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Civil Rights / Liberties


Commander Behind Bin Laden Killing: FBI/DHS Wasting Time Tracking Environmentalists

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Dave Cooper, Command Master Chief SEAL (Retired) for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), has authored a threat assessment concluding TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is potentially at-risk of a terrorism attack. 

Six Cities Have Now Refused to Cooperate With Lawless Imprisonment by Federal Government

Source:

Rutland, MA has passed the Rutland Restoring Constitutional Governance Resolution (RCGR) by a unanimous margin. This resolution provides inhabitants of Rutland their first legal defense against indefinite detentions since passage of the 2012 NDAA.

The overwhelming support for Rutland RCGR once again tells elected officials throughout Worcester County and all of Massachusetts that the citizens here in the cradle of liberty will never give up their cherished  civil rights.

Juvenile Prison: $5 Billion for Child Abuse

Every juvenile prison must be immediately closed and all of its prisoners freed.

Oh. Oh. Oh! That sounds too drastic and simplistic and revolutionary.

We talk about being reformist or revolutionary as if it were a personality choice. Yet we also talk about being scientific, about being reality-based. Unlike reactionary climate-denying racist creationists we claim, most of us, to recognize such phenomena as climate change and to act on them (leave aside for the moment whether we're really acting appropriately on that one).

The science has long been crystal clear: juvenile prisons are worse than nothing.  They increase rather than reducing crime.  In our failure to abolish them, we -- and not the children we torture -- are the seemingly hopeless recidivists.  

We spend in the United States $88,000 on average per year to lock a child up, compared to $10,652 to educate a child.  We have over 66,000 children locked up, 87% of them boys, and our police arrest 2 million juveniles each year.

A recent longitudinal study of 35,000 young offenders found that those who are locked up are over twice as likely to be locked up as adults compared to those who committed similar offenses and came from similar backgrounds but were given an alternative penalty or were just not arrested.  In some states over 80% of those locked up as kids will be convicted of later crimes.  Studies have found that, more than family difficulties or gang membership or any other factor, the best predictor of criminality is whether someone has been imprisoned in what amount to factories for crime.

Well, but then, isn't the best predictor the initial commission of a crime that led to the initial incarceration? Actually, no.  Eighty to 90% of teenagers in the United States commit illegal acts that could land them behind bars.  Most of those put behind bars are put there for minor, nonviolent offenses. A third of all teenagers have even committed a somewhat serious crime, but most are never arrested, much less imprisoned.  Almost all grow out of it.

If the minority of young people whose lives are ruined by prison were selected randomly, we might be a bit more likely to do something about it.  Anyone who is a parent and finds out what happens in juvenile prisons must be highly unlikely to tolerate their continued existence unless convinced that only other people's children will be locked up. And in fact, it is highly disproportionately kids from poor neighborhoods and with darker skin who get locked up.  A non-white child is far more likely to be arrested for the same act than a white child, far more likely to be charged and detained, far more likely to be sentenced to prison, and far more likely to be given a longer sentence. 

In fact, the idea that sub-human monsters, of whatever race, must be made to suffer and must be kept away from the rest of us, is the leading candidate as a major explanation of the continuation of juvenile imprisonment.  If the goal were preventing crime, the prisons are worse than nothing.  We've tried alternatives within the prison system, and found that reforms help but can only go so far.  We've tried alternatives outside of the prison system, and found them far superior in results. We've even seen states shut down lots of juvenile prisons, primarily because of the financial cost, and seen the benefits in cost savings, in the lives of young people, and in reduced crime rates.  But other states don't follow suit, and the states making the cuts need only see a rise in revenue to begin rebuilding the torture palaces.

The lessons are of course obtainable from abroad as well.  The U.S. locks kids up at a higher rate than any other nation.  The next closest is South Africa, which locks up children at one-fifth the rate of the U.S.  While the United States slowly, reluctantly, begins to stop throwing away packaging, it remains intent on throwing away people.  For many who accept disproven ways of thinking, setting those 66,000 children free would make us less safe, just as cutting the military or disbanding it would endanger us all.  These are powerful myths, but the evidence overwhelmingly disproves them.  If our rural communities went back to farming food instead of prisoners, we would all be better off.

Much of what is routinely done to tens of thousands of youths in the United States would be illegal if done to prisoners of war.  Torture in these houses of "correction" is the norm, not the exception.  Isolation is the central abuse, combined with food deprivation, assault, rape, temperature extremes, deprivation of medical care, deprivation of education, sadistic exercises in humiliation, forced nudity, stress positions, piling on, attacks by dogs, and of course indefinite detention without criminal conviction.  These practices have been transferred to international prisoners after becoming routine for U.S. prisoners, including juveniles.  And, while much of the abuse comes from other prisoners, most of it is committed by guards -- or, excuse me, "correctional officers."

This disastrous system seems in dire need of reform, and the idea that it can be reformed is quite tempting.  Children's bodies are dug up behind an institution in Florida. A judge in Pennsylvania gets caught taking bribes to send more kids to hell.  A sexual assault scandal in Texas gets big enough to make the news.  Kids hog-tied and left outside in freezing weather in Arkansas create some waves.  But the scandals are everywhere.  A review found only 8 states where there was not conclusive evidence of system-wide mistreatment.  And the scandals have been there for a century and a half.  The reforms have been needed and been worked on since day one.  They are not what's needed.  Children need love and companionship, safety and trust, respect and encouragement.  They are even worse equipped to survive imprisonment than adults.  Locked up kids commit suicide at a far higher rate than others, nearly rivaling that of war veterans.  These facts are continually reconfirmed by new science, but they and the failure of juvenile prisons have been known practically since the invention of juvenile prisons. 

Solitary confinement greatly increases suicide rates, and yet is used as a punishment for the offense of being suicidal.  This is not a nifty contradiction to be examined in a master's thesis.  Rather, it is part of a process that fundamentally destroys our young people, a process which we pretend improves them. 

Or do we? Polls suggest that we, the public, in fact understand the madness of government child-abuse currently engaged in to the tune of $5 billion.  The public prefers rehabilitation and treatment and is willing to pay higher taxes for those approaches, even though they actually cost less.  We test this, prove it, and then don't act on it -- or at least our government doesn't act on it.  Oregon tried an experiment in Deschutes County, giving the county the money it would have taken to lock kids up and requiring the county to pay the bill for any kid that did end up locked up.  The county spent the money on prevention, neighborhood programs, community services.  In a year, the number of children sent into the fortresses of misery and horror dropped by 72%.

Everything I've just claimed, and much more, is documented in a new book by Nell Bernstein called Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison.  This book includes numerous personal stories, countless examples, endless studies, and all the evidence anyone claiming to base policy on reality would need to become a "radical" when it comes to the malfunctioning of juvenile prisons.  Bernstein looks at the worst and the best of the institutions.  The best remains far from good enough.  The best remains worse than nothing at all.  Improving the mass abuse of children is not pragmatic; it's immoral.  It's like being in favor of the war on Libya because the war on Iraq was worse; doing so requires averting one's eyes from the state Libya is in. 

Burning Down the House should be taught in our schools.  Maybe free young people would find the power to speak up on behalf of their imprisoned fellows, if they knew.  Maybe parents, if sufficiently intent on discarding both sadism and racism, would act if they heard it from their children. 

There is a hurdle to be overcome, however, higher than the false belief that injustice only happens to those who deserve it, or the corruption of our misrepresentative government by profiteers, or the cooption of the corporate media by the government.  The hurdle is this: everything that's wrong with prisons for children is also wrong with prisons for adults.  If we stop thinking about imprisoned children the way that we must think in order to allow their imprisonment, we'll be in danger of ceasing to think about imprisoned adults the way we must to allow their imprisonment.  Are we willing to risk that danger? I certainly hope so.

http://youtu.be/rXrJE1iDhh8

Racist School Closings Are The Fruit Of Pentagon Greed

 

Infographic by Katie Falkenberg, CODEPINK Denver

Like Madoff telling a bum to get a job: After Running from his Anti-War Past, Kerry Tells Snowden ‘Man Up’ and Face Trial in US

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Our prissy Secretary of State John Kerry, hair carefully coiffed for his interview, told NBC’s Brian Williams last week that fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should “man up” and return to the US to “stand in our system of justice and make his case.”

An Assault from Obama’s Escalating War on Journalism

By Norman Solomon

In a memoir published this year, the CIA’s former top legal officer John Rizzo says that on the last day of 2005 a panicky White House tried to figure out how to prevent the distribution of a book by New York Times reporter James Risen. Officials were upset because Risen’s book, State of War, exposed what -- in his words -- “may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”

The book told of a bungled CIA attempt to set back Iran’s nuclear program in 2000 by supplying the Iranian government with flawed blueprints for nuclear-bomb design. The CIA’s tactic might have actually aided Iranian nuclear development.

When a bootlegged copy of State of War reached the National Security Council, a frantic meeting convened in the Situation Room, according to Rizzo. “As best anyone could tell, the books were printed in bulk and stacked somewhere in warehouses.” The aspiring censors hit a wall. “We arrived at a rueful consensus: game over as far as any realistic possibility to keep the book, and the classified information in it, from getting out.”

But more than eight years later, the Obama White House is seeking a different form of retribution. The people running the current administration don’t want to pulp the book -- they want to put its author in jail.

The Obama administration is insisting that Risen name his confidential source -- or face imprisonment. Risen says he won’t capitulate.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation calls the government’s effort to force Risen to reveal a source “one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades.”

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says: “The pursuit of Risen is a warning to potential sources that journalists cannot promise them confidentiality for disclosing Executive Branch criminality, recklessness, deception, unconstitutional policies or lying us into war. Without protecting confidentiality, investigative journalism required for accountability and democracy will wither and disappear.”

A recent brief from the Obama administration to the nation’s top court “is unflinchingly hostile to the idea of the Supreme Court creating or finding protections for journalists,” Politico reported. The newspaper added that Risen “might be sent to jail or fined if he refuses to identify his sources or testify about other details of his reporting.”

This threat is truly ominous. As Ellsberg puts it, “We would know less than we do now about government abuses, less than we need to know to hold officials accountable and to influence policy democratically.”

So much is at stake: for whistleblowers, freedom of the press and the public’s right to know. For democracy.

That’s why five organizations -- RootsAction.org, The Nation, the Center for Media and Democracy / The Progressive, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and the Freedom of the Press Foundation -- have joined together to start a campaign for protecting the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. So far, in May, about 50,000 people have signed a petition telling President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to end legal moves against Risen.

Charging that the administration has launched “an assault on freedom of the press,” the petition tells Obama and Holder: “We urge you in the strongest terms to halt all legal action against Mr. Risen and to safeguard the freedom of journalists to maintain the confidentiality of their sources.”

The online petition -- “We Support James Risen Because We Support a Free Press” -- includes thousands of personal comments from signers. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

“Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are the cornerstones of our democracy. Stop trying to restrict them.”  Jim T., Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Protected sources are essential to a real democracy. Without whistleblowers, there is no truth.”  Jo Ellen K., San Francisco, California

“Enough of the government assault on freedom of the press! Whistleblowers are heroes to the American people.”  Paul D., Keaau, Hawaii

“It seems our government is out of control. The premise of deriving power from the people would appear to be a quaint notion to most within the three branches. Instead they now view us as subjects that must bend to their will rather than the other way around.”  Gary J., Liberty Township, Ohio

“‘Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.’ -- George Orwell”  Todd J., Oxford, Michigan

“As a writer, I support freedom of the press around the world as a vital first step toward regaining control of our compromised democracies.”  Patricia R., Whitehorse, YT, Canada

“You promised an open and transparent administration. Please keep that promise.”  Willard S., Cary, North Carolina

“Without a free press, we really have nothing.”  Robin H., Weehawken, New Jersey

“The Obama administration’s attack on press freedom is an issue of grave concern. Why are we spending billions of dollars going after supposed ‘terrorists’ when the greatest threat to democracy resides right here in Washington, DC.”  Karen D., Detroit, Michigan

“Damn you, Obama! You become more like Nixon daily!”  Leonard H., Manchester, Michigan

“Congratulations, Mr. Risen!”  Marian C., Hollister, California

“The U.S. is becoming an increasingly frightening place to live, more than a little like a police state. President Obama, you have been a huge disappointment. I expected better from you.”  Barbara R., Newport, Rhode Island

“Come on, President Obama... you're a Constitutional scholar. You know better than this. Knock it off.”  James S., Burbank, California

“There can be no true freedom of the press unless the confidentiality of sources is protected. Without this, no leads, informants or whistleblowers will be motivated to come forward. Reporters should not be imprisoned for doing their job.”  Chris R., North Canton, Ohio

“You took an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ freedom of the press!”  Diane S., San Jose, California

“Whatever became of the progressive Obama and the change you promised? Evidently it was a load of campaign bull puckey, making you just another politician who says whatever it takes to get elected. In other words, you and your administration are a complete sham. As for your constitutional scholarship, it would appear to be in the service of undermining the Constitution a la Bush and Cheney.”  Barry E., Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

“Without a free press, our republic is paper-mache. Remember John Peter Zenger! We must not shoot the messenger -- we must raise the bar for conduct and probity!”  Lance K., Chelsea, Massachusetts

“A free press is the only counterbalance to crony capitalism, corrupt legislators, and a pitifully partisan Supreme Court, that continues to destroy our Constitutional protections.”  Dion B., Cathedral City, California

“I implore you to RESPECT THE FIRST AMENDMENT.”  Glen A., Lacey, Washington

“Did you not learn in grade school that freedom of the press is essential to a free country?”  Joanne D., Colorado Springs, Colorado

“We've been down this road before. What amazes me is that we condemn other countries for stifling freedom of the press, then turn around and do the same thing to advance our own purposes. Are we proponents of democracy and a free press or not?”  William M., Whittier, California

“Journalism is a vital component of a democracy, and it is a core function protected by the freedom of expression enshrined in both international and domestic law. You must stop harassing and persecuting journalists and their sources who are providing a vital public service in prying open the activities of governments that are illegitimately concealed from the public. If the public is not informed of state actions executed in their name, they cannot evaluate and render consent to those actions through the vote. This secrecy therefore subverts democracy, and you must stop using police powers to destroy the whistleblowers who enable government accountability to the public.”  Jim S., Gatlinburg, Tennessee

“I support freedom of the press, not the attorney general’s vicious abuse of his position!”  Bettemae J., Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Compelling reporters to reveal their sources just means that sources will stop talking to reporters. That will cripple the free press. If you think that’s not important, please resign immediately.”  Stephen P., Gresham, Oregon

“As an old woman who remembers the lies of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (especially) and the current administration, I do not trust my own government to tell me the truth anymore.  Freedom of the press is my only chance [to] find out what the truth is. Protect reporters’ sources!”  Monica O., Lomita, California

“Without freedom of the press, we might as well kiss democracy goodbye!”  Melvin M., Vashon, Washington

“I am ashamed of this administration, its policies and its Department of Justice -- what a travesty of criminal turpitude and mass media complicity. ‘Transparency’ -- hah! Cheap campaign rhetoric.”  Mitch L., Los Altos Hills, California

“Walk the walk or stop talking about democracy. Free press is the basis of our constitution.”  Carl D., Manassas, Virginia

“No free press, no democracy!”  James F., Moab, Utah

“If you force the media to reveal its sources, no one will ever come forth with a news story or lead again. I'm sure this is precisely what the politicians and big business want. Then there’d be absolutely no accountability. We need an effective shield law rather than persecuting journalists and news organizations for reporting the news.”  Jim S., Ladera Ranch, California

“Freedom of the Press is the hallmark of a free society. Your administration has done everything in its power to subvert Freedom of the Press by jailing whistleblowers and reporters who uncover wrong doing. This must stop!”  Ed A., Queens, New York

“We have very few real journalists left. Let's not jail them!”  Karen H., West Grove, Pennsylvania

“As the press goes, so goes citizens’ rights.”  Kathy F., West Bend, Wisconsin

“I have been shocked at how this administration has treated the American people’s right to know, prosecuting reporters, whistleblowers, and others who have had the temerity to cast light into the dark corners of our government. You bring the whole concept of democracy into disrepute and set a bad example for the rest of the world.”  Marjorie P., Montpelier, Vermont

“We need our investigative reporters more now than ever in history. Keep our press free.”  Joan R., Novato, California

“Investigative reporting is becoming too rare in the U.S., and compelling J. Risen to reveal his sources will only make such reporting even rarer. Is this your deliberate intent?”  Elaine L., Elk Grove, California

“I am responding in support of James Risen. Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of our democracy and should never be trampled on by government.”  Lois D., San Jacinto, California

“Freedom of the press is more important than some stinking government attempt to find out how bad shenanigans made it into the press. Quit this crap about trying to make a reporter reveal his or her sources. We need good reporting a lot more than lousy stinking politicians trying to shut up the truth.”  Ralph M., Bakerstown, Pennsylvania

“Without a free press tyranny will ensue.”  Bob P., Holland, Pennsylvania

“I thought Mr. Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional lawyer and swore to uphold it. I thought the Attorney General was supposed to also protect the Constitution. It seems you both have abandoned those duties. Prove you hold the Constitution as the authority from which you derive your own and cease this persecution of a reporter who epitomizes one of the crucial things the Constitution stands for -- a truly free press.”  Michael S., Tukwila, Washington

“I've seen mud more transparent than the Obama admin.”  Paul H., Carlton, Oregon

“Wow, this coming from the Obama administration who supposedly is for open govt. Isn't it a police state when the govt cracks down on reporters for telling the truth? James Risen is a hero who will go to jail before revealing his source and the fact that you want to throw him in jail is the real crime here.”  Gayle J., Seattle, Washington

“Shocking.”  Peggy K., Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin

“You have way overstepped your authority. I consider myself a moderate, but your aggressive pursuit of journalists and whistleblowers strikes fear in my heart. Your use of intimidation to weaken the press is contributing to the dismantling of our democracy.”  Marcia B., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“Quit trying to silence journalists! This is a Vladimir Putin approach to government. Hope and Change? Get Real!”  Rich W., Grass Valley, California

“Stop destroying our heroes, the courageous whistleblowers and journalists, including Risen and others who should be thanked, not prosecuted! You know damn well that the People want these people honored!”  Nancy G., Palm Desert, California

“Please recognize the need for a journalist to be free of coercion to reveal confidential sources. Bravo to James Risen for having the courage to resist this onerous government intimidation.”  Thomas S., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“We are already seeing freedom of the press undermined by consolidation of media ownership. The founding fathers believed that we could only keep this republic if we have free press and an informed public. Stop the suppression of information. Free access to information is not an optional ingredient.”  Janelle J., Buffalo, Missouri

“Stop persecuting journalists and whistleblowers. Information is the lifeblood of a democracy.”  William C., Sherman Oaks, California

“Our government has become big brother. Journalists must not be forced to name their sources if we are to know the truth.”  Carolyn S., Los Angeles, California

“A free press is gone if confidential sources are revealed.”  Vincent H., Rutledge, Tennessee

“Frankly, Mr. President, I'm surprised at you, and I have to say, disappointed. This seems like something that happens in totalitarian countries.”  Karen B., Felton, California

“Freedom of the press is already under siege because big business controls so much of the message. The Obama administration must respect James Risen’s right to withhold his source.”  Patricia B., Marco Island, Florida

“Whistleblowers are vital to keeping our democracy from turning into a police state. And a free press is vital to keeping us informed. Drop this case, and uphold the principles of our Constitution.”  Cynthia D., E. Boston, MA

“The press should be free to do its job! How about some of that ‘most transparent administration’ stuff. If an administration has nothing to hide it has nothing to fear.”  Mike H., Terre Haute, Indiana

“James Risen is an investigative reporter of high repute who should not be subjected to state harassment and punishment for upholding his pledge of confidentiality to his sources. These encroachments on our Fourth Estate’s watchdog function as a check on the abuse of power must not stand.”  Barbara K., Santa Fe, New Mexico

“You both have to stop talking out of both sides of your mouth, i.e. lying. We are fighting for freedom of the press. Stop being enemies to us people.”  Judith N., North Bonneville, Washington

“Please don't trash the Bill of Rights. Protect the freedom and independence of the press. Drop the case against James Risen.”  Andrew M., Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania

“Daniel Ellsberg was right. James Risen is right.”  Leonore J., Toledo, Ohio

“When the light of free press is no more, darkness prevails and evildoers flourish. I know this is what this corrupt government wants but over our dead bodies.”  Felix C., San Antonio, Texas

“What Mr. Risen did in this instance, was not criminal. Rather it was EXACTLY what a free press should do, without fear of reprisal. Stop the strong arm tactics.”  John S., Trumbull, Connecticut

“The investigative work of journalists sheds light on the world and what is happening. The increasing punishment of journalists is pushing our world and news into a scary age of non-information. Safeguard the confidentiality of journalists and their sources.”  Christin B., Barnegat Light, New Jersey

“Stop persecuting journalists and truth tellers.”  Phyllis B., Desert Hot Springs, California

________________________________________

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

TSA forces woman to disrobe at checkpoint

I've been meaning to post this woman's account for a while, but with so many TSA stories to keep track of (and more in the pipeline), it got away from me. 

New passenger discovers TSA grope policy

Charlotte Ann Kimbrough is a 57-year-old retired law enforcement professional. She worked for 32 years in an administrative capacity with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other federal law enforcement agencies. She has two metal hip replacements.

She told me she hadn't flown in a few years. So she was unfamiliar with TSA procedures. When she went through the metal detector yesterday, she alarmed it. She thought they would wand her. She was wrong. 

Another namby-pamby Congressional response to TSA abuse

As we’ve been reporting here for years, many of us have used all sorts of methods to fight TSA abuse. 

There’s not just one way to resist. There are several. That’s true for all kinds of protest, about all kinds of things. There’s never just one way. The point is to stand up against injustice when you see it, whether or not you’re successful. Fighting the TSA is a longterm battle, not a short one.

No justice at the US DOJ: AG Holder’s Big News about Prosecuting Chinese Spying and a Crooked Swiss Bank are a Joke

By Dave Lindorff 


The Justice Department is really pumping out the pointless prosecutions these days. 


Breaking News: Occupy Activist Cecily McMillan Sentenced to 3 Months in Jail, 5 Years Probation

By Dave Lindorff


Occupy activist Cecily McMillan, convicted on May 5 of second-degree felony assault of a New York cop whom she and witnesses claimed had grabbed her breast from behind, bruising it, stood her ground before her sentence was rendered, refusing the judge’s insistence that she should “take responsibility for her conduct.”


The latest on ThisCantBeHappening! radio: Interview with Jailed Occupy Activist Cecily McMillan's Attorney Martin Stolar

By Dave Lindorff


In this edition of Progressive Radio Network's "ThisCantBeHappening" radio program, host Dave Lindorff, focuses on the case of Occupy Movement activist Cecily McMillan, currently jailed at Riker’s Island without bail while awaiting sentencing on a conviction of felony assault of a police officer.

A hallway dispute that could become a real public debate: Companies and FCC in Net Neutrality Scuffle

By Alfredo Lopez

 

As the FCC hurtles towards what seems like an approval this coming Thursday of new proposed rules that would, effectively, allow establishment of a second high-speed, higher-cost Internet, we've caught a glimpse of an interesting and infrequently noted split in the circles of power.

It's a minor scuffle but, if it continues, it could open up debates that would involve genuine free-Internet forces and that would quickly put the need to protect the Internet on the national agenda.

Look who’s calling voting ‘divisive’ and ‘illegal’: The Blood-soaked US Has No Business Opposing Sovereignty Plebiscites

By Dave Lindorff



The rot at the core of US international relations, domestic politics and the corporate media is evident in the American approach to the Ukraine crisis.


Americans: TSA abuse is fine, just don't make me pay for my bags!


Yet another article in the mainstream press with people whingeing about the fact that they have to -- gasp! -- pay a few extra bucks to carry on and/or check their luggage.  

Bearing the Pain of Affirmative Action: The Shame of Clarence Thomas

By John Grant

 
    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied ...
    Everybody knows the deal is rotten
    Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
    For your ribbons and bows

                                       - Leonard Cohen
 

In honor of our Supreme Court I’ve decided to start this piece with a prayer.

Kangaroo court convicts Occupy protester: DA Cyrus Vance Jr., Prosecutor for the Rich

By Dave Lindorff


Two and a half years after the Occupy Wall Street movement took the country by storm, injecting topics like income inequality and class war into the realm of permissible national political discourse for the first time since the 1930s, the nation’s legal machinery of repression has come down like a proverbial ton of bricks on the movement just as nationally coordinated police repression crushed its physical manifestation in late 2011.


Cecily McMillan, Victim of Police Assault, Found Guilty, In Jail

In the continuing cavalcade of innocent people put in prison in this country -- the vast majority of whom are poor and/or people of color -- we now add Cecily McMillan, an Occupy activist who was assaulted by a New York City cop and who is now in jail for it.

You read that right. She was assaulted by him. Yet she is in jail. And he -- with a history of committing abuse -- is walking free.  

Cover-up in progress?: The Case of the Dead Brazilian Torturer Gets Murkier

By Michael Uhl


They haven't killed him yet.

Paulo Malhaes, the confessed Brazilian torturer whose death I recently reported on this site may not have been murdered after all. At least that’s what police investigating the case have been loudly proclaiming for the past week.

TSA pinches pot purveyor on plane

Danger! Danger! Pot on a plane! TSA to the rescue!  

I’m so glad the brave men and women of the TSA rifle through our luggage, leave cheeky notes, and in general stick their noses in our business. Because otherwise, we would all be in danger of being blown out of the sky due to concealed greenery.

Killing of leaders was being planned: Exposing the Federal Government’s Plan to Crush the Occupy Movement (Part I)

By Dave Lindorff


  Listen to Dave Lindorff explain on Santa Barbara radio KCSB's Radio Occupy program how the federal government, in collusion with state and local police, and possibly with private bank and oil company security firms, planned to use "suppressed sniper fire" to assassinate the leaders of Occupy Houston, and perhaps also the leaders of other Occupy Movement actions around the country.

Academic freedom under attack: A Conversation with Prof. Nel about an Attempt to Fire Tenured Faculty for their Private Online

By Dave Lindorff

 

This week's "This Can't Be Happening!" radio program on PRN radio features an interview with Dr. Phil Nel, a distinguished professor of English at Kansas State University, and an outspoken opponent of a current effort by the Kansas Board of Regents to impose a new "social media policy" on all the state's public higher education institutions -- a policy that would allow administrators to fire even tenured faculty for posting statements that "damage" the school or negatively impact "harmony" on campus.

 

Israeli Hypocrisy: Business as Usual

             On Sunday, April 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on U.S. television, denouncing progress made in reconciliation talks between Fatah, which ostensibly controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the democratically-elected government in the Gaza Strip.


            According to CNN: “Netanyahu said he and Secretary of State John Kerry recently applauded that some progress was being made toward a peace agreement. ‘And then the next day, we were both shocked,  there's no other word, we were absolutely stupefied that President Abbas embraced the terrorist organization Hamas that seeks Israel's destruction,’ he said on ‘Face the Nation.’”

A new proposal mocks Net Neutrality: FCC Wants to Give Corporations Their Own Internet

By Alfredo Lopez


When a federal court trashed its "net neutrality" compromise policy in January, the Federal Communications Commission assured us that the Internet we knew and depended on was safe. Most activists didn't believe federal officials and this past week the FCC demonstrated how realistic our cynicism was.

The Night of the Generals: When Brazilians were Tortured and Disappeared

By Michael Uhl


“The Face of Evil,” flashed the eye catching headline in Brazil’s major daily on a morning late this March, and the accompanying photo of Army lieutenant-colonel Paulo Malhaes, retired, could not have portrayed a more convincing ogre had it been photo shopped by central casting. Malhaes, a self-described torturer and murderer operated in the early 1970′s, the most repressive period in Brazil’s harsh era of prolonged military rule,

Forty Years After the Carnation Revolution

Portugal as a Model for a New Socialism?

by Leila Dregger

 

Preliminary note of the author:
In this text the words socialism and communism are used synonymously. I see their differentiation and the rift, which has been stretched between their representatives, as no longer appropriate today. This article is directed toward all those interested in justice, solidarity and freedom.

 

 

President Obama: Commutation for Weldon Angelos - 55 years for marijuana

Lisa Angelos:

My brother Weldon Angelos, has already been in a federal penitentiary for 10 years.  He faces 45 more years in prison.  All because he sold small amounts of marijuana and possessed – only possessed, didn’t use – guns at the same time! Even the judge who sentenced Weldon disagreed with the mandatory sentence of 55 years.

The father of two young boys and a daughter, Weldon had never before been in trouble with the law.  He was convicted when he was 24 years old of selling small amounts of marijuana to a federal law enforcement informant three times.  The informant testified that a gun was present (never displayed or used) during two of the pot deals.  

When police officers presented a warrant for Weldon’s arrest, he consented to a search of his apartment, where officers found some marijuana, a handgun in his briefcase, and two guns in a locked safe. 

End the Drug War: Happy Pot Legalization Day!

A Special Report today on the issue of ending Marijuana Prohibition and the massively destructive War on Drugs, by TCBH! collective journalist Linn Washington, Jr. and three students in his Temple University journalism class:


Marijuana: Facts and Falacies, by Linn Washington


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