Tag Archives | Civil Rights

The American Political Prisoner You’ve Never Heard About

This past week Professor Sheldon Wolin, who coined the idea of “Inverted Totalitarianism,” passed away. In the same week, U.S. political prisoner Reverend Ed Pinkney had his phone privileges and contact with the outside world taken away. These may seem like two unrelated events, but you’d be wrong. Lee Camp explains how Wolin and Pinkney are connected through “Inverted Totalitarianism.”

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New FBI Program Trains Teachers, Students to Snoop On Muslims

"Teachers in classrooms should not become an extension of law enforcement," said Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. (Photo: Cumminsr/Wikimedia/cc)

“Teachers in classrooms should not become an extension of law enforcement,” said Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. (Photo: Cumminsr/Wikimedia/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s posts here.

Rights groups are charging that a new FBI program to counter “extremism,” expected to be unveiled shortly, employs games and online tools that encourage teachers and students to snoop on—and discriminate against—Muslims, in violation of their most fundamental civil liberties.

Entitled ‘Don’t Be a Puppet,’ the program “leads the viewer through a series of games and tips intended to teach how to identify someone who may be falling prey to radical extremists,” New York Times journalist Laurie Goodstein reported on Monday. “With each successful answer, scissors cut a puppet’s string, until the puppet is free.”

Muslim, Arab, civil rights, and community groups invited by the FBI to “review” the program on October 16 told reporters that Don’t Be a Puppet unfairly targets Muslims.… Read the rest

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Cleveland Judge Recommends Charges for Police Who Killed Tamir Rice

"Tamir Rice family photo" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Shooting of Tamir Rice">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Tamir Rice family photo” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. Read more of Deirdre Fulton’s posts here.

A judge in Cleveland on Thursday found probable cause that police officer Timothy Loehmann should face murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty charges in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November. The judge also ruled that probable cause exists to charge Loehmann’s partner, officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

However, Judge Ronald B. Adrine, presiding judge of the Municipal Court, said he did not have the power to order the officers’ arrests without complaints being filed by a prosecutor.

The ruling came after a group of activists and community leaders—the ‘Cleveland 8’—on Tuesday asked the court to have the officers arrested under a rarely used Ohio law that allows “a private citizen having knowledge of the facts” to start the process by filing an affidavit with a court.… Read the rest

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Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers

Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers from Dress Code on Vimeo.

Emory Douglas was the Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. Through archival footage and conversations with Emory we share his story, alongside the rise and fall of the Panthers. He used his art as a weapon in the Black Panther Party’s struggle for civil rights and today Emory continues to give a voice to the voiceless. His art and what The Panthers fought for are still as relevant as ever.

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Want to Record The Cops? Know Your Rights

There are some very disturbing videos circulating the Internet right now, depicting the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of trained, armed men. Many of these videos even show individuals being shot in the back, or as they try to flee.

Pittsburgh G20 Summit Protests -  514

These are videos of police officers in America killing unarmed black men like Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. And, as the most recent case shows, without these recordings, much of America might not have any idea exactly how much of a problem this is.

Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering—it is legal to record the police.

The police don’t always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don’t comply.

In the most recent citizen-filmed incident to gain widespread media attention, on April 4, white police officer Michael Slager shot and killed 50-year-old black man Walter Scott in the back as he ran away in North Charleston, South Carolina. … Read the rest

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The Woman Who Tried To Murder Dr. King


William Bastone, Andrew Goldberg, and Joseph Jesselli write at The Smoking Gun:

On the eighth floor of a nursing home in Queens, New York, a 98-year-old woman sits slumped in a wheelchair in the hallway outside her room. She is sleeping, oblivious to the roar coming from the television of her next-door neighbor, who is watching “The Price is Right” at an ear-piercing volume.

Though the corridor is uncomfortably toasty on this July morning, the woman has a knitted shawl over her shoulders. She is wearing green sweatpants, a green t-shirt, and black shoes with Velcro closures. The remaining wisps of her hair are gray and tangled. In her clenched left hand is a wad of tissues that she will use to absent-mindedly dab at her face and rheumy eyes.

As she naps in the hallway, it is hard to imagine that frail Izola Curry was once a would-be assassin, a woman who nearly changed the course of U.S.

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Government Agents ‘Directly Involved’ in Most High-Profile US Terror Plots

Watertown FBI raid - agent entering house

Tim Pierce (CC BY 2.0)

We’re shocked, just plain shocked, that the FBI and other US law enforcement agencies “targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism ‘sting operations’ based on religious and ethnic identity,” per Human Rights Watch. From The Guardian:

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

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Far Above Cayuga’s Waters: Cornell Reprises Race At The Big Reunion Weekend

Cornell University SlopeIthaca, New York: How can you be in the past and present at the same time?

Go to your college reunion.

I did, this past weekend, up on the forever beautiful and very green Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. About 350 members of a class of 2400 trekked back to remember how we were, and to see how the ravages of age and affluence have affected us. I probably hadn’t bonded with as many fellow students because I was an independent, and not in a fraternity or athletic team. I was an early responder to activism.

We also had a moving memorial for more than a hundred, of the fallen, including my late friends Bernie Moss, Daniel Patrick Cassidy and Robin Williams. My co-editor Kenneth Barry Rubin of Dialogue Magazine was not on the list because he had dropped out earlier.

There were many people there I didn’t know then, and perhaps didn’t want to know, but I did run into some old friends and was thrust back into discussions of the racial /civil rights issues that mobilized us to care in our college years, and still top the list of the University’s and the country’s unfinished business.… Read the rest

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The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet

"The Troll King and the Princess"

“The Troll King and the Princess” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

The internet can be a damn caustic place, especially for women. From disgusting comments, to threats, stalking and more.

via Pacific Standard

I was 12 hours into a summer vacation in Palm Springs when my phone hummed to life, buzzing twice next to me in the dark of my hotel room. I squinted at the screen. It was 5:30 a.m., and a friend was texting me from the opposite coast. “Amanda, this twitter account. Freaking out over here,” she wrote. “There is a twitter account that seems to have been set up for the purpose of making death threats to you.”

I dragged myself out of bed and opened my laptop. A few hours earlier, someone going by the username “headlessfemalepig” had sent me seven tweets. “I see you are physically not very attractive. Figured,” the first said. Then: “You suck a lot of drunk and drug fucked guys cocks.” As a female journalist who writes about sex (among other things), none of this feedback was particularly out of the ordinary.

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Republicans Now Seeking To Prevent Women From Voting

votersIt’s no longer just about minorities, the poor, and college students; introducing the next target for disenfranchisement. The New Civil Rights Movement notes that Republicans in Texas (and a number of other states) have now devised and passed new voter ID laws that will render a large fraction of female voters, but not male voters, ineligible to vote:

As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because women have not updated their documents with their married names. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free.

A birth certificate is not enough. Women voters will have to show legal proof of a name change: a marriage license, a divorce decree, or court ordered change; and they have to be the original documents.

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