11/24/14

Permalink Planned Israeli Bill Would Revoke Residency for ‘Bad People’ and Their Relatives

A planned, but as-of-yet not introduced bill is being hyped by Israel’s far-right coalition, which would give the Interior Ministry broad power to revoke the residency of Arabs deemed to be a threat to “state sovereignty.” Incredibly, the bill will also allow the ministry to expel their relatives, even if they haven’t done anything. Though it’s being couched as an “anti-terror” measure, the bill also covers people who the government perceives as “inciting violence” through speech or activism, as well as “rioters” and rock-throwers. And obviously all of their families. Interior Minister Gilad Erdan embraced the idea to give him this huge new power, which Jerusalem’s mayor couched as granting the Israeli government to nullify citizenship or residency of “bad people.” Naturally, the bill only applies to Arabs, and seems to be focused squarely on occupied East Jerusalem.

Irish Times: Israel approves law that makes country a Jewish state The Israeli cabinet has endorsed a controversial Bill enshrining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, despite criticism by Israel’s Arab minority who fear the measure will leave them as second-class citizens. A divided cabinet voted 14-6 in favour of the Bill yesterday after a session that ministers described as a “shouting match”. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly banged on the table and said “it cannot be that Arabs can live in Jewish towns, but Jews can’t live in Arab towns. A country within a country is developing.” He said the law was needed because Palestinians refused to recognise Israel as a Jewish state and Israeli Arabs were seeking autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev.


Permalink Scientific study reveals conspiracy theorists the most sane of all

Researchers — psychologists and social scientists, mostly — in the U.S. and United Kingdom say data indicate that, contrary to those mainstream media stereotypes, “conspiracy theorists” appear to be more sane than people who accept official versions of controversial and contested events. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, then you’re crazy, right? That’s been the common belief for years, but recent studies prove that just the opposite is true. Researchers — psychologists and social scientists, mostly — in the U.S. and United Kingdom say data indicate that, contrary to those mainstream media stereotypes, “conspiracy theorists” appear to be more sane than people who accept official versions of controversial and contested events. The most recent study was published in July 2013 by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent in the UK. Entitled “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” the study compared “conspiracist,” or pro-conspiracy theory, and “conventionalist,” or anti-conspiracy, comments on news websites.

The Saker On conspiracy theories and credibility


Permalink Russian foreign ministry regrets U.S., Canada, Ukraine vote against UN resolution

Russia’s Foreign Ministry regrets the U.S., Canada and Ukraine have voted against the UN resolution on fighting glorification of Nazism, and the EU countries’ delegations have abstained from voting. “Ukraine’s position is especially regretful. It is tough to realise how a country, which people had experienced the horrors of Nazism and had made a major input in the common Victory over it, could be voting against a document, which condemns is glorification,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement published on Saturday. “We hope adoption of this resolution will send a clear signal to the countries, which have been facing the necessity of most decisive measures to fight the growing attempts to glorify Nazism,” the statement reads.

Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices...
The Saker The US, Canada and the Ukraine refuse to condemn the heroization of Nazism


11/22/14

Permalink Totally innocent, unarmed 28yo 'accidentally' shot dead by NYPD police

A rookie NYPD officer “accidentally” shot and killed an unarmed African-American man in a staircase in a New York apartment block. It happened as Ferguson is tensely waiting for a grand jury decision on a police officer who shot Michael Brown. Akai Gurley, 28, and his girlfriend Melissa Butler were entering a staircase on the seventh floor in Pink House project in Brooklyn late Thursday evening when two policemen came down from the eighth floor. Peter Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau were doing a top-to-bottom patrol. Liang, a rookie on probationary assignment, fired a shot in Gurley’s chest without a warning, Butler said. “They didn’t present themselves or nothing and shot him,” Butler told DNAinfo New York. “As soon as he came in, the police opened the [door to the] eighth-floor staircase. They didn’t identify themselves at all. They just shot.” Gurley and Butler tried to go down the stairs but reached only the fifth floor where Gurley lost consciousness. There a neighbor called an ambulance. Butler says the policemen did not come to help nor called the ambulance. Gurley, who has a 2-year-old son, was pronounced dead on arrival to hospital.

PressTV: US officer cracks man’s head - VIDEO


Permalink Salaita sues Univ. of Illinois for refusing to release emails related to firing

Steven Salaita is suing the University of Illinois for its refusal to release emails related to administrators’ decision to fire him last summer. Salaita had been hired by the university for a tenured position in the American Indian Studies program, but he was fired after an outcry by pro-Israel donors and activists over his tweets critical of Israel’s massacre in Gaza. Attorneys at the Chicago law firm Loevy & Loevy filed suit in the Circuit Court of Champaign County in Illinois on Monday alleging that the university is in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit asks the court to order the university to release thousands of emails and pay unspecified civil damages and legal costs.


11/20/14

Permalink N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires

A little-known provision of the Patriot Act, overlooked by lawmakers and administration officials alike, appears to give President Obama a possible way to keep the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program going indefinitely — even if Congress allows the law on which it is based to expire next year. Senate Republicans on Tuesday night used a filibuster to block consideration of a bill to end and replace the N.S.A. phone records program. The debate about what may happen next has played out based on a widely held premise: that the legal basis for the program, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, will expire on June 1, so if Congress remains gridlocked, the program will automatically shut down.

Patrick Martin Senate blocks any limit to NSA spying on phone calls || The effect of the vote is to delay consideration of any legislation on NSA spying until the next session of Congress, when Republicans will be in the majority and will control key committees like Intelligence and Judiciary, which originate and write legislation. The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.


Permalink Report: 10,000 Palestinian children nabbed since 2000

More than 10,000 Palestinian children have served time in Israeli jails since 2000, PA Minister in charge of prisoners’ affairs Issa Qaraqaa said in a press release on Wednesday. The statement came on the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990. 300 Palestinian children are currently held behind Israeli bars, according to the statement. Since June 2014, Israeli occupation forces arrested nearly 3,000 Palestinian citizens, 30% of whom were children. Most of the reported arrests were carried out in occupied Jerusalem, where 850 Jerusalemites were nabbed during the reporting period. 95% of the detained children were subjected to torture and severe beating during their arrest and investigation process as part of the Israeli policy to forcibly extract confessions from the detainees, Qaraqaa added. The minister for prisoners’ affairs called for cancelling the Israeli bill to impose additional penalties on Palestinian children, who throw stones at Israeli soldiers, that could reach 20-year imprisonment sentences. Israel does not provide any immunity for children and regularly violates international agreements on children's rights by humiliating and torturing them and denying them fair trials, the PA official concluded.


Permalink Punishing a Professor’s Criticism of Israel

Dennis J. Bernstein Criticism of how Israel treats Palestinians has become a firing offense in some circles, including academia where professors must muzzle themselves or face accusations of anti-Semitism. In the case of Steven Salaita, Twitter posts about Gaza cost him his job. As bombs rained down on the people of Gaza this past summer, Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita shared his outrage and horror about the Israeli assault via Twitter. Then, as he prepared to move his family and start his new job as a tenured professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, Salaita was abruptly un-hired. Wealthy donors had objected to his tweets and pressured the university to keep him out, part of a broader campaign to silence people advocating for Palestinian rights, as Salaita described in a recent interview on Pacifica’s “Flashpoints” program.


11/19/14

Permalink US Senate rejects bill to limit NSA spying - Video

A bill that was aimed at curbing the spying programs of the US National Security Agency has been rejected by the Senate. The Senate voted down the USA Freedom Act by a vote of 58-42, leaving it two votes shy of the 60 it needed. The legislation would have ended bulk collection of American phone records by the NSA. Republicans, who generally opposed the bill, believe that ending the phone record metadata collection would benefit enemies of the country.

New York Times: Bill to Restrict N.S.A. Data Collection Blocked in Vote by Senate Republicans
RT.com: 'ISIS! 9/11!' NSA reform bill killed in US Senate over terror fears

Thomas Gaist US Defense Department organizing covert operations against "the general public" || The US Defense Department (DOD) is developing domestic espionage and covert operations targeting "the general public" in coordination with the intelligence establishment and police agencies, according to a New York Times report. Taken at face value, the report amounts to an acknowledgment by the leading media organ of the US ruling class that the American government is deploying a vast, forward-deployed counter-insurgency machine to target the US population at large. Coming directly from the horse's mouth, the Times report makes clear that espionage, deception, and covert operations are now primary instruments of the US government's domestic policy and are actively deployed by the military and security agencies against the civilian population.


11/18/14

Permalink Why is there already a state of emergency in Ferguson?

State of Emergency Declared in Missouri for Grand Jury’s Decision on Ferguson. Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Monday, allowing him to activate the Missouri National Guard in preparation for a grand jury decision on whether to indict a white police officer for shooting to death an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, three months ago. The declaration was certain to add to mounting tension here as people awaited the grand jury’s decision, which officials have said is expected in mid- to late November. Many here have said they expect the grand jury to decide against indicting the Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson, and they anticipate a show of anger and protest afterward. Some protesters said that calling up the Guard before a grand jury decision was a premature, antagonistic move that presumed that demonstrations would be violent. Mr. Nixon called up the Guard in August during demonstrations that sometimes grew violent. Although the Guard’s role was limited to protecting a police command post, its presence drew vehement criticism from demonstrators, who said it was further indication of a military-style approach by the law enforcement authorities.

VOX: 11 things you should know about the Michael Brown shooting


11/17/14

Permalink Police prepare crackdown in advance of Michael Brown ruling

Andre Damon Police prepare crackdown in advance of Michael Brown ruling || Police throughout the United States are making preparations to crack down on possible protests following an imminent decision on whether to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9. A grand jury is expected to return a decision on indictment as early as today. The Associated Press carried a story Saturday reporting that police are “ready” for protests in cities throughout the country. The report followed the announcement last week by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon that he would call in the National Guard in the event of protests if there is no indictment of Wilson.

Sic Semper Tyrannis Ferguson Braces...

PressTV: Ferguson awaits grand jury's verdict on shooting of unarmed black teen


11/13/14

Permalink Study: Brazilian cops killed more than 11,000 people in 5 years

Brazilian police killed more than 11,000 people between 2009 and 2013 for an average of six killings a day, a public safety NGO said Tuesday. The study by the Sao Paulo-based Brazilian Forum on Public Safety said police nationwide killed 11,197 people over the past five years, while law enforcement agents in the United States killed 11,090 people over the past 30 years. "The empirical evidence shows that Brazilian police make abusive use of lethal force to respond to crime and violence," the report said. There were 416 people killed last year in Rio de Janeiro state, giving it the highest per-capita rate for 2013. The study also said 50,806 people were killed in all homicides last year, about one person every 10 minutes. Nearly 70 per cent of the homicide victims were black and more than half were ages 15 to 29, it said. In addition to using excessive force, Brazilian police frequently execute suspects, said Bruno Paes Manso of the University of Sao Paulo's Center for the Study on Violence. He called it "a practice rarely investigated."


11/12/14

Permalink Police Can Seize And Sell Assets Even When The Owner Broke No Law

You don't have to be convicted of a crime — or even accused of one — for police to seize your car or other property. It's legal. Several videos online are shedding some light on the controversial practice. The practice is called civil asset forfeiture, and every year it brings cities millions of dollars in revenue, which often goes directly to the police budget. Police confiscate cars, jewelry, cash and homes they think are connected to crime. But the people these things belong to may have done nothing wrong. In one video posted by The New York Times, Harry S. Connelly, the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., gleefully describes how the city collects these "little goodies," calling it a "gold mine." He describes to a roomful of local officials from across the state how Las Cruces police officers waited outside a bar for a man they hoped would walk out drunk because they "could hardly wait" to get their hands on his 2008 Mercedes, which they then hoped to put up for auction. "We could be czars," he tells the room. "We could own the city. We could be in the real estate business."


11/10/14

Permalink BREAD, CIRCUSES & BOMBS – DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE – PART TWO

Jim Quinn In Part One of this article I discussed the similarities between the Roman Empire and the American Empire at a high level. In this article I’ll delve into some specific similarities and rhymes between the fall of the Roman Empire and our modern day empire of debt, decay and decline. I’ll address our expansive level of bread and circuses and how defects in our human nature lead to people willingly sacrificing their liberty for promises of safety and security. All empires decline due to the same human failings and ours is no exception. If anything, ours will be far more spectacular and rapid due to our extreme level of hubris, arrogance, willful ignorance and warlike preference for dealing with foreign powers.


11/08/14

Permalink More homeless-feeding arrests in Ft. Lauderdale amid national backlash

Police break up homeless feeding at Stranahan Park. It was another round of citations and arrests from Fort Lauderdale police who broke up a homeless feeding at Stranahan Park. A 17-year-old, 25-year old Nikki Rye and a third person were among those with "Food Not Bombs" in trouble with authorities. "I was laughing. I thought you know this is a sick joke," said the 17-year-old minor who was cuffed and taken away. "They can't stop us from feeding people." Rye walked out of jail with a notice to appear. She said the corrections and police officers inside were also upset about her arrest and sent her off with the notice.

RT.com: Florida police threaten arrest under new ‘homeless hate law’


11/07/14

Permalink British Spies Are Free to Target Lawyers and Journalists

British spies have been granted the authority to secretly eavesdrop on legally privileged attorney-client communications, according to newly released documents. On Thursday, a series of previously classified policies confirmed for the first time that the U.K.’s top surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters (pictured above) has advised its employees: “You may in principle target the communications of lawyers.” The U.K.’s other major security and intelligence agencies—MI5 and MI6—have adopted similar policies, the documents show. The guidelines also appear to permit surveillance of journalists and others deemed to work in “sensitive professions” handling confidential information.


11/06/14

Permalink Florida police threaten arrest under new ‘homeless hate law’

Florida police handed out citations and threatened to arrest two priests and a 90-year-old veteran volunteer for feeding the homeless. A recently passed city ordinance makes sharing food a citable offense. Fort Lauderdale police removed at least three volunteers, as well as the Sunday lunch they were serving to several dozen homeless people, citing a controversial new ordinance that prohibits food sharing. Passed in October, the measure was created to try to cut down the growing population of homeless people in Fort Lauderdale. In video footage from Sunday, three police officers arrive and interrupt the feeding program by removing 90-year-old Arnold Abbott, the Rev. Canon Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church. A chorus of protest erupts from the crowd and follows the officers as they take the men to their patrol cards – “Shame on you, arresting an elderly man!” someone in the crowd says. “The whole world is watching!” says another. Then, a police officer explains to the men: “Basically you are going to be cited for serving to the community without proper accommodations. Everything is explained in here. This is a citation. If you guys continue to come out here you will face arrest.”

RT.com: 90yo US WWII vet vows to defy arrest for feeding homeless


Permalink Million Mask March rallies sweeping the globe LIVE UPDATES

The Million Mask March is sweeping the globe across Wednesday as demonstrators protest against austerity, mass surveillance and oppression. Participants will obscure their faces to protect their identity.


11/04/14

Permalink Inmate reports threats by guard, turns up dead

Latandra Ellington had weathered some of Lowell Correctional Institution’s harshest and most primitive realities, and was just seven months shy of freedom — and being reunited with her four young children. But on Sept. 21, Ellington wrote a chilling letter to her aunt telling her she feared she wouldn’t make it out alive. One of the officers at the prison — she identified him as “Sgt. Q” — had threatened to beat and kill her, she wrote.

“He was gone [sic] beat me to death and mess me like a dog,’’ she wrote. “He was all in my face Sqt. Q then he grab his radio and said he was gone bust me in my head with it...’’

Ten days later, on Oct. 1, Ellington, 36, was dead. Corrections officials said Ellington, who had been serving 22 months for grand theft, was in confinement — separated from the general population — at the time of her death because the agency had taken her family’s concerns about the alleged threats “seriously.’’ Still, with no answers about how the death happened, the family hired an attorney and paid for a private autopsy. The autopsy, their lawyer said Monday, showed that Ellington suffered blunt-force trauma to her abdomen consistent with being punched and kicked in the stomach.


11/03/14

Permalink Pennsylvania fifth grader still in prison

Tom Eley Ten-year-old Tristin Kurilla has now been held in a solitary prison cell at Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for over three weeks. Charged as an adult, Kurilla is accused of murder in the October 11 killing of 90-year-old Helen Novak at his grandfather’s home near Scranton. There is no indication that he will be released or moved to a juvenile facility any time soon. A representative for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, which is trying the case, told the World Socialist Web Site that no determination has been made as to whether or not the boy will be prosecuted as an adult—in which case he could face life imprisonment. The next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 19. [...] Kurilla is charged on the basis of his own confession, gathered without the presence of an attorney. State Trooper John Decker took the affidavit, allegedly at the insistence of Martha Virbitsky, the boy’s mother. Kurilla said he did not intend to kill Novak. He was nonetheless charged as an adult with first degree murder. [...] On Friday, while millions of American children his age dressed up and went trick-or-treating for Halloween, Kurilla spent his 21st night alone in jail. Days after his imprisonment it was reported that Kurilla described his orange prison jump suit was a Halloween costume “that he would probably never wear.”


10/31/14

Permalink NYPD arrests, ‘brutalizes’ peace activist McGovern ahead of Petraeus speech

The New York Police Department has detained prominent peace activist and former CIA agent Ray McGovern, with witnesses saying he was “yelling in pain” during arrest. McGovern was detained ahead of a David Petraeus speech that he planned to attend. McGovern was detained before the start of a talk between former CIA director David Petraeus, retired US Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, and author Max Boot on American Foreign Policy at the 92nd St Y., an Upper East Side cultural community center. Anti-war group 'The World Can’t Wait' said the activist was arrested “at protest of speech.” He was reportedly prevented by security from entering, charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, and will not be arraigned until Friday. The group has called for McGovern’s release on Twitter and Facebook. [...] It appeared that the activist was detained even before entering the venue, despite having a ticket for the event.

Kevin Gosztola Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event in New York


Permalink Hungary internet tax cancelled after mass protests

Hungary has decided to shelve a proposed tax on internet data traffic after mass protests against the plan. "This tax in its current form cannot be introduced," Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Large-scale protests began on Sunday, when demonstrators hurled old computer parts at the headquarters of Mr Orban's ruling Fidesz party. The draft law - condemned by the EU - would levy a fee on each gigabyte of internet data transferred. The protesters objected to the financial burden but also feared the move would restrict free expression and access to information. The levy was set at 150 forints (£0.40; 0.50 euros; $0.60) per gigabyte of data traffic. After thousands protested the government decided to cap the tax at 700 forints per month for individuals and 5,000 forints for companies. But that did not placate the crowds.


10/30/14

Permalink Mein Datenschatten als Grafik: So durchschaubar sind wir

Diese Infografik hat es in sich: Der Politiker Malte Spitz hat bei Firmen und Behörden nach seinen Daten gefragt. Das Ergebnis ist erschreckend. Der Grünen-Politiker Malte Spitz hat sich auf die Suche nach seinen Daten gemacht. Er hat bei Unternehmen und Behörden nachgefragt, was über ihn alles gespeichert ist. Manchmal hat er Auskunft bekommen, so wie es das Gesetz auch vorsieht. Seine Recherche ist gerade als Buch erschienen. "Was macht ihr mit meinen Daten" heißt es. Aus den Antworten ergibt sich ein riesiger Datenschatten, eine Sammlung von Einträgen in elektronischen Verzeichnissen, die zum Teil mehr als ein Jahrzehnt in die Vergangenheit reicht. Wohin Malte Spitz geflogen ist, wann er sich bei der Bahn beschwert hat, wer seine Klicks im Internet speichert, all das findet sich in seinem Datenschatten. Den zeigt diese Abbildung - mit dem Mauszeiger lassen sich über die Buttons oben bestimmte Datenquellen hervorheben. Allerdings ist das Daten-Abbild unvollständig: "Ich hätte vermutlich eine Handvoll Anwälte, ein paar Tausend Euro und drei Jahre Zeit für etliche Klagen haben müssen", schreibt Spitz. Denn nicht alle von ihm angeschriebenen Datenerfasser wollten herausrücken, was sie alles über Spitz speichern. Außerdem fehlt ein wichtiger, dicker Brocken: All das nämlich, was Internet- und Mobilfunkbetreiber anhand von gespeicherten Verbindungsdaten über Spitz wissen könnten. Das hat der Politiker vor einigen Jahren schon einmal gesondert auswerten lassen. Doch auch der unvollständige Datensatz zeigt eindrucksvoll, dass wir längst die Kontrolle verloren haben. [Ein Dankeschön an Steigan Blogger]


10/29/14

Permalink 100,000+ rally in Hungary over internet tax despite govt concessions - PHOTO, VIDEO

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Hungary despite the government's amendment of a controversial internet tax bill. The demonstrators say the country is turning anti-democratic and drifting away from the EU. The protest against the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban reignited on Tuesday night, as an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets, reports Reuters. The demonstration follows similar action on the weekend, at which protesters demanded that legislation imposing a tax on internet traffic be withdrawn within 48 hours. Instead, the government introduced an amendment on Monday that caps the proposed tax at 700 forints ($3) per month for individuals and 5,000 forints ($21) for companies. This wasn’t enough for the protesters, who accuse the government of authoritarian trends. Since taking power in 2010, Orban's center-right government has imposed taxes on the banking, retail, energy and telecommunications sector. The measures are designed to keep the budget deficit in check, but have hurt some foreign investors' profits.


Permalink UK forced to admit GCHQ can access foreign-gathered data without warrant

The UK government has admitted for the first time that its spy agency, GCHQ, can access raw data mined by America’s NSA and others without a warrant. It was made to comply following post-Snowden legal action from rights organizations. The secrets leaked by the iconic former NSA contractor led Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International to compel the UK government to submit documents to government surveillance watchdogs revealing secret “arrangements” between GCHQ and foreign spy agencies, The Guardian reported. The documents reveal that such access to foreign partners’ bulk data is acceptable when it’s not “technically feasible” to acquire a warrant, and if the good that comes out of it is “necessary and proportionate” to the cause. British citizens are safeguarded from warrantless spying by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), but the document itself states there are exceptions.


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