Civil Liberties News StoriesExcerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media
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.
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".
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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”.
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.
In 1953, the then-Director of Central Intelligence officially approved project MKUltra. Originally intended to make sure the United States government kept up with presumed Soviet advances in mind-control technology ... MKUltra has gone down in history as a significant example of government abuse of human rights. The intent of the project was to study “the use of biological and chemical materials in altering human behavior,” according to ... official testimony. Under MKUltra, the CIA gave itself the authority to [experiment on] unwitting test subjects, like drug-addicted prisoners, marginalized sex workers and terminal cancer patients. “The covert testing programs resulted in massive abridgements of the rights of American citizens, sometimes with tragic consequences,” concluded a Senate hearing in 1975-76. MKUltra wasn’t one project, as the US Supreme Court wrote in a 1985 decision. It was 162 different secret projects that were indirectly financed by the CIA, but were “contracted out to various universities ... and similar institutions.” In all, at least 80 institutions and 185 researchers participated, but many didn’t know they were dealing with the CIA. Many of MKUltra’s records were destroyed. But 8,000 pages of records - mostly financial documents that were mistakenly not destroyed in 1973 - were found in 1977. Nobody ever answered for MKUltra. Two lawsuits related to the program reached the Supreme Court, [writes Melissa Blevins for Today I Found Out], “but both protected the government over citizen’s rights.”
Note: Unfortunately, MK-ULTRA is far from the only program to have used humans as guinea pigs in attempts to create more powerful mind control technologies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.
Jose Charles was dazed, bleeding from his head and surrounded by police. His mother had gone to take one of the 15-year-old’s siblings to the bathroom at a Fourth of July celebration in Greensboro, N.C. - and returned to find an officer’s hand around Jose’s neck. Police charged Jose with four crimes, including attacking an officer. The teenager and his mother say police slammed and choked him without provocation. In a month, the court’s interpretation of the incident could determine Jose’s fate. Body camera footage from several officers who were at the scene of the encounter is sitting ... where almost no one can see it. Standing in the way of clarity and transparency, critics say, is a new North Carolina law that makes it more difficult than ever to view recordings of controversial interactions between police and members of the public. The law requires anyone who wants to see police body camera footage to pay a fee and plead their case to a Superior Court judge. The law gives an inordinate amount of power to prosecutors. Jose Charles’s mom, Tamara Figueroa ... said [her son] suffers from schizoaffective disorder. She said prosecutors have told her that if Jose doesn’t plead guilty to assault, they’ll ask a judge to send him to a [facility] which Figueroa calls “a kiddie jail,” unequipped to treat his mental illness. The video could change public perception and her son’s fate, Figueroa said: She has seen the footage and remains adamant that her son didn’t assault a police officer.
Undercover officers in the New York police department infiltrated small groups of Black Lives Matter activists and gained access to their text messages, according to newly released NYPD documents obtained by the Guardian. The records, produced in response to a freedom of information lawsuit ... provide the most detailed picture yet of the sweeping scope of NYPD surveillance during mass protests over the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015. Lawyers said the new documents raised questions about NYPD compliance with city rules. The documents, mostly emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, follow other disclosures that the NYPD regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and sent undercover personnel to protests. In one email, an official notes that an undercover officer is embedded within a group of seven protesters on their way to Grand Central Station. This intimate access appears to have helped police pass as trusted organizers and extract information about demonstrations. In other emails, officers share the locations of individual protesters at particular times. Throughout the emails, the NYPD’s undercover sources provide little indication of any unlawful activity. “The documents uniformly show no crime occurring, but NYPD had undercovers inside the protests for months on end as if they were al-Qaida,” said David Thompson, an attorney of Stecklow & Thompson, who helped sue for the records.
Note: It was reported in 2015 that the Department of Homeland Security monitored the Black Lives Matter movement closely enough to produce "minute-by-minute reports on protesters’ movements". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
The Department of Justice proudly announced the first FBI terror arrest of the Trump administration on Tuesday: an elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year-old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb - and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family. Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, didn’t have the $20 he needed to buy the 9-volt batteries, duct tape, and roofing nails his new FBI friends wanted him to get, so they gave him the money. The agents noted in a criminal complaint that Hester, who at one point brought his two small children to a meeting because he didn’t have child care, continued smoking marijuana despite professing to be a devout Muslim. But according to the DOJ press release, Hester had plans to conduct an “ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack” on President’s Day that would have resulted in mass casualties had it succeeded. News reports breathlessly echoed the government’s depiction of Hester as a foiled would-be terrorist. But the only contact Hester had with ISIS was with the two undercover agents. There appears to be little to suggest that [Hester] had the wherewithal or capacity to carry out a terrorist attack. His case is similar to many others in which individuals in financial, legal, or psychological distress have been befriended by undercover FBI agents or government informants and coaxed into developing a terrorist plot.
Note: The FBI has been stepping up its use of stings in ISIS cases. Read how an FBI mole posing as a potential lover recently convinced a man to become a terrorist. If terrorism is such a grave threat in the US, why does the FBI have to manufacture "terrorist" plots and then exaggerate its anti-terrorism success?
The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists. Officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock “water protector” movement in North Dakota. “The idea that the government would attempt to construe this indigenous-led non-violent movement into some kind of domestic terrorism investigation is unfathomable to me,” said Lauren Regan, a civil rights attorney. “It’s outrageous, it’s unwarranted … and it’s unconstitutional.” Regan ... said she learned of three cases in which officers with the taskforce, known as the JTTF, tried to talk to activists in person. She described the encounters as attempted “knocks and talks”, meaning law enforcement showed up at people’s doors without a subpoena or warrant and tried to get them to voluntarily cooperate with an interview. The three individuals ... asserted their fifth amendment rights and did not respond to the officers, according to Regan. All three contacts were made in recent weeks after Trump’s inauguration. Trump, a former investor in Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based firm behind the pipeline, took executive action in his first week in office to expedite the project. On Wednesday, workers began drilling to complete the pipeline.
Note: The FBI has a long history of violating activists' rights. The 2011 National Defense Authorization Bill broadened the definition of "supporter of terrorism" to include peaceful activists, authors, academics and even journalists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Important Note: 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.