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Civil Rights / Liberties
By Jeff Cohen
London -- On Friday, I visited Ecuador's embassy here in the capital of the former British empire and saw a building surrounded by a phalanx of cops, with several of them at the front door. The embassy is in an upscale neighborhood near Harrods department store. The intimidating police presence was ordered by a Conservative government that waxes eloquent about the need to respect (British) embassies overseas.
The intensified police deployment is only part of Britain's response to Ecuador's decision -- after a long review -- to grant political asylum on human rights grounds to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the embassy two months ago. The British government has made it clear that it will not allow Ecuador to provide safe passage and asylum to an individual who -- for the "crime" of publishing -- has heard powerful U.S. voices in politics and media call for his murder.
At the door of the rather small embassy, I was met by cops who interrogated me about who I was and why I sought entry. I had to wonder if the embassy was under siege by Britain on behalf of Washington, which reportedly stands ready to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder. Again, that's for the "crime" of publishing -- not sexual assault.
Besides all the mainstream journalists, cameras and satellite trucks across the street from Ecuador's embassy, I was heartened to see British citizens protesting their government's actions -- and also standing up for Bradley Manning, the young U.S. Army private who faces life in prison as the accused WikiLeaks leaker of documents showing military and diplomatic crimes by the U.S. government. Among the placards I saw: "Exposing War Crimes Is Not a Crime -- Free Assange, Free Manning" and "Protect Freedom to Publish." and "If Wars Can Be Started by Lies, They Can Be Stopped By Truth."
It's important to know that Britain's Foreign Office recently threatened Ecuador in a letter -- claiming a legal basis to go ahead and arrest Assange from the embassy after revoking the building's diplomatic status. On Thursday, a prominent Conservative member of Parliament tweeted that Britain should break off diplomatic relations with Ecuador and then invade the “former embassy” to seize the WikiLeaks founder.
A U.S. group I co-founded, RootsAction.org, is circulating a short online petition thanking Ecuador and protesting Britain's threats against the embassy and refusal to uphold the right of asylum.
As the father of two daughters (who are with me in London), I take sexual assault allegations seriously (Assange has never been charged). But standing outside this embassy surrounded by British police, it looked to me like a classic case of powerful Western states uniting to intimidate a less powerful country on behalf of their prerogatives toward domination and war. It had nothing to do with “the rule of law.” And it had nothing to do with women's rights.
By John Grant
When we talk about
settling the world’s problems,
we’re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It’s a mess.
It has always been a mess.
Could the TSA be the elephant in the room??
By Linn Washington, Jr.
One week before a Pennsylvania court judge upheld that state’s controversial Voter ID law by concluding the measure’s impact was “neutral and nondiscriminatory,” critics of that law released a disturbing study documenting the law’s discriminatory impact on voters in Philadelphia.
We Don’t Need No Bloody Treaties: Britain Blows a Fuse over Ecuador’s Asylum Grant to Wikileaks’ Assange
By Dave Lindorff
The concerted and orchestrated campaign to capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and ultimately to hand him over to the tender mercies of a kangaroo court in the US, where he would likely be tried for spying and other possibly capital offenses, continues as Britain threatens the Ecuadoran Embassy with a police assault.
Security guards at JFK airport in New York have filed a formal complaint with the TSA claiming that they’re undertrained, understaffed, and supplied with faulty equipment.
READ THE REST AT TSA NEWS.
Non-Aligned Movement Summit
by Stephen Lendman
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) web site says it has 115 members "representing the interests and priorities of developing countries."
Thursday 16th August, 3:00am UTC
In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK
threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest
The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises
This claim is without basis.
By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had
been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.
Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and
shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects
This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it
will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a
decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.
A Southwest Airlines pilot had a run-in with the TSA in Manchester, New Hampshire the other day.
By Dave Lindorff
We’ve all heard it said by our teachers when we were in school, we’ve all heard it said by politicians, including presidents: “Democracies don’t start wars.”
The 58,401 Stooges (aka TSA employees) are so busy pretending to administer security that they fail to actually do it. In New York, a jet-skier, stranded in Jamaica Bay, swam to shore and easily breached all the supposed security they have between the Bay and the terminal.
Bradley Manning Support Network
David Coombs, civilian legal counsel for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning, has published the "Article 13" motion that in July he said would "shock the conscience of the court." This document not only reveals new details about PFC Manning's brutal conditions at the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia, but the shocking revelation that a three-star General, far removed from the brig, ordered this illegal treatment. Coombs writes that new emails show two different brig commanders then carried out these unlawful orders in clear violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which prohibits pre-trial confinement conditions "any more rigorous" than the minimum needed to ensure the accused appears for court hearings. Mr. Coombs will argue this motion for dismissal of all charges, based on these military law violations at a critical October 1-5 pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland.
After repeated reports about racial and ethnic profiling by the TSA, from the “Mexicutioners” of Honolulu to the “Mexican hunters” of Newark, not to mention countless personal reports by passengers, finally we have a front-page story in the New York Times about this practice. And finally we have TSA employees themselves blowing the whistle.
EPIC reports that the White House suddenly cut off the time period allotted for signatures to an anti-TSA petition that has been gaining steam and pulled the petition off its website.
In the course of my lifetime I’ve had more than a passing acquaintance with ham sandwiches. To my knowledge, not a single one has ever committed a crime.
You want statistics? I've got statistics. Even though most people's eyes glaze over, empirical evidence is still important and always will be. Here's another of Bill Fisher's typically solid, evidence-based, statistics-laden posts on the TSA and its never-ending propaganda machine.
The New York Times has an important post in its Well section entitled X-Ray Scans at Airports Leave Lingering Worries. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing. However, reporter Roni Caryn Rabin touches on certain issues that call for more detailed analysis and discussion, which happen to be among the main purposes of this blog and its comment sections.
At a travel chat forum called FlyerTalk, a member named “brennandunn” has posted a thread detailing his and his wife’s experience at the hands of the TSA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. READ THE REST HERE.
Recognize this? To a fashionista it’s a “knuckle-clasp clutch.” To the TSA it’s a potential weapon.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
One year after riots rocked 66 areas across England for five days in some of the worst disturbances in that nation’s history, the issue that initially ignited those disturbances – police abuse – remains an unresolved problem.
By Dave Lindorff
This article was originally written forPressTV
We Americans are taught it in school. The propaganda put out by Voice of America repeats the idea ad nauseum around the globe. Politicians refer to it in every campaign speech with the same fervor that they claim to be running for office in response to God’s call: America is a model of democracy for the whole world.
But what kind of democracy is it really that we have here?
By Linn Washington
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the same conservative Republican who recently cut 70,000 from receiving their meager welfare payments in order to cut government costs, is ready to spend millions of bucks to implement a voter suppression scheme that evidence indicates is a blatant partisan measure designed to help Mitt Romney gain a presidential election victory.
Last December I wrote a post here at TSA News laying out numerous facts and distilling certain principles of what might be called moral philosophy and human behavior. The facts — aviation history, risk assessment, statistical analysis, logic, empirical evidence — remain the facts, and I say now what I said then: most people will ignore them.
There’s a report that US traffic deaths in the first three months of 2012 jumped 13.5 percent — the highest number since 2008.
Finally. That’s all I can say. Finally, a federal court ruled that it does, indeed, have jurisdiction over at least some TSA procedures. It's about time.