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Civil Rights / Liberties
By Linn Washington
London resident Zita Holbourne plans to participate in the Friday July 27th Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games held at the gleaming new stadium located not far from her community of Newham.
However, Holbourne, a trade union activist and poet, is not participating as one of those lucky enough to have secured an expensive ticket to attend the glitzy Opening Ceremony.
Reader LeeAnne Clark has given us permission to reprint her account of watching the TSA harass two disabled children at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). As we’ve reported at TSA News many times, the TSA seems to have a penchant for singling out children, the elderly, the disabled, the sick, the weak, those least able to fight back — though they also heap plenty of abuse on other people, as well.
Another TSA screener has been charged with a crime. Not only assault (which by now we’ve practically come to expect), but also “terrorizing.”
READ THE REST HERE.
Demanding that Chipotle’s ‘Food With Integrity’ Include Farmworkers, Calling on the Restaurant Chain to Commit to the Fair Food Program
Florida Farmworkers and Allies from Around the Country Announce National Day of Action
Immokalee, FL (July 25th, 2012):
This Wednesday, July 25th, conscientious consumers and fair food advocates in 25 cities around the nation will call on Chipotle Mexican Grill in a National Day of Action, demanding that the restaurant chain live up to its marketing image as a socially responsible corporation and join the Fair Food Program, an innovative program pioneered by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization of Florida farmworkers.
The Fair Food Program is a unique partnership among farmworkers, tomato growers, and ten leading food retailers – including major fast food corporations Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King – that advances both the human rights of farmworkers and the long-term interests of the Florida tomato industry. It is the first large scale program for real, lasting social accountability in the domestic produce industry. The program improves the wages and working conditions of Florida farmworkers by committing major buyers of tomatoes to pay a premium of a “penny per pound” of tomatoes to be passed through to farmworkers by the growers for whom they work, and to target their purchases to growers willing to implement the Fair Food Code of Conduct developed together by farmworkers, growers and buyers.
Antiwar activists and young people join together to oppose Obama administration’s redefinition of “civilians” and “militants.”
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 23, 2012) - On May 29, 2012, The New York Times published a report on President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism program, which chillingly details who the administration thinks deserves to die. Simply put, the Obama administration “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants… unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” Activists from all all political persuasion have decried this policy.
In response to this shameful policy, non-partisan antiwar coalition Come Home America Los Angeles launches the “I’M NOT A MILITANT” project. “I’M NOT A MILITANT” is a project devoted to and in solidarity with all military-age males (and females) who could potentially be “collateral damage” in a War on Terror run amok—from New York to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, and everywhere in between.
Sign the Pledge: http://imnotamilitant.tumblr.com/pledge
The TSA has been tasked with finding “weapons, exposives, and incendiaries” (WEI) and preventing them from making their way onto airplanes. See 49 CFR § 1540.5 (“Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries”). To that extent, the TSA can lawfully conduct an “administrative search” for that purpose and that purpose only.
Veterans For Peace/Veterans Peace Team Calls on Police to Cease Aggression Against Peaceful Protesters
There’s been so much abuse by the TSA over the past several days it’s hard to keep up.
By Mairead Maguire (www.peacepeople.com)
As concerned citizens of the World know, the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is currently inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, in London, having gone there to ask for Political Asylum. I would add my voices to that of many people of conscience, around the world, in urging President Correa to grant political asylum to Julian Assange. The British courts shamefully refused Mr. Assanges’ appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning accused of sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). Mr. Assange has said he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but to do so in UK. He has good reason not to want to be extradited to Sweden, as he could find himself imprisoned in solitary confinement, and then very likely extradited to an American Prison. American Media has reported that the US Justice Department and the Pentagon conducted a Criminal investigation into ‘whether Wikileaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act.” Mr. Assange’s only crime is he cared enough about people to respect their right to truth, had the courage and bravery to print the truth and in the process embarrassed powerful Governments. The Wikileaks release of thousands of US State Department Cables, and of the video footage from an Apache helicopter of a 2007 incident in which the US military appears to have deliberately killed Civilians, including two Reuters Employees, revealed USA’s crimes against Humanity. For this ‘truth telling’ he is inherited the wrath of the US Government, and has been targetted in a most vindictive way, (as has Pt.Bradley Manning). (I supportWikiLeaks right to publish leaked information, as it is in the interest of the public and their right to know. Wikileaks were not the leakers or whistleblowers but an on-line news media).
Govt. Tries to Lock Bradley Manning Away for Harming Nation But Bars His Lawyer From Mentioning That He Didn't Harm Nation
GOV'T DENIES BRADLEY MANNING ABILITY TO USE LACK OF HARM IN TRIAL DEFENSE
Next hearing to focus on military's "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" treatment of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower
Bradley Manning Support Network / www.bradleymanning.org
FORT MEADE, Maryland - Establishing yet another obstacle for P.F.C. Bradley Manning's legal defense, military judge Denise Lind ruled Thursday that defense lawyer David Coombs will be substantially hindered from showing how WikiLeaks' releases didn’t bring damage to U.S. national security. In largely granting a government motion to preclude discussion of actual damage, Lind said that harm or lack thereof is irrelevant to Manning’s guilt or innocence.
FORT MEADE, Maryland — Evidence showing the mistreatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning at a military brig should "shock the conscience" of the court, his lawyer said Thursday.
The US Army soldier accused of handing over a trove of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website was subjected to harsh, "unlawful" conditions for nine months at the brig even though psychiatrists concluded he was not at risk of committing suicide, said David Coombs, his defense counsel.
Manning was placed under "maximum custody" at the US Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia as "the result of a direct order" from a commanding officer, witnessed by two colonels, Coombs alleged at a pre-trial hearing.
TSA agents have, yet again, strip-searched another woman. But that wasn’t enough. They also endangered her life by handling her feeding tube.
By John Grant
About 50 people converged on Tuesday afternoon July 17 along Route 29 in Montgomery County near the Graterford State Prison to declare their opposition to the building of more prisons and the expansion of existing prisons like Graterford in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Graterford is already a massive institution.
At a festival called Peacestock in Wisconsin last weekend, I met a woman who lives in Little Falls, Minnesota. That city had forced her to take down signs in her own yard, signs that said "Occupy Wall Street," "Back the 99 Percent" and "Boycott Monsanto."
But Robin Hensel noticed that the city itself was displaying, in violation of the same ordinance, a banner reading "We Support Our Troops."
For anyone who's been visiting outerspace for the past half-century, "support our troops" is, of course, a phrase meaning "support whatever wars our government engages in." Thus, we ocassionally see signs reading "Support our troops: Bring them home," a message that is understood to reverse the common meaning of "support our troops" by giving it a literal interpretation.
Well, Hensel proposed that the banner come down, in compliance with the law -- acting on the idea that even bad laws should be enforced fairly.
And then came the death threats.
These kinds of incidents -- and I've been through them too, and can testify to the viciousness the threats can take on -- expose the darker meaning behind "support our troops." That meaning is "death to the other side." Needless to say, the work of troops is killing. Those on the other side in a war are supposed to die. The official bragging about how many have died, so common during the Vietnam War, has not been entirely absent from the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Hensel placed herself in the enemy camp, in the minds of some war proponents. And therefore she needed to die. The threats flooded in.
Hensel was also turned down by the city in a request for permission to set up an Occupy encampment, but corporate groups were permitted to do everything she'd requested and more.
Hensel is now suing Little Falls in district court, with help from a local attorney and from former associate deputy attorney general of the United States Bruce Fein, who can be expected to denounce the city's assault on the First Amendment in the most powerful and eloquent manner. The complaint filed states:
"The city of Little Falls has no excuse in law for wrongfully harassing a 58-year-old grandmother because she colorfully expressed an unpopular viewpoint on her own property. And that is exactly what the Defendant City did. Indeed, at every turn the Defendants brandished their government authority to suppress or burden Plaintiff's viewpoints because of hostility to their ideas and to facilitate and promote viewpoints they found agreeable."
Little Falls' city government needs an overhaul, and Robin Hensel is going to run for office.
Our mental slavery needs an overhaul as well. The idea that by murdering large numbers of foreign Muslims we expand our "freedoms" coexists with radical curtailment of our rights. Our rights shrink in direct proportion to military spending. We can be spied on without warrant, locked up without charge, or murdered -- all as a result of the latest war for "freedom." We can also be locked in free-speech cages for protests and see our freedom to speak, assemble, or petition our government shut down -- all in the name of the war that is supposed to make us free by killing people.
The only bit of truth to echo through the Orwellian hum of our militarism is that "freedom isn't free." That's right. It takes struggle. It takes exactly the kind of risk that Robin Hensel is engaged in.
Just over a year ago, a woman did something that, in any normal society, would be considered good: she tried to protect her child.
But we aren’t living in a normal society. What was once good is now bad, and what was once unthinkable is now accepted. Not only accepted, but lauded, exalted, bragged about.
This photo was posted on Reddit and has been picked up by other discussion boards on the web. Its caption reads:
In the latest round of self promotion, the TSA announced that elite US Airways passengers at Sea-Tac (Seattle) are now eligible to participate in the premium program called PreCheck.PreCheck is an ostensibly elite program that, for a fee, sometimes allows some passengers to get through security more quickly. It is not, however, all it’s cracked
Every time you think the TSA can’t come up with anything more stupid or abusive, they prove you wrong.
What does Independence Day mean to you? The holiday can be a time to gather with family, friends and community. But it can also be an opportunity to reassess the direction of the country, the past struggles that secured rights and freedom, the challenges to power that rose up in the face of adversity, and the inequalities that still exist.
A San Diego man, a citizen of Somali descent, is stuck in Bahrain indefinitely.I can only imagine how terrible it must feel to not be allowed to come home, not go back to work, stuck in a foreign country, run
A coalition of open Internet advocates unveiled a “Declaration of Internet Freedom” this week, seeking to rally activists against censorship and privacy violations from both governments and corporations. The Declaration comes as a Manhattan Judge ordered Twitter to turn over months of personal data from an Occupy Wall Street protester, arrested during last fall's mass demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge. Both Google and Twitter released reports this month showing the US government requested more private user data than any other country in the world, and the companies largely complied. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein has more.
(Transcript; audio available here)
The Anti-Empire Report
I'm sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. "That'll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you fuck around with God's country you pay a price!"
How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God's country offers free transportation.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God's country and other police states from using it.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They've done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.
And Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, will pay a price. You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not intervene in Ecuador? In Latin America, it comes very naturally for Washington. During the Cold War it was said that the United States could cause the downfall of a government south of the border ... with a frown. The dissolution of the Soviet Union didn't bring any change in that because it was never the Soviet Union per se that the United States was fighting. It was the threat of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model.
In an apparent attempt to make light of the fact that an 81-year-old man was forced to stand in public with his pants around his ankles, the Toronto Sun reported that actor William Shatner was chosen for a “random” search at LAX (Los Angeles).
Commemorating Anti-Torture Day
by Stephen Lendman
Annually on June 26, The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture remembers and honors victims, survivors, and family members.
On June 26, 1987, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment took effect.