take him to the ground. Garner died with Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s arms wrapped around his neck as he yelled, “I can’t breathe.” Although a bystander filmed the entire incident, Pantaleo was not indicted on criminal charges.

PressTV: Another white police officer kills another black man in US
AddInfo: Missouri Man Pulls Handgun On Protesters, Mows Down Four With Minivan - Video
WSWS: Protests erupt over decision not to indict cop who killed Eric Garner
AWIP: N.Y. grand jury declines to indict officer in death of Eric Garner, igniting protests


Permalink How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide

Ryan Gallagher In March 2011, two weeks before the Western intervention in Libya, a secret message was delivered to the National Security Agency. An intelligence unit within the U.S. military’s Africa Command needed help to hack into Libya’s cellphone networks and monitor text messages. For the NSA, the task was easy. The agency had already obtained technical information about the cellphone carriers’ internal systems by spying on documents sent among company employees, and these details would provide the perfect blueprint to help the military break into the networks. The NSA’s assistance in the Libya operation, however, was not an isolated case. It was part of a much larger surveillance program—global in its scope and ramifications—targeted not just at hostile countries.

Permalink N.Y. grand jury declines to indict officer in death of Eric Garner, igniting protests

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets across New York City and in other cities Wednesday evening after a Staten Island grand jury said it would not indict a white police officer in the death of a black man, a decision that prompted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to announce the opening of a federal civil rights investigation. The grand jury declined to bring charges­ in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest. The decision struck many protesters as a chilling and frustrating repetition of events in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury last month said it would not indict the white officer who killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. The Brown case ignited waves of protests and a national debate over the treatment that African American men receive at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Raw Story: Cop who choked Eric Garner wasn’t indicted — but man who recorded the incident was
Wall Street Journal: New York City Police Officer Won’t Face Criminal Charges in Eric Garner Death
New York Times: Reaction to Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision
Miami Herald: Reaction to grand jury finding in chokehold death
ABC News: Eric Garner, NYPD Grand Jury Decision Sparks Demonstrations - VIDEO
Huffington Post: Grand Jury Declines To Indict NYPD Officer In Chokehold Death Of Eric Garner - VIDEO
WSWS: Hundreds of police killings go unreported
Stephen Lendman Killer Cops

Permalink Ferguson officer accused of raping pregnant woman in custody

A 29-year-old correctional officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has been accused of raping a pregnant woman while she was in his custody, and then setting her free. A federal lawsuit has been launched, and the officer Jaris Hayden, has been so far released on $10,000 bail. In the legal documents obtained by the Huffington Post, it is said that the victim, known as JW, was arrested last October after police stopped her for an expired license plate, and she also gave the officers a false name. The victim claims Hayden frequently sexually harassed her before the rape. For instance, when taking her to Ferguson jail, he said, “You smell good” and “This will teach you a lesson.” JW was visibly pregnant at that time.

Huffington Post: Ferguson Correctional Officer Jaris Hayden Raped Pregnant Woman, Lawsuit Alleges || J.W. said she was crying and kept asking to go home. That's when Hayden told her to follow him and led her to the City of Ferguson jail's boiler room, the suit alleges. There, Hayden unbuttoned his pants, allegedly telling the victim: "You gonna suck my d--k." J.W. said she complied out of fear before Hayden brought her further back in the boiler room, bent her over and "indicated that he was going to have intercourse with her," according to the suit. During the incident, J.W. managed to obtain some of Hayden's pubic hair, which DNA analysis confirmed to be the suspect's, the suit says. Hayden allegedly told J.W. to then "run and stay close to the building" so that she would not be captured on security cameras.

Permalink Orwellian 'Ministry of Truth'? OSCE lashes out at Kiev’s new ministry amid journalists’ outcry

Kiev’s decision to create a Ministry of Information is a clear threat to media freedom in Ukraine, said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic. The government’s plans have also sparked a wave of fury from journalists. Ukraine’s initiative to create a Ministry of Information is a clear threat to media freedom, this is not the way to counter propaganda,” said Dunja Mijatovic on her Twitter account on Wednesday. Mijatovic also tweeted a link to an article called “Ukraine just created its own version of Orwell's 'Ministry of Truth’” citing the classic dystopian novel 1984. “In democracy, a ministry of information can never be an answer for anything related to media, free expression and safety of journos,” she wrote. The media watchdog of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe added that she will bring up the issue at the meeting with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin in Basel on Thursday. The creation of a new so-called Ministry of Information Policy was approved by Ukraine’s Parliament on Tuesday. The parliament appointed Yury Stets - head of the Information Security Department of the National Guard of Ukraine, close ally of President Petro Poroshenko and former chief producer of the TV “Channel 5” owned by Poroshenko - to head the ministry.


Permalink Police Brutality: Denver Police Attempt To Erase Video Of Cop Brutally Beating Unarmed Suspect, Injuring Pregnant Woman (VIDEO)

Disturbing video of a Denver police officer brutally beating an unarmed suspect in August has surfaced after police allegedly attempted to erase the footage that was taken on a bystander’s Samsung tablet. The witness, identified as Levi Frasier, told Fox 31 that police seized his tablet once they realized he was recording the beating, telling him that if he refused to give up the device they would do it “the hard way.” When it was returned, the video was gone. Luckily, Frasier was able to recover the 55-second clip of the arrest and beating because it had been stored in the cloud. Now, Frasier is sharing his story and the disturbing clip that may land the unidentified plainclothes cops and two other officers, Charles Jones IV and Christopher Evans, in hot water. The video shows an officer punching drug-using suspect David Nelson Flores in the head six times before tripping his pregnant girlfriend on the ground. She lands, belly first, onto the pavement.


Permalink The audio recording of the Michael Brown shooting proves Darren Wilson's story is false

To summarize: Wilson claims that Brown was charging toward him, that Wilson began to fire his gun when Brown was about 15 feet away, and that Brown continued to advance without slowing down until the final gunshot stopped him. Is there an objective timeline of these gunshots? Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for Wilson, had the prosecution actually been interested in prosecuting the case), there is. A nearby resident who was in an online voice chat at the time obtained audio of all the gunshots fired in the street (that is, the two gunshots that occurred at Wilson's SUV were not included). Here is a visualization of the recording (above).

Permalink Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

The FBI has made it no secret that it hates Apple and Google's efforts to encrypt files in your smartphones and tablets. Now court documents have emerged showing just how far the Feds are willing to go to decrypt citizens' data. The paperwork has shown two cases where federal prosecutors have cited the All Writs Act – which was enacted in 1789 as part of the Judiciary Act – to force companies to decrypt information on gadgets. The Act, which was signed into law by none other than George Washington and later revised in the 20th century, gives the courts the right to...issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law. That's a pretty broad remit, but the Feds think it's just the thing to force Apple and others to break down privacy protections.

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