CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

Full Article

Students protest ‘war criminal’ Cheney at American University

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

More than two dozen students protested a talk by former Vice President Dick Cheney at American University, and a handful of them called him a “war criminal” as they stormed out.

video from the March 27 event shows students walking out on Cheney, and one can be heard yelling, “Walk out on war criminals.” The speech was hosted by The Kennedy Political Union. The school’s newspaper, The Eagle, reported that Cheney denied that his actions while in office amounted to war crimes.

Cheney was one of the most vocal supporters of the George W. Bush administration policies after September 11, including waterboarding, placing detainees in stress positions, and other practices that are sometimes referred to as “enhanced interrogation” tactics.

Full Article

North Korea Threatens A ‘New Kind Of Nuclear Test’

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under World

North Korea threatened on Sunday to conduct what it called “a new form of nuclear test”, raising the level of rhetoric after members of the United Nations Security Council condemned the North’s recent ballistic missile launch.

“It is absolutely intolerable that the U.N. Security Council, turning a blind eye to the U.S. madcap nuclear war exercises, ‘denounced’ the Korean People’s Army (KPA)’s self-defensive rocket launching drills and called them a ‘violation of resolutions’ and a ‘threat to international peace and security’ and is set to take an ‘appropriate step’,” the North’s foreign ministry said in a statement on the official KCNA news agency.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-threatens-nuclear-test-2014-3#ixzz2xa7y59Rs

Wealthy Child Rapist Given Probation As Judge Felt He Would ‘Not Do Well’ in Jail

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

The heir to the du Pont fortune pled guilty in 2009 to charges of raping his three-year old daughter, but never spent time in jail

Newly released documents reveal that in 2009 a Delaware judge sentenced a wealthy heir to probation after he admitted he had raped his 3-year old daughter, saying the rich white man would “not do well” in prison.

Robert H. Richards IV, one of the heirs to the du Pont fortune, admitted in June 2008 that he had raped his 3-year old daughter, Delaware Online reports. The girl told her grandmother about the 2005 alleged abuse, and said that her father had said it was “our little secret” but that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” Richards was originally charged with two counts of second-degree rape, but accepted a last-minute plea deal on fourth-degree rape charges, a class C violent felony that usually comes with over two years of jail time. Prosecutors sought only probation, and Judge Jan Jurden agreed, sentencing him to an 8-year prison sentence but commuting all the prison time in favor of probation.

Full Article

Philly Artist Fights City Hall Over Eminent Domain Abuse

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

Philadelphia’s James Dupree is an accomplished artist whose work has appeared in museum all over the world, including his hometown’s Philadelphia Museum of Art and African American Museum.

In 2005, Dupree bought a dilapidated warehouse in the City of Brotherly Love’s Mantua neighborhood and worked to turn it into a studio that hosts his personal workshop, art classes, and even visitors through Airbnb.

That’s all being threatened by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), a local government agency that is supposed to revitalize distressed neighborhoods.

PRA made plans with Aquinas Realty Partners to convert the block that Dupree’s studio is on into a multi-use area with retail shops and a high-end grocery store. PRA designated the studio as blighted and moved to take it via eminent domain, the government’s right to seize property for public use. It planned to give the property to the private developer Aquinas. Part of the eminent domain process is that dispossessed property owners must be offered fair and just compensation. PRA offered Dupree $640,000 for his property even though the estimated market value is $2.2 million.

Taking private property and then giving it to a developer constitutes abuse of eminent domain, says Institute for Justice senior attorney Scott Bullock. “A grocery store is like any other private business,” he explains. “It is about as far away from a public use as one could imagine.” Historically, eminent domain was used to build things such as roads, public schools, and hospitals. Increasingly, though, it’s being used by governments to give favored developers sweetheart deals.

Bullock was the lead counsel in the 2005 Supreme Court case Kelo v. New London, which involved a municipal government in Connecticut seizing property and giving it to a private developer to build a hotel complex. The high court ruled that it was constitutional as long as the government said they were trying to increase tax revenues. The Kelo decision was highly controversial and led many states and municipalities to pass tighter restrictions on the use of eminent domain.

Ironically, the inefficiency of municipal bureaucracy may give Dupree his best chance of winning his case. When PRA classified Dupree’s property as blighted, it ended up condemning only two of the three addresses his property sits on.

Dupree has begun an online petition and has taken PRA to court. A decision is expected later this year.

About 5 minutes.

Brazil looks to ban Monsanto’s Roundup, other toxicity risks

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech, World

Brazil’s public prosecutor wants to suspend use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s pervasive herbicide Roundup. A recent study suggested glyphosate may be linked to a fatal kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions worldwide.

The Prosecutor General’s office is also pursuing bans on the herbicide 2,4-D and seven other active herbicide ingredients in addition to glyphosate: methyl parathion, lactofem, phorate, carbofuran, abamectin, tiram, and paraquat, GMWatch reported.

Full Article

Russia’s freight trains full of tanks roll into Crimea

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under World

Residents in Crimea have captured on video Russia’s military progression into the area.

As Russia’s prime minister promised to pour funds into the newly annexed peninsula during a surprise visit to Crimea today, videos have been posted online showing trains loaded with Russian equipment travelling west towards the Crimean capital Simferopol.

The videos, posted earlier this month, appear to show tanks, vehicles and other military equipment as they are transported on flatbed freight trains.

Meanwhile, Russia is withdrawing a motorised infantry battalion from a region near Ukraine’s eastern border, the Russian Defence Ministry was quoted as saying by state news agencies today.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2593464/Show-strength-Russian-freight-trains-tanks-roll-Crimea-on.html#ixzz2xZB2zVNW
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DHS (Homeland CONTROL) Buying Off local PD to Construct a Nationwide Standing Army / Panopticon

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

TELL YOUR CITY COUNSILS / MAYORS TO JUST SAY NO! TO DHS GRANTS! (or… YOU will say NO to their re-selection)

 

Why Is Homeland Security Paying to Put Cities Under Surveillance?

 

The drive to use of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to convert local law enforcement into heavily armed battalions of a nationwide standing army under the command of federal officers marches on.

VIA The New American

A quick survey of some of the police departments being outfitted by the federal government will expose the extent of the coast to coast effort to obliterate local accountability of law enforcement and to make those officers dependent on the largesse of their federal benefactors.

First, the Santa Monica, California, Police Department received nearly $800,000 from DHS days ago. A March 28 Santa Monica Mirror story on the “donation” reveals the earmarks for the funds.

Officially approved as part of the City Council’s consent calendar agenda at its Tuesday meeting, the grant money would, according to City staff, be used “to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals.”…

“Funds were requested to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals, specifically an automated license plate reading system for the Police Department, terrorism liaison officer training, hazardous material (HazMat) training and equipment, urban search and rescue (USAR) training and equipment and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) training and equipment for the Fire Department,” City staff stated.

Notice the mention made of surveillance equipment (license plate tracking system), terrorism, and urban riot preparedness. Hardly the bailiwick of a local police department.

Next, the headline of a story out of Wisconsin is enough to invoke the ire of constitutionalists in the Badger State: “State cops can track residents’ cellphones.”

The story under that headline, from the Fond du Lac Reporter, demonstrates the immense capacity of cops to violate the Fourth Amendment:

Police in Wisconsin have at least two devices that secretly track cellphone locations in real time to target suspects or missing persons — technology that simultaneously mines data from hundreds or thousands of unsuspecting people nearby.

Such sophisticated surveillance equipment doesn’t come cheap. The Reporter writes:

The suitcase-sized Stingray masquerades as a cell tower to trick cellphones into connecting to it. It can show police phones within a mile or more, depending on terrain. Records show the DOJ Stingray cost more than $150,000, and the DOJ and Milwaukee police both purchased upgrade packages that topped $100,000.

In fairness, it’s not just Wisconsin law enforcement using this technology to track citizens. As noted by the Reporter:

An investigation by USA TODAY and Gannett media around the country found at least 25 police departments outside Wisconsin own a Stingray. More than 30 other agencies refused to say whether they own one.

Tracking cellphones without warrants is just the beginning of the monitoring in Milwaukee. The Fox TV channel in Milwaukee reports that the city is being equipped with surveillance cameras mounted on buildings and in other locations. Why do the nearly 600,000 residents of Wisconsin’s largest city need to be under the watchful eye of government? Common Council President Michael J. Murphy explained:

It is now quite commonplace in business and commercial districts across the U.S. and the world to have mounted surveillance cameras monitoring activity, because they have proven very effective in helping to deter crime and also helping to solve crimes.

Really? Consider this report published by The New American in January covering a similar deployment of surveillance cameras in Houston, Texas, and Evanston, Illinois:

Perhaps citizens [of Houston] should overlook their elected leaders’ acceptance of such federal largesse, given that the 900 or so surveillance cameras already in place have had such a favorable effect on crime rates in the city.

Not so much.

… From [local CBS affiliate] KHOU: “Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime.”

If the cameras aren’t being used to reduce crime, just what are they being used for?

“We also know from experience and from recent events that the government will inevitably abuse its use of personal information attained by spying on us. Houston needs to re-think and reject this proposal,” [regional director Amin] Alehashem [of the Texas Civil Rights Project-Houston] said in his press release.

Precisely. These cameras — thousands upon thousands attached to poles and buildings from coast to coast — are not about crime reduction, but about liberty reduction.

Residents of Evanston, Illinois, seem to see the surveillance that way, too.

Over 100 citizens of this Chicago suburb have signed petitions requesting that the city council publicize all the information regarding a proposal to add “3.7 miles of surveillance cameras” along city streets.

Evanston’s plan to expand its surveillance capabilities has a couple of things in common with the Houston program.

First, there is the lack of evidence that the cameras make residents safer. Consider this report published … in a local news blog:

Evanston resident Bobby Burns, who is collecting signatures online and in person in the neighborhood around the high school, told Patch he believes the city council does not have enough research to back up the surveillance camera proposal.

“If these cameras are really about student safety, there should be credible data that clearly supports the need,” he wrote in an e-mail. “If this is about youth homicides, protecting senior citizens, or keeping an eye on police [officers], let’s respect the importance of those issues and discuss them individually with care and consideration.”

So, just like the cameras in Houston, the cameras in Evanston (population 75,430) don’t seem to reduce crime or make anyone safer.

They are likewise unlikely to make Milwaukee safer, either.

Why the move to constant monitoring, then?

In Logan, Utah, the police took money from the feds to keep their communications secret, scrambling them so as not to be detectable by civilians. HJNews.com reports:

The Logan City Police Department has officially received grant money allowing them to purchase software that will encrypt scanner radio traffic in high-risk situations.

The police department received $26,812 from the Utah Department of Homeland Security, enough to put encryption software on 30 police radios.

According to Asst. Police Chief Jeff Curtis, about half of those radios will go to police officers who are assigned to the SWAT team. The others will be spread out among administrators, negotiators, select paramedics and dispatch.

It seems that if local police were determined to protect and serve the citizens of Logan, they would be best served by allowing those citizens access to information regarding crime. To keep such communications secret is not only contrary to peace and order, but to principles of local control over law enforcement, as well.

Finally, St. Louis citizens will soon be subject to surveillance by local police equipped with DHS-provided facial recognition software. The story in KMOV quotes a local official justifying the acceptance of the federally funded technology:

“If someone robs a bank and cameras capture that face we then take that picture, put it into a computer system through a scanning system and that goes through the existing mug shot data basis looking for known criminals that would match that picture,” he said. “It’s no different than a detective or a victim going through binders of pictures looking for a match of that individual.”

In fact, it is significantly different. Mug shot binders are full of photos taken by police after a person has been arrested. Cameras equipped with facial recognition software will record the faces of everyone who comes within the scope of their lenses without regard to warrants or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Unlike mugshots, the pictures of the faces of people living in or visiting St. Louis will be recorded just in case they are ever needed. This is a search and seizure made in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and it should concern the nearly 3,000,000 residents of the metropolitan area, as well as the millions of tourists who visit the city annually.

All the foregoing is evidence that Americans are witnessing (often mutely) the rapid establishment of a federal police force built upon the foundation of formerly free local law enforcement and equipped with technology, tactics, and weapons of immense power.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at jwolverton@thenewamerican.com.

 

Also:

Internal 'Homeland' Document Revealed...
ICE released 68,000 convicted criminal aliens last year...
872,504 ordered removed by immigration authorities have not left...

Protesters Cause Havoc in Albuquerque, Police use Tear Gas

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

 

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A protest over the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of force was finally subdued by 6-7 tear gas canisters.

Mike Paczesny
The Rundown Live

The original protest started as a more peaceful demonstration outside of Albuquerque police headquarters. At that time, a couple hundred people were there to call for changes in the wake of the James Boyd Shooting.

Police used gas in an attempt to put an end to the protest that had lasted for more than nine hours.

Albuquerque police made arrests. Witnesses said they saw several people put into patrol cars.

At least one officer has been injured during the protest.

Protesters said they won’t stop until the chief is fired.

Image AP

 

500 or more demonstrators marched through the streets, holding up signs and traffic in the process.

The protest made stops at APD’s headquarters, Civic Plaza and the University of New Mexico’s main campus.

Officers ordered the group to clear the area near APD headquarters, calling it an unlawful protest.

A standoff between protesters and police in tactical gear took place for more than an hour before protesters retreated and resumed their march.

Police briefly closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 25 after protesters started marching on the interstate.

Mayor Richard Berry’s office released a statement Sunday night saying, “Mayor Berry is actively tracking the situation in consultation with Chief Eden and command staff and has been all afternoon and throughout the evening. The city remains committed to the public’s safety as the highest priority.”

During the portion of the demonstration in front of APD headquarters, the group chanted for justice and accountability. Family members of those killed by APD officers also spoke.

Officials said the protesters did not have a permit.

The FBI announced it was investigating the Boyd officer-involved shooting.

The U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating the use of force in APD since 2012.

Kansas Considers A “Punish Complainers & Silence Critics” Bill

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

Just to review, in Kansas you can be SWAT-raided and never be permitted to learn the basis for the warrant. This means the police can get a warrant for bogus reasons and reasonably expect that, if their victims are innocent, they will never be able to call them into an account.

So naturally, the Kansas state legislature has decided to add official protections to the police so that they are still more invulnerable to public scrutiny.

The bill is, thankfully, stalled at the moment, but it is not dead. It is called the “filing false complaints against a law enforcement officer” bill.

Filing a false complaint is already a crime under civil law.  This bill, however, not only adds the new felony definition, but it makes several other changes. Here is TechDirt’s list (my bullet points).

  • Officers would be allowed to view the complaint and any related evidence before making a statement, giving accused officers a chance to craft narratives before issuing statements that might be contradicted by the evidence submitted.
  • The complaint’s lack of anonymity would give accused officers the name, address, phone number, etc. of their accuser, something that could easily lead to harassment.
  • The bill stipulates that “no other law enforcement agency” can open an investigation on a complaint if another agency has performed an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing. This would keep all investigations “in-house,” which greatly contributes to the likelihood that complaints will be found false (and subsequently, result in felony charges against the filer). This would prevent agencies like the FBI and DOJ from investigating closed complaints to see if anything was missed or covered up. This stipulation would further insulate police from accountability.

I’m not as certain as Tim Cushing at TechDirt that forbidding anonymous complaints is a bad thing, though it is certainly wrong to give the accusers name and contact data to the accused police officer(s).

Hopefully, this bill is stalled because everyone realizes how bad it is. Ironically, the sponsors of the bill are not named because an entire committee proposed the law. As Cushing remarks, “safety in numbers.”

I realize that police can be falsely accused. But I have to balance that consideration with this basic question: How often does a police officer get held accountable for making a false accusation against a non-police officer?

In my view, the answer is almost never. This bill needs to be trashed, not passed.
Read more at Political Outcast

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