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Reposted from KingCharlemagne by xxdr zombiexx

Amnesty International Report on Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson, MO

I don't think I need to detail Amnesty International's widely respected pedigree here. Suffice it to say that the human rights organization has documented, for the first time in its history, systemic and wide-ranging human rights abuses occurring inside the United States.

The AI report is simply put, devastating. I don't think I need to rehash the circumstances of Brown's death yet again, nor do I need to detail the litany of abuses committed by Ferguson PD, St. Louis County law enforcement and St. Louis Highway Patrol officers. This report outlines them cooly, calmly and, thus, almost irrefutably.

If you have not yet read this report, you really should. The section at the end includes sound recommendations for every level of law enforcement, up to and including the U.S. Department of Justice.


Government's Secretive "No-Fly List" Regime Crumbling, says ACLU

Marking the first major victory against the U.S. government's secretive 'No Fly List' on Friday, seven people who challenged their inclusion on the list were finally cleared and told they can once again enjoy the right to board an aircraft and fly commercially over domestic airspace.

Responding to a federal court order that resulted from a challenge brought by the ACLU on behalf of thirteen American citizens placed on the list, Friday's announcement by the Department of Homeland Security was described by one attorney involved with the case as the first ever significant blow to the "unfair and unnecessary secrecy regime" that surrounds the government list that now contains thousands upon thousands of names.

Homeland Security and the TSA are 2 agencies we do not need, never should have been created, but are here because of the fascism intended by the former Administration (The Cheney Years).

It is wonderful to see some progress, however glacial it has been.

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Reposted from LGBT Rights are Human Rights by Dave in Northridge

This is the first of what I think will be three diaries that directly resulted from my experience at NN 14. Religious exemptions was identified as one of the five major post-marriage issues for the LGBT community at the LGBT Caucus, and it seemed to be the one on which I could do the most good. My mission for the foreseeable future is going to be finding every law that contains an exemption that goes beyond the one preserved by Executive Order 11478, the Bush formula

that allows religiously affiliated contractors to favor employees of a certain religion in making hiring decisions.
The history of that exemption, and of the effort to navigate a passage between the shoals of the First and the Fourteenth Amendments, as a necessary background for this effort, follows.
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Reposted from Geenius at Wrok by xxdr zombiexx
In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that prevented anyone from standing within a 35-foot buffer zone outside of abortion clinics. The law was intended to prevent abortion opponents from blocking women's access to the facilities; local law-enforcement officials testified that significant clashes frequently occurred just outside clinics' doors.

"The Last Person You See Before Getting an Abortion," Atlantic

Set aside, for a moment, the merits of being for or against abortion rights. Set aside the question of whether a woman seeking an abortion has the right to do so without having to run a gantlet of strangers who object to her decision.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the paragraph quoted above is that the Supreme Court has essentially stated that there's no legal basis for insisting that a protester maintain a certain distance from a place of business that he or she is protesting -- that the nature of the business cannot trump the First Amendment rights of an activist.

If this is the case, anti-inequality activists need to put this idea to the test, stat.

They need to form crowds outside investment banks and trading houses on Wall Street and in every financial district in every city and peacefully, quietly, hand out leaflets and try to talk to every person who goes in or out "one-on-one." And try to persuade them that they're doing great harm to the American economy, the American worker, the American citizen.

Because surely an anti-inequality protester has the same rights, may exercise the same civil liberties, is entitled to the same kid-glove treatment, as an anti-abortion protester.



Reposted from gjohnsit by xxdr zombiexx

  On May 20, 2013, Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong. He had already been meeting with journalists at the Guardian and Washington Post for months. Those journalists have since won the Pulitzer Prize.

   Just short of a year ago, President Obama denied that the NSA was spying on all of us.

  Up until that point the idea of mass domestic surviellance was still the stuff of conspiracy theories and the government could get away with official denials.
No matter what your personal opinion of Snowden, he changed all that.

  Here is the Daily Show take on NSA lies.
   I would like to present a list of government lies that they have been caught in regarding the NSA spying.

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Reposted from Mikey Weinstein by Dave in Northridge

What would you do if you found out that a shocking murder plot was unfolding silently? What if this wasn’t just any murder, but the premeditated and carefully plotted unfolding of a terrifying scenario with nightmarish repercussions for every American citizen? What if the innocent victim was of vital importance to you, your family, and your country? Would you come to the protective defense of the victim? Or would you shrink back into the shadows marinated in trembling fear of possibly being harmed while dutifully standing up to such an injustice?

Unfortunately for all citizens of America, the murder victim in this case is the bedrock democratic guarantee of religious freedom rights, as mandated by the Constitution of the United States of America. In relation to the United States military, the deceased include numerous relevant Department of Defense (DoD) directives, regulations and instructions. Where are the lairs of those sinister perpetrators who are clearly complicit in this nefarious act of murder? Nowhere else but the United States Congress and the Pentagon.

What we’re referring to here is the planned participation and endorsement of a sectarian, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian “National Day of Prayer” event to be held this coming May 1st on Capitol Hill in the Cannon House Office Building. The event is being sponsored not only by Congressional legislators, but also by uniformed American military personnel… and the Pentagon has shown no sign of relenting in its shameful support of this fundamentalist Christian, big tent revival circus.

Despite all of the disingenuous criticism regarding “Obama’s war on religion,” the present administration can hardly be considered pristine guardians of religious liberty, especially not with respect to the United States military.  Indeed, its approach can best be described as egregiously lackadaisical and, at worst, criminally complicit. Proof positive of this “homicidal” fiduciary failure is its deplorable allowance of the American military’s prominent participation in a Congressional “National Day of Prayer Task Force” (NDP Task Force) event.

Curious readers may be wondering: What actually is this “‘National Day of Prayer’ Task Force”? Well, my friends, let me explain. The National Day of Prayer (NDP) has been an annual observance of faith since 1952 when President Truman started it. One can be more than generous and say it is a “secular holiday”, as it is celebrated by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Baha’i, pagans, Satanists… or one can call it “abhorrently unconstitutional,” as my dear colleague and Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) Senior Research Director Chris Rodda called it. Loosely construed, NDP is, arguably, supposed to be propagating a celebration of religious liberty and the freedom of Americans to pray or meditate in any manner that they see fit. Whatever NDP is, it most certainly is NOT a day to celebrate one religious tradition, to the exclusion of all other concepts spiritual or temporal.

Enter now that trojan horse of religious freedom-murdering criminals, the NDP Task Force. The NDP Task Force is the group organizing and broadcasting this garish Capitol Hill event under the following banner: “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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I wish this was snark. From

Legislation that would make the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana cleared the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs with a vote of 8-5 Thursday afternoon. It will now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
It's not the original bill that was submitted to the committee either, CHANGES were made.

Below the great orange collection plate for more.

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"I'm thinking there's probably a wealth of information that just got tucked into your pocket," Norton says. "Something that we'd like to get our hands on."
from the brute-force-attacks-that-don't-involve-SWAT-members,-battering-rams dept
Law enforcement agencies really want to see your phone's contents. I mean, they really want to. Martin Kaste at NPR has a story on law enforcement and smartphones which contains the following quote from a Rolf Norton, a Seattle homicide detective.


  "I'm thinking there's probably a wealth of information that just got tucked into your pocket," Norton says. "Something that we'd like to get our hands on."
The article at one point focuses on the fact that once a cop does get his (or her) hands on your smartphone and IF they can get into it, they are left with a huge amount of data that will be largely useless or meaningless.
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Reposted from Jesselyn Radack by xxdr zombiexx

Thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency's mass surveillance operations include the content of telephone calls as well as the metadata.

The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.
Since documents from Snowden revealed that the NSA is sweeping up en masse hundreds of millions of phone records, surveillance supporters have argued that because the information "is just metadata" it is not mass surveillance. (For anyone who hasn't been following, metadata generally means phone record of who called who and for how long, but not the voice data). The argument fails first because metadata is highly revealing, as countless technology and intelligence experts have articulated over the past nine months.

WAPO's report confirms that it's also factually incorrect to claim "it's just metadata:"

Ubiquitous voice surveillance, even overseas, pulls in a great deal of content from Americans who telephone, visit and work in the target country. It may also be seen as inconsistent with Obama’s Jan. 17 pledge “that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security,” regardless of nationality, “and that we take their privacy concerns into account.”
Yet again, despite assurance from the President himself that NSA is not spying on innocent Americans, when given facts instead of government talking points, the public learns NSA is sweeping up innocent Americans' phone conversations on under the guise of protecting national security.
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Reposted from Police Accountability Group by xxdr zombiexx

How nifty?

The device is called a Stingray.

So super duper nifty.

What does a Stingray do?, you might ask.

Apparently it is a device that can be taken to a location it then pings all the cell phones in range and gathers their location data. For every phone.

The police were using this device and then not informing anyone they were doing so because the maker of the device asked them not to.

So, potentially exculpatory evidence was not delivered to defense attorneys because the company wanted their device to remain secret.

Some reason Mussolini quotes are popping into my head.

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The Obama administration filed a suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday, alleging that Sprint overcharged the government $21 million for expenses it incurred while complying with court-ordered wiretaps and other surveillance help.
$21 million isn't much for a big, ol' massive government like ours.

Chicken feed.

Republicans have probably blown far more than that on investigating  (3 syllables, starts with a "B")

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Reposted from jpmassar by Dave in Northridge

A bit of street theatre took place Saturday, February 1st, in Oakland, just a block away from where Scott Olsen was shot and nearly killed by Oakland's Police Department during the first major Occupy protest.

 photo stree-theatre-hoods_zpsf5a2cb81.jpg

Just as much as Scott's near death was serious business, so was this. These sitters were protesting not amidst tear gas, bean-bag rounds and insane cops, but in a more existential way: against threat of endless state surveillance. As 1984's famous inquisitor, O'Brien, put it:

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
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