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Civil Liberties News Stories
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These civil liberties news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of civil liberties news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Governments Turn Tables by Suing Public Records Requesters
2017-09-17, New York Times
Posted: 2017-09-24 20:34:42
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/09/17/us/ap-us-sunshine-year-turning-th...

An Oregon parent wanted details about school employees getting paid to stay home. College journalists in Kentucky requested documents about the investigations of employees accused of sexual misconduct. Instead, they got something else: sued by the agencies they had asked for public records. Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests - taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense. The lawsuits generally ask judges to rule that the records being sought do not have to be divulged, [and] name the requesters as defendants. The recent trend has alarmed freedom-of-information advocates, who say it's becoming a new way for governments to hide information, delay disclosure and intimidate critics. At least two recent cases have succeeded in blocking information while many others have only delayed the release. Even if agencies are ultimately required to make the records public, they typically will not have to pay the other side's legal bills. "You can lose even when you win," said Mike Deshotels, an education watchdog who was sued by the Louisiana Department of Education after filing requests for school district enrollment data last year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


How a Crackdown on Leaks Threatens Confidential Sources
2017-09-04, New York Times
Posted: 2017-09-24 20:30:01
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/04/insider/how-a-crackdown-on-leaks-threatens...

It was just four years ago that roughly two dozen representatives of major news organizations crowded around a conference table at the Justice Department for a meeting with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Our agenda? Strengthening the Justice Department’s guidelines that limit when federal prosecutors can serve subpoenas on the news media. It had just been revealed that federal investigators had secretly seized the phone records of The Associated Press and the emails of a Fox News correspondent during leak investigations. The result was important: The Justice Department revised its internal guidelines to make it harder for prosecutors to obtain subpoenas for reporters’ testimony and records. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after being chided by President Trump for being weak, recently declared a war on leakers and made clear that the news media was also on his mind. It seems all but certain that the Justice Department will try to chip away at the subpoena guidelines, [which] say that prosecutors are to seek testimony and evidence from journalists only as a last resort, and that news organizations should have a chance to go to court to challenge any subpoenas. The guidelines are far from ironclad. If a prosecutor were to ignore them, a journalist would have no right to go into court and demand they be followed. When federal courts dial back protection for reporters, the guidelines become an essential first line of defense against overzealous prosecutors.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Rights group finds ‘assembly line’ of torture in Egypt
2017-09-06, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-09-11 23:37:14
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/rights-group-finds-assembly-...

An international rights group says Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has given a “green light” to systematic torture inside detention facilities.” Human Rights Watch says el-Sissi, a U.S. ally who was warmly received at the White House earlier this year ... “has effectively given police and National Security officers a green light to use torture whenever they please,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based group. The allegations, the group said, amount to crimes against humanity. Most of the detainees are alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which rose to power after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt arrested or charged some 60,000 people in the two years after Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader who became Egypt’s first freely elected president, was overthrown following a divisive year in power. Hundreds have gone missing in what appear to be forced disappearances, and hundreds of others have received preliminary death sentences. Based on interviews with 19 Egyptians detained as far back as 2013, the rights group documented abuses ranging from beatings to rape and sodomy. Local rights groups have documented dozens of deaths under torture in police custody. The Interior Ministry ... denied allegations of systemic torture. Citing national security, the government has shut down hundreds of websites, including many operated by independent journalists and rights groups.

Note: The US financially supports Egypt's military. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in police departments.


President Trump is giving police forces weapons of war. This is dangerous
2017-08-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-09-11 23:32:26
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/31/president-trump-giving-...

This week, Donald Trump lifted the ban on certain military-grade weapons and equipment available from the Pentagon to our local police forces across the nation. Before Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting the transfer of certain types of military equipment under the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, the Department of Defense transferred more than $5bn in surplus military equipment directly to police agencies. The Pentagon program creates a pipeline that bypasses normal ... procurement processes, enabling police departments to acquire expensive-to-maintain and often unneeded military equipment directly from the Pentagon without the approval or even knowledge of [elected] government officials. Citizens are left to pay the price when these military “toys” are put into the anxious hands of often untrained local law enforcement. Handing our police weapons of war, including but not limited to large-capacity, rapid-fire weapons and ammunition – including .50-calibers – bayonets, grenade launchers, armored vehicles including military tanks, unmanned vehicles (armed drones), explosives and pyrotechnics, and similar explosive devices, makes us less safe. It also drives a wedge between police officers and ... communities. Our nation was built on the principle that there are clear lines between our armed forces and domestic police. Moreover ... law enforcement is subject to civilian authority. This program blurs those lines. Militarizing America’s main streets won’t make us any safer, just more fearful.

Note: The above was written by US Congressman Hank Johnson, author of the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2017. The Pentagon's 1033 program now being revived led to what the ACLU called an "excessive militarization of American policing". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


A black man went undercover online as a white supremacist. This is what he learned.
2017-08-24, Washington Post
Posted: 2017-09-05 00:13:22
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/08/24/a-black-man-went...

As soon as Theo Wilson started making YouTube videos about culture and race, trolls using racial slurs started flocking to his page. After engaging in endless sparring matches in the comments section, Wilson began to notice something curious: His trolls seemed to speak a language unto themselves, one replete with the same twisted facts and false history. Curious about where his trolls were getting their revisionist history lessons, Wilson ... decided to go undercover in their world. In 2015, he started by creating a ghost profile named “Lucious25,” a digital white supremacist. Within a few weeks Wilson's alternate identity was questioning President Barack Obama's birthplace [and] railing against Black Lives Matter. After several months, he was a disaffected fixture on alt-right websites that draw white supremacists. During his eight months as a racist troll, Wilson never revealed his true identity. When it was all over, Wilson said, he came to appreciate the way in which the far-right media bubble disables its participants - offering an endless stream of scapegoats for their problems but no credible solutions. "There are still people who think black people are not fully human and that we are lagging in terms of evolution," [said Wilson]. "My compassion comes from knowing these people are still so vulnerable to social programming. But the social forces that make racism commonplace aren't necessarily going away. Look at what happened in Charlottesville, for example. How did a brand-new generation of white guys get that hateful?"

Note: Theo Wilson describes his experience as an undercover racist in this Tedx video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Trump rolling back limits on military gear for police
2017-08-28, Miami Herald/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-09-04 23:38:58
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article169730727.html

Local police departments will soon have access to grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and other surplus U.S. military gear after President Donald Trump signed an order Monday reviving a Pentagon program that civil rights groups say inflames tensions between officers and their communities. President Barack Obama had sharply curtailed the program in 2015. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called the plan a dangerous expansion of government power that would "subsidize militarization." Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said the program "incentivizes the militarization of local police departments, as they are encouraged to grab more equipment than they need." Congress authorized the program in 1990, allowing police to receive surplus equipment to help fight drugs, which then gave way to the fight against terrorism. Agencies requested and received everything from camouflage uniforms and bullet-proof vests to firearms, bayonets and drones. More than $5 billion in surplus equipment has been given to agencies. The new order largely lets local agencies set their own controls and rules governing use of the equipment. The plan to restore access to military equipment comes after [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions has said he intends to pull back on court-enforceable plans to resolve allegations of pervasive civil rights violations. Sessions ... has also revived a widely criticized form of asset forfeiture that lets local police seize cash and property with federal help.

Note: The Pentagon's 1033 program now being revived led to what the ACLU called an "excessive militarization of American policing". The civil asset forfeiture program now being revived was widely criticized because it made it easy for corrupt police to steal money and property from poor people and seize private assets based on departmental "wish lists".


KKK leader claims hate group has grown at record pace since Trump became President
2017-08-23, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-09-04 23:07:32
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/kkk-trump-member...

The Ku Klux Klan has grown faster since Donald Trump’s inauguration than any time in recent memory, a Klan leader has claimed. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I haven’t seen the Klan grow at the pace it’s growing now,” Chris Barker, an Imperial Wizard of the KKK, told The Independent. Mr Barker said that after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville he received 50 applications to join his group in one day. The next day, he received 80. Mr Barker leads the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, which has less than 200 members. As one of the most active Klan groups in the US, the group takes part in “activism” such as burning crosses, advocating for the murder of immigrants, and distributing leaflets claiming, among other things, “transgender is an abomination”. Mr Barker contacted The Independent about a previous article, from which he had gained notoriety for calling a Univision journalist a “n*****” and threatening to burn her out of the country. Approximately 30 KKK groups were active over the course of 2016 – a decrease from the year before. That number has since risen to 40. This summer also marked a departure from the trend of small, scattered, and sparsely attended KKK demonstrations. Several different Klan groups turned out for the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists from around the country protested the removal of a Confederate statue. The rally, which Mr Barker’s group also participated in, was said to be the largest white supremacist gathering in the US in decades.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website
2017-08-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-08-20 00:05:28
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-prote...

The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional “fishing expedition” for political dissidents. The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters. On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for every piece of information it possessed that was related to a website that was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trump’s inauguration. The warrant ... seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited [the site], as well as the date and time of their visit and information about what browser or operating system they used. The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The government has aggressively prosecuted activists arrested during the 20 January protests in Washington DC. In April, the US attorney’s office in Washington DC filed a single indictment charging more than 217 people with identical crimes, including felony rioting. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been advising DreamHost, characterized the warrant as “unconstitutional”. “I can’t conceive of a legitimate justification other than casting your net as broadly as possible,” senior staff attorney Mark Rumold [said]. “What they would be getting is a list of everyone who has ever been interested in attending these protests.”

Note: In May, United Nations officials said that the US treatment of activists was increasingly "incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of privacy.


A Legacy of Environmental Racism
2017-08-13, The Intercept
Posted: 2017-08-20 00:03:20
https://theintercept.com/2017/08/13/exxon-mobil-is-still-pumping-toxins-into-...

A loud boom cut through the night and a stream of fire lit up the sky. A strong, unpleasant odor settled over the street. None of the neighbors reported what happened that night - nor the ... symptoms that followed. For [Joseph] Gaines, the symptoms included an intense sudden headache, tearing eyes, a runny nose, and congestion. A block and a half from Gaines’s house, the street ends in an Exxon Mobil refinery that ... releases at least 135 toxic chemicals, many of which - including 1,3-butadiene, benzo[a]pyrene, and styrene - are carcinogens. The plant is regularly in noncompliance with the Clean Air Act. Yet many of the people [in] Charlton-Pollard said they felt there was no point in trying to reduce the emissions. They raised [their concerns] in a formal complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency 17 years ago. The filing [described] the chemical pollution. And the complaint went further, arguing that the location of the oil refinery - next to a neighborhood where 95 percent of residents were African-American - was a civil rights violation. The majority of civil rights complaints the EPA accepted for investigation between 1996 and 2013 languished for years. As the people of Charlton-Pollard and Flint — as well as Tallassee, Alabama; Pittsburg, California; and Chaves County, New Mexico — can attest, the EPA’s lack of responsiveness to civil rights complaints spans not just many years, but also several presidential administrations. While pollution protections are moving backward, Exxon Mobil is planning to expand its Beaumont operations.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the erosion of civil liberties.


Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting
2017-07-26, Daily Beast
Posted: 2017-07-30 19:13:52
http://www.thedailybeast.com/feds-crack-trump-protesters-phones-to-charge-the...

Officials seized Trump protesters’ cell phones, cracked their passwords, and are now attempting to use the contents to convict them of conspiracy to riot at the presidential inauguration. Prosecutors have indicted over 200 people on felony riot charges for protests in Washington, D.C. on January 20. Some defendants face up to 75 years in prison. Evidence against the defendants has been scant from the moment of their arrest. As demonstrators, journalists, and observers marched through the city, D.C. police officers channelled hundreds of people into a narrow, blockaded corner, where they carried out mass arrests. Some of those people ... are now suing for wrongful arrest. Police also seized more than 100 cell phones. All of the ... phones were locked. But a July 21 court document shows that investigators were successful in opening the locked phones. Prosecutors moved to use a wealth of information from the phones as evidence, including the phones’ “call detail records,” “SMS or MMS messages,” “contact logs/email logs,” “chats or other messaging applications,” “website search history and website history,” and “images or videos.” One of the more than 200 defendants has pleaded guilty to riot charges after being named extensively in a superseding indictment. But the case against most defendants is less clear; in the superseding indictment, prosecutors accuse hundreds defendants of conspiracy to riot, based on “overt acts” as banal as chanting anti-capitalist slogans or wearing dark clothing.

Note: In May, United Nations officials said that the US treatment of activists was increasingly "incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Body Camera Video Allegedly Shows Baltimore Police ‘Plant’ Drugs
2017-07-19, NBC News
Posted: 2017-07-24 01:59:16
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/body-camera-video-allegedly-shows-baltimo...

Body camera video produced Wednesday appears to show a Baltimore police officer plant drugs in late January, an act that later resulted in a criminal arrest. The 90-second Baltimore police body camera video, which was made public by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, belongs to Officer Richard Pinheiro, who appears to hide and later "find" drugs among trash strewn on a plot next to a Baltimore residence. Two other officers appear to be with the Pinheiro as he hides the drugs. "This is a serious allegation of police misconduct," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. "There is nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for one second that police officers ... would plant evidence of crimes on citizens." One of the officers has been suspended, and two others have been placed on "nonpublic contact" administrative duty, Davis told reporters. Pinheiro is a witness in about 53 active cases, and he was even called to testify in a case earlier this week, the Public Defender's Office said. The new video has led to that case's dismissal after an assistant public defender forwarded it to the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office. Debbie Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender's Special Litigation Section, said that Baltimore police have long had a problem with officer misconduct but that the city does not hold individuals accountable. "We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts," Levi said.

Note: And how many thousands of times over the years has this been done and not recorded on video? Watch this video at the NBC link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Mexico spying targeted international experts in student kidnapping case
2017-07-10, The Guardian/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-07-17 09:18:16
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/10/spyware-mexico-kidnapping-inves...

Investigators have revealed that targets of high-tech spying in Mexico included an international group of experts backed by the Organization of American States who had criticized the government’s investigation into the disappearance of 43 students. Previous investigations by the internet watchdog group Citizen Lab found that the spyware had been directed at journalists, activists and opposition politicians in Mexico. But targeting foreign experts operating under the aegis of an international body marks an escalation of the scandal. The experts had diplomatic status, making the spying attempt even graver. The spyware, known as Pegasus, is made by the Israel-based NSO Group, which says it sells only to government agencies for use against criminals and terrorists. It turns a cellphone into an eavesdropper, giving snoopers the ability to remotely activate its microphone and camera and access its data. The spyware is uploaded when users click on a link in email messages. Citizen Lab said the spyware attempts against the international experts occurred in March 2016 as the group was preparing its final, critical report on the government investigation into the disappearances. The 43 students were detained by local police in the city of Iguala on 26 September 2014, and were turned over to a crime gang. Only one student’s remains have been identified. The experts criticized the government’s conclusions, saying ... that government investigators had not looked into other evidence.

Note: Read the report by Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto for the details of these suspicious spyware attacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and the erosion of civil liberties.


Mexican journalists, activists targeted with spyware
2017-06-19, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-07-10 14:08:21
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/report-mexican-journalists-activis...

Mexican journalists, lawyers and activists were targeted by spyware produced by Israel’s NSO Group that is sold exclusively to governments. [A] report by Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said the targets included people, such as prominent journalists Carmen Aristegui and Carlos Loret de Mola, who were investigating alleged government corruption and purported human rights abuses by security forces. The people targeted received messages with links that, if clicked on, opened up their devices to being exploited and spied upon. NSO’s Pegasus spyware allows hackers access to phone calls, messages, cameras and personal data. Other targets included members of the Centro Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez, a prominent human rights group that has investigated cases such as the disappearance of 43 students whom police allegedly detained and turned over to drug gang killers; the anti-graft group Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity; and the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a civil society group working on economic policy and combatting corruption. Aristegui, who exposed a case of possible conflict of interest involving a luxury home acquired from a government contractor ... was aggressively targeted. She received more than two-dozen messages with NSO links claiming to be from “the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, Amber Alerts, colleagues, people in her personal life, her bank, phone company and notifications of kidnappings,” the report said.

Note: If the above link is not working, this Associated Press article is also available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and the erosion of civil liberties.


As Standing Rock Camps Cleared Out, TigerSwan Expanded Surveillance to Array of Progressive Causes
2017-06-12, The Intercept
Posted: 2017-07-10 14:06:35
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/21/as-standing-rock-camps-cleared-out-tigers...

Leaked documents and public records reveal a troubling fusion of private security, public law enforcement, and corporate money in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. By the time law enforcement officers began evicting residents of the ... resistance camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on February 22, the brutal North Dakota winter had already driven away most of the pipeline opponents. It would have been a natural time for the private security company in charge of monitoring the pipeline to head home. But internal communications between TigerSwan and its client, pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners, show that the security firm instead reached for ways to stay in business. Indeed, TigerSwan appeared to be looking for new causes, too. The ... firm’s sweeping surveillance of anti-Dakota Access protesters had already spanned five months and expanded into Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois. TigerSwan became particularly interested in Chicago. [Leaked] documents dated between February 19 and February 21 describe TigerSwan’s efforts to monitor an anti-Trump protest organized by the local chapter of the Answer Coalition, an anti-war, anti-racism group. Answer Coalition’s ... John Beacham, who organized the protest TigerSwan described, said that [the NoDAPL movement] was not the event’s primary focus. “They’re trying to make connections where they aren’t. It’s almost like they’re trying to cast conspiracy theories across the entire progressive movement,” he told The Intercept.

Note: The above article is part of an in-depth series, and includes many original source documents. Standing Rock activists were also targeted for investigation by the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Psychologists Open a Window on Brutal C.I.A. Interrogations
2017-06-21, New York Times
Posted: 2017-06-26 00:05:58
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/20/us/cia-torture.html

Fifteen years after he helped devise the brutal interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects in secret C.I.A. prisons, John Bruce Jessen, a former military psychologist, expressed ambivalence about the program. He described himself and a fellow military psychologist, James Mitchell, as reluctant participants in using the techniques, some of which are widely viewed as torture. The two psychologists ... are defendants in the only lawsuit that may hold participants accountable for causing harm. Revelations about the C.I.A. practices ... led to an eventual ban on the techniques and a prohibition by the American Psychological Association against members’ participation in national security interrogations. The two psychologists argue that the C.I.A., for which they were contractors, controlled the program. But it is difficult to successfully sue agency officials because of government immunity. Under the agency’s direction, the two men ... proposed [and applied] the “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Their business received $81 million. When [the psychologists] wanted to end the waterboarding sessions as no longer useful, C.I.A. supervisors ... ordered them to continue. Dr. Mitchell said that the C.I.A. officials told them: “‘You guys have lost your spine.’ I think the word that was actually used is that you guys are pussies. There was going to be another attack in America and the blood of dead civilians are going to be on your hands.”

Note: Prior to condemning torture, some of the American Psychological Association’s top officials sought to curry favor with Pentagon officials by supporting the CIA's brutal interrogation methods. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.


Memo Shows Watergate Prosecutors Had Evidence Nixon White House Plotted Violence
2017-06-20, NBC News
Posted: 2017-06-26 00:02:25
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/nbc-news-exclusive-memo-shows-w...

Watergate prosecutors had evidence that operatives for then-President Richard Nixon planned an assault on anti-war demonstrators in 1972, including potentially physically attacking Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, according to a never-before-published memo obtained by NBC News. The document, an 18-page 1973 investigative memorandum from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, sheds new light on how prosecutors were investigating attempts at domestic political violence by Nixon aides, an extremely serious charge. A plot to physically attack Ellsberg is notable because the former Pentagon official has long alleged that Nixon operatives did more than steal his medical files, the most well-known effort to discredit him. [The memo] states that “an extensive investigation” found evidence that Nixon operatives plotted an “assault on antiwar demonstrators” at a rally at the U.S. Capitol featuring Ellsberg and other anti-war "notables.” The anti-war demonstration occurred near a viewing of recently deceased FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. An accompanying memo [states that] the attack would be on "long-haired demonstrators, in particular Ellsberg” ... with the objectives of impugning Ellsberg for protesting near to Hoover lying in state and "simply having Ellsberg beaten up.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and the erosion of civil liberties.


When wrongful convictions affect blacks more than whites, can we call it a justice system?
2017-03-07, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2017-06-18 23:52:47
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-wrongful-convictions-race-201...

Racial disparities have long been evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, but a new report drilling into statistics on wrongful convictions points up exactly how nefarious the problem is. African Americans are much more likely to be wrongfully convicted of a murder, sexual assault or drug offense than whites. The report, by the National Registry of Exonerations, found that “innocent black people are about seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people,” and thus also account for a disproportionate share of the growing number of exonerations. African Americans who were convicted and then exonerated of murder charges also spent four years longer on death row than wrongfully convicted whites (and three years longer for those sentenced to prison). According to the report, African Americans convicted of murder “are about 50% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers,” and that such wrongful convictions, even when later corrected, expands the impact of violence on African American communities.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to "Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies"
2017-05-17, The Intercept
Posted: 2017-06-04 22:58:35
https://theintercept.com/2017/05/27/leaked-documents-reveal-security-firms-co...

A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states. TigerSwan, [working] at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, [described] the movement as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and [compared] the anti-pipeline water protectors to jihadist fighters. “Daily intelligence updates” developed by TigerSwan ... were shared with law enforcement officers, thus contributing to a broad public-private intelligence dragnet. [Leaked] documents ... also reveal a widespread and sustained campaign of infiltration of protest camps and activist circles. TigerSwan agents using false names and identities regularly sought to obtain the trust of protesters, which they used to gather information they reported back to their employer. In an October 3 report, TigerSwan discusses how to use its knowledge of internal camp dynamics: “Exploitation of ongoing native versus non-native rifts, and tribal rifts between peaceful and violent elements is critical in our effort to delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.” The way TigerSwan discusses protesters as “terrorists,” their direct actions as “attacks,” and the camps as a “battlefield,” reveals how the protesters’ dissent was not only criminalized but treated as a national security threat.

Note: The above article is part of an in-depth series, and includes many original source documents. Standing Rock activists were also targeted for investigation by the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Anti-protest bills would 'attack right to speak out'
2017-05-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-05-15 16:54:27
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/donald-trump-anti-protest-bills

More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a move that UN experts have branded “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law”. The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest. The ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild have said many of the bills are likely unconstitutional. The flurry of legislation has prompted UN experts to intervene, with two special rapporteurs from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – the UN body which works to promote and protect human rights – to complain to the US state department at the end of March. In a recent letter to the government, David Kaye and Maina Kiai, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), listed specific pieces of legislation which they said were “criminalizing peaceful protests”. Kaye and Kiai ... said the bills represent “a worrying trend that could result in a detrimental impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in the country”.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Hog Farms Spray Pig Urine, Feces Into Air Around North Carolina's Black Communities
2017-05-03, International Business Times
Posted: 2017-05-08 11:28:45
http://www.ibtimes.com/hog-farms-spray-pig-urine-feces-air-around-north-carol...

Residents in North Carolina are fighting back against one of the state's most prominent industries: hog farming. But the legislation may not be on their side - a group of lawmakers in the state passed House Bill 467 last week, legislation that limits how much residents can collect in damages from hog farms. Hog farms in North Carolina dispose of pig feces and urine by spraying it, untreated, into the air where residents live. In response, nearly 500 of those residents ... from eastern North Carolina, brought a class action suit against Murphy-Brown, the state's largest producer of hogs. The lawsuit has now made its way to federal court. Residents have said the process of waste disposal has caused health problems. Much of the waste disposal affects low-income residents and black communities. "It can, I think, very correctly be called environmental racism or environmental injustice that people of color, low-income people bear the brunt of these practices," [University of North Carolina professor] Steve Wing ... said. "I shut my hog operation down, and I got out of it. And I ... just couldn't do another person that way, to make them smell that," Don Webb, a former pig factory farm owner, told Democracy Now. "You get stories like, 'I can't hang my clothes out.' Feces and urine odor comes by and attaches itself to your clothes." HB 467 ... was passed by both houses of the North Carolina Legislature. The bill would prevent people from recovering damages like those for healthcare bills and pain and suffering.

Note: In 2014, video footage of toxic cesspools around North Carolina farms exposed shockingly lax agricultural waste disposal standards. In response, the North Carolina Legislature passed a law to prevent whistle-blowers from exposing corporate wrongdoing. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.


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